While purchasing a hybrid vehicle is a relatively easy decision these days, the purchase of a plug-in hybrid can be significantly more difficult to justify, thanks to its greater expense.
In terms of the Toyota Prius, a 2013 Prius Two with no options can be configured with a sticker price as low as $24,995, including destination charge. The least expensive Prius Plug-In, meanwhile, would sticker at $32,760, also with the destination charge factored in.
While the Prius Plug-In comes as well-equipped as a Prius Three, we’re more interested in comparing the least-expensive variant of each. The $7,765 difference in price between these models would require a significant amount of battery-powered travel (or a hefty rebate) to justify the expense.
Now, a new microsite from Toyota called “Everyday Drive” hopes to help demonstrate the benefits of the Prius Plug-In. Promising “an online experience showcasing new levels of fuel efficiency,” Toyota hopes to illustrate the advantages of its plug-in variant.
To begin, users enter starting and ending addresses, then select the preferred unit of measurement (EU L/100km, U.K. mpg, JP km/L or U.S. mpg). Selecting “start” shows appropriate background scenery via Google street view as the car virtually “travels” in EV mode.
Presumably, the site factors in variables such as speed limits and terrain, all of which will have a significant impact on the range in EV mode. When the batteries are depleted, the program switches to Hybrid (HV) mode for the remainder of the virtual journey.
At arrival, Everyday Drive shows a Google street view image of the location, before spitting out data on distance traveled, fuel efficiency (in desired units) and carbon dioxide emissions.
Is the microsite, available here, ideal? No, it’s not, since it doesn’t show comparative savings versus a standard Prius (which, honestly, would be easy enough to calculate manually). It also requires Google Chrome to run, rendering it useless for users of Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer.
Still, it’s a step in the right direction, as it forces drivers to think about the implications of their daily travels. It may not be optimal, but it’s better than nothing at all.