Prius Smackdown: Cheap versus plug-in
Let's pretend its some time in the near future. Lithium-ion battery technology is now powering some hybrid vehicles but, as will probably be the case at first, it is still expensive. Thus, the Toyota Prius now comes in multiple battery packages.
The base Prius continues to be NiMH powered, but more stripped down - a real base model. Years of NiMH production and less amenities results in a $17,000 price tag and an average 50 mpg. The second Prius comes in the same base package, but utilizes a lithium-powered battery. This lithium powered Prius achieves about 40 percent better fuel economy than the NiMH Prius, but begins at $22,000. That's $5000 more for an average of 70 mpg. Finally, the lithium-powered base plug-in Prius starts at $30,000 and achieves more than 100 mpg.
Which Prius would you purchase? Which Prius would most Prius buyers choose?