Volt fans like to point out that Chevy's plug-in hybrid can go 25 to 50 miles without using a drop of gas. Then, the Volt shifts seamlessly into its "range-extending" mode. Not everyone is impressed by this. CNN Money recently had the audacity to call the Volt's technology "obsolete."
Here's a rundown of the reasoning behind CNN Money's bold claim: The Toyota Prius Plug-in has an estimated range of 13 miles in electric-only mode. Then, the plug-in Prius switches over to Toyota's fuel-sipping hybrid mode. In the non-plug-in Prius, that system is good for 51 miles per gallon in the city and 48 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, after the Volt switches over to its gasoline-burning mode, most road tests have shown it's not that fuel efficient. In fact, Popular Mechanics found their Volt got just 32 mpg in the city and 36 mpg highway. As we all know, 51 > 32. Thus, CNN Money concludes:
But it all boils down to price. Stickered with a base price of $41,000, the Volt ain't cheap. Pricing for the Prius Plug-In, though not officially confirmed, is expected to start at approximately $28,000, meaning that it will likely undercut the Volt's MSRP by more than $10,000. Yes, rebates alter that number, but CNN finds it difficult to justify the hefty premium for what amounts to less than 30 miles of added electric-only range. Do you agree?On trips of 13 miles or less, the Prius plug-in and Volt deliver the same all-electric mpg: zero. On trips between 13 miles and 35 miles in length, the Volt beats the Prius. But after 35 miles, the Prius handily outscores the Volt.