I have tried converting a Prius to a plug in, using the Enginer 4KW conversion kit. I was very unsatisfied. It had increased my milage to 62 MPG as of June 2012. The system will go only 25 miles on blended gas and electric mode. It is not designed for all electric operation.
I bought Gen 1Chevy Volt in 2012. When you ecodrive this Volt it will go 50 miles per charge (MPC) in the summer and 30 MPC in the winter, with studded snow tires. The Gen 2 Volt goes 70 MPC in the summer and 50 MPC in the winter. I favor the Volt because it is a great car and it is made in the U.S. The plug in Toyota Prius doesn't go very far on all electric and you need to walk around the it to plug and unplug it, something I do four or six times per day in a crowded garage. The Volt is good for the environment, driving it has a low carbon footprint. It doesn’t depend on gas therefor I have a sure method of transport in the future and at known price since it is charged by PV on my house. A charge uses 16kwh of electricity which costs $0.14/kwh. from the South Hadley Electric Light Department. So the car travels 50 MPC for $2.24 even if I didn't have PV. I use about a gallon of gas every 500 miles. It does have a gas back up engine. I don’t believe we have the infrastructure for electric-only cars but they are great for two car families. I have enough stress without “range anxiety.” It is a very safe means of transport. The Volt has all around airbags, ABS, automatic stability control and is great in the snow (with snow tires). It weighs 4,000 lbs. so it has a fighting chance against an SUV where a small car or a bike would not. The Volt has a lot of cool features: keyless entry, onstar, remote starting and on and on. The Volt is the culmination of 30 years of my environmental planning.
Note that you can only get the full IRS tax credit if your tax liability is greater than the credit. The credit does not roll over to the next year the way a solar install credit will. This means that if your tax is $4,000 for the year in which you buy the car, you will only get $4,000 back and lose $3,500. Shifting money from an IRA to a Roth is one way to get around the problem. Both GM and Tesla have sold more than 200,000 EVs so as of 2019 no longer get the full tax crdit.
The difficulty with plug in cars is their cost and their newness. Even with a federal tax incentive of up to $7,500, the Mass Drive Green Program os $4,000 to $6,000 and the Mass rebate of $2,500, the lithium batteries make these cars too expensive for most of us. As of 2016 the Chevy Volt base price is about $34,000 Many other states offer incentives. Check out pluginamerica.org for details. It is a new idea and many, me included, have "range anxiety."
We know the arguments against gas cars concerning air pollution, global warming and high gas prices. What is going to happen when the organic material hits the ventilating device and we have a real gas shortage? Too much of the world's oil depends on too little. Economics or politics or conflicts (war) or religious and sectarian differences or any of the other griefs of humanity which we are not able to solve, will catch up with us. Governments do not prepare well for a crisis. But individuals can. Remember the gas lines of the 70's? What if the next one lasts for three to five monthes?
Our change away from oil could take ten or twenty years. The longer it takes the greater the chance that something will happen to destroy our oil based economy. We all have a stake in this. That is when government need to work to anticipate and fix the problem. Contact the folks in the Senate and House!
UPDATE AS OF JULY 2020
The new Mass rebate of up to $2,500 (for Full EV not hybrids), the IRS tax break of up to $7,500 and the price drop of $5,000 on several electric cars (EV) means that a Mass. resident can own an EV car for about $13,000! Also look into the Mass Drive Green program which runs through a few auto dealers
Examples: deduct $10,000 from the MSRP of each of the following for the programs above:
2016 Mitsubishi i-MiEV has a MSRP of $23,800 and EPA-est. range 62 miles per charge (MPC)
2016 Chevrolet Spark EV has a MSRP of $26,000 and EPA-est. range 82 MPC
2016 Nissan Leaf EV has a MSRP of $28,980 and EPA-est. range 107 MPC
2017 Chevrolet Volt EV/Gas has a MSRP of $34,000 and EPA-est. range 50 MPC plus 342 on gas Complete List See
The miles you get per charge (MPC) varies depending on how you drive and temperature. I do “eco-driving” and get 70 MPC from my Chevy Volt in the summer but only 50 MPC in the cold of winter. All electric car batteries perform less well in lower temperatures. If you drive like James Bond, your MPC will be lower.
When the 200,000th EV car is sold from each manufacturer, the IRS rebate will be cut by half. When the money for the Mass program runs out, the program will stop but so far it has been revewed again and again. The IRS rebate must be used in the year you buy the car. If your tax liability is $4,000 you lose the other $3,500. Other cars may have less allowed for Mass. rebates and IRS tax deductions. For a complete list of Mass. rebates go to Here and for IRS tax deductions go to Here.
When Do the Rebates Expire
Federal in english - IRS EV list - IRS links
HOW MUCH CARBON DOES A GAS CAR PUT IN THE AIR (in MPG or tons per year) from Motor Week Road Tests and Reviews
Plug-in Hybrids as of 2020
Prius - More
Kia - More
Hundai - More
Chevy Volt vehicle line director Tony Posawatz has lots of practice eeking the most out of his Volt's 16kwh battery, and says that even during Michigan's cold winter months he's achieved high mileage using battery power alone. While he won't share his actual fuel economy numbers, he did share a few of his battery-power maximizing tips.
By taking advantage of the Volt's technology features, driving in low gear, and being smart about when and how they acclimate their vehicle cabins, drivers can get better gas mileage and go further on a charged battery before switching to extended-range mode.
Chevy Volt driving tips to increase fuel economy:
1. Use the Volt's instrument panel Efficiency Gauge for driving style guidance, and remember to gently apply the accelerator and the brake whenever possible.
2. Use the heated seat feature and Eco mode in cold weather to reduce battery load. Blowing hot air to raise the cabin temperature and warm occupants uses a lot of energy, however, heated seats are the most energy-efficient way to warm the driver.
3. Warm or cool the car using your OnStar MyLink mobile app. Remotely warming or cooling the Volt's cabin while it's still plugged in and connected to the grid saves the battery power for driving.
4. Use Low gear. The "L" shifter position can help you engage in more aggressive motor braking, which recaptures more energy for the battery when coasting to a stop, during stop-and-go traffic, driving down hills, and even while driving aggressively.
5. Use the waste heat from the engine when in extended range mode to heat the cabin, but remember to turn it down when in EV mode
6. Keep the car plugged in for automatic battery conditioning (and low cost off-peak electricity).
7. Practice ABC (Always Be Charging). Download charging station locator apps, and keep note of public and private places, such as your friends houses, that have accessible power outlets. Get as many charges in as you can.
8. Read and follow the Volt's Efficiency Tips
VOLT has the most accurate software to gauge the remaining state of charge of the batteries and the remaining mileage on electric mode. Their software engineers had it right.
Source: C/Net Reviews
Links - Electric Cars