Right Electric Range For A Plug-In Hybrid: Is Lower Better?

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2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

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How much electric range is the "right" amount in a plug-in hybrid or range-extended electric car?

If you're a fan of battery electric vehicles, the answer is "all of it."

But if you want to drive most of your miles on electricity, and still have the security of a combustion engine as a backup for long-distance travel, the answer may vary.

Our reader Jim Bradbury explained last year why he chose a Prius Plug-In over a Chevy Volt--because of the length of his commute and the car's larger interior space.

Other buyers will rank their priorities differently, but this year, they can choose among the following electric ranges (as rated by the EPA):

Now, a study suggests that while buyers of plug-in hybrids are more affluent than the average car buyer, they focus on payback as a major part of the selection process.

While buyers vary in their reasons for buying a plug-in electric car, the buying public's choices of battery pack sizes--and hence electric ranges--will really only become apparent this year, as all five vehicles listed above will be on sale for most of the year.

The study was done by the Carlab, an automotive consulting firm in Orange, California.

Mike Dovorany, a consultant with Carlab, suggested recently in an article in Ward's Auto that an electric range of 11 to 21 miles was probably the right balance between battery cost and electric capability.

2013 Chevrolet Volt, Catskill Mountains, Oct 2012

2013 Chevrolet Volt, Catskill Mountains, Oct 2012

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Implied in his comment is that the Chevy Volt's 38 miles of range, delivered by a lithium-ion battery pack that's four times the size of the Prius Plug-In's and roughly double that of the two Ford Energi models, is too much for many buyers.

We suspect many of our fervent Chevy Volt owners may disagree with that.

But it's a good question that will only be settled by the market: What is your ideal electric range for a plug-in hybrid or range-extended electric vehicle?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (102)
  1. Considering that PHEVs are a transitional technology it doesn't really matter what their AER is. If in 5-10 years we have fast charging 300-mile range EVs for the current price of a Volt, PHEVs will look like dinosaurs, just like ICE and non-plug hybrid cars look now.

  2. I am keeping the hope alive, but so many have said exactly that... in 1990.

  3. OK, let's say we wake up tomorrow and discover someone has invented the perfect battery. It's 10 times less expensive than today's batteries, has 4 times the energy density, and can fully charge in 10 minutes.

    With this new battery technology, a pure BEV with 300 miles of range would be cost competitive with a regular gas engine car. So that means pure BEVs would take over, right?

    Wrong, because that would also mean an EREV with 100 miles of electric range would be cost competitive with a regular gas engine car, and wouldn't have any limitations as to where you can fuel it. EREVs with 100 miles AER would probably replace 90% of our current gasoline consumption. The remaining 10% could be easily converted to sustainable bio-fuels.

  4. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

    In your scenario there'd be no more gas cars because they'd be totally uncompetitive with EREVs and BEVs.

    The EREV would barely compete with the BEV because you can get electricity anywhere. Out of fuel at friend's house late at night? Borrow an extension cord and slow charge for what, 20 minutes? And then pay your friend what, $5 dollars? The same range in gasoline would be $25.

    You can't get gasoline anywhere, you have to find a gas station when it is open and has gas to sell.

    A 300 mile range is replenished every night while you sleep. Those that need more than 300 miles / day do can easily surmount the terrible inconvenience of finding a charging station and charging up in 10 minutes = 600 miles / day

  5. Neil Anderson says:
    "The EREV would barely compete with the BEV because you can get electricity anywhere."

    Actually no, you can't, not today.

    For a BEV-300 to compete, it would require billions for a new filling station infrastructure, all to replace that final 10% of gasoline consumption that EREVs won't cover. That's a huge expense for very little return.

    An EREV-100 would replace 90% of gasoline consumption. Sustainable bio-fuels can cover the remaining 10% easily, without any affect on food supply, with our current infrastructure of home electricity and liquid fuel filling stations. What's not to like?

    For me it's a no-brainer. As battery technology progresses, the combination of EREVs and bio-fuels wins, hands down.

  6. @Rich M, I agree with you. During the 1990s, there was this same buzz that is happening now with EVs and PHEVs. However, this time round, there is more knowledge amongst the EV community regarding how to do EV conversions and how to turn hybrids into plug ins, so if the car makers don't play ball, the after market tuners can continue the progress.

  7. I disagree I suppose. I have traveled up to 1500 miles in one day and often travel 700-800 miles in a day. Most of these miles are freeway miles of course.

  8. Only bus drivers, truckers, and smugglers spend that much time in a car.

    Electric cars can't please everyone.

    Please keep in mind that gasoline cars have had a 100 year head start.

  9. The "right range" is whatever covers your most common daily drive on electric.

  10. Personally, I would perfer an all electric but still have unlimited range via a range extender. So I'm thinking a 150 AER with a very small range extender that can barly push my car down a level freeway at 65 mph ... about 20 hp.

  11. Check out the BMW i3. It will have a 90 mile all electric range and a 600 cc motorcycle engine as a range extender. I have a Leaf. I need every bit of its range for my travels around the Memphis area. The i3 sounds like the right compromise to me for a range extended vehicle. It is a bit smaller than the Leaf though.

  12. Smaller than the Leaf? Ooo.
    The BMW i3 was my favorite until now.
    Thanks a lot for spoiling my day.

  13. 20HP won't make for very exciting acceleration numbers though. No such thing as a small range extender unless you make the battery bigger to pick up the slack. The range extender would have to kick in while the battery still has plenty of range left and it would have to keep the batteries sufficiently charged to support acceleration. So now you are using gasoline to charge your batteries which doesn't sound too efficient.

  14. Chris O says:
    "So now you are using gasoline to charge your batteries which doesn't sound too efficient."

    With a small range extender and properly designed software, the scenario you describe would only happen if your plans change after you've started driving, and even then only for a short while, so average fuel efficiency would be unaffected.

    Example 1: You're going on a long trip, so you tell the car to hold the battery level until the end, giving you full power for the trip.

    Example 2: You plan to drive within you electric range, but near the end you get a call that changes your plans. In this case, you may want to somehow tell the generator to increase the battery charge a little, sort of like the Volt's Mountain Mode.

  15. "But it's a good question that will only be settled by the market: " Well that might be the case if it were not for a huge government program that distorts the marketplace. The decision to given $2500 for a small battery and $7500 for a large battery prevents the "free market" from finding the right level.

  16. There is no free market in the US. The market is distorted by the machinations of the oil, gas, and coal companies. The government with it subsidies is trying to level the playing field a little bit for alternative energy technologies.

  17. Ridiculous paranoid post of the day.

  18. The government spends billions a year on subsidies for big oil. These are permanent subsidies.

    The plug-in tax credits are temporary. They phase out after 200,000 have been sold.

  19. @Dave G: Actually, that's 200,000 per carmaker. That is, 200K plug-in cars from GM; 200K from Tesla; 200K from Ford; 200K from Toyota; etc. etc.

  20. @John Voelcker: Yes, 200K per manufacturer.

    For example, if Volt sales double in 2013, and double again in 2014, then the tax credit would phase out shortly after.

  21. This is the most salient point on plug-in comparisons. Absent the $7,500 incentive, I'm not in a Volt right now.

  22. To a degree, I would agree, John. But what value is there is subsidizing a vehicle that can go 35-40 miles on electric power the same as one that can do only 5-10 miles? I think the numbers can be tweaked and improved, but why any subsidy at all for vehicles with practically no EV range at all?

    I think a your argument can be made for vehicles like the PHEV version of the Fusion & others, but should a Prius PHEV that goes only six miles get the same credit as a Volt that can provide six times the electric range? Also, how many categories do we want?

    Good question, I'm just not sure where to draw the line. I agree with more/fewer credits, but how much and for what range, I really don't know...

  23. I agree with your point and you have seen my comment on the PIP already. But to be "fair", the tax credits are based on battery size, NOT electric range. It is designed to "offset" the initial battery cost for the automakers and early adopters.

    With that said, your complain is valid in terms of California's CARB credit of $1,500. All plugin PHEV with AT-PZEV gets that regardless of actual EV range or battery size. I think that is "unfair".

  24. More importantly, all plug-ins get the car-pool lane stickers, regardless of EV range. So that really encourages PHEVs with lower range.

  25. There are more comments in this thread
  26. They have tremendous problems with battery. I think that hydrogen is the future and for now a used well maintain geo metro or a used well maintain toyota yaris is the best green car for now. If you travel with passengers and luggages then a toyota corrolla or a dodge neon is a good green choice. green mean less green bucks for a given miles.

  27. Put me down for 40 miles. I think most potential buyers will look at their daily mileage requirements and use that number as a reference. The Volt seems to be reaching for that...

  28. Exactly, John. My commute is 38 miles round trip and that's about my Volt's range, too. Just a coincidence in my case, but it's also one of the main reasons I didn't choose a Prius PHEV, too.

  29. I have both the Volt and the Leaf. I. Just returned from dropping a friend off at the airport and the Volt engine came on for the last half mile of the 32 mile round trip (colder morning with defroster going). I would like to see a REAL 45+ mile electric range in an EREV. I am watching very closely the emerging specs on the BMW i3, as I suspect it will replace the Volt.

  30. What is this "tremendous" battery problem of which you speak? Sending billions of dollars to the Middle East on a continuous basis - that's a tremendous problem. Green house heating the whole planet - that's a tremendous problem. A battery...not so much. As we said back in the day, been down so long it looks like up to me.

  31. Where do you think the battery gets its energy from. Coal powered energy plants are not going anywhere.
    Also, do some research into what percentage of our oil comes from the middle east. and if they sold no oil, they'd have even more "crazies over there. Trading with other countires is what keeps peace - hardly will they attack their customers!

  32. Well, I took your advice and it turns out the battery energy where I live comes mostly from wind turbines, solar panels, hydroelectric and a huge geothermal plant. Thanks for the tip! As for "crazies over there", that seems like a good place for them, as long as I don't have to finance their lifestyle. And there is little doubt that suppliers always care about their customers- just look at the tobacco companies!

  33. we get no oil from the mideast, the US buys from Venezuela and nigeria and canada.

  34. According to the US Energy Information Adminstration you are very very wrong.


    But thanks for playing.

  35. useful data, 80% of our oil imports come from outside the Persian gulf, 20% do. I thought it was far less.

    Thank you for the data.

  36. Where are you getting your facts??
    Almost 20% of US oil imports are from the Persian Gulf.

  37. eric snyder says:
    "Where do you think the battery gets its energy from. Coal powered energy plants are not going anywhere.
    Also, do some research into what percentage of our oil comes from the middle east."

    It doesn't matter where we buy our foreign oil. If we stop buying from Saudi Arabia, then someone else will buy their oil. It's a world market. So importing oil from anywhere helps those countries that export oil the most. These are:
    1) Saudi Arabia
    2) Russia
    3) Norway
    4) Iran
    5) United Arab Emirates
    6) Venezuela

    Even if your electricity comes from the dirtiest coal plant, driving electric still produces fewer carbon emissions than a regular gas engine car. What's more, electricity is 100% American.

  38. There are more comments in this thread
  39. gor r says:
    "They have tremendous problems with battery. I think that hydrogen is the future and for now a used well maintain geo metro or ..."

    This is EXACTLY why big oil companies love hydrogen, because they know it will never work out, and the promise of hydrogen tends to delay more viable alternatives today.


    - Current battery technology is more than adequate for gas/electric plug-ins.

    - Pure hydrogen does not occur in nature, so you have to make it from something else.

    - Making hydrogen from something else requires energy.

    - If you make hydrogen from water, it takes 2-3 times more energy to make than you get from using the hydrogen, so the energy losses are huge.

    - The cheapest way to make hydrogen is from natural gas.

  40. I have the Volt, and I like the idea of rarely putting gas in the car. For me, I wish the car would get 100 miles per charge. Then I wouldn't have to put gas in the car once every 6 months. The idea of 10 miles per charge, why even bother? If the average person drives 12,000 annually or about 30 miles per day with peaks of 60-1000 miles per day

  41. I think that the volt is the best green car on the market, it's the one that is the most efficient overall.

  42. Hybrids do not suddenly become useless once you are past the 10 miles. Don't forget the electric motor allows a smaller Akinson based engine to be utilized, so you get better MPG (comp[ared to a car with a normal engine) when the engine is running. The Prius gets 52MPG for Pete's sake! And for MOST people, we drive around 10 miles each way to work, so 40 is clearly a waste (added cost, weight, and space) 95% of the time. The batteries are VERY expensive, so to get the best bang for the buck, the battery size needs to not be overkill, unless one is illogical and does not care about payback time. It's impossible to logically debate this issue with people who don't care about payback (those who buy to be "green").

  43. I would have been okay with the idea of 10 miles electric if it was REAL 10 miles. In some many "normal" way of driving, that 10 miles doesn't exist. So, why bother with it? Just buy a regular Prius and saving the money and with bettery safety rating and better performance and better MPG...

  44. how is a regular Prius achieving better MPG ?
    I can't speak for "some" - lead foot ? 0 degrees ? but I'm getting 12-13 miles per charge and I live in a hilly area

  45. The average is mathematically skewed. Better to use the mean because average is not a good choice for figuring this. I drive 5000 to 7500 per year and maybe 20 miles per day in segments no longer than 4-5 miles. The Prius is amazing for this type of driving and my batteries are so much smaller and less weight too!!

  46. Hi-range is needed for us real-life commuters, who need help. Those legions of us with long commutes would be the first/only ones to see the promised payback (duh!). So the all-electric range must be high (at least one way to work), and/or there must be recharge stations (in case you can't get back home.) If you have a short commute, the payback is years too long. Better to buy a used Camry/Corolla. I'm itching to buy a new car with 88+mpg, but not if it goes 11 miles, and then drops to 40 mpg. Instead, I'll once again buy a used 30 mpg car for $10K. Why is this so hard for car manufacturers to grasp?

  47. Consumer Reports proved many years ago that the most cost-effective ride was purchasing a (reliable) 2-year old used car. Car manufacturers are fully aware of this but so far have not figured out how to manufacture 2-year old used cars. We would all love to hear your suggestions.

  48. "Many years ago" is key - gas costs a LOT now. Also, used cars are pretty pricey nowadays. They are not new don't forget, the best miles have been used up - along with the warrantee.

    Our Caravan (paid $19k slightly used) gets 20MPG realistically, so that's almost $30,000 ($28,500) in fuel costs over its 150k mile life! If we instead bought a vehicle which got only 2MPG better, that would have saved us $2600. 4MPG better (24MPG) = $4750 saved.

    If we had a CMax or Prius-V, and got 40MPG, we'd save a whopping $14,000 in fuel costs (assumes $3.80 gas, could be $6 in 5 years though). Of course they are MUCH smaller, so not an apples to apples comparison in that regard, but they all cost around $22-24k (Caravan a bit less realistically).

  49. it'd be nice if every car sold had an estimated TCO chart mandated, so it shows Cost, insurance, maintenance, fuel, etc.... assuming daily driving, heavy driving and light usage.

  50. they need to start manufacturing stupid consumers who will trade cars every 2 years

  51. "Why is this so hard for car manufacturers to grasp?"

    Uh, what, that people like you want EVs to be the same price as ICE vehicles years before the technology is there yet? I mean, GM is losing about $10k per Volt and that's after a $7.5K subsidy. So, you want the OEMs to lose even more money? Take a quick glance at Toyota & Honda and their almost non-existent work on volume EVs.

    Why do people like you expect a new technology to be the same price immediately as one with over 100 years of improvements and technical progress. You will not see a sub $30K EV for the most part and when you do, like the LEAF, it's going to be fairly limited at this stage. Sorry that every OEM in the world can't suddenly drop costs and prices that easily yet.

  52. I really doubt GM is losing even a penny on the Volt. Of course the have not YET recouped their development costs, BUT those are amortized over the full production of this drivetrain technology. Those costs will soon be further compensated with sales of the Cadillac ELR and likely further with a Voltec powered small crossover.

  53. Don't forget cars do not last forever, it might be that the car wears out or the battery dies before it pays for itself. For example, the Volt will never pay for itself versus cheaper hybrids. I bet even if a person had the ideal 20 mile (each way) commute, a Prius would be the better buy financially versus the Volt. I HATE foreign cars, but facts are facts....I am an engineer by the way, not a random knucklehead.

  54. So, you are ONLY calculating the cost based on MPG? What about safety, handling, performance?

    Your suggestion is like saying that buying a BMW is pointless since you can drive a Nissan Sentra for cheaper...

    My Volt would save me $800 per year in fuel cost (including electricity cost) vs. a Prius. The similar equipped Prius would cost about $27k. My Volt cost me $32k after all the incentives and tax credits. That is $5k difference. I will be ahead in 7 years. Sure, that is a slow pay back. But if gas increases in price, the payback will be faster. (My electricity cost is locked in since I have solar).

    Not to mention that in this 7 years, I get to enjoy a much more fun drving for my daily commute...

  55. I have an engineering background too, Eric. I think you are right that an engineer knucklehead is not random; they tend to take a very specific form. Engineering also taught me that "never" is a long, long time. Have you got to that part yet?

  56. they said that about the Prius.

  57. There are more comments in this thread
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  58. This only proves to show the more choice we have, the more drivers will find their ideal cars. I don't thin there is anything such as "the perfect" car for everyone, just the perfect car for an individual. Carmakers need to get over that quickly, diversify and answer driver's needs, not mass-market targets.

  59. For me, the ideal range is 60 miles electric. I can't depend on charging at work since now there are more and more plugins cars showing up at work and my employer is NOT keeping up with the installation of charging spots. So, I can't depend on that. My 1 way commute is 23 miles. I need extra margins for Heating and my Pb foot.

    For my family, I would like to have a 200 miles plugin. But that is NOT going to to happen with today's technology.

    I would like to note that Volt's 38 miles aren't exactly the same as Prius Plugin's 11 miles. If those 11 miles are "real" EV miles (like the Volt), then I would have support it more. But it is really a "FAKE" mile since you can't get that in the winter with ANY heat usage.

  60. From the article:

    "What is troubling for auto makers offering PHEVs is consumers often determine the payback period is too lengthy. That can be corrected by installing smaller battery packs in the vehicles, he says during a recent panel discussion here."

    So, it is "cost" that automakers worry about. NOT "being green"...

    If you want efficiency, then the more electric miles you have the better it gets...

  61. In the case of Honda Accord Plugin, the "cost" is significant.

  62. Equipping PHEVs with "higher capacity chargers" adds to driving time & experience vs. charging time. One of the best things Nissan did for 2013 LEAF (IMO) was upgrading charger to 6.6 kW vs 3.3 kW in stead of adding battery capacity. i.e: Adds range 2x faster (2x range) at each charge stop!

    Many PHEVs can benefit from this as well (particularly the PHEVs with just 120V Level 1). Makes charging on errands more practical vs needing longer charge charge sessions.

    Charge On…

  63. That is true. I would have to give it to the Honda Plugin for doing this right. I believe the 2014 Accord Plugin comes with 6.6KW charger. 13 miles per hour is great for a plugin. (But that is also its max E-range).

  64. Did the carlabs guys take federal tax credit into account ?

    As it is written now, every kWh extra battery gets you tax credit that almost completely covers the marginal cost of that kWh battery. That is why post tax credit, Volt, PIP & Energi are close to each other in price. So, it is best to have a PHEV with the max range you can extract out of 16 kWh battery.

  65. Sometimes I need to travel a bit further for work for a round trip of 120 miles or so. The ideal range for a plug in hybrid would be 125 miles or so under battery power and then use the range extender for longer trips. Its actually doable with the improvements in vehicle weight, better aerodynamic properties of the car, more efficient heaters (as exhibited by the new 2013 Leaf heat pump), better range extender and perhaps efficient enough (30% percent or higher) solar panels and yes better batteries! Putting these factors into play into an optimum configuration and there you go. A manufacturer doesn't have to reinvent the wheel to build a better car. A 2 or 3 fold increase in energy density should be enough.

  66. The "right" amount of AER is a function of cost & utility. Unless a massive breakthrough in battery technology occurs, cost will be a somewhat continuous function input, gradually dropping by 10% - 15% year. Utility is more a discrete, step-function input - either AER covers your typical daily needs, or it doesn't. Given sharp differences in regional climates, urban planning (city/suburb), and individual lifestyles, utility will NOT be smoother curve. I believe the combination of cost and utility will lead to a threshold function, in which a critical minimum AER and maximum price point will be found that causes a significant jump in consumer adoption. The steep discounts of the Volt in October 2012 may have been our first indication.

  67. Another consideration that most buyers fail to realize is the fact that they need extra margins on those electric ranges. I suggest buyers find an AER covers 120% of what they need in daily commute. Why? B/c, temperature, hills, loading and driving styles impact those ranges. The last thing that you want is to turn on that engine briefly for about 0.25 gallon or few minutes. Because those "extra short" trips on Engine usually reduce the MPG of those plugins significantly in its extended mode...
    Ideally, you would buy a regular Prius and a Leaf for long trip and short trip. Or you can just by a Volt or C-Max to cover both if they fit your requirement.

  68. So Mr. Dovorany suggests that buyers will prefer the Honda Accord plug-in, with half the electric miles of the Chevy Volt, even though it is more expensive?

  69. I have set my minimum to 20 miles per charge... Anything less is considered just a hybrid for me not a plug-in hybrid... The fact that Toyota and Honda came up with such little milage (battery packs) is just baffling, considering that they have been in the game the longest.
    The winner in the plug in for me is the Ford Fusion plug-in... why not the Volt? cause the Volt only has 4 seats fusion 5 and I am a family of five... Now that said I really wish the Fusion had a 30 miles (or more) per charge battery. (but I'll take it)
    The reality is that the magic number for plug-in is 40 miles per charge, because that is what the average American drives per day maximum. So I am sure we will see those numbers in the near future.

  70. If Fusion had a 30 miles range, then it would either be a 4 seater or a 5-seater with no trunk space.

    The Fusion Plugin's trunk is ONLY 8.2 CuFt. The smallest trunk among all plugins.

    It is a "trade off"...

  71. Since my commute is about 13-15 miles, depending on the route I take, I could live with a sub-20 mile range. I can park the car in my shop and power up at work, though the rates aren't probably as good as if I could charge a round trip at night. That said, I still put 20k miles on a year. I can get about 47 MPG on my Prius, which I put on 19.5k miles on last year. I'd have no problem commuting with an EV, then keeping the Prius around for longer trips. Ideally, it would be possible to configure a car to what you want to do with it. Why not have user-expandable battery pack? Buy the base model car for $20k, add expansion as needed. Or, why not have the range extender swappable? I don't see the need to carry more weight than you need.

  72. That is actually a great idea. But since the extenders are heavy and expensive, so are the extra battery packs. Car makers just don't think it is a DIY option...

  73. Well, maybe not something you can carry in a backpack, but if BMW is using a motorcycle engine for their range extender, it can't weigh more than hundred or so pounds (maybe 150). Maybe your range extender can also be your diesel power generator for when your home power goes out. I have a Honda generator I bought 5 years ago that I used once, but if it was also a way for me to make my car go farther, I'd have double use. Battery packs could come in smaller units, maybe under 50 lbs each. I have a Dell Laptop that uses either the big mobile battery, or the small, plugged in battery. (It's always plugged in BTW) My point is why drag around a few extra hundred pounds of range loss when you can just carry enough to get you there.

  74. Your Honda Generator that you can "carry" will NOT have enough power to be a range extender. Neither is your Dell Laptop battery. They just don't have enough power to keep the cars going at hwy speed on a hill...

    You need at least around 50HP to be feasible for real life driving. Show me a 50HP generator that you can carry around and or a 10KWh battery pack that you can carry as well. Typically, a power tool or Laptop batteries are in the two digit "Amp Hour" range with fairly low DC voltage...

  75. A way-too-small 5~6 kW generator would still about double the range at 50mph, and allow to continue at 35mph afterwards.
    It'd pollute more than any other car on the same distance though.

    "Somewhat portable" battery packs (4 or 10 kW*h):

    I suspect no sane person would want to go through the hassle of installing/removing those packs on a regular basis.
    Their price is also high enough that they might not, or only barely, pay for themselves...

  76. "..., the buying public's choices of battery pack sizes--and hence electric ranges--will really only become apparent this year, ..."

    I don't think that statistic, without qualification, will say much. Otherwise you could already predict the outcome: most car buyers will choose an ICE with zero battery size.

    In the future, both gasoline and battery prices will change, as well as the consideration for avoiding gasoline consumption and tailpipe exhaust.

    Eventually, of course, we'll run out of gasoline, if not earlier, out of tolerance for CO2 (and smog).

    If $-costs were the only consideration, I doubt the whole EV thing would have happened in the first place.

  77. In the end the most important thing about any level of all-electric range is the first hand experience that driving electric just makes sense. I'll bet there are some EREV and PHEV drivers who are realizing that if they could do it all over again they would opt for an EV the next time. For most people's average daily driving carrying a few hundred pounds of ICE is pretty much a waste of energy.

  78. I would totally agree with you,...if the range of my Volt was 100-120 miles. There are just some situations where 40-70 miles just won't cut it for me.

    I think you make a good point that the experience of driving an EV. It sort of makes the driving characteristics of an ICE feel crude.

  79. I agree that EREV and PHEV will certainly help the spread of longer range BEVs.

    However, with today's technology and price, BEVs in the similar price range of the PHEV/EREV just don't have enough "real world" range. Most of them can't get past 50 miles range with a single charge with hwy speed (around 70mph) and heat usage. And that is with a good brand new battery.

    That is very limiting for a 40 miles commute.

  80. I disagree. If the average person only drives 30 miles per day then how is 50 miles (worst case) in a 2011-2012 Nissan Leaf not enough? I watch your comments closely and it seems like a Leaf, even the older one with a resistance heater, would suffice for your commute. The 2013 Leaf will go even farther.

    For someone who keeps saying that the more electric the better, you surprise me with statements like the one above. Electric is better, period and most people would be satisfied with the Leaf if they actually drove one. Nissan could literally not build enough of them if everyone whose situation was perfect for one decided to buy one.

  81. I disagree. I love electric cars, but Leaf aren't good enough yet, IMHO.

    Here is why. Leaf's performance is subpar at higher speed. Its heat is really draining in the winter. It doesn't have thermal management system. If 70% degradation is acceptable by Nissan, then a 50 miles worse case will become only 35 miles. At that point, it is NOT sufficient for a 40 miles commute. If you only charge it to 80%, then that 35 miles becomes 28 miles in the worst winter... So, how can I purchase a BEV that potentially will ONLY give me a 28 miles range in the winter after 5 years?

    That is why I don't think Leaf is ready yet. Although many of my complain has been addressed in the 2013 model... 6.6KW charger, better regen, leather...

  82. Makes sense, Johnny. Now if only Toyota would sell me a Prius Plug-in in Jacksonville FL.

  83. For the average driver who wants a hybrid, decent MPG's, and low cost with versatility (hatchback) and some roominess, the answers is............Honda Insight!

  84. I think the Volt is the perfect transitional car. We have a Leaf, too, but the Volt is mine, and the range is nearly perfect for all-electric driving. I occasionally need gas, but not often. After using the Leaf and spending a good bit of time reading at QC stations, I do appreciate the option of continuing to my destination without an in-between charge of 20 minutes.

  85. Another benefit of short-range PHEV's is that you can charge them fully without spending $2K on a more robust charging station. We have a Blink unit for our Leaf, but there was no need to add a second charger for the Volt since we already have sufficient outlets in the garage for the task. Prices for EV's will need to come down significantly before regular folks will shell out money and time to have an electrician install a 220 outlet and charger in their garage.

    On a more positive note: at least one apartment complex in Phoenix now has charging stations and a quick charger!!!

  86. The charger I use for my Leaf cost $300. I just send off the stock EVSE cable that comes with the car to http://evseupgrade.com/ and they modify it so you can use it on either 120VAC or 240VAC. They have immediate turnaround as well. You don't need an expensive charging setup! My car has charged perfectly every time. No electrician required. Just plug it into a 120 or 240VAC outlet in your garage. They've done thousands and thousands of these.

  87. I believe that 50 is the 'magic" number that most can live with, but that most buyers will always look at costs and benefits-PHEV's need to crow about the awesome ride they have. As The usual Volt driver in my family, my wife remarked how annoying it was for her to drive our other cars because they "shift all the time"!

  88. Considering my current hybrid is not a plug-in, and delivers on the average 32 MPG, any improvement is welcomed. For my everyday needs, a 21 mile electric range is 100% satisfactory. Detractors, in my opinion, are using the same logic when the Prius arrived on the market and this car has been hugely successful. The plug-in version just makes it that much better however incremental that might be. Just like drivers speed between traffic lights thinking it helps, incorrectly, as to time management, and end up wasting 35% or more in fuel, each incremental increase in fuel economy helps in that area of less fuel expense BUT YOU MUST DRIVE THE VEHICLE CORRECTLY. All vehicles need to be driven correctly to minimize fuel usage.

  89. Everyone has their own desire for their own reason. I want a Volt with an EPA 45 mile range or better and the engine to use REGULAR unleaded. What's up with a generator engine requiring premium fuel anyway? The Cruze is not a premium fuel only car, is it? Don't they share the same basic 1.4 liter engine?

  90. One of the reason is supposely premium fuel last longer in the tank (so it doesn't go stale) and also the engine is tunned for higher efficiency...

  91. Xiaolong Li

    Read up on premium fuel...it has nothing to do with quality and EVERYTHING to do with retarding combustion in the chamber for high-compression engines.

    Those who buy premium fuel for vehicles that don't need it (look in your vehicle manual) are potentially damaging their engines...you've been warned.

  92. I was talking about Volt which requires Premium fuel.

  93. I don't believe the Prius Plug-in gets 6 miles pure EV. If you push the pedal and run heavy climate functions the engine comes on before 6 miles which is very low...


  94. I got 9 miles of EV the other day, intentionally testing range without heater draw (keeping the engine off) using only the heated seat for comfort. The temperature was -2°F.

    When the heater is on, the engine only runs from time to time, using the coolant warmth to continue to provide heat in the meantime while in EV.

  95. So, it suffers the same electric degradation as other "electric cars" when it is cold.

    The whole point of "plug in" to me is NOT to provide an "electric boost", but rather commute entirely in electric mode and only use gas occasionally when you have to.

  96. Why no mention of MPG after depletion?

    The plug-in Prius delivers a solid 50 MPG afterward, not sacrificing any of the hybrid abilities for the sake of offering larger battery-capacity and more EV power.

  97. b/c the more electric miles the better since the electric miles are 1.9x more efficient than the 50MPG that Prius does (which is a benchmark by itself). That is the entire point of "plugging it in".

    PIP owners aren't real "electric car fans". They are usually hybrid fans. But most EREV owners are "electric car fans" who worry about today's technology and BEV's limited range.

    With even my 40MPG afterward rating, my Volt has gone 12,000 miles with only 80 gallon of gas used in the last 7 month. B/c I can charge frequently and my 40 miles electric range.

  98. I am not sure why people spend so much time arguing about EVs vs. PHEVs. Think about it. In the U.S. the average MPG a new car is 22.5 miles with each vehicle consuming 700 gallons each year. Despite its small battery and gas engine real world data on the Prius Plugins shows it consumes ~1/3 the fuel of a gas only vehicle.
    In the short term it I about overcoming misconceptions and apprehensions and the high cost of purchasing EVs & PHEVs. In the short term I think advanced hybrid technology will result in a significant reduction in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions at a reasonable price per vehicle.

  99. I would say the proper mileage could hinge on the max miles you can drive safely before stopping to rest; or the lowest current range for a vehicle (e.g. a full size pickup truck). Either way I would think the range miles would land somewhere between 100-180 miles.

  100. i need help i drive 70 miles round trip to work every day and im going at the ford c max electric and hybrid and i need to know what is better for me?

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