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Cars Chevy-Volt

Published on March 25th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

31

Chevy Volt vs Toyota Prius Plug-in

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March 25th, 2014 by Zachary Shahan 

Chevy-Volt

A new Toyota Prius Plug-in owner and former Chevy Volt owner has been putting together a list of the pluses and minuses of each. It’s quite a detailed list, and he’s been updating it a bit based on feedback from Chevy Volt owners and perhaps other members from the GM-Volt.com forum. Of course, much of the comparison is very subjective, but there are also plenty of objective differences, and the whole thing looks worth a read if you considering a Chevy Volt vs a Toyota Prius Plug-in (or some other plug-in hybrid electric vehicle / extended-range electric vehicle).

Here’s the original post on the GM-Volt.com forum:

Volt vs. Prius – A Volt Newbie’s Take

After two years in a Plug-in Prius, I got tired of compulsively managing its 11 miles of EV range and bought a new 2014 Volt.

Naturally, I’ve spend the following two weeks compulsively comparing the vehicles 1. My conclusions:

  • The Plug-in Prius is a far better vehicle.
  • The Volt is a far better electric vehicle.
  • The Volt is a neater toy.

My detailed comparison table is in this link. I’ll update it as people point out my errors (or at least the ones I agree are errors  ).

Be gentle. 

___________________
1 And enjoying the heck out of my Volt!

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About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • Ash45

    Had Toyota of sold the PiP nationwide, I would’ve snatched one up right away. Unfortunately they’re not normally available in the Midwest, so you’ll either have to fly to a state that sells them and drive it back, or pay a high shipping cost to have it delivered to where you live.

    Meanwhile you can get the Leaf, Volt, and C-Max energi practically anywhere in the US. Not sure what Toyota’s objective with only releasing it in certain states was with it when they have the regular liftback in all 50 states.

  • Eiman

    Some comments from an old Prius owner. First GM has paid back ALL of the bailout money with interest. The Volt is very stylish but I wish they had some legroom. The back seat is not much better than a sports car. You comparison people are forgetting one important factor….sticker price….The volt cost’s too much. Prius wins for now.

  • Barry A Clarke

    I love the Chevy Volt, but because my wife and I are both handicapped, one short, the other tall, power seats are a must and the Volt doesn’t have them. Thus, it was a deal breaker for us and we continue to look for an all electric car. Next on the list is Ford Focus which has power seats when you buy the leather interior…….

  • Gwolf

    Let’s not forget that the Prius was the first to jump in and take the major risk of trying to build a fuel efficient car back when 50 MPG seemed like science fiction. They are to be commended for that, they opened the door for the Leaf, Volt and all the others who will follow. Still I think Toyota may be resting on their laurels; I am sure they can do much much better.
    What I find striking about these comments is the reasons people find to reject 100 positives because of one or two things that don’t work for them personally. Do we really want a one size fits all world where one vanilla car is the only acceptable car for all.
    Any and every effort on the part of car makers to reduce our trashing the planet is a worthwhile thing. Let’s be real here, it’s not the planet we are trying to save but ourselves.

  • Jim Seko

    I can’t believe anyone would buy a PHEV with only 11 miles of all electric range.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Why not?

      If someone has a short daily routine why pay for batteries you’d hardly ever use?

    • Ellen

      If you have a short daily commute, and take frequent road trips, you may benefit from an 11-mile PHEV. Some people do the math and save more with the Plug-in Prius. And it’s 5K less than the Chevy Volt – and has 5 seats!

      • Jim Seko

        I agree with most of you points especially the one about Volt only seating four people. For the record, I’m in favor of all plugin cars and clean energy in general. I have a Chevy Volt and a Nissan Leaf. Having said that, the Volt is eligible for $7500 federal tax credit but the Prius plugin is only eligible for $2500 because the tax credit is based on the size of the battery. The Chevy Volt has also been named the most dependable compact car by JD Power. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2014/02/12/used-cars-less-dependable-jdpower/5403139/

        • Bob

          Is not that federal tax credit long gone?

          • Jim Seko

            No, not at all. The tax credit will expire at different times for different manufacturers. For each manufacturer the credit expires after they have sold 200,000 plugin cars in the US. No manufacturer is anywhere near that number yet. Some states have additional EV incentives. You can find the information here: http://www.pluginamerica.org/incentives If you lease instead of buy, the tax credit goes to the lease company and you get a lower lease payment. Something else you might find helpful is Edmunds dot com has a total cost of ownership calculator that has calculated the Leaf and the Volt are the two LEAST expensive cars you can buy, new or used! You can find it here: http://www.edmunds.com/tco.html

          • Bob

            with the tax credit the Volt would ONLY be 10 grand or more to purchase with the 2014 plug in prius being @ $30,000 and tax minus the credit. JD Power? and what does consumer reports say comparing Plug in Prius to the Volt? If you look far enough ,such as JD Powers you’ll always find one company that will like it.

          • Bob_Wallace

            MSRP for 2015 Volt $34,185
            MSRP for 2015 Prius Plug-in $29,990

            Difference = $4,195

            The Volt qualifies for a $7,500 federal subsidy so $26,685 post subsidy.

            The Prius qualifies for a $2,500 federal subsidy so $27,990 post subsidy.

            Which makes the Volt $1,305 cheaper.

          • Bob

            we all wished the subsidy was all cash back, but the $7500 only lowers your tax bracket and ditto for the $2500.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, the $7,500 is a tax credit not a deduction.

            If you owed $10,000 in federal taxes and bought a qualifying EV then you’d have to pay only $2,500.

            The problem I have with the subsidy program is that because it’s a tax credit it doesn’t help those working people who pay little in taxes but really need help cutting their transportation costs.

  • Jonny_K

    deleted

  • spec9

    The plug-in Prius is crap compared to what Toyota could make. All they did was copy when enthusiasts had been doing 8 years earlier. Toyota needs to stop dragging its feet and build some real EVs and PHEVs.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Agreed. Toyota is endangering its standing. They’ve allowed themselves to be damaged with quality/safety issues with their ICEVs and now they are not getting in the forefront with electrics.

      I want a 4wd Rav4 with either a 150 mile range (EV) or an onboard genset (PHEV). And I want it to be as well built and reliable as the best Toyota has ever manufactured.

      • Ellen

        An evolutionary approach to the Prius is smarter than going super-electric. Why would they want to endanger their profit base Prius sales? This way they can siphon off some of the gung-ho buyers and still keep a good profit margin. When the +range market really takes off, they’ll have evolved in a profitable manner to meet it, while the other makers spent the real money to get the market going early.

        • Bob_Wallace

          They have the all electric Rav4. And they haven’t done much with it. Where’s the 4wd version? They could have grabbed the EV SUV market if they wanted it.

    • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

      Easy bashing, while not addressing reality.

      With the plug-in Prius Toyota has simply chosen to compromise on different aspects than GM. I’m sorry you don’t like those choices, but those choices certainly don’t make it crap.

      GM has this (imo) horrible interior layout with a battery running down the center splitting the interior in two and eating up the 5th seat. The gasoline efficiency is good but not great (like the Prius). And they still don’t make a profit on it. Why again was GM bailed out?

      Toyota chose the more evolutionary path and compromised on electric range and performance. Oh, and no doubt they make a profit.

      Another important thing not to forget is that the current platform was never designed with the plug-in option as a prominent criterium. This Prius was a hybrid first and foremost and the plug-in version was introduced half-way through the 3rd generation’s lifetime. They chose not to introduce a separate platform for a plug-in car and go the pragmatic, safe, low-cost route.

      This plug-in Prius was not intended to be ‘the real deal’, but more a commercial prototype to test the waters. Reserve your judgment for the 4th generation Prius, which will have a plug-in version from the get-go.

      More to consider is that Toyota is not spearheading battery electric vehicles, with or without range extender. Their bet is on hydrogen vehicles and they are spending their R&D money there. It is simply a technology choice that is reflected in their current products. Whether or not that will pay off, is another matter.

      Lastly, don’t forget Toyota is still the number 1 car manufacturer, and they got that position for a reason.

      • Steve Grinwis

        Toyota was bailed out…
        http://jalopnik.com/5163481/toyota-is-the-new-gm-japanese-automaker-asks-government-for-loans

        And Toyota also lost money on its first gen Prius… It’s not unreasonable for GM to do the same thing on its first gen electric car.

        The fifth seat is really not an issue… Most compacts cars have exactly one person in then at any given time. Two if you drive your friend to get lunch. While I’m sure you can find the person who wants to fit three kids in the back seat on a regular basis, I assure you they are both rare, and partly deaf.

        And for gasoline efficiency, you’re kind of missing the point… Aren’t you? You could shove a pushrod v8 in the Volt, and most people would still burn less gas then the Prius. The average commute is less than battery range. The gas engine is only there for those rare occasions where you want or need to go a bit further than average.

        • http://electrobatics.wordpress.com/ arne-nl

          I wasn’t trying to start a spitting contest or tribal warfare. I’m sorry you missed my point, I didn’t attack your Volt.

          I just pointed out that each car has compromises, it’s just that it depends on your needs and/or preferences what suits you most.

          Neither vehicle is better than the other in an absolute sense. There are just different choices that have been made by the manufacturer.

          (And $ 2 billion loan is hardly comparable to the $ 33 billion bailout that ended up costing the US $ 10 billion)

          • Bob_Wallace

            That was a very well spent $10 billion. Saved a million or more jobs. It was more than saved through unemployment and welfare avoidance. And it will get paid back fairly soon via income taxes from all those people kept on working.

        • Bob

          I own a GM truck and would not trade my Mexico built truck for a Toyota truck, but anyone that thinks the Volt gets better fuel economy than the Prius needs help. I own a Prius and it does get 50 mpg. You can argue all you want and the Volt does not belong in the same category at 35 mpg. Electric only goes so far, and not far enough Volties

          • Bob_Wallace

            I think you’re doing the math wrong. Consider someone who normally drives within the Volt electric range most days. The average daily commute is about 35 miles. Volt electric range. Zero gas use.

            Then they sometimes take a longer trip that puts them in the fuel use zone at 35 MPG.

            Do the same driving with a 50 MPG Prius and you’ll use a lot more fuel. You’ll be burning fuel every trip.

            For someone who takes long drives frequently the Prius might be a better choice. One size does not fit all.

          • Bob

            I agree one size does not fit all, but who drives 9100 miles a year? That’s all a Volt can do in prime conditions at 35 miles a day, 5 days a week and no vacations or holidays. That 35 miles does not include any hills and the most in perfect conditions which never happens. My doctor found that out in his Tesla that hills reduce his range significantly, and sure to do the Volt like wise. The Volt, if I remember correctly gets a whopping 35 mpg on its gas engine, but yes some like it white, and some like them black or red.

          • Bob_Wallace

            35 miles per day for a year would be 12,775. Just short of the national average of 13,000 miles.

            Let’s try some numbers. Someone has a 40 mile commute and rarely drives more than 35 miles on weekends.

            40 – 35 electric = 5 miles on fuel. 0.14 gallon of gas. At $4/gallon = $0.57. 10.5 kWh of electricity at 0.3 kWh/mile. At $0.12/kWh = $1.26. Total $1.83.

            40 miles all fuel at 50 MPG. 0.8 gallon of gas. At $4/gallon = $3.20.
            Now, a higher mileage driver. 100 miles most days.

            100 – 35 electric = 65 miles on fuel. 1.86 gallons. At $4/gallon $7.43. Plus $1.26 for electricity. Total $8.69.

            100 miles all fuel at 50 MPG. 2 gallons of gas. At $4/gallon = $8.

            The point at which it becomes cheaper to drive a Prius than a Volt is somewhere in the 40 to 100 mile range. Each person should do their own math based on how they drive.

            If an EV/PHEV driver is using regenerative braking they shouldn’t be experiencing much range loss. You might want to read some owner experience with driving Teslas in the mountains…
            http://www.teslamotors.com/en_GB/forum/forums/range-performance-mountains-comparing-steep-uphill-descents

          • Bob

            Point well taken. The Volt is a fine car for all hermits that do not get away from home. How many Volt owners are hermits? Lets here from you Hermits!! I for one if only had to drive 35 miles per day would not pay the price of a Volt to commute!

          • Bob_Wallace

            Some people prefer to live close to where they work and not spend a large portion of their day commuting.

            To each their own….

          • Steve Grinwis

            You also conveniently ignore the fact that many employers are providing ‘charging stations’ that roughly amount to ‘here’s an extension cord’, and letting people charge their Volt’s during the day as a cheap green washing initiative. That provides a lot more electric range to a volt. Pretty useless to a Prius.

            Also, I love how 50% of the western world are hermits… Given how the Volt has an all electric range if charged every day that roughly equals the national average miles driven.

            I also love how it’s impossible for someone to charge more than once a day by your logic. If I owned a Volt (Sadly, I do not), I would be able to charge multiple times a day.

            Solid logic there Bob. Keep fighting the good fight in an attempt to… beat up GM? Or something? I don’t really even know what you’re going for to be honest…

      • Dan Hue

        The Volt interior layout is good IF you like and only need 4 seats (which is my case). That said, it does lack versatility and is costing GM sales. Hopefully the next gen Volt comes with 5 seats standard, but continues to offer the 4 bucket seats configuration as an option.

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