Using the Prius Plug-in PRIMARILY as a hybrid, is it possible/mostly practical?

Discussion in 'Gen 1 Prius Plug-in 2012-2015' started by masterjorn, May 7, 2020.

Tags:
  1. masterjorn

    masterjorn New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I’m thinking about what my first car is going to be. I have flipped flop from wanting to get a smart car, to a Nissan Leaf, to an Ioniq ev, and now, after realizing that an all electric vehicle is not practical for my current living situation (with my parents, both of whom have cars in the driveway, leaving me with no room).

    So, Prius for me! After looking at Prius’ and doing a lot, and I mean a lot of research. They are far better than I gave them credit for!

    But now, I’m at a fork in the road, my price range is under 10k, so my choices are the second, third, barely the fourth gen (by like, 5 bucks), the C/aqua, and, the topic of this post, the Plug-In.

    as stated before, while my goal is a fully electric vehicle, my living situation just doesn’t allow that at this point. But then, a thought popped in my head. Is it possible to buy the Plug-In, and then use it as a normal, standard Prius, but, when My living situation better favors that plug-in life, I can simply get a charger, and plug it in!

    Now, this is where you fine folks come in, you know a heck of a lot more about Prius’ then I do, so, would this be practical? Would I still get the 50mpg doing this? Or is the Plug-In similar to the volt, where it’s primarily an EV, but with a gas generator to boost range when necessary (lower mpgs of course)

    Obviously, if it has any form of significant downside, I can just go down to the third or second gen (and save a few thousand while I’m at it)

    Thank you in advance!

    -Jorn
     
  2. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    41,570
    13,110
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    The bonus of a plug-in Prius is that it’s a Prius when operated in hybrid mode, so yes, go ahead and operate it in hybrid mode. If where you are isn’t completely flat, you can benefit with a slight boost in mpg due to the larger capacity battery allowing for more regen opportunities.

    Charging a Prius plug-in (PiP) takes 3 hours on 110V and 1.5hrs at 240V so even if you can find an outlet near the front of the house, you can start with a full charge (using an extension cord is generally not recommended).

    I assume you’ve done your research (as you’ve noted) so you are aware that the PiP doesn’t stay in EV mode under harder acceleration or if the heater is used, unlike the newer Prius Prime or the Volt.

    The PiP is based on the 3rd Gen so there may be issues with oil consumption but hopefully the PiP you choose has had fewer hours of engine use due to the larger battery and the previous owners actually charging up each day.
     
    willyag and masterjorn like this.
  3. masterjorn

    masterjorn New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Thank you! So the Plug-in acts more so like one of those plug in hybrid kits you can install on older prius', interesting, and really fortunate for my weird scenario, that's exactly how I was hoping it would work!

    Guess I know what Prius I'm gonna try and swing for, best of both worlds baby! (y)
     
  4. QuantumFireball

    QuantumFireball Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    362
    226
    0
    Location:
    Ireland
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    The only things you really lose over a standard Gen 3 are the spare wheel, and the ability to engage EV mode unless the traction battery has been charged from plugging in or substantial regen (standard Gen 3 will allow EV mode for short distance/low speed under certain conditions). Fuel consumption should be similar.
     
    Tideland Prius and masterjorn like this.
  5. hieronymous

    hieronymous Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    154
    90
    0
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    N/A
    There are other factors cited by prospective buyers which you haven't mentioned, mostly around your likely usage.
    If you intend driving significant distances regularly, then the 11-12 miles EV range a PiP has makes a fairly insignificant difference, whereas all local driving can be nearly all EV mode.
    I had a C for 4 years before my 2013 PiP, the PiP has much stronger highway performance, is more economical because the bigger motor doesn't work as hard, and is more comfortable, including much better seats. Gen4's are rated as better handling than PiP/Gen3 but I wouldn't hold out for that unless you intend a lot of long-distance driving.
    I would pick a PiP/Gen3 ahead of a Gen4 for usable boot space and a flat floor, I could easily sleep in my PiP.
    PiP and Prime, and higher spec Gen4's (fairly sure) have li-ion batteries, whereas Gen2,3,C have NiMH. Having said that, Toyota's battery management is very conservative, with very long battery life in each case.
    For hybrid use for the foreseeable, I would skip Gen2 for age, C for size, Gen4 for higher price/higher mileage, and get the best Gen3 or PiP based on low mileage/condition, PiP if you have a choice on that basis.
    Happy hunting!
     
  6. willyag

    willyag Junior Member

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    23
    10
    0
    Location:
    Orlando, FL
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Advanced
    When I first got my 2012 plugin I always used up my EV miles first for about 12 miles. Then as the EV maximum milage dropped (now about 7) and I found out a replacement battery costs $10,000, I realized that my heavy use in EV mode was going to cost me way more in the end than the gas I was saving.
    Now I use EV only if I know I can get there and back within 7 miles. If I know that the ICE will kick in on my trip eventually, I start out in ICE mode to save the battery usage.
    Yes, I most always get 50+ mpg in ICE mode. My opinion is that the easiest use of the battery is to never charge it at all and it should last a very long time before it needs replacement. But I do love making my short trips on battery like to the nearest grocery store because I know that very short trips are the most polluting and hardest on the ICE system.
     
    masterjorn likes this.
  7. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    40,819
    29,299
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    A lowish mileage* 3rd gen hybrid would be my preference. You get the (aforementioned) temp. spare tire, a voluminous storage tray under the hatch floor, and: if the hybrid battery ever fails, it will be one heck of a lot cheaper to replace.

    * Say 100K miles or less. Even with low miles, do be prepared: Exhaust Gas Recirc Circuit and Intake Manifold will need cleaning. Both those items are not mentioned by Toyota in the maintenance schedule, but they need doing. Transaxle fluid drain and fill, and brake fluid replacement also are worthwhile. Lots of info here on all these items.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    89,991
    40,367
    0
    Location:
    boston
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    Plug-in Base
    you should get a charger (evse) with the car, and make sure you get two working key fobs, with mechanical keys
     
  9. The Electric Me

    The Electric Me Go Speed Go!

    Joined:
    May 22, 2009
    9,083
    5,760
    0
    Location:
    Undisclosed Location
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    If I remember right Toyota did quite a lot of advertising trying to promote and explain that the Plug in Prius could be plugged in, but also used as a regular hybrid.
     
    Mendel Leisk likes this.
  10. masterjorn

    masterjorn New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    I was actually comparing the PiP and the gen 4, mainly because their pretty close price wise (the PiP is a tad lower on the base trim, but is about the same with lower mileage/advanced trim models)

    Though who know how much these will be when I’m ready to buy.
     
  11. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    41,570
    13,110
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    The Gen 4 is a significant step up in fuel economy. It also handles better (lower centre of gravity with the hybrid battery under the rear seat instead of under the trunk floor, better weight distribution of 58/42 vs. 61/59 for the regular Gen 3.. do not know what the PiPs one is, and improved rear multilink suspension vs. torsion beam on the Gen 3/PiP), it's more comfortable and the bi-LED headlights are much better than the projector halogens. The Gen 3/PiP had optional low beam LED headlights on trim levels with the Technology or Advanced Technology package.
     
    Netherland plug-in likes this.
  12. masterjorn

    masterjorn New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Hmm, I’ll have to see what the prices of the gen 4 (maybe even the prime) are when I can buy (probably about 1 1/2 years) because I actually like the design of the gen 4/prime more than the gen 3, hot take, I know ;)
     
    Tideland Prius likes this.
  13. Mendel Leisk

    Mendel Leisk Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2010
    40,819
    29,299
    80
    Location:
    Greater Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
    Vehicle:
    2010 Prius
    Model:
    Touring
    Yes. Fuelly is a good place to see this.
     
  14. hieronymous

    hieronymous Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    154
    90
    0
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    N/A
    And don't forget "nice to have's" like heated seats, a head-up display (HUD), and active/radar cruise control, all possible depending on trim level. I wouldn't be without the last two, don't need the heated seats..
     
  15. masterjorn

    masterjorn New Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2020
    12
    3
    0
    Location:
    California
    Vehicle:
    Other Non-Hybrid
    Model:
    N/A
    Yea, if I were to get it, I would definitely get the advanced trim. Especially for the HUD.
     
  16. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    41,570
    13,110
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    Note that the PiP doesn’t have a HUD for any model years (and no LKA).

    Gen3.5 (2012-2015), Gen 4 and Prime have HUD available on higher trim levels.
     
    masterjorn likes this.
  17. hieronymous

    hieronymous Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2012
    154
    90
    0
    Location:
    Auckland, New Zealand
    Vehicle:
    2013 Prius Plug-in
    Model:
    N/A
    I have all of these in my 2013 PiP, plus leather, heated steering wheel and body kit, but mine is JDM in origin. Perhaps not in your market..
     
  18. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    41,570
    13,110
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    North American versions switched from leather to SofTex in 2012. Also, no heated steering wheel available on the 3rd Gen here.
     
  19. QuantumFireball

    QuantumFireball Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2016
    362
    226
    0
    Location:
    Ireland
    Vehicle:
    2012 Prius Plug-in
    My UK spec according to the brochure is cloth and "leather" though it's obviously synthetic leather. The Irish brochure just vaguely says "black fabric" for the same seats, though something allegedly claiming to be leather was an option (but no PIP at all in Ireland!).

    Surprised about no HUD on NA spec, it's one of the best features of these cars IMO. I've got heated seats but not wheel, the steering wheel does seem like real leather though.
     
  20. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    41,570
    13,110
    41
    Location:
    Canada
    Vehicle:
    2018 Prius Prime
    Model:
    Technology
    Real leather was offered elsewhere in the world after North America switched to synthetic. (that goes for the current Gen 4 where genuine leather is available in some countries).

    HUD was available on the regular Gen 3 but not the PiP for some reason. We have no idea why.
     
Loading...