Top Electric Vehicles: Prius vs. Leaf vs. Volt

Editor’s Note: EarthTechling, always looking to bring you interesting cleantech reading, is proud to repost this article courtesy of partner Tecca. Author credit goes to Michael Arcand.

Nothing says “I’m going green” like the purchase (or lease) of a new hybrid or all-electric vehicle. With state and federal tax rebates bringing down sticker prices, going green on the road is more affordable than ever. But before you jump the gun and make an impulse buy, take the time to review the basics with us for three of the leading green vehicles on the market today.

Fuel economy 101
Probably the most important factor in any car owner’s mind when purchasing a new vehicle is what kind of gas mileage it will get on the road. While it’s easy to compare gasoline-powered vehicles, when you throw in the electricity, things become a little fuzzy. That’s why the EPA created the mpge rating, which equates one gallon of gasoline with 33.7 kWh (kilowatt-hours) of electricity. While it’s not perfect, at least this rating gives us some way of comparing apples to oranges.

image via Toyota

Below are the fuel economy ratings for the 2012 models of each of our selected vehicles, the Chevy Volt, the Nissan Leaf, and the Toyota Prius V. The first number in each set relates to city mileage, and the second corresponds to highway mileage. These numbers come from the actual EPA tests as published onFuelEconomy.gov. You’ll note that the Leaf only has one set of numbers, since it isn’t a hybrid but rather an all-electric vehicle. The Prius V also only has one set of numbers because although it is a hybrid, it doesn’t have an “electric only” mode of operation.

  • Volt 35 mpg city / 40 mpg highway; 95 mpge city / 93 mpge highway
  • Leaf 106 mpge city / 92 mpge highway
  • Prius V 44 mpg city / 40 mpg highway