Why I Bought A Prius Plug-In, Not A Volt Or Leaf: A Reader's Choice

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2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

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Last month, Toyota said that it had 2,100 pre-orders for the 2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

Now, with first sales of that car being logged this week and dozens of them delivered to dealers, we have a third viable, high-volume plug-in car available to U.S. buyers.

Consumers can now buy a pure battery electric vehicle (the Nissan Leaf), a range-extended electric (the Chevy Volt), or the first plug-in hybrid (the plug-in Prius).

Their EPA electric ranges are 73 miles for the Leaf, 35 miles for the Volt, and 11 miles for the Prius Plug-In. Each is priced between $32,500 and $40,000 before incentives.

Given all that, we'll be very curious to see what the sales mix of these three plug-ins turns out to be--and how buyers evaluate each car against the other two.

One reader and early buyer of a Prius Plug-In Advanced model, Jim Bradbury of Rowlett, Texas, agreed to share his thoughts with us:

I test drove a Nissan Leaf, which is a little small. The range anxiety kept me from buying one. I liked its dash and the futuristic sounds.

It's nice to know I can drive the Plug-In Prius across country, and where there IS a charging station along the way, I can charge up and save a little gas.

What helped make the decision against the Leaf is the fact that DFW Airport is 43 miles from my home. I can't make it there and back in a Leaf, even on a full charge, but I can in the Plug-In Prius.

As for the Chevrolet Volt, I test-drove it. It's only a four-seater; the Prius has five seats. And I'm a big guy, so it was harder for me to get in and out of the Volt. There's more headroom in a Prius than a Volt.

While the Volt will go up to 40 miles in electric mode, the engine doesn't drive the wheels, and the Volt only gets 36 miles per gallon when it runs out of battery--while the Prius Plug-In gets 50 MPG.

Finally, the Chevy Volt looks too much like an ordinary car. The Prius Plug-In and Leaf are both unique looking and make a statement about "Being Green". The Volt looks too much like a Chevy Cruze, and the average person doesn't notice the difference.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

Enlarge Photo

But the Leaf and the Volt are both good cars. I spent a lot of time looking at the cars and their features. I have test driven a Prius twice now, and it's a fun car to drive.

I wish the Prius had a bigger battery so it could go 20 miles or more in all-electric mode, but it's only 3 miles from my home to the grocery store, the bank, and the post office. 

So, the 11+ miles of electric range for the Plug-In Prius is adequate to run those errands in pure EV mode.

I teach at a community college 11 miles from the house. There are charging stations at a recreation center 2 miles from the college where I can charge my car on the way home while I exercise. I won't use much gas on those 23-mile round trips.

I'm a Digital Systems Engineer and I like the Prius from an engineering perspective. The regular hybrid Prius has been around for 13 years, and has a proven track record for quality and reliability.

And there you have it: one man's clearly articulated reasons for choosing the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid over a Leaf or a Volt.

What about you? How do your travel patterns and views of the three cars' relative merits differ?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (111)
  1. I don't mind supporting US-made products and neither the Prius nor Leaf are made here. Plus, it's 40-mpg on the highway for the Volt, not 36 as he says. I doubt he will see 50mpg on the highway in the PiP. Long distances to DFW really make the PiP a cost-problem - just get a regular Prius and save $thousands or perhaps a PriusV for much more headroom especially in the back seat. Paying thousands for 6-miles of PiP AER is ridiculous. Why not get a used Prius and add a pack from Enginer or other supplier and save even more over buying a new PiP?

  2. Wonder if your logic would hold up to any sort of math. Is paying $5,000 more for a PiP versus a regular Prius really more "ridiculous" than spending $10,000 more on a Volt than a regular Prius?

    As for the 50 mpg on the Highway, you can do that all day long in the Prius with no problem (as long as it is not the winter :) )

  3. Now, now. Let's get the match correct. The Prius is nearly $33K after delivery charge, which you conveniently left off. Volt is $39995 including delivery. PiPrius is only eligible for $2500 tax credit = $30300 or so. Volt is eligible for $7500 tax credit = $32,495, so the difference is NOT $10,000 as you say. It's actually closer to $2100. And what you get in a bone-stock Volt is leaps and bounds above what you get in a bone stock PiPrius. It's comparing apples and oranges. Besides, I'd never drive something as hideous as a Prius, no matter WHAT gas prices rise to! As to gas mileage, when I run out of battery on my Volt, I easily see 44mpg on the highway. I don't know where people are getting 35 or 36 from. Just more misinformation on Volt.

  4. I think John B. is referring to how much more compared to a Prius Lift-back level 3. In that case he would view this as a $7100 upgrade from what one would have to pay for a level 3 Prius. In any case I agree with John M. that conversion makes more sense if Prius is an acceptable car for that driver.

  5. Eleven miles range in pure EV mode is a joke. The Chevy Volt is a much better car and will save so much more money in fuel costs since it can travel 35 to 40 miles in EV only mode before the range extending gasoline motor kicks in. Sure it's a slight improvement over the original Prius but it pales in comparision to the Chevy Volt. Eleven miles of pure EV range isn't that big of a deal and unless its substantually cheaper than the Volt or the Leaf I doubt if it will take many sales away from either. The real game changer for practical EV's will be the Tesla Model S provided Tesla can produce enough of them to satisfy all the deposit holders by the Summer 2012 release date. If Tesla can do that they will be real sucessful.

  6. Get off the crack pipe Tony...your personal mpg is not necessarily applicable to any other Volt drivers. EPA has mpg for 2011/2012 Volt at 35/40 n 37 combined. That fairly low mpg n certainly quite inferior gas mpg compared to PiP makes the PiP a better economic choice for most folks traveling more than 100 miles a trip. Plus, Chevy screwed up on the emissions testing in CA for the 2012 Volt so the 2012 PiP is the only vehicle eligible for the new green carpool sticker there this year.
    Leaf, Volt, and PiP all need to at least double their all electric ranges before I and most folks really look at them as viable alternatives to fossil fuel only conventional vehicles. Hopefully that will happen by MY 2013.

  7. Erik, I know I am getting 40mpg on highway with following speed limit. My friend who is more lead-footed is getting 38mpg calculated from the gas pumped. Secondly, I agree PiP is more economical for 100 miles a trip, if there is no plug-in opportunity at destination. But 2012 Volt is "also eligible" for green carpool sticker with CA emission package equipped vehicle. As for your hope on doubling AER for the 3 vehicle mentioned? That I can tell you it won't happen in MY 2013. ;) IMHO, all three are viable alternatives to fossil fuel ICE now for different segments of drivers. But we can have different opinions on this.

  8. Your the one that smoking. Its all about speed and the initial EV charge. I did 47 mpg on my 200 mile trip to Indy in my Volt as it included the 40 miles electric that I get for 66 cents. I also did the trip in above 75 mph speeds. Try that in a Prius.

  9. There are more comments in this thread
  10. Good luck doing those 50 MPG in speeds above snail pace of 55 mph. This weekend I did 47 MPG during my 200 miles trip to Indy from Chicago in my Volt and thats at speeds above 75 MPH. Try to beat that in a Prius. Remember the Volt get the first 30-40 miles from EV which moves that MPG up a lot from the 40 it gets on the highway.

  11. Mathias you sound like you have something to prove. Have you ever drove a PLUG-IN Prius with Lithium-Ion hybrid battery? We are talking about the PLUG-IN not the regular PRIUS. The PLUG-IN with "Power" mode on is pretty fast. I looked at my speedo and had to slow down as I was approaching 105 m.p.h. and didn't take long. The Plug-In Prius does have a DOHC 1.8 liter 4 banger in the end. I also have a 410 hp supercharged S4 with Stasis package so I know what acceleration feels like. You're playing guessing games based on what??? Based on the way you SEE people driving Prius's because they're trying to conserve?

  12. The Plug-in Prius is no faster than the regular Prius. They both have the same powerplants. In fact, the PIP accelerates a little more slowly because of the additional weight from the larger battery. The top speed on the Prius is 105-106 and that is due to a speed limiter - it could go faster, but may overspin the electric motor. The regular Prius has a "power" button, too - it just makes the gas pedal more responsive.

  13. General Motors will temporarily lay off about 1,300 workers at its Detroit Hamtramck plant while it stops making Volts. GM has surplus Volts waiting to be sold, the automaker says.

    Prius sales up 33% over prior year.

  14. This says it all as to which vehicle is the clear winner.

  15. Our coverage of that story: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1073633_chevy-volt-production-to-halt-for-5-weeks-due-to-oversupply

  16. John,

    The LEAF will be built in Tennessee starting this year (2013 Model Year). The construction of the plant has been underway for two years creating lots of US jobs.

  17. There are more comments in this thread
  18. I wonder if Jim was more swayed by Fox News and doesn't want to be seen in a Volt? I hope his supporting of imports doesn't lead to outsourcing of his job when all our work goes overseas.

  19. It is true that the Prius is an import. But I was amused when I found the vehicle with one of the highest American made content (85%) vehicles is the Toyota Sienna minivan. Go figure. It is a global car business out there.

  20. Yeah, it's a global world but where was the R&D and design done for the Prius? In Japan. That's an essential component to a growing manufacturing base in any country. When it's done in the home country, company spin-offs develop from that R&D technology and that doesn't happen if you're just assembling parts.

  21. I have worked at companies where all the R&D was done in the USA. That is good for me because I am an engineer. But the same company chose to do all its manufacturing oversea, which I never cared for or understood.

    It is worth considering the value of the opposite situation. R&D oversea employing thousands of workers here in the USA and in many cases using US suppliers.

    Also, it seems like a strained argument to look down on ACTUAL manufacturing jobs in the USA from a foreign company in favor of THEORETICAL future manufacturing job born out of US R&D efforts.

  22. John, I don't think it's a matter of looking down at factory jobs where the vehicles are built. It's just a matter of acknowledging that far more jobs are involved in creating, developing, and testing a vehicle over several years than are involved in the production of the vehicle. The engineering and technical development jobs also pay far more than even UAW factory jobs ever did, contrary to many stereotypes.

    I drive German now because I prefer the cars, but at least I admit that "at least it's built here" isn't a very compelling argument overall. Most OEMs in N. America build most vehicles here, it's actually fairly even, other than Hyundai/Kia and Mazda, who still do most manufacturing outside the U.S., even for many models sold here.

  23. Well, can't speak for the automative industry, but my experience in consumer electronics was about 4x employment on the factory floor than in R&D, etc.

  24. No, I don't watch Fox News... Because of my size, I can get into a Prius easier than a Volt. The Volt is only a 4 seater; the Prius seats 5. I really don't like the fact that Volt looks like a Chevy Cruze. I liked the EV-1 styling.

  25. Not sure why you think a Volt looks like a Cruze. I can't imagine anyone confusing them.
    I don't think the Volt looks that great, but it's much different than a Cruze.
    More people buy the Prius because it was the best car for what they wanted and not because of styling. Probably in spite of styling. Other hybrids either cost more, had a tiny trunk, got worse gas mileage, or all of that combined.

  26. Yeah. Volt looks like a Cruze? Never heard that one. That's like confusing the Toyota Prius with the Toyota Matrix.

    As to size, I have a co-worker, who's a big corn-fed boy, 6'3" 3000lbs and not only did he get INTO my Volt, but he DROVE my Volt, and liked it.

  27. Um, obviously I meant 300lbs,not 3000lbs!!! Course, he LOOKS like he could be 3000lbs!

  28. No, I don't watch Fox News. I don't mind being seen in a Volt; I just have a hard time getting in and out of a Volt. Toyota builds a lot of cars in the U.S. My Toyota Sienna was built in Kingston, Indiana. The No. 1 selling car - the Toyota Camry is built in the U.S. I'm not worried about my job being outsourced - I'm 69 yrs old.

  29. Excellent reporting. This is just what I wanted to hear.

    So the main knocks against the Volt are looks (interesting) and the smaller size (totally agree). Surprises me that price was not mentioned given that is one of the PiP advantages (even if current rebates decrease that advantage.)

    As for the view that the Prius "works" (i.e. less FUD), absolutely.

  30. It does get you in the HOV lanes in CA now, my 2010 Prius does not.

    The 2012 Volt, I have on order, will get the HOV stickers and for my driving habits will be much better.

    If you round trip commute is many miles and you can't plug in at your destination, the Prius might be a better choice.

    I agree on the size, the Prius is roomlier, but I hate all the road noise, the jerky feel as the motor goes on and off, lack of power, and cheap leather seats.

  31. "cheap leather seats" !!! I should say so. The leather seats in my Prius are so cheap they are made from cloth.

  32. Um, no, price diff after tax credits is about $2100.
    And standard features included with a Volt are at a completely different level than what a Prius comes with.

  33. I like this article: it highlights that there's not always going to be a perfect fit for everyone (at least until there is some breakthrough in battery tech). My wife has a 28 mile round trip commute everyday on the highway here in the SF bay area with frequent side excursions for her work. We kicked around getting the Leaf, Volt or a Prius PHEV, but in the end the total cost (cost, maintenance, 'fuel', etc) was the deciding factor in making the Leaf our only car. We even factored in the cost of renting or taking other transportation to go farther afield. It meets all our needs and gets us around the Bay area nicely. Any range anxiety is slowly, but surely, being chipped away with our own driving adaptations.

  34. Congrats on lowering your reliance, or almost removing actually, on foreign oil. We're blazing a trail that needs to stay lit - no matter which vehicle was chosen, the PEV/PHEV must continue to be developed, but we need more involvement with the US and Americans.

  35. I feel like the PIP would have been a great, cutting edge car in 2007. If it came out then, I would have been the first in line to get one. But in 2012, it's not really pushing any envelopes and feels more like a marketing gimmick from Toyota than anything else, especially with the "11 mile range" that is actually 6 miles.

  36. The 50MPG vs. 40MPG has a break even point of around 100 miles, less than that the Volt wins with it's 35-45 mile electric range, above 100 miles, the PIP starts to come out ahead.

  37. What about the extra 3.6x electricity usage?

  38. @Dennis: I'm not quite following your math here. Taking the most extreme example, a Leaf pack needs 20 kWh (18 kWh + overhead) for a full charge and let's say the Prius Plug-In needs ~4 kWh (including overhead). So that's a difference of 16 kWh.

    Are you saying that 16 kWh difference is 3.6x the normal household usage? That's not true.

    I *think* you're saying that the Leaf uses 3.6x the electricity (more or less right). But electricity is cheap. What do you pay per kWh?

    U.S. rates range from 3 cents to 25 cents per kWh, depending where you live. So the extra electricity of a Leaf would cost 50 cents to $4 a day. You can do the math for the rest of it at the Prius's 50-mpg combined rating.

  39. John, I was replying to Volt owner for his comparison with gasoline mileage break even point. My point was, Volt will never break even in the electricity usage.

    Prius PHV uses 3.2 kWh for a full charge. EPA rated it 29kWh/100mi with a range of 11 miles. 0.29kWh/mi x 11 = 3.19 kWh per charge.

    Volt uses 12.6 kWh using the same backward calculation. 0.36kWh/mi x 35 miles = 12.6 kWh.

    Volt uses 4x more electricity than Prius PHV per charge. My math was off a bit the last time.

    P.S: Both cars do not use all the battery capacity to extend life. Therefore you cannot use 4.4 kWh and 16 kWh figures.

  40. I am trying to decide between a Leaf and a PiP - here is some amazing numbers on owning a Leaf in Hawaii. I think I did the math - with electricity costing 36 cents per kWh and the Leaf requiring 24 kWh for a full charge, it will cost me $8.64 per day or $259.20 per month to fully charge my Leaf every day. I commute 72 miles per day or an average of 1,152 miles per month. With gas running around $4.14 a gallon in Hawaii and getting 20 mpg on my Lexus SUV (with comfortable leather seats!) = it is now costing me $239.

    I think I will stay with my Lexus instead and save the twenty bucks and maybe look into a used Prius at a later date! I guess that the price we pay for living in Paradise! Our utility company is ripping us off!

  41. I one a 2010 Prius now and get 53mpg average, I love the mpg, but don't like the lack of power.

    I have a 2012 Volt on order and look forward to a driving round trip to work without gas, fast when you want to play, and I feel has a very distinctive stand out look.

    There are just to many Prius' on the road to get any looks and the EREV version looks like any other Prius.

  42. I own..

  43. Saw a Prius with flames on the side of it today. Perhaps that would get it more looks... but then again, what were they thinking?

  44. I was surprised by the comments in the article about the Volt being "ordinary" looking. I think, to some degree, that's where Chevy is missing the boat on marketing the Volt: the looks. The commercial for the Volt in the gas station is awful. It has luxury features, fast acceleration, great body design and a sweet futuristic interior.

  45. There are more comments in this thread
  46. I like the concept of the Chevy Volt. Yes the Prius is an excellent car but the fellow talks about the 36mpg that the Volt gets using gasoline vs. the 50 that the Prius gets. Well, most people would not even use any gas here in the North East with a 40 mile electric range because most trips are short and most commutes are short. The only change I would make to a volt is to change out the gas engine for a small DIESEL. They get about 30% better mileage than gas engines. My VW Jetta TDI gets 52mpg going 70 on long trips.

  47. When you get a chance, check out "fuelly.com". It suggest that real work Jetta TDI is 38 mpg and 49 mpg for the Prius. This is not some random reporting site but tracks peoples fillups so I suspect it is more reliable.

  48. It's fairly well reported that modern diesels often overachieve their EPA fuel economy ratings. This GCR piece still gets fairly steady traffic:

  49. Well, this is the largest data collection I have seen with over 2000 Jetta TDI owners, so I think that is pretty substantial data.

    The data suggests Jetta Diesels are getting 11% more than the EPA combined figure.

    In contrast, hybrid Prius drivers are getting just about the 50 MPG that the EPA suggests.

    Still, the type of person that logs their Fuel Economy is likely, in my opinion, to drive more fuel efficiently than the average population. That might explain the higher MPG numbers on the Diesel than EPA numbers.

    On the other hand, this would not explain Diesel drivers besting EPA versus Prius drivers matching EPA, so there is probably a small element of truth to the argument for Diesels performing better than EPA.

  50. Over the last 3000 miles we have been averaging 47 mpg in our 2009 Jetta TDI MT, a car that is supposed to get 34 mpg EPA (combined). We don't do any hypermiling tricks. We drive about 80% highway / 20% urban, and we drive 65 mph on the highway which is the speed limit. The average driver here drives faster, 70-75 mph.

    On the other hand, I think we'd find that most drivers of Jetta TDIs drive their cars somewhat more aggressively than most Prius drivers. Jetta TDIs and Golf TDIs attract those who want fuel efficient cars that are relatively fun to drive. While very fuel efficient, the Prius is widely regarded as a boring car to drive.

  51. Laura, The statistical data from Fuelly proves the actually MPG of the Prius is significantly better than the Jetta, individual anecdotes aside.

    Frankly, I have met too individual people who couldn't compute MPG if their life depended on it.

    Recently asked someone how their new furnace was compared to their old furnace. The home-owner (an Engineer no less) said the he was saving about 30%. When I got the data from him, I found zero savings. So much for anecdotes.

  52. In the end however, the Prius is dramatically more fuel efficient, particularly for city drivers.

  53. That I'll never believe. I have friends with Golf and Jetta TDI models, and they consistently get 45+mpg without even trying. I love my volt, and it costs me max 92 cents/day (peak charging) to get to work and back, about 41mi, and yes, we go above 35mi. Best I've done was 45.6mi on a full charge, with dash reading 2mi available, so let's call it 12kWhr. At .07305/kWhr here (off-peak after 10pm charging) we're talking 87 cents round-trip. And I burned ZERO gas. That's about $4 in a Prius. Not to mention my leather seats are WAY more comfortable than anything available for the Prius... Besides, again, I'd never be caught dead in one of those. I'd rather concede 10-15mpg, and pay extra to NOT have to drive one!

  54. And pay extra you have done.

  55. Here come the diesels again... Let's put it this way, Charlie. Even the cleanest diesels are much worse polluters than dirtiest gassers, so there goes your argument. It costs more to fill up, it doesn't come with stickers, it causes cancer, and nobody really wants it.

  56. If some very recent research in Toronto pans out elsewhere, gasoline vehicles may pollute more than previously thought


  57. Red...to say nothing about that coal fired power plant feeding the charging stations.

  58. We have nuclear plants, too. Nothing is perfect. You either give money to the terrorists (real ones overseas or economic ones in the oil companies) or use coal/nuclear power.

    I'd love to hear your better idea... we're listening.

  59. Volt owners are getting 40mpg on the highway. Summer driving has seen 42-45 miles on battery with some hypermiling up to 60+.

  60. No cherry picking. The average is 35 MPG on voltstats.net.

  61. cherry-picking? VOltstats.net has what, 1 or 2 hundred members? There's like 8K VOlts sold! And my VOlt is not there, because I'm averse to giving a site access to my OnStar account, thanks, so that's an unrealistic cross-section. I can tell you what I get driving my Volt in Florida. I get about 40-44mi on battery, and when I have driven on gas, which isn't much, it's about 43-44mpg.

  62. Update: 1140 cars as of today. You can't escape from OnStar, GM has you up on their website:


    That shows we are about to reach 80 million miles, 62% on electricity. VoltStats shows electricity usage at 71.1%, so there is a little early-adopter bias there, compared to the fleet as a whole.

  63. @Volt Owner: Actually, you CAN "escape from Onstar"--every Volt owner has to agree to its terms of service, and to have the car's miles tracked, at some point during the purchase or setup process, or perhaps the first time the owner switched on the car (not quite sure when).

    Not all Volt owners let Onstar track their car, and the phrase "Direct data reads from Volt vehicles" does not include those Volts whose owners have declined to participate.

    For the record.

  64. Not any more. It's up to 36.57 today. If you sort by MPGcs you will see that the lowest mileage is only 1.43. that's because the car is so new it has yet to use any gas! The factory burns about half a gallon during testing, so someone that never uses any gas will show that stationary burn as gas consumed in the stats. That car that only has 1.43MPG has not even gone 1 mile on the gas generator! I have gone 7300 miles on 1.9 gallons so far, and my MPG is reported as 14MPGcs. The one time I did 10 miles at a stretch, I used 0.25 gallons, or 40MPGcs. I agree the VoltStats average is meaningless.

  65. I like the report and agree to it. But my vision is slightly different. The PIP does cost at least 5K-7K more than the regular Prius and with 11 miles on pure electric, I don't see any cost benefit on regular daily driving. As for the Volt, for the 35 miles range, the cost of charging pretty much equals to the cost of a gal. of premium gasoline. And also cost at least 10K more than a Chevy Cruse after tax incentive and credit. So how are we doing so far? Finally, a Nissan Leaf with a better range of 73 miles sufficient for all around town commute. But 8-10 years later there is worry about cost of replacing the battery. So I got myself a Leaf.

  66. When comparably equipped, PHV costs $4k more. 11 miles is the blended range. 6 miles is all electric range before gas engine starts. There is one Prius PHV owner with 52 miles round trip. He could only charge at home, not at work. He got 69 MPG with 3.2 kWh charge.

    That's 19 miles more than the base 50 MPG. The result can be explained by the synergy drive. The teamwork result is more than the sum of each individual can achieve. You are not getting a car with two powertrains. Instead, you are paying for the cleverly designed and highly tuned synergy drive.

  67. In all fairness, if your daily commute is under 11-13mi round-trip, you'll pay peanuts for getting to work and back, and at that short range, there's no real way to financially justify a Volt. Yes, I absolutely love my Volt, but I'm not blind, and I know it doesn't suit every person, and every purpose. However, after tax credits, the difference is only a couple grand, and the Volt is heads and tails a MUCH better looking, better appointed, more refined, and way more comfortable than a Prius.

  68. The Volt has a high-end feel, panache, and an eerie quietude. The Prius feels like a tin can in comparison and has cheaper feeling and looking materials in the passenger compartment. The Volt has exclusivity and can get really impressive mileage on short trips all week long. It's too bad it debuted during a depression. It's one of the best cars GM builds. Drive one and see.

  69. Too each their own. I have had my Volt now for about 12 weeks and absolutely love it. I don't have the need to seat 5, so no issue there. I charge every night and have traveled over 1900 miles without buying my first tank of gas.

    I will probably need to buy gas in the next week or so as I will be taking a longer trip. But with the range extender generator built into the car I have no qualms about going longer distances.

    The car fits my driving habits very well, has power when needed or wanted, rides very well, and has the room I need.

    I think I picked the perfect car for me. Congrats to the guy in the article for picking the car that meets his needs.

  70. Come on Toyota, at least double the 11 mile range so I can use it to get to work & back. There's no charging in the car park at work, so I'd have to burn gas going home.

  71. Someone should have told this guy about EVgo. There will be a metropolitan wide fast charging infrastructure in North Texas by the middle of this year. The Leaf's range wouldn't have been a problem. And if you can afford a $40,000 car, you can probably afford to rent one on the occasional trip to California.

  72. The 11 mile (one way) commute would be covered using no gas gas in the Volt w/juice left for some errands. I drive a 270 mile trip (mountain pass to 10,000+') and get 54mpg overall in my Volt, 42 miles of that on the original charge.

  73. For the 270 miles trip, Prius PHV would use less electricity and less gasoline.

  74. But, some of us would never ever EVER drive a Prius! No. Matter. What. Volt shoppers are NOT cross-shopping a 5-seat mommywagon. They're two COMPLETELY different kinds of vehicles. One has 4 bucket seats, and the other is a 5-door wagon. Really? How can folks continue to compare them as if they are the same segment? Would you compare a Cruze with an Accord Wagon? Granted, the Volt isn't for everyone, but neither is the Prius. That thing is just flat-out ugly!

  75. They can be compared easily because ECO minded consumers do cross-shop them. Many Prius owners now own LEAFs or Volts.

  76. While I agree Eco-minded shoppers may do that, I would think Lexus CT200h is more or less the same level that the people I know were cross-shopping it with.

  77. Competition between car companies will rapidly provide beneficial product improvement - for all. The resulting vehicles will be better designed, lowered cost including maintenance, absence of the "Brick" effect, a major plus for our atmosphere, and very dependable! It will be a big "Win-Win."

  78. I could make that DFW trip in my LEAF! I regularly make an 87 mile round trip with a few miles to spare. You just can't burry your foot in it!

  79. I understand that, but there are also many trips that Leaf can't do in DFW. My bi-weekly route from southwest Fort Worth to mid-Carrollton would be 100.6 miles round trip. (imagine Burleson people who need to go to Plano. ;) ) That is why I can't use Leaf as my only car. At least not until they get more level 3 or more convenient level 2s.

  80. I plan on buying a new plug-in later this year. I like minimal constraints (lack of horsepower, having to charge too frequently, etc) and I commute just over 35 miles a day. I also like my weekend road trips without having to worry about charging. I have access to cheap renewable Northwest electricity so charging is not a big issue. I saw a Volt driving down the highway the other day and, to me, it definitely looked slicker than the Prius or Leafs I've seen. I'm pretty sold on the Volt at about $33,000 and with the price of gas increasing the way it has been my savings will increase at a greater rate than with a Prius.

  81. I've just passed the 15,000 mile mark on my Leaf. I've had several Prius and think it's a great car, but wouldn't consider the PiP because of its lack of electric range. I drove the Volt and think it's also a terrific car, but I wanted electric only as my first plug-in. If you're looking for pure EV driving and the best bang for your buck on saving on gas dollars, you can't beat the Leaf. Any two car family would be well served to have one Leaf and one conventional car. For others in a single car family, the Leaf will fill at least 90% of you needs. The knock is range. What if I want to jump in the car and drive several hundred miles. Nice thought but it doesn't happen much. My only hope is more people get on board with plug-ins.

  82. I agree on the getting onboard. We need to keep the momentum going, whether it's Volt, or PiPrius, or Leaf, or Focus EV, whatever. These things are only going to get better, and quickly! Look at the leaps and bounds in battery technology the past 5 years with power-hungry smartphones. It's similar technology, just scaled up! For the Spark EV, GM went to A123 systems, which I think does an upgrade for the Prius. Iused them about 4-5 years back for battery packs for brushless electric R/C car motors. They were the best thing going, but pricey, and thhey put out more current than even LiIon and LiPo. The next 12-18mos will be interesting, that's for sure!

  83. One major thing being left out. Above 62mph, the PiPrius burns gas. I travel to work on a 70mph freeway, with traffic moving at 75, and after that on a 65mph freeway, with traffic moving at 70. So in essence, I'd be burning gas all the time, virtually negating any PEV use on the Prius. I go all-electric all the way there, and back, and have no issues setting cruise to 73 and 68 respectively, all on battery, with no gas assistance at all.

  84. Tony Its obvious you don't like the Prius (I'd never drive something as hideous as a Prius,no matter WHAT gas prices rise to-I'd never be caught dead in one of those-I'd rather concede 10-15mpg,and pay extra to NOT have to drive one!-Besides,again,I'd never be caught dead in one of those-But,some of us would never ever EVER drive a Prius! No.Matter.What.-That thing is just flat-out ugly) Can you accept others see things differently such as the Prius is a beautiful design in my eyes and the volt although more conventional,I like as well.Styling is relative which means when compared to conventional the Prius is different, this does not define it as ugly.It may appear ugly to some who display the inability to adapt or see beyond convention.

  85. Oh, I can accept that just fine. Never actually MET anyone who liked the Prius. The people I've met with one, or know who have one, basically drive it as a necessity. Think 'toaster' or 'microwave'. As I've mentioned, no one car is for everyone, and if a short commute within battery range of the PiPrius would do, it would be a rather expensive proposition to get a $33K car to travel 11mi round-trip. It really has no value or place, right now, because thee's dozens of cars that are cheaper, and will cost less per-mi when cost to own is factored in. Likewise, an 11mi commute is not an ideal situation for a Volt,and cost/mi when factoring vehicle cost, is nowhere near close! However, whether beautiful, or ugly, we need the momentum to continue

  86. @ Tony Mori: You must live a sheltered life. I know plenty of Prius owners who love their cars, period, and have not met one who regrets owning one. In my small home town alone I know at least four happy owners and this past November I bought a slightly used 2010 (3rd gen) Prius for all of $19K and love it. I will say there's a learning curve as far as how to drive it smoothly, particularly the CVT, which is utterly different from what most of us grew up on. But for you to constantly harp on your opinion that the car is ugly and impossible to like adds nothing to the discussion here other than your own smallmindedness and narrow vision. I suggest you go to Edmunds and read a few dozen owners' reports before you blow any more hot wind.

  87. Don, I personally like the third gen. Prius shape much better than the second gen. The second gen. Prius really reminds me of a bionic armadillo. I can also see Tony M.’s point of dislike the associated image with Prius. This is really no worse than Danny Chin or Usbseawolf’s blind praise of Prius’s HSD and disguised/undisguised bash of anything else. :)

  88. Volt requires PREMIUM fuel, PiP requires regular gas.. This really makes a big difference over time. Their is a huge difference in price between these 2 grades here in Canada.

  89. It really depends on individual driving style. Not if you can avoid oil usage as much as possible without modifying your driving needs. From the samples I have seen. The average gasoline usage for Volt is 40 gallons for 6000 miles over 6 months, which computes to $24 a year in price differential (assuming $0.3 average price differences between the two grades in the US.)

  90. Strange... No one is talking about the fuel required in the Volt. If I am not mistaking.. The Volt requires PREMIUM unleaded gas, the PRIUS PiP requires regular unleaded fuel.

    Here in Canada, there is a big difference in price between the 2 grades of fuel.. My wife drives a Mini Cooper and it requires PREMIUM fuel, where my PRIUS requires regular.. This really makes a big difference over time.

    For me, the PiP is roomier, runs on reqular unleaded gas, has best resell value.

    Over time, third party will most likely have battery upgrade kits to extend range..

    All in all, for me, PiP is a better choice. Just wished the Sunroof option was available...

  91. It is because you have a choice of not use gasoline as your only fuel source “meaningfully.” The ability of not burning gasoline for most of your daily commute means even premium grade is more expansive you don’t have to use it if not needed. If you can complete 12’000 miles annually with only 80 gallons then you are only paying $24 more than regular grade. I didn’t think the difference would be that significant when my friend switched to Volt. In the past seven month it has been mind blowing to me that how well Volt really performed for my friend. I am that impressed to actually buy one for myself.

  92. What you experienced with Mini is likely amplified by almost five times more total gallons used. Mini that uses approximately 387 gallons covering the same 12'000 miles verses 240 gallons Prius uses.

  93. While travelling from Denver to Kansas City, MO, I happened on an old friend in Colby, KS. I would not have noticed him, but I wanted to talk to who ever was driving the Prius Plug-in. Great timing for me. He, a Chiropractor from Wichita, and his wife were excited about the Prius which had performed VERY WELL in the Rockies. They thought that their decision to buy the Prius was a smart decision that had proven to be right for them! I would also look at the hybrid Camry as we were driving our Camry at the time - are very pleased with it's handling in inclement Kansas City weather.

  94. GM had plenty of time to get their first Hybrid/Electric car to the market by studying the Prius. But given the the recent news that GM is going to temporarily suspend making Volts goes to show you that nothing have changed at GM since it's 'return from the dead' Old bad habits are hard to break especially when it comes to being just plain IGNORANT to the market demands and needs.

  95. Yeah, GM is just exactly the same as it always was before bankruptcy. That's why GM is losing billions and letting so many people go from jobs.

    Oh, that's right, GM is making record profits. When vehicles don't sell as expected, GM adjusts the supply, as all OEMs do. Rather than losing money paying for something that isn't selling now, reduce production sensibly...

    Please explain to me next when you think Nissan shoudl end all EV development and production. I mean, the LEAF is getting outsold by the Volt, isn't it...?

    Oh, that's right, it's another rightwing, anti-GM diatribe not based in reality. Perhaps you're unaware that the Volt sold more cars last year than the Prius did in its first year?

    Did you forget the Government Motors tag?

  96. @Matt you have it wrong GM at present have an excess of unsold Volts due to over estimating first year sales. They have done the sensible thing of stopping the production line till the sales catch up. This strategy is the exact opposite of the old habits you accuse them of whereby prefailure they used to overproduce.Which is it to be? You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't! Getting the production numbers of a product as new as the Volt especially in todays volatile market is a near impossible task. Toyota has had over a decade's experience with a different product and this cannot be compared to GM's baby.Case in point see how cautious Toyota is with the PIP, they are only dipping their toe in where GM dove straight in.

  97. Seriously most of you people need to get a life! John's report was excellent.

  98. People that buy the Prius because Volt has the lower long range MPG should think again. Remember the first 35-40 miles on the road will be electric with the VOLT which increased the average MPG even with electricity cost to closer to 50 miles per gallon. The Volt can also do these numbers in speeds above 70 miles per hour which the Prius wont be able to do.

    So the Volt will perform better than a Prius on trips in higher speeds for 3-4 hours. It will have about the same milage as a Prius in longer trips if speeds are above 70 mph. I drove 700 miles in my Volt this weekend and average a little more than 47 MPG but it included 3 full charges and thats at an average speed of 75+.

    So if you feel like driving fast and efficent get a Volt.

  99. I first need to disclose that I am an engineer at GM that works on hybrid / electric vehicles. I feel compelled to point out to the author, the customer who bought the Prius PHEV and various commentors that they are mistaken about the Prius PHEV EV range. If you look closely at the EPA label, you will notice that the 11 miles everyone is talking about is "electricity + gasoline" driving range while below that in microscopic font, it says "All Electric Range = 6 miles". The math that calculates this is complicated but most drivers will find that in moderate city driving, they will get ~6 miles of EV driving but on the highway, the engine will start (power, speed constraints). With the Volt, ~35 miles all EV is nominal for city & highway.

  100. @Steven: That's correct, as explained here:

  101. My off-grid solar powered Volt just hit 10,000 miles. Total gas used - 4 gallons. 2500 mpg, and the rest from the sun? I'm happy with that! Still feeling happy about the 50mpg you get in your prius?

  102. Why isn't the Prius Plug-in available?

  103. At the end of 2012, I had the choice of buying a Leaf or a Plug-In Prius; range anxiety prompted me to get the Prius. I work at two different locations and the farther one is 13.6 miles away. On a good day, I can make it there with no gas, and then charge. During the summer, I average about 600mpg. Overall, this has given me confidence in getting a full EV-- which I did yesterday! I traded in my 2006 prius for a 2014 Leaf.

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