The following is a list of the pros and cons of driving a Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid car. I’ve leased a Toyota Prius Plug-in car for almost a year now, and I have found some great things about the car — and some not so great things about driving one around.
Prior to owning the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid, I owned a regular Prius hybrid for three years. I also own a Mazda 6, so I can give you a pretty good comparison between a regular Prius hybrid, a regular gas car, and a Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid car.
The reason why I leased a Prius plug-in hybrid was because Toyota was offering a $6,500 rebate on the vehicle. That brought the lease price per month down a little below what a regular Prius would have cost me.
Pros to Owning a Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Saving Big Money on Gas
The biggest and best reason to own a Prius plug-in is the incredible savings on gas. With the regular Prius hybrid I owned for three years prior to owning the plug-in hybrid, I was saving over $1,800 a year on gas costs.
The Prius plug-in hybrid is even better. When we leased the car Toyota said the electric charge would last for about 11 miles with each new charge. That was conservative, as we probably average around 15 miles per charge on electric.
The dashboard shows you how many miles you can go on electric, counting down the miles. When you go down hills, the mileage distance for the EV charge will actually increase.
The 15 miles per day might not sound like a lot, but over the course of a year it’s over 6,000 miles that we are only paying for electric costs vs the costs of a gallon of gas (that includes some days when we plug the car in twice a day). I’ve seen studies that say it costs the equivalent of between $.75 and $1.00 per gallon of gas to run a car on electric. That is well under the $3.50 a gallon of gas costs where we live.
It still costs me $20 to $25 to fill up the Prius plug-in hybrid car with gas for each fill-up, the same amount the regular Prius cost me, but I fill the car up a lot less often than I ever filled up the regular Prius, and far less often than I fill up the gas only Mazda 6, which usually runs me over $50 for each fill-up.
I’ve barely noticed an increase in my monthly electric bill. Toyota said it would average $10 per month to charge the car, but I would say it’s been even less than that. You can control the costs somewhat by charging the car during off peak hours when the utilities charge less per kilowatt hour.
Car is Same as Regular Prius Hybrid
Even if we choose not to use the electric component of the car, it’s basically the same car as a regular Prius. We are averaging around 70 miles per gallon with the Prius plug-in. We averaged 50 miles per gallon with the regular Prius.
Anytime we want to stop charging the car with electricity, we would still average 50 miles per gallon with the Prius plug-in. There is really no disadvantage to owning a Prius plug-in vs a regular Prius.
Cons to Owning a Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Takes Time to Charge
It takes about two hours to get a full charge with the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid car. So you cannot just come home and plug the car in and then leave again in 20 minutes and drive on electricity.
We will sometimes charge the car twice in a day if we are using it with big gaps of time in-between, but generally we just charge the car once overnight. It’s also cheaper to charge at night because utilities charge less per kilowatt hour at night.
Problems with Charging Car
The biggest problem with charging the car is that you must have an electrical socket within range of the 24 foot power cord. We have an electrical socket in the roof of our garage, so it’s no problem for us, except the car is right above the socket so I secure the unit with a hook so it won’t drop onto the car’s roof.
Toyota says not to use an extension cord under any circumstances. I tried using an extension cord at first because I did not want the unit hanging above the car. The first time the car charged, but the second time I tried using an extension cord the car would not charge.
With the use of a hook to hold the small weight of the unit, I don’t need an extension cord so it’s not a problem for me. If you do not have an electrical outlet within 24 feet of the car, though, you might have trouble charging the car.
Savings for Driving on the Highway Not as Great
When you drive a Prius plug-in hybrid on the highway the gas mileage is not much better than a regular car, and when you go above 62 miles per hour the car will no longer run on electric. It’s when you drive locally that you really save on the gas. So if you are mostly driving on the highway, the Prius plug-in is probably not for you.
Overall View of Driving of a Prius Plug-in Hybrid Car
Overall, my family is very pleased with the Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid car. That is mainly because we are saving a lot of money driving the plug-in hybrid vs what we would be spending on gas if we drove gas only cars, and still saving hundreds of dollars a year driving the hybrid plug-in vs just driving a hybrid.