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Late-Surging Prius V Beats Chevy Volt

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On: Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 12:34PM | By: Chris Weiss

Late-Surging Prius V Beats Chevy Volt

All last year, the automotive world watched the sales race between the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf unfold. Which technology - series hybrid or all electric - would win the hearts and minds of early adopters?

In the end, neither one really made a clear statement. The Nissan Leaf performed very closely to company goals of 10,000 with 9,674 units sold in the US. The Chevy Volt fell a little shorter of the same goal with 7,671 sales. While the Volt lost by 2,000 units, it ended the year beating previous month sales over the last four months of the year and Nissan Leaf sales over the last three.

So the 2011 sales totals left the question of series hybrid v. electric vehicle inconclusive. What is conclusive is that consumers prefer a third option: parallel hybrids. The Toyota Prius V, which was only on sale for a fraction of the year, beat out the Volt in total sales.

The Toyota Prius V, a larger version of Toyota's popular Prius hybrid, went on sale in mid-October and ended the year with 8,399 units sold in the US. The primary reason for that win is pretty clear: The 2012 Prius V costs $27,160 compared to the 2012 Volt's $39,995 base price (and 2011 Volt's $41,000 price). Even with a full federal tax credit of $7,500, the Volt still costs more than $5,000 more. The Prius V is not eligible for the federal tax credit.

The Prius V didn't beat the Nissan Leaf in terms of sales, but it did get close considering its very late start. The 2012 Nissan Leaf is priced at $35,200, which equates very closely to the Prius V after the federal tax credit ($27,700). The 2011 Nissan Leaf was priced even lower ($32,780) making it cheaper ($25,280) after the tax credit than the Prius V.

While the Prius V boasted a clear price advantage over the Chevy Volt, it was undoubtedly the car's versatility and driving range that led to its success against the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf is limited to a 100-mile range, and with no reliable electric charging infrastructure in most of the country, that's too little for many car owners. The Prius V, on the other hand, is as versatile as any car thanks to its gas engine.

Of course, the match-ups aren't entirely fair. While the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are brand new products with no history, The Prius V benefits from established technology and a well-known brand name that has long been the green-car sales leader.

Toyota sold more than 11,000 Prius and Prius V models last month alone, according to Edmunds. It plans to sell more than 200,000 models of its various Prius variants, which will also include the Prius Plug-In and Prius C, in 2012.

As a car, the Chevy Volt has the potential to deliver better fuel economy than the Prius and more everyday practicality than electric vehicles. As a product, though, the Volt is just too expensive for many buyers. Until Chevy can get the price down and move past the bad publicity, it will likely continue losing out to traditional hybrids.



Stephy21 | 9:15AM (Wed, Feb 15, 2012)

I think all this hybrid technology is great but i dont think we are ready for it, alot of people dont want to buy these cars because they dont know anything about them and dont want to waist their money on something they will regret or have problems with.


Sami18 | 9:51AM (Wed, Feb 15, 2012)

I like the Prius V its affordable and your not going to be stranded on the side of the road cause you cant find a plug-in to charge your car. Overall the Prius V in my opinion is the best choice for any one looking for hybrid cars.

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