And all that is based on the vehicle's capacity and driving experience, independent of operating costs, etc. So why doesn't anybody ask how long it will take the Encore to "pay for itself", to justify the hefty premium it demands over the Corolla? Well, one good reason is that there's no objective sense in which it possibly could, so the question's just not worth asking, is it? Ironically, it's because the LEAF in fact CAN reasonably be claimed to pay much of its own way that the argument turns quickly to whether it pays ALL its own way. That's a double standard, based on the reality that we've been trained to pay for brands and luxury features and levels of performance that are meaningless in everyday driving, and don't have any equivalent experience in valuing the unique appeal of EV driving, something that the overwhelming majority of drivers have so far never bothered to experience for themselves.
What to do a person who like a pure electric car but does not like annoying frequent charging? It is possible if you have city only driving and ready for subcompact with reduced power consumption and actually weight and size. Subcompact car like “Smart ForTwo” may have power consumption 40Wh/m in city mode and 71Wh/m in HW mode. Solar panel on the roof may provide daily energy that is enough for 40 miles at the summer time. And at the winter time wall charging is needed once a week.
Actually in the electric car a direct wheel drive is more efficient than a centralized motor drive system. It may be in-wheel motors or motor to wheel connection through a hub. It is giving a lot off benefits especially in serial hybrid configuration. Also proper on-board power generation is required for the serial hybrid. It is including high efficiency generation (low speed turbocharged diesel or common rail ICE) and co-generation (Sterling type of engine or similar that is utilizing exhaust gas energy of ICE).
Now existing electric and hybrid cars those are in production have to big price/quality ratio. Used hybrid and electric cars resale value is going to 0~20% after 7 years of usage, especially for electric car where battery replacement is needed and original battery price was up to 40% of new car price. Potential customer does not see any many saving. Anyway biggest benefit which has now electric car is carpool access. When price/quality ratio will be reduced and True Cost to Own will be comparable to the conventional car, customers will stay in-line for the new hybrid and electric cars.
With that said, all of the hard work that's gone into solar-powered cars hasn't been a waste. The information that engineers have learned from building solar-powered cars has guided their work in other areas. This includes aiding in the development of smaller, more efficient solar arrays, as well as the development of solar panels that can be attached to gasoline-powered cars to increase their efficiency and decrease their fuel consumption. While solar-powered cars really aren't a possibility in the near future, there's no reason to completely write off the idea. With continued research, they may eventually become a more practical solution.