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

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:
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.
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?


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[Source: CNN Money]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 179 Comments
      Archonic
      • 3 Years Ago
      "Do you agree?" Yep.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      Considering theres about 1000 LB between the Volt and Prius, you're damn right the Volt is obsolete. Also don't forget that the prius has a much larger interior.
      Ashton
      • 3 Years Ago
      The model-S will bitch slap em both.
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      What is interesting is not this poorly researched article, but the responses! It's really good to see that already various vehicle marques and technologies are attracting loyal supporters,( some, perhaps a little too one-eyed!). The Prius and the Volt, like the iMev and Leaf, will discover their own markets, and loyal fans. The difference between the Volt , Prius, Leaf etc.. is really a matter of personal choice and aesthetic preference. But humans are very tribal animals, and like loyal supporters of sporting teams with choose sides. The debate is not unlike the old Corvette v Dodge 413 v Mustang. In the end, although fuel efficiency, is one factor in car purchasing, it's not the only factor. I used to drive Mercedes but swapped to Lexus GS 450 hybrids. Many of my friends still swear by the Stuttgart manufacturer and that's their right to select the vehicle of their choice. I have spent nearly twenty years promoting environmental transport, yet I realise that ranting and raving like an indignant Puritan about other other peoples choices, will only alienate Joe Public. Without Joe Publics, support, there are no government subsidies, and no mass produced EV's. Only a small amount of reasoning and logic, determines success or failure of an auto model in the market place! Most purchases are based on image and emotion. I own a small fleet of 11 Prius, but If I lived in the US, the Volt would tempt me. I am eagerly awaiting the European RHD, Vauxhall Ampera. (preferably the Buick, counterpart). All hybrid and range extended vehicles, will eventually be rendered obsolete by EV technology, but hybrids and REEV's are a step in the right direction. The amount of environmental benefit that EV's deliver, maybe infinitesimal compared to the real sources of transport pollution, but EV's are something an individual can understand and purchase. And that has to be a good thing.
      • 3 Years Ago
      We have driven over 100,000 miles in the combination of a 2004 Prius and then a 2006 Prius and another 40,000 miles in a 2007 Camry Hybrid. We have not owned an American car since my special-ordered 1969 Olds 442 that took me away from E. Lansing and graduate school at MSU....and which we got rid of only a year later as it had started falling apart literally within two weeks of delivery ! However after years of being a "Toyota faithful" and waiting, and waiting and waiting for Toyota to actually produce either a hybrid sports car or a plug-in hybrid, with some trepidation, we took delivery of the Chevy Volt on January 13, 2011. After 5300 miles, and now with a "lifetime average" of 101 mpg, I cannot believe how good the Volt actually is. Yes, I knew the Plug-in-Prius was on the horizon, but 13 miles of EV range, and that is absolutely not certain as speeds over 62 mph and needs for quicker acceleration will kick in the gas motor at any time. For many of us, we absolutely want to be "emission free." We do not want to use any atmospheric pollutants, unless it is absolutely necessary. We cannot be certain that there will be EV charging stations at our work sites or daily errand locales, so 13 miles EV OPTIMAL range is simply a "none starter." Heck, I would like it if our Volt had more like a 50-60 mile EV range, but if we have daily shuttles that demand that distance between recharging......we take our Leaf ! So far this "car year" with the Volt and Leaf in our garage and solar panels on our roof that provide enough power for the house AND credits that cover ALL the charging costs for both cars, we have a total of 9900 cumulative miles on both cars, and we have used a total of 51 gallons of purchased fuel (for those road trips that the Volt is so functional in serving). In the year before with the Prius and Camry Hybrid, we used around 800 gallons of gas in similar driving; this year we will use less than 120 gallons. Further 90+% of our daily driving will be totally EMISSION FREE, and we live in one of the 6 worst air quality areas in the U.S. Real "EV function," which the Plug-in-Prius does not possess, helps us do some personal impact on cleaning up this polluted air.
        Woody Becker
        • 3 Years Ago
        Wow...so you compare 1969 reliability to todays cars? Did you ever drive a Toyopet, and I am told I hold a grudge because the Imperial Japanese Army Cut off my cousins head in a prison camp? Dude, I am happy you purchased a volt, but come on. How did you power your prius and camry 100K and 40K, unobtanium? If you are trying to burnish your green credentials by driving all those miles, you and Al gore need to have a long hard look at your collective carbon footprints.
          Marco Polo
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Woody Becker
          Um...just a thought, don't you think 65 years is fairly lengthy time to hold a grudge? I not sure that the US in the nineteen forty's was a lynch free paradise for a great many of it's own citizens. Maybe the fact that Japan lost nearly 5% of its population in WW2, (USA =0.34%), plus Nagasaki and Hiroshima, might just have even the score, and allowed old hatreds to disapate...what do you think? Grudge's only enslave the future, for a past which can never be changed.
        Rotation
        • 3 Years Ago
        Your description here is exactly what these vehicles are good for. 120 gallons instead of 800 gallons. That's a big difference. And if the technology is adopted a bit more widely it'll get even better (both EV and EREV).
        writofreplevin
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fantastic commitment to reducing your gasoline usage. In addition, I agree about the PIP's EV function, it appears to be very limited.
      GeorgeS
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Volt's system is engineered from the first line on the paper and up. The Prius plug-in is just a tag on!!
        usbseawolf2000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @GeorgeS
        Gen3 Prius was designed with plugin in mind. Exhaust Heat Recovery system is a great indicator of it. It is great for plugin that rarely runs the gas engine.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It depends on your driving needs. I drive no more than 20 miles/day. Maybe once per month I need longer range. So, once a month, I use gas in a Volt. But I would use gas every day in the plug-in Prius. The price differential is probably due to the extra batteries that the Volt has for the extended range. I'm actually disappointed in the Prius' no-gas range. The after-market plug-in kits for the older Prius does better (and costing about $10,000).
        usbseawolf2000
        • 3 Years Ago
        Why? You would be displacing 70% of your daily miles to electricity with Prius PHV. The 30% you'll use gas is really when gas engine is the most efficient anyway. You get the best of both worlds that hybrids are known for. The after-market plugin kits are no where near as good as the official prototype.
          usbseawolf2000
          • 3 Years Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          The keyword is "commute". Who is going to spend $40k on a commuter car to rack up the miles? It is okay some people want to do it all in electricity. Get a pure EV. If they accept that pure EV has limitation and wants to use gas when it makes sense, get a plugin hybrid. Both the Volt and Prius PHV will have EV/HV mile ratio. Both has different conditions when the gas would be used. Volt separates gas and electric as if they are black and white. Prius PHV blends the two powertrains and use them like color in shades, tapping into synergy of the two and prevent wasteful parts (get more with less).
          Rotation
          • 3 Years Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          I agree with your description here. You would displace 70% of your daily miles to electricity. And most of the remaining time on gas is when the gas engine is most efficient anyway. But some people want higher. They don't want commute 10 miles (round trip) to work mostly on electricity, they want to do it all on electricity. That's what an EREV or EV is good for and a PHEV is not. Different vehicles for different people. For most people a regular Prius is the best choice. For others a Volt. The Prius PHEV actually is the one with the narrowest slice of customers for which it is the ideal vehicle.
          Naturenut99
          • 3 Years Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          I have a 20 mile EV conversion in my Prius. Compare that to the 13 mile EV...? Toyota could do better if they choose to. No I didnt get a cheap one where there might be any issues. I have been driving it for a year and a half and no problems. Not one. Having more EV miles for years before Toyota releases one with less EV miles... Priceless.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      The volt weighs 1000 lb more than a Prius. Its always going to burn more gas and MORE ELECTRICITY per mile than the plug in Prius. Just because it can run on electricity doesn't automatically make it efficient.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Well stated. This is one of my major problems with the Volt that i've been mentioning for a while. It's got a 1.4 liter engine that is quite a bit less efficient than Toyota's 1.8.. The car is heavier by a long shot, that's a big penalty too.
        Jim Illo
        • 3 Years Ago
        @tantareanujellob
        Do you know how much a plug-in Prius will weigh?
          • 3 Years Ago
          @Jim Illo
          Yeah, pretty much. In energy density the lithium batteries have around twice the bang per pound as the present Prius's NiMH. You have a 5kwh battery in the Plug-in, and perhaps around 1.5kwh in the normal Prius. So you are looking to it being some heavier, but not hugely, perhaps about 20-30kg or so.
      tantareanujellob
      • 3 Years Ago
      The Prius put the Volt to shame in every respect.
      Nick From Montreal
      • 3 Years Ago
      There's no doubt that the Prius is the best hybrid ever conceived, but Toyota has done it's best to reduce the utility of the electric-only mode. 12 miles of electric-only at 60m/h is simply not enough and cannot compete with the Volt. GM didn't have the balls to go full-EV, so now despite incredible technical achievements, they struggle to differentiate the Volt from the Plug-in Prius.
        bscmth
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick From Montreal
        I have never thought of EV's and balls. A Prius, Leaf, Volt aren't exactly injections of testosterone.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I've had Volt #2147 since April 16 and have 2148 miles on it so far using 7.4 gals of the Lord Humungus's Petrol...I consistently get 40 miles on an overnight charge. This is in 105 degree weather and A/C, XM radio, always running, full leather too.. When I cut off the A/C the ev miles go up to 43/44..These are real world miles on #2147. Standard drive with very little attempt to get the most mileage out of the battery since the freeway drive into town has been a constant 65 to 70 MPH.Where do you get 25 miles or 35 miles at?? I heard these were dead of winter miles. Volt is an electric drive with gas assist. Prius is a gas burner with electric assist. Lets talk again when you have some real world miles..What's that, over 290 mpg now?
        invisibleblog
        • 2 Months Ago
        I read using XM radio instead of FM really really uses a lot more electricity. ;-)
        usbseawolf2000
        • 2 Months Ago
        Why did you leave out how much electricity your Volt consumed? Do you know how that electricity was generated from?
          sirvixisvexed
          • 2 Months Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          Whatever was used to generate the electricity, it was domestic.
          Smurf
          • 2 Months Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          Yes. We know where the electricty came from....... The electricity comes from AMERICA!!!
          usbseawolf2000
          • 2 Months Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          Emission from electricity generation stays in AMERICA!!!
          usbseawolf2000
          • 2 Months Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          Don't forget that we import coal too and electricity can be generated using foreign oil (Hawaii being the worse).
      Smurf
      • 3 Years Ago
      CNN neglected to mention that the plug in Prius cannot travel at highway speeds on electric power. The 13 miles of EV range is only if you stay on side streets. The Volt runs on electric power at all speeds. Even when the battery has been depleted, the Volt still runs on electric power. As far as 30 extra miles not being worth the extra cost..... 30 extra miles gets you to work and back without using gasoline. I think Chevy found the sweet spot at 40 miles...
        usbseawolf2000
        • 2 Months Ago
        @Smurf
        What is highway speed? Volt tops at 100 mph while Prius goes to 112 mph.
          Smurf
          • 2 Months Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          Not on electric power it doesn't. Get on the freeway in a Plug in Prius and you WILL be using gasoline......
          usbseawolf2000
          • 2 Months Ago
          @usbseawolf2000
          It'll do 62 mph with ICE off. It can do higher speed on battery power with the ICE spinning. The real question is do you want to do highway speed on battery. Volt's owner manual warn about noticeable range reduction above 50 mph. Prius PHV would use the right tool (or even a blend of both) for the highway speed as the design is flexible.
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