In a previous post, we compared the driving experience of three plug-in cars: the Nissan Leaf, the Chevrolet Volt and a Prius Plug-In demonstration car that is still a work in progress ahead of a 2012 retail product launch. Here, we present the results in both energy expended and cost.
Our “commute” departed from and ended at Cars.com’s Chicago headquarters and covered 47.1 miles round-trip. Each of the three cars had fully charged battery packs and was preheated on grid power to maximize range. (The Leaf and Volt accomplished this via their websites or iPhone apps and the Prius PHV via its remote).
We split the drive into three legs, encountering sustained highway speeds near 70 mph for a while and roughly 50 mph for a spell, as well as stop-and-go city and side-street driving. Each of our three drivers took a turn behind the wheel of each car, which should normalize senior editor Dave Thomas’ leadfoot (if that’s even possible). Outside temperatures ranged between 36 and 40 degrees, but our convoy experienced all the same temps, speeds and wind patterns as a group. Though it was only one trip, we kept variables as constant as possible.
Once we returned, we tallied up the electricity and gasoline used and came up with the following results. Note that the costs are based on real-world prices where we live, not national averages. Charging at home costs 11 cents per kilowatt-hour. Regular gas two blocks from our office cost $3.99 per gallon of regular for the Prius and an indigestible $4.16 per gallon of premium for the Volt. (Yes, the Volt uses premium.)