As the vehicle tracker on Earl Stewart's website yesterday showed the modified Prius strolling down Pennsylvania Avenue towards its final destination in Washington, D.C., one thing is certain.  A plug-in Prius can travel 1,100 miles on a tank of gas.

But how did the journey go?  Well, if you followed along tracking the vehicle, it quickly became apparent that the Prius appeared to be stopped more often than it was in motion.  Due to the constant stopping for recharging, a two day trek by most standards became an 11 day voyage.

Imagining a situation where one would have the luxury of spending 11 days on the road to travel to a vacation destination is difficult.  If the trip was of the vacation variety, you would have an additional 11 days to travel back home.  Time off work 22 days plus any time you plan to spend at your destination.

In all fairness, Earl Stewart Toyota intended to show that a plug-in Prius could feasibly make a 30 to 40 mile commute to work, followed by a charge, and a return trip home using a minimal amount of gas.  Add the commutes up over the course of a month, and most drivers would be able to do it on only one tank of gas.

However, real life differs from the journey that driver Richard Kearney took.  Real-life commutes mainly take place in congested cities where traffic jams are common, A/C is virtually required, heaters blow at full tilt, defroster are in use, radios jamming, and so on.  This affects range in negative ways and presenting a real life example would give us a better picture of the true capability of plug-in vehicles.

But the trip was a success and the Prius ventured 1,100 miles without refueling.  Truly an amazing feat that could not have been easily accomplished a decade ago.  In theory, this Prius could drive on forever without gas, but in reality the trek is a great advertisement for the dealership, for the plug-in conversion company, and surely a record breaking or record making journey that is simply out of touch with reality.

Source:  Earl Stewart Toyota