Inside Line puts plug-in Prius to the test, hits 62 mpg, payback period at least 215K miles [w/video]

2010 Plug-in Prius Prototypes – Click above to watch video after the jump

Toyota graciously allowed us to take the plug-in Prius for a quick spin a while back and we walked away somewhat impressed, noting that it offers the same joys of a traditional Prius, but packs in a bit more of everything good. Our brief stint behind the wheel was limited, but the powers that be decided that the guys over at Inside Line would get a long-term plug-in Prius.

So far, the Inside Line team has racked up more than 500 miles in the plug-in Prius and the experience has to be considered somewhat of a let down. The team has averaged 62 miles per gallon, a good number for sure, but one that many drivers of the more conventional Prius have easily achieved on a regular basis. The Inside Line team was impressed with Toyota's overall effort on the plug-in Prius. They noted that it actually handles better than your typical Prius thanks to the added weight from the batteries, is generally a joy to drive and offers great efficiency.

Inside Line even tracked the cost for charging the Prius and came back with an average of 65 cents per fill. Now, for those wondering about the payback period on the plug-in Prius, Toyota estimates that the plug-in version would hit the streets with a base price of around $27,550, a $4,000 premium over a traditional Prius. Given the plug-in's slightly improved efficiency, one would have to drive 215,100 miles to make up for the additional cash laid out to start, but even that figure fails to factor in the cost of charging the Prius. Dependent upon the cost of electricity, a plug-in Prius will likely cost more to drive than its more traditional hybrid counterpart. The plug-in Prius might not be a wise investment, but Inside Line still adamently believes that it's one of the best hybrids available. We won't argue with that. Follow the jump to watch the plug-in Prius in action

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Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.
[Source: Inside Line]

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