Top 6 Plug-In Hybrids Ranked By Electric Range

JUN 3 2018 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 94

Plug-in hybrids are often considered the gateway to a pure electric car, but did you know that electric range for PHEVs sold in the U.S today varies from as high as 97 miles, down to a low of just 10?

With such massive separation between the highest electric range PHEVs and the lowest, we figured why not focus on those plug-in hybrids that truly shine in the electric range department.

Desire A BEV Instead – Here Are The 8 Cheapest BEVs On Sale Today

From number six on this list all the way to number one, all are desirable in their own right and aside from just one, all are reasonably affordable too.

Let the countdown from 6 to 1 begin.

Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid

6. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid – 33 Miles

With 33 miles of electric range, the Chrysler Pacific Hybrid is the only minivan on the U.S. market that can be driven electrically to meet most of your daily needs. The Pacifica Hybrid stands alone here with no competition.

So, if you’re in the market for a plug-in hybrid minivan, then the Pacifica Hybrid is your only choice. That’s fine though, as the $39,995 plug-in people hauler, equipped with a 16 kWh battery, is an all-around excellent van. We don’t think you’ll be disappointed by this van with a total range of 570 miles.

Karma Revero

5. Karma Revero – 37 Miles

With a base price of $130,000, this is the only expensive car on this list of 6.  The Revero, though low-volume, actually boasts impressive electric-only range of 37 miles courtesy of its big 21.4 kWh battery pack. It’s hefty at 5,400 pounds though. Otherwise, its range would be even higher.

As impressed as we are with the electric range for such a portly car, we can’t really recommend the Revero over a similarly priced Tesla Model S, which outperforms it on all fronts and can carry seven occupants, too.

Honda Clarity PHEV

4. Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid – 47 Miles

The Honda Clarity Plug-In Hybrid truly impresses with its 47-mile electric range from its 17 kWh battery pack.

We typically call out Honda for the automaker’s unimpressive battery-electric vehicles, but on the PHEV side, Honda has a winning combination here.

Priced from $33,400, the Clarity PHEV is both a value champ and a solid all-around car.

Chevrolet Volt

3. Chevrolet Volt – 53 Miles

The Chevrolet Volt, the only PHEV here that’s been around since the new electric era began way back in 2010, is still mighty impressive.

It’s electric range of 53 miles, courtesy of its 18.4 kWh battery pack, still stands among the best out there.

Priced from just $33,220, the Volt is our recommended choice, provided its smaller size suits your needs.

BMW i3s REx

2. BMW i3s REx – 97 Miles

The new, sportier version of the BMW i3, called the i3s, continues the REx tradition for the German automaker. Though referred to as a range-extended electric vehicle, this setup still fits our definition (and the EPA’s too) of a plug-in hybrid.

With 97 miles of electric range, there’s no PHEV on the U.S. market that even comes close to the i3 REx. With its 33.2 kWh battery, the i3 REx is more electric than gasser.

Our only disappointment with the i3 REx is its price tag, which, in this case, is $51,500 and up.

National Park Service BMW i3

BMW i3

1. BMW i3 REx – 97 Miles

Yes, it’s nearly identical to the number two BMW and its EPA electric range rating is the same too, at 97 miles, but the standard i3, with its slightly reduced performance (as compared to the i3s REx) should have a bit more real-world electric range.

Additionally, it’s quite a bit cheaper with a starting price of $48,300, so this version is our winner in this Top 6 comparo, ranked solely by electric range.

Closing

While this list is just the Top 6, you’ll immediately note the huge variation from a high of 97 to a low of just 33. Meanwhile, there are other PHEVs on the U.S. market with electric range in the upper 20s and even some with as little as 10 miles of electric range.

Check out the full list of PHEVs and BEVs here

*Editor’s note: We define plug-in hybrids as any vehicle that can be charged by plugging in, but has an additional energy source, such as a gasoline engine. See EPA definition below for more details.

EPA definition, plus additional information – Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV)

Plug-in Hybrids

Plug-in hybrids, sometimes called Plug-in Hybrid-Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), are hybrids with high-capacity batteries that can be charged by plugging them into an electrical outlet or charging station. They can store enough electricity to significantly reduce their petroleum use under typical driving conditions.

Different Kinds of Plug-in Hybrids
There are two basic plug-in hybrid configurations:

Series plug-in hybrids, also called Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs). Only the electric motor turns the wheels. The gasoline engine only generates electricity. Series plug-ins can run solely on electricity until the battery runs down. The gasoline engine then generates electricity to power the electric motor. For short trips, these vehicles might use no gasoline at all.

Parallel or Blended Plug-in Hybrids. Both the engine and electric motor are connected to the wheels and propel the vehicle under most driving conditions. Electric-only operation usually occurs only at low speeds.

Some plug-in hybrids have higher-capacity batteries and can go further on electricity than others. PHEV fuel economy can be sensitive to driving style, driving conditions, and accessory use.

Categories: BMW, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Fisker / Karma, Honda, Lists

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94 Comments on "Top 6 Plug-In Hybrids Ranked By Electric Range"

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WadeTyhon

Hmmm… an unusual list!

Not what my list would be! I don’t see how the i3s Rex is different enough to warrant an entry. And the Karma isn’t even worth considering for the average buyer.

If given only 6 slots. I’d personally go:

1) Volt
2) Clarity
3) i3 Rex
4) Prime
5) Pacifica
6) Outlander

(Swap the Volt and Clarity positions depending on the size of vehicle you need. )

WadeTyhon

I know this is just by electric range. I meant to say that there are more things to consider than EV range 😉

Yup, besides going the furthest AER. The i3 is the most fun to drive, has the smallest turning radius, and the most innovative construction.

WadeTyhon

I’m not here trashing the i3. I like the i3 and nearly bought one a few years ago. 🙂

I simply do not think that there should be 2 i3 Rex on the same list. Plus, the whole benefit of a PHEV is to drive on electric daily and use gas on long trips. So listing PHEVs by only EV range doesn’t seem like best ranking system to me.

My personal reasons for preferring the Volt or Clarity:

Larger gas tanks + slightly higher MPG ratings + lower prices + better styling + traditional doors + additional seating. Thats why I personally prefer the Volt or Clarity as a PHEV.

But I still like the i3 and put it in my top 3 because it also has some great features that I admire including DCFC charging and the hatchback form factor.

mx9000

I will say this about the Volt, it seems to be a Smart Chick Magnet. Where most cars don’t have any draw for women, the Volt seems to have an appeal to smart women.

mx9119

I like the i3, in that’s it designed to do one specific thing, transport 4 people, not an army, in a fun, BMW suspension fun, manner. With classy looks inside and out. And it gives you the EV experience, with the gas engine as a secondary power source. Not the primary power source. So, it’s optimized to give you the Most EV like experience, and that is:

Super Smooth luxury acceleration.
Nice Torque, on instant demand.
A quiet ride during normal driving.
So, an excellent audio experience as a commuter vehicle.
And that non-rusting, carbon fiber stronger than steel body, also makes the HP and Torque more appealing too, because it’s not trying to push a heavy steel body around.

You get the NEXT Gen feel of the Revolution.

My list would probably look like this:
1) Volt Gen 2
2) Clarity
3) Pacifica
4) Outlander
5) i3 Rex
6) Volt Gen 1
7) Prime

ANDREW

I have to agree with Wade,

Only 4 are worth a damn. Volt and i3REx allow you to drive the car without constantly having to fire up the gas engine, even when power is needed. Other EV fire up the gas engine even when modest power is needed.

Then there’s Pacifica. It’s still hard to believe that came from FCA.

Then there’s outlander which allow you to tow. Is this the only PHV that allows towing?

Dan

The Pacifica is likely to be the ultimate sales winner. It is Waymo/Google’s chosen autonomous taxi. They’ve acquired hundreds last year and ordered thousands of them as they start a national rollout.

The gas engine is there to be fired up occasionally, if you don’t it shouldn’t be there. I assume you haven’t actually driven a Clarity. I can drive mine gas engine free down to about 5 or 6 degrees F, where if the battery gets cold it will start the engine. This is colder than I can drive my Volt without gas. It really is easy to drive without the engine starting.

Bill Howland

Saw the Clarity Phev at the AutoShow over the weekend – very impressive car and nicely sized. I tire of dinky econoboxes and prefer this larger vehicle.

One disconcerting point is the car has LOUD PHEV EV badging all over the thing, which is tacky in the extreme. Must be the Oriental proclivity towards super bright lights and styling.

One nice point is that it has a 32 ampere, 6.6 kw charger meaning its recharge time is only 2 1/2 hours and is unaffected by the low voltage coming from public docking statins, if they are large enough.

The badging is a bit garish. As a note, my Clarity actually charges at 7.1 kw, and seems to charge almost all the way in 1 hr 55 min (it takes 2.5 maybe for cell balancing and such).

My only real complaint is the infotainment system is a bit of a pain, but supports Android Auto and Apple Car Play so that makes it okay. Also, in very cold weather (0F or less highs) it essentially runs as a hybrid.

AlanSqB

+1 for the Clarity. I’m loving mine after one week of ownership. I got the touring so it feels luxurious while actually being somewhat cheap after state and fed rebates. They are also built in the Tokyo plant so the build quality is exceptional. Cancelled my Model 3 reservation for it.

These are already hard to find where I live. I bought mine off the delivery truck. Only going to get worse when people start to find out about them.

Rhaman68

The PHEV models are not like a hybrid. They all have selectable modes: engine only, EV only or auto where the software determines the best combo for efficiency. Thanks

Prsnep

SparkEV, you are mistaken. The Prime doesn’t fire the engine in EV mode. In the Clarity, it is easy to do electric only driving. You really need to push it to get the engine to fire.

mx9000

The Pacifica is a mystery as to how it got released.
But, it’s on the market so wishing it luck.

frankyb

BMW i3 REX get top position for range and charging capacity (Both 240V and 400V).

The Volt charging at only 3.6 kWh/hr is just not acceptable to be at the top.

threader

“frankyb
February 12, 2018 at 2:48 pm
BMW i3 REX get top position for range and charging capacity (Both 240V and 400V).

The Volt charging at only 3.6 kWh/hr is just not acceptable to be at the top.”

Just maybe the same reasonn the Volt Batteries show little no degradation after 500,000 miles. Enjoy your quick charges. I only need it charged up overnight while I am sleeping.

Ha. While it takes you about 2 hours to get 25 miles of charge in the Volt, the i3 will pick up 25 miles in 10 minutes. Degradation will be minimal with the i3’s superior refrigerant cooled battery pack.

Tony Marco

+1 frankyb ! I use 400V charging frequently and no loss in battery after 2 years.

Lovin’ my 2014 i3 Rex, now with 170mi / 275 km range!

Derek

Wade, agree completely. I3 limited gas range puts it lower than the Volt especially on long trips

frankyb

Only if you consider driving on gas being superior.

With a proper DCFC network, i3 can do long range without any issues.

Rhaman68

You said it: with a proper DCFC network. Sadly, there is a lot of areas without any Chargers.

Roger colbeck

I own an i3 REX. Yes having DCFC is nice but where I live (Ottawa, Canada) I rarely use it on long trips. It’s way faster and more convenient to just add gas. I love the car but a larger gas tank would be good as well as the 43kWh pack expected in late 2018.
I think regarding the lists, the i3 would be on top except for the price. The Volt is probably better on a long trip but I’m no fan of sedans plus it just can’t compare to the i3’s handling and technology.

Dan

I think the i3 belongs in a different catagory than the others. It’s range is nearly double the next best, the gasoline engine is tiny (660 ? cc) and never drives the wheels directly but only provides electricity, the gas tank is tiny (2+ gal.) and it is also sold without the gasoline engine. It is a range extended EV whereas the others are PHEVs.

Grant

You are leaving out VolksWagen and Volvo with average 40Km to a liter gazoline.
TESLA could reach 400-600 Km.on one charge.

Chris Stork

It must really chafe BMW to have their one-and-only BEV be called a PHEV.

On an unrelated note, but since you mentioned it exists: having a Sport Edition of the i3 makes about as much sense as having a Sport Edition of a Sunbeam Toaster.

G2

This list does not include the ‘i3’ just the range extended ‘i3 Rex’.

Having a sport, i3s, is exactly what they needed from the start. Hot hatches actually have a small dedicated following. The i3s model really appeals to me.

Yeah, these people don’t understand. So many i3 owners love the virtues of their vehicle so much, they can’t imagine how good the i3s will be with those same virtues but even better.

Get Real

Well, since the I3 closely resembles a toaster!

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

You just offended a bunch of Toasters.

Jeff N
Article sez: “There are two basic plug-in hybrid configurations: Series plug-in hybrids, also called Extended Range Electric Vehicles (EREVs). Only the electric motor turns the wheels. The gasoline engine only generates electricity. Series plug-ins can run solely on electricity until the battery runs down. The gasoline engine then generates electricity to power the electric motor. For short trips, these vehicles might use no gasoline at all. ….” No, no, no! 🙂 This is a bogus definition because mixes up unrelated vehicle characteristics. It is also different from the much more sensible original definition proposed by GM when the Volt was under development. Sadly, this confused usage of EREV is common. The fact that a car can run “solely on electricity until the battery runs down” has absolutely nothing to do with whether the car operates in series, parallel, or blended mode(s) after the battery runs dry and the range extender starts up. GM’s definition in a 2008 SAE technical paper basically only requires an EREV to start driving in electric-only and not start the range extender due to vehicle speed or acceleration needs — in other words only start the range extender for propulsion reasons when the car runs out… Read more »
Dan

“But, the i3 has a limited-purpose weak range extender intended only to get you to another charging station. ”

To use your own words:
No, no, no! ?

This is a common misperception. The range extender is perfectly capable on doing long runs at highway speeds. I’ve done plenty of 500mile road trips on just the ReX without any issues. The issues on hills was due to setting the ReX threshold too low resulting in not enough electric buffer. It is not an issue in the new 33kW models and you could re-code it to go away on the older model. The perfect use-case for the ReX is the occasional long road trips where you either don’t have chargers or are too lazy to spend all the extra time. Performance wise, you wont notice any difference.

Gabriel

I am a bit skeptical that a 647cc air cooled engine tucked in the back of the car without ventilation running at max power for hours pushing a 2900 lbs car and making an lower fuel economy than a Prius, even if it runs on premium gas, is likely to last for a long mileage.

When people say that the REx is not meant for long trips is not really because of the lack of power (unless if the said trip is to the mountains carrying four people plus luggage inside and running the heating at max), but is more for the extended strain it will get if run for so long.

Bill Howland

Gabriel: Regarding the BMW I3 Rex, I haven’t read the owner’s manual but I’d wager that in the cold Buffalo winters here the engine REALLY gets a workout – running FLAT OUT almost all the time.

It is also one of the most wasteful models during the wintertime – discarding all the valuable waste heat, and then using up to 1/3 of its horsepower just to manufacture electric heat in the cabin to be able to see out the windshield.

I’d think to prevent the thing from eating its little heart out would be that the oil and filter has to be changed often.

The WORKFORCE phev trucks use this or a very similiar BMW 2 cylinder engine as a REX, – I’m thinking that there, the REX runs (or can run) while stopped during a lunch break to recharge the huge battery on the truck so as to not get completely empty when on the freeway. I do not know whether on those trucks some provision is made to recoup a portion of the heat to avoid using so much pricey electric heat for the huge cabin.

There is absolutely no problem for it running basically non-stop for years.

alohart

The i3 REx engine is liquid-cooled, not air-cooled. Overheating is not a problem.

Bill Howland

OH ok I stand corrected about the cooling then. If this is indeed the case, why don’t they utilize the hot coolant to run the cabin heater.

I was under the impression it was electric only under all operating modes.

Bill Howland

Ok tried to dig up some information here alohart….

Since you presumably own an I3 rex, does the ‘electric’ heater revert to hot engine glycol once the 2 cylinder engine is up to temperature? How many miles can you go between oil changes on it?

I did notice that the I3 has 2 coolant loops so I’d assume they try to make use of the waste heat.

I think I got the wrong Idea when someone said the plain I3 has a heat pump whereas the I3 rex has an electric heater.

They didn’t mention that the rex’s heat is recouped (as it should be).

Thanks.

alohart

The i3 REx engine is water-cooled with a small front-mounted radiator with a cooling fan used when forward motion is insufficient for heat rejection. I.e., its cooling works exactly like the large ICE’s used in conventional vehicles and overheating isn’t a problem. There has been no evidence that the REx engine might fail due to being “strained.”

WadeTyhon

“The issues on hills was due to setting the ReX threshold too low resulting in not enough electric buffer. It is not an issue in the new 33kW models and you could re-code it to go away on the older model.”

That’s good to hear! I was under the impression that using a third party app and “coding” the vehicle was the only way to remedy this.

I hadn’t heard anyone specifically say that the long range version had this problem solved. (I don’t know anyone with the newer i3 Rex.)

The gas tank is still too small if you ask me, but at least the reduced propulsion will not be an issue going forward! Of course, even if it still had both of these issues, I would still place it close behind the Volt and Clarity as my favorite PHEV options.

Dan

The third party app “coding” is what I’ve done. I always set it to about 25% if I know that I’m not going to see a charger for an extended period of time. With the new model, 6% of 33kwh is a lot more than 6% of 22kwh. So, you don’t even have to code it in order to get a bigger boost. Secondly, the new model has re-tuned the engine to return more power (at the expense of efficiency). It’s ultimately a matter of tradeoffs. The original tuning is probable more than adequate for all of Europe and the eastern US but enough Californians wanting to drive up the rockies complained and anyway, here we are with the beefier engine and bigger buffer!

Dan

The tank is small because the gasoline range had to be the same or less than the EV range to qualify as something, in Europe? in US? not sure. When they increased the battery capacity they were able to allow the gasoline tank to be filled further.

PS there are two (maybe more) Dans on here. I’m changing to Dan F. henceforth

Jeff N
“To use your own words: No, no, no! ? This is a common misperception. The range extender is perfectly capable on doing long runs at highway speeds. I’ve done plenty of 500mile road trips on just the ReX without any issues. The issues on hills was due to setting the ReX threshold too low resulting in not enough electric buffer. It is not an issue in the new 33kW models and you could re-code it to go away on the older model. The perfect use-case for the ReX is the occasional long road trips where you either don’t have chargers or are too lazy to spend all the extra time. Performance wise, you wont notice any difference.” My understanding is that the range extender hasn’t really changed on the 33 kWh cars. I’ve heard that it can’t keep up and will slowly drain down the 6% buffer during extended highway driving over 70 mph or with significant headwinds at slower speeds. What is your experience? Even with the larger battery, 6% of 33 kwk is only a buffer of about 2 kWh. Driving up a mountain highway might take roughly 500 Wh per mile on average which would seemingly deplete… Read more »
Dan

Your points only apply if we are to slavishly live under Californian regulations. The i3 allows you to set the ReX to come on as early as 80% and the tank hasn’t increased physically either. The first thing I did after buying the car is wipe out the CA settings. It doesn’t take much brainpower to plan for your journey up as freaking tall a mountain as you claim if you turn on hold state of charge early. The combined range acts exactly like a 200 mike BEV would. If you turn your ReX on at 70%, you essentially work your battery down on the climb with the engine putting out a constant power. On your way back down, the engine would shut down and you will likely regenerate much of the excess you spent and fill the battery back up.

Dan

80% should be 75%.

Jeff N

Yes, I get that. If you bypass the firmware settings in the i3 as BMW chose to sell it in the US under the California BEVX rules and substitute the European firmware behavior then it is much more usable.

However, that’s “hacking” or modifying your car and many i3 owners won’t know about how to do that or feel comfortable doing that. I would. Many/most drivers wouldn’t. Presumably other cars can be “hacked” to, for instance, make the Bolt EV charge at more than 150A but once we go down that road of modifying the original equipment we’re no longer making even-handed comparisons between cars available for purchase and use by ordinary folks.

Dan

It’s not “hacking”. You make it sound like I’m sitting around writing green screen code. There is an iPhone app that you can use to flip the settings.

The Bolt is not intended to be charged at 150A. If you enable that, you’re outside the realm of safe settings. The i3 IS designed to be used with the ReX available on demand. The CA settings artificially gimp the car. I don’t know anybody who hasn’t coded their BMWs out here in the northeast.

Ambulator

It doesn’t matter how easy it is, it is still hacking.

Tony Marco

We’re talking about downloading an iphone app and paying $38 to unlock features along with the $24 OBD Wifi adaptor (you buy on Amazon).

That $62 was the best $$$ spent to allow my i3 REx to have the same features it was originally designed for, except for CA!

Tony Marco

True Dan!

After coding I have NO issues with any grades since I can select the threshold of when the generator comes on!

Pushmi-Pullyu

“GM’s definition in a 2008 SAE technical paper basically only requires an EREV to start driving in electric-only and not start the range extender due to vehicle speed or acceleration needs — in other words only start the range extender for propulsion reasons when the car runs out of usable battery energy.”

Interesting, thanks! I knew the Volt (or at least the 1st gen Volt) was designed to operate that way, but I didn’t realize that was their definition of “EREV”. I’ve always considered the term EREV to be superfluous and just GM marketing, figuring they just didn’t want the Volt to be labeled as a PHEV because most PHEVs have wholly inadequate electric ranges. But after reading this definition, I agree that the term EREV does have some utility. Unfortunately, if GM abandoned that approach for the 2nd gen Volt, then it seems the term is already obsolete.

But yeah, the article is definitely confusing “serial hybrid EV” (aka “series hybrid EV”) with “EREV”. As you say, those are two different things.

theflew

The 2nd Gen Volt is still an EREV like the 1st. It just gains another operating mode.

Jeff N

The 2nd generation Volt still has the same GM -flavor EREV behavior as the original — it drives only on usable battery power no matter how fast you drive or how hard you stomp the accelerator. It just doesn’t have a series hybrid mode any more. In place of the series hybrid mode it now uses a blended series/parallel mode during city traffic speeds. It uses an alternate series/hybrid mode at highway speeds that is better optimized for cruising. And, it has a fixed-gear parallel hybrid mode that it uses occasionally to optimize mpg.

Bruce Sanders

No competition here…go to Chevy.com, click on offers, click on leases, and click Volt. You won’t believe the lease price, and there is also a $500 or $1000 GM Card bonus, and a $500 conquest incentive (that can be combined) for additional savings. I guess the new Bolt is hurting sales of the Volt. Also probably trying hard to keep the plant (Sonic, Volt, Malibu) open in this era of declining car sales.

ItsNotAboutTheMoney

It’ll be nothing new. Probably a reasonable deal if you just want a base LT. There have been good deals on the Volt for a while. But they put more of the incentives on the Bolt last year.

blandman

Don’t know how the i3 Rex made #1 and #2. The reason I purchased a plug-in hybrid was because we regularly take 300-500 mile trips. Taking an i3 beyond its practical range would be annoying at best. These trips include high mountain passes with long stretches without easily accessible gas stations. This is not to mention persistent temperatures above 90 degrees in summer and freezing temperatures in winter. Is this a West Coast problem onlY?

Dan

Probably. Not having gas stations every exit is not even a concept on the east coast.

Voltownerx2

With under 1% of these cars in the market and the need for general public need to feel comfortable. I think Chevy is doing a poor job advertising such an amazing off the shelf technology. It would fuel electric car sales in the future as we get people understand the benefits. Less maintenance, oil changes 1 every 2 Years, filling up maybe 3 times a year, and driving your car back and forth to work for a $1 a day.

Bruce Sanders

You left off brake jobs. I sent my leased 2014 Volt back with 45,000 miles, and the dealer was thinking about keeping it. She said the brakes (after 45,000 miles) “looked almost new”.

Blastphemy

The Cadillac CT6 PHEV is close, getting 31 miles per charge. But the driver is unable to prevent the gas from coming on when the car wants to use it, and in CA the car is not eligible for carpool lane stickers or the $1,500 state rebate (due to excessive tailpipe emissions).

I do not think the i3 deserves to be on the list twice. I mean, you might as well include the Volt twice since it has two trim levels.

I agree with what others are saying too… while I realize this list was meant to rank by range alone, all things considered there are some better choices that could have made it in the list, such as the Prius Prime or Mitsubishi Outlander. Not because of their range as much as their importance and overall practicality.

I agree, i3 on the list twice is just clogging the list (maybe showing how much the author likes the i3?)

vdiv

Perhaps the Ioniq PHEV as well, make it a top 10 list, now that there are choices.

Spider-Dan

Wow, it’s been a long time since I’ve thought about the i3 REx. Has the BEVx debacle finally been abandoned, or do the newer versions of the i3 REx still have software-restricted Hold mode?

Pushmi-Pullyu

So far as I know, the only thing that has changed is that the procedure for reprogramming an i3 REx sold in the USA to operate in the better-performing European mode, has become widely available and easy to use, even for non-hackers, altho apparently it does require a special hardware plug to interface with the i3… so it’s not just a smartphone app.

Still, it’s basically plug-and-play using a special plug you can order online.

Pushmi-Pullyu

What the hey?

How did BMW get the i3 counted twice here?

Personally I don’t think it should be counted at all. A BMW i3 REx isn’t so much a PHEV as it’s a BEV with an auxiliary range extender bolted on. A range extender that isn’t fully integrated into the powertrain, can’t provide direct power to the drivetrain as other PHEVs can, and can’t maintain highway speed when mountain-climbing.

I also find it amusing that the i3 REx has a lower all-electric range than the non-REx i3, because the REx version maintains a higher reserve in the battery pack.

AFFORDABLE is what shoppers of mainstream cars rank as a high priority.

Why would more range be considered more important? The reality of diminishing should not be overlooked.

CCIE

If people want affordable, a new EV or PHEV is not the answer. A stripped Corolla/Civic/etc is.

Since this is an electric vehicle site, let’s assume the people here, and the people buying EVs/PHEVs, like driving on electricity. Given that, electric range is a big deal.

My brother-in-law just bought a 2017 base Volt for a great price. Over $5k off MSRP before any state/federal incentives. I didn’t want to taint his decision, so I suggested he drive the Volt and Prime before buying. After doing so, he asked why anyone would want to drive the dead-slow Prime everyday, or buy a car with half the range of the Volt. I said “welcome to the club!”

Mainstream buyers are a very different audience, clearly not what you are catering to.

Affordable means being able to compete directly with traditional choices without tax-credits… a goal we want all types of vehicles to achieve.

CCIE

No one except you cares about that, because the tax credits are still active and no one really knows what will happen if/when they expire.

Even stating that, the Volt is actually selling for less than the Prime even before the credits. GM and the dealers have gotten aggressive with its pricing. Plus, it has great battery range and acceleration. Two things sorely lacking on the Prime.

That short-sightedness is why Volt hasn’t been able to reach mainstream consumers.

CCIE

No BEV or PHEV has reached mainstream customers. And they won’t anytime soon, since most people are too dumb and/or disinterested to understand their TCO.

So, since we’re talking about vehicles that will be niche for the next 5-10 years, why not buy ones that have excellent performance and range from companies that aren’t wasting resources on foolcells?

Know your audience.

Understanding their priorities is key to drawing their interest.

They seek a well-balanced choice, not one making sacrifices to go faster & further.

Gasper

Yeah why not buy the one with most range? But can you explain the sales numbers? Why is the Prime top selling PHEV not only in the US but in the world?

With that small range, engine firing up in cold weather, only 4 seats, small boot … One would think that it will be a total flop, but it isn’t.

Toyota has the means to do a cheap small range PHEV out of every HEV they make, I just hope they realise that very soon and start making them.

The “cold weather” reference is specific to temperatures below 14°F. Ordinary winter driving (warmer), you get heat exclusively from electricity.

As for production, getting 51,000 of them built & distributed worldwide was a noteworthy accomplishment, for last year.

This year, we’ll be getting the reveal of the upcoming high-performance hybrid choice.

CCIE

The Prime is pulling former HEV Prius owners, that why sales of the HEV Prius have fallen off a cliff.

Here’s the scenario:
1. HEV Prius Owner wants a new car.
2. Owner liked their old Prius and (wrongly) assumes that Toyota is still a leader in electrified cars. So, owner doesn’t do any research or cross-shopping.
3. Owner goes to Toyota, sees the PHEV Prius Prime makes more sense than a new HEV Prius, and buys it.
4. (Optional) Prime owner drives their friend’s Volt and wonders why it has double the electric range, and has normal acceleration 🙂

Spider-Dan

I can’t speak for global numbers, but in the US, the Prime’s best-selling month so far was Dec 2017, with 2,420 units. At the same point in its life cycle (Dec 2016), the Gen 2 Volt sold 3,691 units. Similarly, the Prime’s 2017 sales were 20,936, while the Volts 2016 sales were 24,739. And obviously, the Volt has an ENORMOUS lead in lifetime sales volume over the Prius Prime/PiP.

So let’s calm down with that “top selling PHEV” stuff. The Volt is still the top selling EV (BEV or PHEV) in the US.

Mark Miller

Three months later, Prime over Volt nearly 2-1 YTD. Do we still want to argue this is uninformed Prius owners’ sticking with brand loyalty? I bought the Prime after extensive research / test drives, including info on this site (thanks!) because my #1 concern is carbon footprint, and Prime is lowest in that regard of ANY car, given my mix of daily driving distances. Not the most mainstream concern, more’s the pity. But something, even if not altruism, is driving those sales.

Also, I’m using the performance monitor to maximize efficiency, and I have yet after eight months to use the full acceleration available from the Prime, even once. Therefore, comments like “dead slow” roll right off. I have the accelerator pedal set to the ECO mapping option.

cab

This list is a decent reflection of the “early days of EVs” with mini-vans being compared against funky hot hatches, etc.
In 5 or 10 years, InsideEVs likely won’t exist as the electric drivetrain will be, if not in the majority of cars, at least so “common” as to make it uninteresting as a topic by itself. What we will begin to see is all this stuff drift back to the “car enthusiast” forums they have traditionally been on. The Camaro, Mustang, BMW, Audi, etc forums will be where all this talk is and they will be asking stuff like “Is the BMW 340e with the big electric motor worth the cost over the BMW 320e with the small electric motor?”, etc.

On an only slightly related topic, did anyone catch the episode of West Coast Customs where Mitsubishi commissioned them to put an early Model A body on the new Outlander PHEV chassis? It was pretty wild (and, um, sad to say hideous as the proportions were awful).

I have speculated the same, however I think your predictions are off by about 10 years. In 5 to 10 years, as you predict, I still suspect the internal combustion engine will be king. Sure, EVs should be compromising 10% to 20% of sales by that point. But I think we’re at least 20 years away from this website (or ones like it) becoming irrelevant. However, the monthly sales numbers might start to get tough to keep track of if there are 50 to 100 models on sale.

midimal

Sorry but I3 REX is simply I3 BEV with Range Extender. It is always powered by electric engine which takes its energy from battery. I repeat: ALWAYS. Rex is like mobile (fast) charging station on board.

2nd Volt can charge only with 3,7kW max. I3 using 50kW max

Rennie Allen

The Volt takes it’s power from the battery always, except for one extremely unusual corner case where you happen to be accelerating from a speed where the ICE RPM just happens to match the RPM of the output, since the speeds are matched the computer will connect both the ICE and the traction motor to the wheels for a few seconds (until the RPM goes out of range). It has happened to me exactly twice in 40k miles. It is a good thing that it does this (it is essentially some free extra torque at the band where the traction motors torque curve is falling off).

Bill Howland

Its more often than that. When locked up, the engine can be run at a range of speeds.

Tom

In 32K miles I have driven on a Gen II Volt this has never happened so far as I know. This is a truly rare occurrence.

Tom
I am with others that the i3 ReX is not really in the same category as the Volt or Clarity. Even BMW claims that the range extender is not intended for regular use, but only as an emergency fall back to get you to the next charger. Herbert Diess, global R&D boss for BMW explained the company’s point of view: “The range extender is not intended for daily use. It’s for situations when the driver needs to extend the range of the vehicle to reach the next charging station. Therefore, the i3 probably won’t be the choice for customers with a need for an extended range.” By way of contrast, both the Volt and Clarity are specifically designed for long range trips when needed. This explains why the Volt has a slower charging speed, lower EV range, a bigger gas tank, and more powerful engine while the ReX has faster charging, higher EV range, a less powerful engine, and a much smaller gas tank. i3 ReX 190 miles of range (99 E/91 G) 38 HP 647cc engine w/1.9 gallon tank Volt 420 miles of range (53 E/367 G) 101 HP 1500cc engine w/8.9 gallon tank These are very different approaches… Read more »
Tom

I am finding conflicting information about the i3 ReX specs. The BMW site says “up to” 180 miles of range. The EPA gives it 97 miles of EV-only range, or 97 EV/83 Gas. Apparently, the tank is now 2.3 gallons.

Chip Russell

My Honda Clarity has an EV range of 62 miles not the rated 47 miles from Honda. The range has been going up slowly sine I bought the car in January. I drive less than 60 miles a day and get an average of 340 mpg. I fill the 7 gallon tank once every 6 weeks for about $10.

It’s one thing to copy the specs but quite another to hear from an actual owner. This car outperforms it’s rating!

These sort of anecdotes are common with every plug-in vehicle. Many Volt owners report being able to achieve 70 miles on a charge, Prius Prime owners reporting 35 miles on a charge, etc. However, there are plenty of people driving in less favorable situations that end up getting far less than the EPA estimates. So the good news is the EPA ratings are fairly realistic for the average driver. If we were to quote optimistic, best-case scenarios a lot of people are going to be disappointed when they buy the car and can’t get the same range.

simone Rambaldi

the Hyunday Ioniq plugin is missing

John Wheeler

Not to me it isn’t because last Monday I managed to buy one. I spent quite a while studying, comparing, talking to Toyota because I bought a new Prius 5 in 2005 and replaced it with a new Prius 2 in 2013 rather than replace the battery (which was a real dumb move!). So I traded a 2013 Prius 2 in for a 2018 Ioniq plugin and have been averaging over 800 MPG.

John Wheeler

While the manufacturer only lists the Hyundai plugin at 29 miles, I am getting closer to 35 but then I’ve driven a Prius since 2005 so I know how to drive these cars. And it only costs arounf $24K