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At a Crossroads with a 1995 940 - Please advise.

Old 08-05-2018, 09:20 PM
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Default At a Crossroads with a 1995 940 - Please advise.

Fifteen years ago we purchased a 1995 Volvo 940 with 80K miles in excellent condition. It has been one of the best cars we have ever owned. So far, weve taken good care of it, primarily used it for short trips around town and now have 200K on it. For the moment it is still running very well.

Were starting a new phase in our lives where want to start taking longer auto trips. Im aware that older Volvos have a reputation for being able to rack up lots of miles and that 200K may not be all that much for the 940. However, nevertheless, were concerned about taking a 23 year old car with 200K on longer trips out of town. Just the thought of being stranded with an auto break down far from home with a 23 year old car can take the fun out of trip planning.

So, we went to the Volvo dealership and looked over some alternatives. The 2018 S60 AWD appealed to us. The same car in the 2019 Hybrid version appealed to us even more and is supposed to be available in about a month. The dealer informed us that in about a year or so all of the new Volvos will be electric.

We took a test drive in the 2018 S60 AWD. It is filled with so many electronic and artificial intelligence features, I must admit I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. Nevertheless, the safety features were appealing and the AWD hugged the road around winding mountain roads like a pro. It felt great. The 2018 S60 AWD is currently available at sale prices. The 2019 S60 AWD Hybrid will run about $54K.

Now, on to my question. There are at least four options available:
  1. Keep the 940 and bravely face the prospect of a possible out of town breakdown.
  2. Take advantage of the current 2018 sales and get a S60 AWD gasoline only version.
  3. Spend the extra money on the 2019 S60 AWD Hybrid.
  4. Wait for the next year or so until the all electric Volvos come out.
I would appreciate any suggestions you might have about which option and considerations you might have. Please let me know your thoughts!



Old 08-06-2018, 06:22 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 1,502

You have laid out your choices logically. Chose the one that best meets your needs. No one here can possibly know all of the details of your life and make a choice for you. Best wishes in whichever direction that you go.
Old 08-07-2018, 11:23 AM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 87

This sounds like you're asking for opinions, and everyone has one, so here's mine.
The 940 is paid for and practically worthless. If you have room for two cars, I'd keep it and drive it till it blows up, but also buy the other car and keep the miles off it. Use the new car for long trips to give you peace-of-mind. Use the old car for commuting.

I also have a problem with an electric car that will need a $5000 battery replaced after five years or so. If they could figure that part out, I'd be glad to have an electric car.
Old 08-08-2018, 04:14 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 1,502

That's an excellent point, the battery. We are starting to see hybrids and electric cars come through the dealer's auction and they are pretty much worthless. Imagine buying an older car and not knowing whether you are going to have to replace the battery pack which is more than the value of the car. Consider the battery pack a very expensive set of tires, same issue. It might make the car easier to sell if it had a new battery pack but not worth a dollar more.

With electric vehicles, the consumer is not getting the whole story. Let's say that you drive 12,000 miles per year and gas costs $2.65 per gallon. Your car gets say 25 MPG average. That's an annual fuel cost of around $1,272.00.

The electric vehicle could replace some of those miles, so let's say that 60% of the driving the electric mode kicks in. Not counting the cost of electricity, that would be $763.00 in fuel savings.

Now, let's assume that you could actually run the battery pack seven years. I'll not even consider the cost of electricity. The fuel savings over seven years would be $5,300 and that's about the cost of the battery replacement. Toss in the cost of electricity at about 9 cents per kwh and it costs more to run the electric vehicle. If the battery pack lasts five years, you would save $3,815 in fuel.

Not only is the cost of a battery pack going to more than eat up your savings, you end up with a car that is pretty much worthless. The gas model still has a robust market.

Manufacturing those batteries is also an environmental disaster. Where will all of the bad batteries end up?

Until someone comes up with a battery replacement that is cost effective, the electric car can only be cost effective if you drive 80% or more of your driving in electric mode. There the savings would be a bit over $1,000 per year and still even with a five year battery, a bit ahead with a seven year battery life.
Old 08-08-2018, 04:21 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,028

Currently, the HV battery on the Volvo hybrids has an 8 year 100,000 mile warranty. Unless it is a California car, then it is 10 years, 150,000 miles.
Old 08-08-2018, 05:27 PM
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Location: Birmingham AL
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I believe from following the original thread through that the original poster is debating between a very new and new model. If Volvo warrants their battery for 8 years or 100k miles, then doing the math you can probably come out a little ahead on operating costs. Then, after the warranty is out, I doubt that the market will give the vehicle any value. That is based upon my own observations of hybrids coming through. The hybrid cars are even being specifically identified by the auctions.

If the individual doesn't plan to own the vehicle that long, the depreciation is probably the biggest cost. Leasing is another option.
Old 08-08-2018, 05:38 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 5,028

I agree, I doubt you save much in the long run when you factor in electricity, charging station installation (if you elect to get one for faster charging) and the additional cost for the hybrid vs. the gas version.

There are tax rebates in the US but I still don't know if you recoup the costs.
Old 08-10-2018, 11:33 AM
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 87

At least here in the midwest, our power plants are coal fired. So you are charging up your battery by burning coal. That's not better.

If we really want to save the planet, we should drive cars that are LIGHT WEIGHT. Remember cars like the Honda CRX that got 50 mpg? We could do it if we really wanted to. The electric car to me is just marketing hype that doesn't address the real problem, which is consumer taste for gigantic cars.
Old 08-10-2018, 11:54 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Birmingham AL
Posts: 1,502

You are so correct. You are saying what everyone else thinks but is afraid to say.

We have always enjoyed cheap gasoline so we have used it like there was no tomorrow. Our preferences are that we drive vehicles that are much larger than necessary. Compare a large vehicle and how often it is actually filled up with passengers.

In Europe, the taxes are based upon the size of the engine, thus, the reason for smaller cars and/or smaller engines. Here we always wanted a bigger engine to haul around a larger vehicle.

Today's SUVs weigh in at more than yesterday's full size barge.
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