Toyota Prius PHV versus Chevrolet Volt
Recharging Electric Vehicles
Toyota's soon to hit the market, Prius Plug-in, also called the Prius PHV, continues to receive good reviews, mostly based on its fuel efficiency performances, gained by swapping out the nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) battery for a larger, lithium ion battery pack.
Historically, the Prius nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) provided sufficient power to operate the car's hybrid system. The new battery configuration allows the driver to switch into electric-only mode for thirteen miles before needing a three hour charge on a standard 120V outlet.
The Prius PHV marketing concept appears to focus on attracting one node of the automobile industry's plug-in niche, directly below the Chevrolet Volt.
The Volt, Chevrolet's anticipated offering in the electric plug-in market, comes with a larger lithium ion battery pack, advertised as providing drivers a forty mile range prior to needing an eight hour recharge on a standard 120V outlet. Recharging times are cut in half with the installation of a stand alone 240V outlet.
While the Prius and Volt plug-in models focus on similar markets, consumers looking for a gas alternative when the electric power runs out, each also comes with a different engine design. The electric and battery powered engine market stands out with more definition when compared, for example, with the no gasoline engine Nissan Leaf market.
Formally the name hybrid applies to Prius's dual electric-gasoline engine design. The Volt, on the other hand, runs using one engine that can be powered with either batteries or gasoline.
Prices for both models remain a bit fluid, however battery cost and range accounts for most of Prius PHV and Volt potential six thousand to ten thousand dollar price differential. Consumers in the market can expect a price tag in the upper mid-twenties for a standard Prius PHV and a price tag in the lower forties (upper mid-thirties after tax breaks) for a standard Chevrolet Volt.
Current Prius owners can opt for a handful of competing plug-in hybrid conversion kits on the market today. Higher end conversion kits containing lithium ion battery packs advertise a thirty to forty mile electric range. Including installation, costs hover around the ten thousand dollar range.
© 2010. Patricia A. Michaels.