Plug-in hybrids offer a great product to consumers looking to reduce fuel consumption and live a greener lifestyle in general. If you drive short distances most days — Americans overwhelmingly do — you are likely to drive over 80% of the time in electric mode. Should you need more range for a longer trip, you can turn to the gas engine and cover hundreds more miles between fill-ups.
With plug-ins able to cover as many as 53 miles on a full charge and 610 miles overall, there is no need to to get any of that range anxiety that scares drivers off pure electric vehicles. Plus, fuel economy figures of 100 miles per gallon or better (42 miles per gallon in gas-hybrid mode) ensure those miles will be green no matter how you drive them.
It’s safe to say this news has not reached U.S. consumers. In a study conducted by Ford in spring 2016, the majority thought a plug-in hybrid could cover about 260 miles with a charge and full tank of gas. (Tesla EVs actually go farther with no gas whatsoever.) Upfront prices ought not discourage consumers, either, as dropping costs and incentives make these cars reasonable even at the dealership.
Here are the seven plug-in hybrids with the most electric range. Only vehicles on sale for the 2016 or 2017 model years were considered. The BMW i3 range-extender model was not used due to its short gas-only range.
7. Porsche Panamera S E-hybrid
If you want a Porsche and don’t want to pay the gas guzzler tax or find yourself at the pump every few days, the Panamera S E-Hybrid is an option worth considering. It’s capable of 16 miles in EV mode and offers 560 miles of total range in the 2016 model year. While it’s still a Porsche offering 416 horsepower at a starting price of $93,200, it also delivers up to 51 miles per gallon. Your dad’s Porsche can’t do that.
6. Audi A3 Sportback e-tron
The three big German luxury brands all have plug-in hybrids on the U.S. market in 2016, but the Audi A3 Sportback e-tron ultra has the longest electric range of the bunch at 17 miles. If you have a road trip on your mind in this variant of the popular A3, the e-tron can get you about 430 miles between stops at the gas station. It offers an exceptional 86 miles per gallon in EV mode and 39 miles per gallon otherwise.
5. Ford C-MAX Energi
Ford jumped into the fray early with its plug-in hybrids, and the C-MAX Energi has remained one of the most economical options with 19 miles of electric range. EV mode gets drivers traveling at 88 miles per gallon, while hybrid mode means economy of 38 miles per gallon. Between a full charge and a tank of gas, C-MAX drivers can roam about 550 miles before filling up or finding a plug.
4. Ford Fusion Energi
Want to travel in comfort and style with space for five people and a good bit of electric-only driving? Ford Fusion Energi, one of the best plug-ins we’ve tested, can deliver on those counts. For the 2017 model year, Ford bumped Fusion Energi’s EV range to 21 miles and its 610 miles of total range make it the segment leader. Fuel economy peaks at 97 miles per gallon on electric power and 42 miles per gallon in hybrid mode.
3. Hyundai Sonata PHEV
There is not much of a plug-in midsize sedan selection, but Hyundai Sonata PHEV makes it two solid entries for U.S. consumers. Offering 27 miles of electric range and 600 miles total range, there are few compromises consumers have to make with this car. The EPA estimates EV economy at 99 miles per gallon and 40 miles per gallon when the gas engine kicks into service.
2. Cadillac ELR
At 36 miles of range before the gas engine kicks in, the Volt-based Cadillac ELR was always a contender among plug-in hybrids. However, its insane introductory sticker price guaranteed it would never be popular. Now that Cadillac has officially killed the ELR, we expect dealers are more willing to negotiate than ever. This model offers 320 miles of total range and 80 miles per gallon in electric mode (30 miles per gallon otherwise).
1. Chevrolet Volt
GM may describe the 2017 Chevrolet Volt as an electric vehicle with range extender, but as long as the most range comes from gas engines it’s really a plug-in hybrid. Regardless, the 53 miles available in EV mode (420 miles total range) make it light years ahead of the nearest competitor. At 106 miles per gallon (42 miles in gas-hybrid mode), the redesigned Volt also leads the pack on economy until Prius Prime makes its debut.
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