Thursday, November 3, 2022

The Best EV You Can Buy Now is Not an EV

Toyota Prius
I'm not 100% against electric vehicles (EVs). There are some problems to solve. One is battery disposal. Maybe someone can come up with a way to make new batteries out of old ones. I don't know. 

My biggest issue with EVs is the range. The highest EPA range (which is not realistic for real-world conditions) is the Lucid Air at 520 miles. You can probably cut that by at least half if it's too hot, too cold, too hilly, or just plain not perfect. Plus the Lucid Air sells for $169,000 which is a little more than I want to spend on a car.

But there's a solution to the range problem: have a internal combustion engine (ICE) as a backup. The Chevrolet Volt was such a car, but it's been discontinues. Cars such as the Volt are called "Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles" or PHEVs. 

Despite the demise of the Volt, Toyota makes two PHEVs: a plug-in Prius, and a plug-in RAV4 small SUV hybrid. Volvo makes one, the XC60 Recharge. I thought those were the only three until I saw this list from Car and Driver. There are a lot more than I thought from Ford to Ferrari.

The advantage is, you can plug in the car overnight and charge its battery. Toyota claims a 25 miles battery-only range for the Prius and a 42 mile range for the RAV4. The Volvo says its range on electric-only is "up 35 miles." That could get you to work and back, or around town running errands. Then when you need to go on a longer trip, you have the ICE to back you up.

Am I going to buy one of these cars? Not yet. I bet for a lot of them either the driving experience is awful or they are very expensive (or both).

(Question: How well do EVs such as the Tesla corner?)

But for a lot of people, the plug-in hybrids might be the perfect EV.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.

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