All Electric 2021 Chevy Bolt vs Hybrid 2021 Prius Prime

A plethora of new ideas and concepts have come from automaker’s attempts to create greener cars. What better example of this than hybrids and EVs? But neither platform is without its faults. In this Consumer Reports comparison, we’ll be weighing the pros and cons of both the all-electric Chevy Bolt and the environmentally-conscious Prius Prime.

A grey Chevy Bolt on display at a motorshow
The Electric 2021 Chevy Bolt | Geoff Robins/AFP via Getty Images

The Chevy Bolt outdoes other EV competitors

In terms of budget options, you can’t go wrong with a Chevy Bolt. The 2021 model year starts at just $36,000 (before tax incentives) and can go 259 miles on a single charge. That’s one more mile than the Hyundai Kona while costing a grand less. And with the redesigned 2022 Chevy Bolt’s starting price set to $31,000, it’ll be even cheaper while going just as far. In other words, for the price of a Nissan Leaf ($31,670), you get an EV that’ll go 44 miles further than a Nissan Leaf.

The Bolt also excels at acceleration, beating the Prius Prime to 60mph by 4 seconds. Like other EVs of its caliber, the Bolt is easy in the city and peppy on the track, though no Tesla Plaid Screamer.

You get the full EV driving experience with the Bolt, which is fun and refreshing after years without instant torque acceleration. But while the Bolt is a fun, earth-friendly option, the Prius Prime is wallet-friendly.

The Prius Prime goes further and costs less

A bright blue hybrid Prius Prime posing in front of a windmill graphic
The Hybrid 2021 Prius Prime | Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

The benefits of gasoline and electric power meshed together shine bright in the Prius Prime. Because of their powertrains, the simplest of hybrids go further than some of the most advanced EVs. The same is true for the Prius Prime, which can get 590 miles per tank and go 22 miles on pure electric.

And with gas as the primary source of power comes the ease of refueling at the pump rather than recharging at a station. That said, the battery does take 5 hours to be fully charged on standard 120V power. But that’s nothing compared to the Bolt, which requires 10 hours at 240kw of charging power to replenish the battery.

However, while hybrids are certainly better for the planet than the average automobile, they don’t eliminate our dependency on gas. EVs such as the Chevy Bolt do, which begs the question: which is the future?

Which powertrain is poised to shape the future?

A top to bottom comparison of an Electric 2021 Chevy Bolt and a Hybrid 2021 Prius Prime
Electric 2021 Chevy Bolt (Top) and Hybrid 2021 Prius Prime (Bottom) | Raymond Boyd/Getty Images; Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

The answer? Both! Not everyone can afford a brand new EV, but sooner or later we’re all going to need one. It’s a transition from one power source to another, and hybrids are a stepping stone between gas-powered cars and zero-emissions electrics. It’ll be a long time before the EVs of tomorrow cost as little as the gasoline cars of today, but vehicles like the Bolt are taking strides to make that happen.

As for which to buy now, it truly depends on what you’re looking for. Each is a step in the right direction, good for the environment, and relatively easy on your wallet. But are you ready to switch up your lifestyle for a car that takes time to charge, but doesn’t smog up the planet in the slightest? Or do you need the convenience of gasoline just a little longer?

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