It’s time for the plug-in Prius to prove something

Over the past year, I grew tired of hearing people say nobody wants electric cars. There are certain people, who for reasons I can’t figure out, want the masses to believe nobody wants electric cars. I don’t know why the Chevy Volt is a flop.

But what I do know is that there’s a dedicated number of individuals who have been putting plugs on Toyota Priuses so they can charge them overnight, and these modified Priuses are popular. Starting now, that’s no longer necessary–you can buy one with a plug on it.

You pay a premium for it–$7,000-$13,000 over other models of the same car–but in exchange, your warranty stays intact and you can get 70-plus MPG under ideal conditions, which is a commute of no more than 11 miles with the ability to plug in and charge while at work, or, I suppose, 11 miles round-trip, and plugging the car back in when you get home. From a 110V outlet, it takes 3 hours to charge. If you happen to have 220 in your garage, you can charge in an hour and a half.

And if the power goes out, or you have a long trip, you just run off gasoline.

For someone like me, this would be the perfect car. I drive two miles to meet a vanpool at a commuter lot, and use my car to run a few errands on weekends. Half a tank of gas might last me a month.

Then again, my decade-old Honda Civic thrives under that workload. Half a tank of gas lasts me a couple of weeks, so I’m not exactly in the market for a vehicle right now.

Not everyone is willing to drive a 10-year-old Civic with more than 180,000 miles on it, though. And not everyone has a vanpool to join. For those who aren’t like me, and who want to reduce the impact of fuel costs on their daily lives, a plug-in Prius is an option.

I expect Toyota will sell a lot of them. And I hope they’ll bring legitimacy to the plug-in cars made by other companies as well.

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