Prius Plug-In Price…..
Ok, let’s just start at the beginning – the Plug-In Prius base model price is currently advertised at $32,000 (excluding delivery fees that may apply). But that figure may not be all you need to know. Maybe you’re thinking, “Why would I buy a Prius Plug-In at $32,000 when I could buy the cheaper 3rd Generation Prius at a base price of $23,520?” Well, the primary reason is that some folks think that the Plug-In Prius may be much cheaper to operate . Maybe the higher upfront cost of the Plug-In model can be subsequently offset by a cheaper cost to run, they say.
Let’s first explain what the difference is between the two. The Prius Plug-In operates with two power sources. First, when fully charged the electric motor runs until the battery runs out. Toyota, the manufacturer, states that the battery when fully charged, will run about 15 miles. So, for those folks that generally drive a few miles per day, on average, could possibly benefit from the Prius Plug-In.
As an aside, one variable that you’ll need to consider is the current Electric car tax credit. The Plug-In Prius is currently eligible (at least until the end of 2011) for a $2,500 credit against your total income tax. Whether or not you actually can benefit from this credit depends wholly on your tax situation. If you pay little or no tax, don’t consider the credit of any benefit to you. If on the other hand you pay a lot of tax, it may be like money in the bank.
Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m generally going to lean towards an all-electric vehicle given the choice between an all-electric plug-in model. But in this case, I must conclude that the Hybrid 3rd Generation is a better deal in almost every case. Here’s why. As a driver, you will find one of the following to be true of you:
Now, if you find yourself in category 1, meaning you drive a lot, then the 3rd Generation Prius is probably the best car for you. The reason is that the portion of time that you will be able to take advantage of the All-electric feature will be small in comparison to the total driving experience. In other words, you’ll be using the fuel motor instead of the electric far more of the time. One could say that extra cost to acquire an electric motor for the first 15 miles of driving time was wasted. It’s just that 15 miles is not very much. That’s not enough “all-electric” miles to make a significant impact on your overall driving cost.
If you find yourself in category 2, meaning you don’t drive very much, then how much benefit will you actually receive over the 3rd Generation’s 50 Miles per Gallon? I mean, if you only drive say, 10,000 miles per year, then you’ll only be using about 200 gallons, given the 50 Miles per gallon figure. Well, 200 gallons multiplied times $4 per gallon will cost you $800 per year. That would take you about 9 years to payback the difference in cost between the two vehicles. That’s far too much time to re-coup your initial investment.
Finally, no matter if you drive much or little, the Hybrid Prius is just a better deal. It almost makes you wonder whether Toyota thought this one all the way thru.