I did this with a small amount of research, anyone here can duplicate.
Comparison of costs (Return on Investment) for two vehicles. A Chevy Volt and a Honda Civic HF.
Volt information from Chevy website, Civic HF information from Honda website.
First cost of vehicle:
Volt = $32,780 for base model (after tax rebate of $7500 - original MSRP is $40,280).
Civic HF = $19,455 for base model
This means you will pay $13,325 more for a Volt just to own it.
Cost to drive:
Volt (Chevy published information) = $1.50 to charge 35 miles on a charge [electric only which is its cheapest mode of travel]. (unknown how Chevy calculated that cost, Does not take into account value of time lost waiting 6 hours for charge) And that assumes you only charge the car at home, which is the minimal charging station and KW hour costs (as opposed to charging at a parking deck or office building).
This equals 4.3 cents per mile ($1.50 divided by 35 miles)
Civic HF = 29mpg (lowest EPA rating, discounting highway mileage of 41mpg entirely - most expensive mode of travel).
This equals 11 cents per mile ($3.50 for gallon of gas divided by 29 mpg)
This means that the Volt costs 6.7 cents per mile less than the Civic HF to drive.
Because of the difference in the Cost of Vehicle (see above), you would have to drive the Volt in only the electric mode for 198,880 miles MORE than the Civic HF to break even on cost - i.e. if you drove the Civic for 200,000 miles, you would have to drive the Volt for 398,880 miles. [This is calculated by taking the difference in price ($13,325) and dividing it by the difference in cost per mile (6.7 cents)]
Edmunds.com True Cost to Own (Total for 5 years) bears this out:
Volt = $47,623
Civic HF = $35,596
The Volt again costs more to own, $12,027
That difference means you would have to drive the Volt in only electric mode for 179,507.5 miles MORE than the Civic HF - i.e. if you drove the Civic for 200,000 miles, you would have to drive the Volt for 379,507.5 miles to break even on cost. These are break even costs over 5 years - Volt is clearly a LOSER for the consumer in every way. [This is calculated by taking the difference in True Cost to Own ($12,027) and dividing it by the difference in cost per mile (6.7 cents)]
Thus we see that purchasing and driving a Chevy Volt will nearly double your costs over a Honda Civic, and that it is practically impossible for you to drive a Volt far enough to hit a break even point, let alone end up on the plus side of the equation.
Does that mean it will always be that way? No, of course not. Someday the technology will be there to produce a truly cost-effective zero-emission vehicle. But creating a false market by tax rebates, forced government purchases, etc. does not an anyway make sense. The ROI is not there - the Volt is not a viable commercial product.