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2010 Plug-in Prius Prototype – Click above for high res-image gallery

On Monday, Toyota's head of product development, Takeshi Uchiyamada, announced that by 2012, the Japanese automaker will take hold of the plug-in hybrid market by offering the least-expensive and certainly one of the most efficient PHEVs in the nation. Uchiyamada was speaking of none other than the company's upcoming plug-in Prius and admitted that Toyota's aim is to price its PHEV, "so close to the current version that customers really have to hesitate and think about it." From what we've driven so far, Toyota is right on target.

As we mentioned yesterday, Toyota hopes to begin selling the plug-in Prius in the U.S. by summer 2012 and is eying a price premium of just $3,000 to $5,000 over the base price of a run-of-the-mill Prius. With that info in hand, it appears as though Toyota is targeting a ballpark price of $28,000 for its plug-in, or about $13,000 less than the Chevrolet Volt. Yes, we're well aware that the plug-in Prius only boasts a 13-mile electric range whereas the Volt can travel 40 miles without using a drop of gas, and that the Volt gets a $7,500 tax rebate the Prius PHV will only get a $2,917 tax credit (the way we're calculating this is the base $2,500 rebate for the first four kWh and then the $417 for each additional kWh. Given the PHV Prius's 5.2 kWh pack, that comes to $2,917. We think this is accurate. Correct us if it's not). So, after rebates, the Volt = $33,500 and the Prius PHV is $25,083. We know that $8,500 is not exactly chump change and it could be difficult for buyers to justify the hefty premium for a mere 28 miles of added range. Don't you think?



Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.


[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 73 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      @ David Martin

      Or, you could buy any $15,000 small car (Corolla/Focus/Sentra/Civic) with a 32 mpg average FE.

      It would take 22.4yrs to break even buying this Prius PHEV or 26.8 yrs to break even buying a Volt.

      I'm all for it- but I am also very frugal.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I've heard some bright people talk about EV's and one guy suggested it would only take a one time $300 billion dollar (or so) investment to add quick charging stations to almost every business, home, municipality and so forth where it's most likely a charging station would be needed. And you'd have them in national parks too, at the beach and places off the beaten path - not difficult considering we've been to planet Mars. That one time investment is a fraction of what we pay in a single year for oil - a drop in the bucket. So this suggestion is in my opinion, a very smart idea, a necessary paradigm shift towards a very tangible opportunity we have with EV's, and what a great way to kick-start shifting attitudes towards the BEV/EV market. It makes so much sense doesn't it, that if we had the infrastructure (which we can afford and have the technology too), there would be a serious surge in interest and demand for EV vehicles. Not to mention plenty of green jobs, brand new jobs - and lots of them in every corner of America, in a hot new industry that we should all put our arms around. If I was running for President in 2012, this would be among my #1 commitments during my 1st term, and I would be known as among the most visionary Presidents ever setting up the foundation for a really green future. Don't say it can't be done, because it will but unfortunately the Federal Government isn't as efficient as we think they are, and this is why private industry is shaping the green revolution. I'm excited how the momentum is building, and we can't forget people thought at one time, gas engines wouldn't catch on. How wrong the naysayers were back then, and now.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Are you then going to give everyone $30-40K to buy an EV with which to use all those fancy new chargers?

        You see, people tend to keep cars for many years(even longer since the economy went south). It's already going to take many decades for EV's to be even close to a majority of cars on the road. Note the story posted on AB(or ABG) a few days back about Ford's estimate. They say that by 2020, they expect only 25% of their sales will be made up of vehicles with some form of battery assist(which includes both hybrids and EV's). That's still leaves 75% that will be solely ICE powered.

        I think a better solution is to put that $300B into increasing Ethanol production(and not just with corn) since it can be used in our existing vehicles and doesn't require everyone to buy a new car to make it work.

        Look at hybrids as an example. They've beeen on sale for over a decade now, with sales really picking up around 2004 or so. How many hybrid vehicles have been sold in that time? I'll be honest, I don't know the exact figure. But, I'll throw out a figure of 10 million and I honestly think that's high(maybe by a lot). That's a lot of vehicles to be sure, but not really when you compare it to total vehicles sold, which is more than that 10 million each year.

        Despite the great sales of certain hybrids, they still only make up a small percentage of total vehicles sold(less than 10%) and this is after more than a decade of sales and with fairly mature versions. They also don't require any dramatic changes from what people are used to either.

        You think that building thousands of quick charge stations is somehow going to suddenly make everyone go out and buy an EV? It's going to take exactly that thought process to have that idea make any sort of sense. Otherwise, you're spending $300B to benefit a few hundred thousand EV owners(whch is probably a realistic estimate). Even at 300K EV's in the US, that's $1 million per car for those quick chargers. Just doesn't make sense unless the figures are at least a hundredfold and that's not likely to happen any time soon and probably not without large Gov't tax credits to those buyers(which increases the cost well over the $300B estimate).

        I see that as pure fantasy-land utopian thinking that just has no basis in logic or reality.

      • 4 Years Ago
      $28k Prius PHEV? Excellent. All green cars are welcome going forward! Personally, I would pay another $5k and take the longer AER. But Volt, Leaf and Prius are now poised to lead the mass adoption of EVs. These are good times for innovative car makers.

      And considering the massive pollution and traffic issues that India and China face - a good time to be a clean, green car maker.
      • 4 Years Ago
      What everyone on here seems to constantly miss is that the automakers aren't making cars for the EV nut or hardcore environmentalist. They are forced to make cars for the average consumer, who is horribly afraid of drastic change, doesn't think more than a week into the future, and is just plain stubborn. Sure, you might be okay with adjusting your lifestyle to accommodate an EV, but the average consumer is just not willing.

      I equate hybrid/EV production today to sports car production. Year in and year out, sports car enthusiasts scream out for automakers to bring cars to market that they can drive on the road and take straight to the track. And they're willing to make the commitment to spend more money on repairs, have less storage/seat space, and get lower mpg. But the automakers continue not to produce many true sports cars, simply because the only people that would buy them are the enthusiasts, and the majority of people wouldn't be willing to make the compromises.

      I've said it before and I'll say it again. Until BEV's can show that they are far superior to a normal ICE car in nearly every way, they simply won't be widely accepted. Until that happens, we will continue to get a ball of compromises from the automakers designed to sweep those compromises under the bed so people will be subjected to a more "acceptable" gradual change.
        • 4 Years Ago
        'Until BEV's can show that they are far superior to a normal ICE car in nearly every way, they simply won't be widely accepted.'

        Or until there is another oil price shock.
        All this refers to the US, of course. Elsewhere the US should do just fine anyway.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @HyundaiHacker:
        I rather thought that Nissan is a large manufacurer and are going to mass-produce EVs!
        So the phantom is incorporating!
        • 4 Years Ago
        "For every complex problem there is a simple answer... And it's usually wrong."

        EV's don't have to be superior to gas cars in every aspect to gain acceptance. They have to be produced in decent numbers with earnest marketing efforts, at decent prices, with decent quality and specifications.

        There you go. No, it's not a simple mindless one liner and it doesn't roll off the tongue as well as " Until BEV's can show that they are far superior to a normal ICE car in nearly every way, they simply won't be widely accepted. " but it's actually accurate, specific and actionable. To make a long story short, The problem with EV's is not "acceptance" by the consumer, because for the most part they haven't had any thing offered to "accept" in the first place. The problem is "Willingness" of large manufacturers to build them in decent numbers, with earnest marketing efforts...etc.




        Besides the engineering and specification part, none of the other parameters have been met since the Baker Electric faded into history. Those parameters haven't been met for one obvious reason: lifetime profitability. When you sell a gas car, you make money on long after it's paid off due to repairs and maintenance, even if the buyer sells it down the line. With electric cars... Not so much. There's hardly anything to break and there's very little to maintain beyond wiper fluid and tires. Then there's the fact that once someone buys one, they won't be forced to buy a new car due to reliability issues because EV's don't have them (if they're moderately well engineered which is child's play). This underpins the un-Willingness of large manufacturers to build them. As long as that willingness isn't there, then the EV will remain a phantom and a novelty.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I think where your argument falls down is that there will always be just a small niche market looking for full-sport capable vehicles.
        The market for more efficient vehicles is nearly bottomless.
        There is only to develop the technology to a more capable point and to convince the public it is mainstream enough (they can expect resale without problem) and reliable.

        Hybrid production as it stands does pretty well. Toyota does not usually end up with a lot of prius sitting around and does not usually resort to sales incentives to sell them. They are accepted in the market. Only the current recession has put a ding in that.

        EVs have more issues to work out. But I think there are plenty who would buy what is going to be available shortly and as range and infrastructure picks up (and public knowledge/comfort) that market will grow by leaps and bounds.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Jason, I grudgingly agree. I do fault GM as well as the public. GM perpetuates ignorance in there commercials. GM and other large OEM's always maintain, "trucks are what the public wants, so we make them." What they don't say is that they spend billions on commercials on just trucks. What they spend on advertisement for trucks is a heck of a lot more than they spend promoting small cars. They build the market and spread ignorance, GM knows the public and that it is horribly afraid of drastic change, doesn't think more than a week into the future, and is just plain stubborn, ignorant and worried about raising their kids, working hard, the next football game, etc... GM preys on ignorance and encourages it because the public eats it up. I did. It is easier to sell excess and much more profitable. Excess also has it's limits as we all found out in the summer of 2008.
      • 4 Years Ago
      You're right -_-

      But I think it is a good bet to say that the 'EV grin' will convert many to the dark side of rabid fanaticism, leading those folk to reconsider their transportation needs in order to fit the 'electric lifestyle'. The 'EV grin' has already bitten me very badly in a short period of time! I spent last month researching how to build my own electric bike, and as soon as i have the funds, an electric conversion of a mid 90's Japanese car ( still haven't decided; thinking CRX or MX-3 ) is on the way.

        • 4 Years Ago
        If people really fall in love with the idea of a car that only does 40 miles when driven reasonably as your conversion will do, then the car companies will have no problem making very affordable 40 mile EVs. Right now the real expenses on EVs are batteries and polish and they can just leave them off if people really show they don't want them.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I for one am ready to toss some frills away. I think others will be ready too when the price of gas goes back up.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If we have a real oil-crunch, which many observers feel is on the cards, then I would expect many thousands of conversions.
        Fortunately the battery capacity we are building will give us an option which did not exist before, and many would be able to get their essential travel done, although the frills will go.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh, let me make this clear. I'm not pitching my idea of a cheap conversion to be suitable for the mainstream at all.

        I'm just saying that if we can get enough folk interested in EVs, we could probably see battery cost drop rapidly, as mass-manufacture processes get better and such. And automakers would be interested in making 'stripper model' EVs that more people could afford.

        Basically the 'Model T' of electric cars needs to appear. The Leaf is close. Very close.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It's not just a premium for added range.
      It is also a premium to buy a car which has been on the market/road for 1 year against the backdrop of a prius - with a decade of credentials and acceptance in resale.

      If that is a wash for people (and it will be for some) then it might come down to personal need.
      I expect the prius is going to beat up on the volt in mpg beyond the range. I could be wrong but it remains to be seen.

      In the end though - usage scenarios could heavily sway which of these vehicles provides the most fuel savings over their lifetime.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I used a quality 3rd party, whom I trust and still talk to regularly.
        They even have a warranty for it.
        I might not have put thousands upon thousands of miles on it... YET. But I have put thousands on it. NOT A SINGLE ISSUE!
        Trust me if a small company can do it, Toyota could if they chose to.
        They are finally coming around with the RAV-4 EV if it makes it to market.
        Which I believe it will.
        If I didnt believe in the Prius to begin with /continued to from 2004~2010 I wouldnt have decided to make the car better. Unfortunately, it's already better than what they have planned to bring out as "new and improved".
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Mike

        You really just expanded what I said.
        Yes if you live in a city and really only drive within it, the Prius may be enough.
        But, if I'm not mistaken, the ICE in the Prius (unlike the Volt) will start easily and even likely during that 13 miles. It isnt an "EV only" it's still primarily a hybrid just with more electric capacity/range.
        Where the Volt's ICE (unless there is a turn on for "maintenance") will not turn on until you use all available electricity.

        I already have a "20-25 mile range" plug-in Prius. It's obviously an aftermarket and they have given more range than Toyota for the 2nd Gen Prius, for the 3rd zgen they are coming out with a 40 mile range.

        My point to all of this is...
        an aftermarket company can put 40 mile range battery in a 3rd Gen Prius and Toyota has not.!.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dan

        What will happen if your third party unit does not hold up or has issues?
        You will take them to court I suppose - and perhaps win.

        What would happen if toyota put out a system and it turned out to have some type of problem after tens of thousands had been built? It might cripple them.

        I am not saying toyota could not have done it or even that they should not have done it.
        However, I do think you need to consider beyond just what some individual has done or even a fairly successful small custom auto company - compared to what a large manufacturer like toyota must plan for and build.
        It has to not just work - but it has to work for years and years and thousands and thousands of miles.

        All that aside - toyota surely could have just put a bigger pack in. That would cost more and weigh more. It is all a trade-off.

        The voltage has some definite capability advantages over the current prius. Prius might have some as well - that mpg beyond EV range is still unknown.
        However, even if you completely discount toyota's quality history with prius - volt is still far more pricey. So - it damn well better have superior capability.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The Prius might be cheapest in 2012, but by 2013 the Sonata hybrid may have a plug-in version, which could run them close whilst having a bigger, 8kwh 20 mile pack.
      Here is the Sonata hybrid due out at the end of this year:
      http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/reviews/hybrid-electric/2011-hyundai-sonata-hybrid-test-drive

      If the subsidy is $417kwh, then if they are costing the battery at $750kwh the extra 3kwh will only cost a net $1,000 or so.
      The SK Energy pack is only 2.3 cu ft, so packaging should be possible.

      That pack size seems a sweet spot to me.
      • 4 Years Ago
      GM better make the most out of their less than 2 year lead. In this time, GM needs to establish that there is more than just the range difference between the two vehicles. They are going to have to establish the Volt's performance advantage, out-feature the Prius, and nail the quality.

      GM needs over the next 2 years to make the Volt the established and proven benchmark vehicle in the class that all other REEV's/PHEV's must measure up to.

      If GM accomplishes this, we will see another repeat of the Prius vs. Honda Insight type of battle. Toyota will come in with a lower priced vehicle that doesn't measure up to the sector benchmark, hoping budget minded folks will buy in based on up-front price. GM will have to do what Toyota did against Honda, and lower their prices some in order to lessen the price gap, but rely upon being the benchmark vehicle in order to maintain sector leadership.

      If they do this, the Prius will end up being like another Honda Insight when it comes to market share, and GM will maintain their market position. If that happens, the Prius PHEV will likely just siphon their sales numbers directly out of Prius non-PHEV sales numbers. With Prius hard-cores and current Prius owners being their largest market.

      Worst case for GM is that they will be forced to bring the next generation of Volt to market sooner than they might want, in order to battle against a Prius PHEV that may dig into their market share by sometime in 2013. Like an early release of an updated 2014 MY Volt in late spring of 2013 using whatever latest technology batteries will be available at that date.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sorry, some incomplete thoughts there. I was working on this reply while paying attention to work stuff too. I think you can see where I was going though.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Steve:

        There are also multiple ways to make fuel for our ICE vehicles as well, just as there are to make electricity. The Ethanol economy comes to mind(and not just corn ethanol). A bigger issue there though is getitng our current cars to run on more than 10% of the stuff. If all cars were E85 or even E100 capable, then we could increase

        Ethanol can easily be in this country and doesn't have to be imported and it doesn't require large infrastructure changes that millions of EV's would require(not just in increased capacity, but also hundreds of thousands of quick charge stations).

        Regardign the Natural Gas statement. Natural Gas happens to often be found in the same areas as oil. If you're advocating that we use our natural gas resources then why don't we kill two birds with one stone and also use the oil from those areas as well? The US has large reserves of both, we just prefer to get it from other places and keep our own(primarily for financial and environmental reasons). It's just the NIMBY argument that keeps it from happeneing.
        ss1591
        • 4 Years Ago
        Everyone is forgetting one important factor the future price of gas! If China and India keep going the way they are the price of gas must go up. If these two keep growing they way they have then the gas supply will become very tight and these modern cars will make sense, it is only a matter of time before the US gets it together and starts to build an electric economy that can generate electricity from multiple platforms. Just think if we took the money that we were spending on the war and started to create renewable electricity and Hydrogen, America would have the economic advantage that we need to once again manufacture low cost goods (I know everyone must think I am on something).

        If you consider how much we all spend per month on gas and energy that we import from countries that want us dead then the low cost option is to get going on electric energy production. If we look at all the damage that was done in the Gulf and compare that to Nuclear energy even the environmentalist will think twice about nuclear energy and its role in future energy needs. The US has at least 200 years of natural gas that can be converted into liquid fuels for airplanes and heavy trucks the rest of our needs can be 100 percent electric or Hydrogen within a sort period of time maybe 10 years.

        I just wish that everyone could see how doing this would create the jobs that wee need to get the economy going and make permanent jobs for the future.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Sounds like a good option to the volt, cheaper, proven technology, seats 5, produced in volume, better extended range mileage, easier to charge via 110v.

      Most prius models have a 25k MSRP right now so for interested buyers the better mileage and plug in option is essentially free even for renters who don't currently have a reliable place to plugin.

      Drawbacks:
      EV mode is probably limited to less than 50mph.
      13 miles of range would only cover half of most peoples daily commute, but no worries about the gas going stale.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @dan

        You could also say, from the numbers we have now, that perhaps if you generally drive less than 13 miles that prius is the winner as it is cheaper and would provide all the EV range you regularly need.

        In the end we don't have enough numbers yet to know any of these things.
        We won't really know until both are out and real-world feedback is had.
        • 4 Years Ago
        They will have the same ability to charge via 110v. They will have the same J1772 connector. Given the same amount of time to charge (and assuming the same charging speed) They would get the same amount of electricity over that time period.
        Meaning there is likely to be NO difference re: charging via 110v.
        The difference is how much do you want to drive via electricity instead of gas.
        And your given driving situation. Longer MAY be better in Prius than Volt. We dont know yet. If most of your driving trips (between plugging in) is around the 40 miles your better off with the Volt.
        Personally, I think only 13 miles of electric range for the Prius is ridiculous.
        But I also think think 40 miles is low. But I understand how they chose that number.
        My preference is the Model S or maybe even the Rav-4 EV depending on how that turns out.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ oollyoumn:

        I hate to sound like a stuck record, but the conditions you've just described sound like they're about as good as you could hope for for a bicycle. Even at 10mph it would only take 24 minutes.

        .. Especially now that summer's heat has tapered off, 4 miles should be easy to do in the morning without breaking a sweat (depending on where you are, I suppose).
        • 4 Years Ago
        I've read 62mph limit in EV. For me this would be great. I drive less than 4 miles each way per day with no hills and a max speed limit of 40mph. The biggest question for me is, will there be a plug-in conversion for my gen3 Prius that meets my need more cost effectively?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @oollyoumn, unlikely to be as cost effective since you cant get the tax credit. A plug-in conversion with a 5kWh battery pack is likely to run $10k.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I think a PHEV is a lame compromise. Cars should run on either gasoline or electricity (or some other fuel source). People are not going to want to both plug it in AND still go to the gas station to fill it up.

      I'm getting a Leaf. I can deal with the shorter range. I think the benefits of a pure electric car far outweigh the inconveniences (which will become fewer as range increases in future models).
        ss1591
        • 4 Years Ago
        I am not sure why anyone would want a car 100 percent gas or 100 percent electric but if you go out to do some honey dews and have to go 120 miles over a day the walk home may change your mind! I think the Leaf is a good starting point but I am not sure why they didn't offer a battery swap out like they are in Israel? If you haven't heard they will be selling an almost exact copy that can have the battery swapped for a fully charged on in less then 3 minutes for about six dollars and it will go about a hundred miles per charge. I am also up in the air about cold weather and the reduced range since the leaf does not offer any battery warming or cooling. If the batteries in the leaf are similar to the ones I use in photography a reduction of 50 percent can occur when it is less then 40 degrees out side!

        I am really a fan of the Volt just because the 40 mile range is perfect for myself and it is getting about 47 miles to the gallon on gas (I would tell you how I know but my brother wants to keep working for GM). The next generation will go about sixty miles on a charge and get 60 miles per gallon from a smaller engine that will really be built just for the Volt and surprise a lot of people when they see the design and weight savings. When an engine does not need to power a transmission and is used at one or two speeds you can really increase efficiency and lower weight by 50 percent, it will also have fewer parts and be much lower in cost.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Steve:
        Very interesting - the ~50 mile AEV range is aroudn the same as a guy who was methodical and drove it under a variety of conditions noted.
        I feel that GM over-specced the Volt, and look like doing it for it's successor.
        I know average distances driven are larger in the US, but batteries are still expensive and heavy.
        You get a large proportion of the benefits at a lot lower cost by reducing the AEV - most designs in Europe seem to be going for 20-30 miles.
        I suppose though that the different manufacturer's have pretty much specced to their home market, with Toyota still shorter at 13 miles, as journeys are shorter on average in Japan.
        60 sounds excessive though, and most of the extra battery is only going to be used occassionally, even for most people in the US, so can't pay for itself.
        I also did not like the sound of the Wankel engine that they were supposed to be considering using for VoltII - though if they reckon it will do 60 I doubt it is one of those.

        An RE vehicle would make more sense to me, just the same as you, as the vast majority of my journeys are under 20 miles but perhaps once a month I may go 150 miles or so at highway speeds.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's pretty sweet, Steve.

        My brother wants to keep working at GM, too. The brother I don't have.

        And my grandmother, and my 11 year old sister.

        Yes, my sister.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Steve, I am a EV driver. My car will go 145 miles in the summer and approx 120 in the winter with the AC and Heater on in the respective seasons. I am in Portland Oregon, the climate is mild for the most part. I can't say about the other EV's and how they will operate but if they are like mine the results may be similar for the climate operated in.

        Did you know the Leaf has fast charge capability, 80% in 30 mins.

        I like EV's. Less complexity and quells my "oil economy anxiety". TM
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Steve,
        "If you haven't heard they will be selling an almost exact copy that can have the battery swapped for a fully charged on in less then 3 minutes for about six dollars and it will go about a hundred miles per charge."
        Of course we've heard, this is ABG. Nope, the Renault Fluence Z.E. is a quite different car from the Leaf. Where did you get the six dollar figure? Everything I've heard is Better Place will rent "a charged battery" based on your use, and I've yet to hear an explanation of how you don't double-pay when recharging it at home.

        "why they didn't offer a battery swap out like they are in Israel? "
        Israel is 8,000 square miles where lots of car owners don't have an attached garage; USA is 9,000,000 and most car owners do. See any problems? Better Place does not have the money to set up battery swap in even a tiny fraction of the USA, and Nissan would be insane to tie the success of their vehicle to a start-up facing a host of challenges. For much less money, DC fast charging stations could be installed along highways, still not as fast as battery swap but it's a reasonable salve for so-called "range anxiety".

        I wish Better Place well, and as they take off it will be more of a selling point to make vehicles compatible with their quick drop battery standardization, and it could be a great solution for apartment dwellers. But how likely is it that automotive batteries can converge on three standardized packs (any more will cripple BP)? When and if most cars have 4-8 standard-sized standard-tech standard-chemistry relatively-cheap battery sheets in them that are easily swapped, battery swap will be an attractive option for all cars. That seems decades away.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Disagree. As always, it's all about the specs.

        As for this prius thingy, it's a joke. It's like having an LSV and a regular car in one but with less all electric range tan the LSV. If it got 20 miles to the charge and could drive to say, 65mph on battery alone then it would be worth a look. As it is, it's just a prius with a slightly bigger battery pack and a few altered lines of code in the computer.

        Meh.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Suppose you drive 40 miles per day, and the Volt covers all of your mileage needs (in other words you very rarely ever need to buy gas). My average electric cost over the past 12 months was 8.5 cents per kWh, so a full charge of the Volt's 16 kWh battery would cost me $1.36 per night.

      With the Prius, it'd cost me $0.44 per night to charge, plus the cost of gas for the remaining 27 miles. Assuming a gas price of $2.85 per gallon, and 50mpg average, the gasoline would cost $1.53 per day, so the total cost per day is $1.97.

      So the Volt would save this hypothetical owner 61 cents per day, or $222.65 per year. It would take around 38 years to make up the $8500 premium.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Duodenum,
        Only 8kwh of the Volt's battery is used, so halve your figures for electricity top up. The EV is also used for very short journeys, and at start up, when you don't get average miles per gallon, which includes cruising in a warmed up car, so 50mpg is not the correct comparison, it is more like 40 or so.

        Then add an insurance factor, that you save more if oil goes up, and more importantly can get to work and the shops if there is an oil flow interruption, say war in the Gulf.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't worry about it Nixon, I had to be a ass to Letstakeawalk for the very same reason.

        Resistance was futile. I was only joking Lets... I am not particularly interested in your bowel movements or diet. Go FC!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lets... You need to take into account the extra food you have to eat to fuel the bike, the costs of transporting that food, the cost of your sewer service, etc... : ) Perhaps you just use the restrooms at work to save money? He, he ha.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?
        Actually, if you want to get really technical it'll take a lot more than 17 years 9 months because of opportunity cost. That extra $8500 you either paid up front or took out a car loan for is either racking up interest (if you took a car loan) or if you took it out of your bank account it's not getting interest in a savings/money market/cd. Since you're going to lock the money away in the car for years anyway it's good to compare it to either a CD rate or an auto loan rate.
        Loans are cheap right now so you can probably finance the $8500 at 2.9% if you have ultra-pristine credit. However, that's $246.50 per year in interest, or actually more money than you would be saving on gas. So you cannot make up the difference at all.
        If you paid cash, then you're losing out on interest you could have earned in a CD. If we use a 5 year CD then a good rate now (from American Express) is 2.75%. So each year your money would grow by $233. In addition, this interest compounds at a daily rate. At the end of the 5 years you would have made $1252.86 in interest. That's an extra 68.6 cents per day that you have to add to the "cost" of the Volt since you're losing out on interest your money would have made. Based on your $1.31 savings calculation this knocks the Volt down to saving you only 62.4 cents per day if you paid in cash (and the interest rates on CDs don't go up) and even worse if you borrowed money to buy the car. Thus it will take 13622 days to break even or 37 years and 117 days.
        Basically, you're not gonna make up the difference anytime soon.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Thanks for your concern, EVsuperhero, but I can assure you that my dietary caloric intake is below that of an average American.

        I'd wager that you personally probably consume more than I do on a daily basis...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Math like what you guys are doing is why I ride a bike.

        $600 a few years ago - no running costs other than a new tire or tube every now and then.

        That extra several hundred a month? In my pocket (or the bank, the mortgage, etc.)

        Anyone who *buys* a new car to save money is doing it wrong. The only way to save money with a car is to keep the one you already have longer, and to drive it less.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If everyone bought cars based only on cost, we'd all be driving Chevy Aveos!

        Some people pay extra to have leather seats in their car, but no one argues "how many years does it take to recover the cost of the seats". Likewise, some people will pay extra for the principle and satisfaction of being independent of gasoline and polluting less, and that has nothing to do with saving money on fuel.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Lets... By your hydrogen posts, I will acknowledge you require the restroom more than I. Other than that I will not acquiesce.
        • 4 Years Ago
        paulwesterberg:
        My post was not meant to take into account anything like that. Like the time value of money or anything. Even if you take all that into account, the payback for the car will still be 10 years out, and in reality you'll have to replace the battery pack by then anyway, so you may never come out ahead.

        My message was and still is people won't be buying them for the dollars and cents figures.

        David Martin:
        I got the $28K from this article and the $22.8K is the base model from Toyota's website. I presumed that if you are going to buy a car strictly for total running cost you would buy the cheapest version of each car available. Yes, you can make different arguments about what model you would buy, I understand that. I don't consider my figures to be spot on nor do I think they tell a story that changes much if you nibble around the edges by picking slightly different configurations. The real message is if you really want to spend the least possible to drive a car, a regular Prius tops both of these plug ins in any reasonable situation. So picking on the Volt solely based upon its price is to miss the point completely.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?
        You assume a constant price for gas(unlimited!) & electricity(regulated usually increases 2-4% per year).
        • 4 Years Ago
        (Sorry about that last comment, that was for EVsuperhero)

        You can't put 16kWh into the Volt, it only ever drains 8kWh, so you never can put in more than 8kWh, so your cost math is off by 50%.

        In other words, the Volt goes 40 miles on 8kWh, not 16 kWh.

        So the Volt costs $0.68 per day to drive. So you save $1.31 per day, it'd "only" take 6500 days to make up the difference, or 17 years 9 months.

        Meanwhile a regular Prius is $22,800 and costs $2.28 per day to drive 40 miles (weird coincidence), costing you $0.35 per day to drive over the PHEV Prius. It would take you 14,850 days to recover the extra $5200 you spent on the PHEV Prius or 41 years 8 months.

        So, in short, if you're going to drive 40 miles a day at current energy prices, the cheapest thing to drive is a non-PHEV Prius. If you plan on having the car more than 8563 days (23.5 years), then you should get the Volt, because the total cost of ownership is lower at that point than the regular Prius. The PHEV Prius is never the most cost-effective of the 3. It doesn't become cheaper than the regular Prius until 16,744 days or 46 years at which point the Volt has already been the cheapest for almost 23 years already anyway.

        In short, people aren't going to buy plug-ins (Toyota or GM) because they are the lowest total cost of ownership vehicles, at least at current energy prices.
        • 4 Years Ago
        EVSuperhero asked "By the way can anyone tell me what the payback time is on a Corvette?"

        Most typical Corvette owners report full payback in 3.76 years. This is based upon their observed savings over paying for hookers prior to Corvette purchase.

        (sorry, the joke HAD to be told... I didn't do it, the keyboard made me!)

        • 4 Years Ago
        Well put Evan. I have now skirted both extremes. I paid 45.5k for a ICE vehicle ten years ago that I wanted because it was cool and I love cars. I paid 43k for a EV because I became disgusted supporting the monopoly that is the oil economy and discovered/realized there was a way to not contribute to it. We are all about choice here in America except when it comes to going down the road on four rubber tires without oil.

        By the way can anyone tell me what the payback time is on a Corvette? I am still waiting for pay back. I have some time, no hurry.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But Tekdemon:
        If energy prices go up the figures rapidly go the other way. And I bet if you ask every buyer of any of these 3 cars they will say they expect gas prices to rise.

        Either way, the payback on these things is awful to nonexistent. Get a regular Prius instead if a PHEV Prius or Volt you only care about dollars and cents.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sometimes you don't have a choice. Onramps in my area go uphill onto the expressway. There's no way I could get into the expressway in EV mode in this car.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ whynot:
        'Meanwhile a regular Prius is $22,800 and costs $2.28 per day to drive 40 miles (weird coincidence), costing you $0.35 per day to drive over the PHEV Prius. It would take you 14,850 days to recover the extra $5200 you spent on the PHEV Prius or 41 years 8 months.'

        You appear to be comparing a different level of trim or something.
        The article starts by hypothesising a $3-5k price difference, so $5200 is above even the higher of those figures.
      • 4 Years Ago
      It can't go full speed on battery alone. That blows.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It can go up to 62 mph on battery alone, above that speed the gas engine must run. But even above 62 mph, the plug-in Prius can use power from the battery to reduce gasoline consumption.
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