The attention of the hybrid technology universe has been focused firmly on two vehicles: the Chevy Volt and the plug-in Prius. On the surface, these two vehicles are primed to be big-time competitors in the battle for mpg-conscious buyers. Not so, says the king of quote, Maximum Bob Lutz. According to Mr. Lutz, the two vehicles are very technologically different. Toyota also says that a plug-in Prius will be in production in 2009, a full year ahead of the Volt. Lutz hypothesizes that the Prius plug-ins will be available only to select fleets and not in large scale production, and the GM Vice Chairman says that the Volt will be available as part of a large test fleet in late 2009, as well.

We agree that the Volt and Prius are technologically different, but we're pretty sure the two vehicles will be competing for the same buyers. After all, Americans are calling for more fuel efficient vehicles and don't care if one's a plug-in parallel hybrid that runs on nickel-metal hydride batteries and the other is a series hybrid with lithium-ion batteries and a "range extender". They just care about whichever one can go further on a drop of fuel.

[Source: Detroit News]