Electric Vehicles(EVs) sales are exploding. Personally, I’m excited by the growth EVs, such as the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model 3. At the same time, I can understand why consumers may have reservations going 100% electric. For example, at the time of this blog post, charging infrastructure is still a bit limited. The good news is that there are Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicles(PHEVs). Recently, I met up with a relatively new Toyota Prius Prime owner. The Toyota Prius Prime is a PHEV. The owner purchased the car 6 months ago, and is absolutely loving it!
What is a Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle(PHEV)?
A PHEV has a small battery that allows the vehicle to run entirely on electricity for a relatively short-range(typically 50 km/30 miles). THe PHEV battery charges via a regular wall outlet. If the battery runs out of electrical power during a trip, the gasoline engine will automatically start. In this way, the car keeps moving and charges the battery. The car has regenerative brakes. Regenerative brakes transfer energy from the slowing car, back to the battery. Amazing!
Toyota Prius Prime Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle(PHEV) Owner Experience
The owner purchased his Toyota Prius Prime about 6 months ago. Since he mainly stays within the city and regularly charges at home, the approximate 60 km range means he almost never uses gas. In fact, the owner estimates that he has only used about a half litre(about .5 quart) of gas to drive 2150 km(1300 miles.) Electricity typically costs much less than regular gasoline. In British Columbia, I roughly estimate that electricity costs about 20% of the cost of gasoline.
On a full charge, the battery has a range of 40 – 60 km(25 – 35 miles). On the highway, the owner estimates he can travel about 1000 km on 50 litres(full tank of gas.) That’s close to 50 miles per gallon or 5 litres/100 km. Not too shabby!
The owner said the car cost approximately $42,000(Canadian dollars). Pretty comparable for a car of that size.
A couple of other things that I noticed was the large screen in the centre console. This feature very much reminded of a Tesla.
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Did the owner let you take it for a spin? How does the cold affect battery life since heaters will need to draw more power
No, I did not go for a ride. I have a feeling though that it drives well though. Toyotas are pretty stable. The owner’s wife mentioned that when it’s 100% battery, it’s extremely smooth. Good questions about the heaters and to be honest, I’m not really sure. If worst comes to worst, the engine will kick in, heating up the cabin and recharging the battery.