Green Cars Chevy Volt vs Toyota Prius (VIDEO)

Published on August 21st, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan

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Chevy Volt vs Toyota Prius (VIDEO)

August 21st, 2014 by

A couple of Via Motors employees decided to have a little fun and see how the two compared on a long commute. They drove 43.3 miles to work, 86.6 miles round trip.

While the Volt driver could have plugged in at work, he decided to treat the trip more like it would be at a normal workplace and wait until he returned home to recharge. That meant he had to use a bit of gas on the way back. You can see the results in the video below, or in text after the video.

Prius Challenge Part 1. Versus Chevy Volt from VIA Motors on Vimeo.

  • The Volt got 104.3 MPG. So, the Volt’s cost for the trip equaled $3.24 for gas + $1 for electricity. That would come to $600 per year.
  • The Prius got 55.5 MPG, better than the car’s fuel economy rating. The cost for the trip came to $5.75, which would equal $1050 per year.

If the Volt driver had plugged in at work, as he could have, the cost would have just come to $1.80, which equals $300 per year. So, a savings of $750 per year compared to a Toyota Prius, and that’s just for the commute.

Of course, the average commute isn’t 43.3 miles. It’s much shorter, 25 miles. The average person could drive a greater portion of their commute on electricity, which costs a few times less. The electric range of a Chevy Volt is rated at 38 miles.

Of course, if your normal commute is 25 miles, you can easily get by with a Nissan LEAF or practically any other electric car. The Nissan LEAF has a range of 84 miles, enough to go to work, get home, and even drive another 34 miles. And that’s assuming you can’t charge up at work. Many LEAF owners actually planned to recharge every night but ended up doing so every other night.

And if you have the money, there’s always the Tesla Model S, which has a minimum range of 208 miles.

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About the Author

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to ZacharyShahan.com and click on the relevant buttons.



  • jjaayyzz

    Seriously, you compared fuel cost between a conventional Prius with a Volt and determined the Volt is a winner ? Do you think anyone with at least some common sense will buy that in this day and age?

    For starters, why didn’t you take a Prius Plug-in? That would have also been a better match to the Volt’s high purchase price and plug-in limitations.

    And when you worked out the yearly cost, where is the cost of depreciation ? The Volt would have lost half its value after 3yrs so you can easily add $3000 to the Volt’s yearly bill vs just above $1000 for the Prius.

    Did you ever wonder why they manage to only sell a few thousands of Volts every year vs half a million units for the Prius? Its not because of a particular Image or Advert or Marketing gimmicks by the folk at Toyota – Its because the quality, reliability, reduced depreciation and overall package of the Prius which make it such a winning formula.

    It is even more amazing that after all these years and Millions of Prius cars sold, some people still cannot understand why it is a winner.Oh well – look at it this way – those who know KNOW.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      The Volt is in a new class of vehicles that most people don’t know anything about. There are upsides and there are downsides, but I (and practically every Volt owner, which I am not) would say that the upsides are way bigger than the downsides… unless you have a family of 5.

      As far as the fuel costs, there are a lot of reasons people may care about those, but if it’s purely a $$ thing, those numbers can at least be used to inform a broader look at the cost comparisons.

    • viperrt10matt

      If sales are your main indication of which car is superior, then clearly the Ford F150 is a far superior car than the Prius.

      Or, you could compare apples to apples, and see that Volts in their third year outsold the Prius in its third year. It took YEARS for the public to catch on to the Prius, and many derided it is a joke in the years prior to that. If you’re going to be fair, give the Volt an equivilent amount of time and see what happens.

      And as for cost, you’re just further perpetuating bad information. A base Prius is very stripped down, whereas a base Volt contains a ton of included features. Equip them similar, and the cost difference between a Volt with Nav and a Prius 5 is negligible after tax credits.

      • Michael

        After 400000 miles Prius is still cheaper if the Volt will last 400000 miles.

        • VOLT owner

          I just bought a new volt for 32k off the lot and will get 9k back from the government. Punch in 23k for the Volt and see who wins.

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