Electric vehicles are expensive to develop, test, and bring to market. Hence their slow roll-out in the U.S. and mostly high price tags whenever they made it. If you paid attention to pricing of models announced in 2016, you probably noticed more reasonable figures: Tesla said Model 3 would cost just $35,000 before incentives; GM said Chevy Bolt EV would start at $37,495. In states with incentives on top of the federal credit ($7,500), consumers will get affordable options in 2017.
Plug-in hybrids are following the same trend. Gone are the days when Honda released its plug-in Accord over $15,000 higher than the standard model. When Audi launched the A3 e-tron in 2015, the premium was only a few thousand dollars above the base A3 after incentives. That made about $500 in annual gas savings hold up for Audi shoppers who wanted to turn greener.
As 2017 models start appearing in dealerships, plug-in consumers have their first bona fide deals on cars in three distinct segments: compact, midsize sedan, and minivan. Here are three plug-in hybrids that make great financial sense compared to gasoline-only alternatives.
1. Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid
Folks wondering about the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid price got good news in November when FCA announced the plug-in model would start at $41,995. That price sounds high at first, but this model’s battery qualifies it for the full tax credit. Subtracting $7,500, buyers are looking at a starting price of $34,495. The deal looks even better as you calculate fuel savings. Pacifica Hybrid covers about 30 miles on a full charge and gets 80 MPGe, which should save drivers over $1,500 per year compared to a standard Pacifica (28 MPG combined). State incentives will make it even more appealing.
2. Toyota Prius Prime
When Toyota Prius Prime’s fuel economy and range specs came out, many were impressed at its 25-mile range and 133 MPGe. Then the pricing caught everyone’s attention. Since plug-in hybrids like Prime qualify for a federal tax credit of $4,500, the starting price of $27,100 falls below the standard hybrid’s base price of $24,685. With regular charging on any outlet, the plug-in Prius would save drivers thousands in gas costs in the course of a few years. KBB.com considered that enough to name Prime its “Best Buy” in the hybrid/EV category for 2017.
3. Ford Fusion Energi
Ford dropped the base price of its plug-in Fusion Energi in the 2017 refresh, but 2016 models represent the best value play here. On three-year lease deals, Ford offers the ’16 Fusion Energi Titanium at a net price of $25,348, or $296 a month with $941 down. Great purchase deals are possible with the outgoing model, but the top-level trim at such a low monthly payment puts a $36,000 car at nearly the same price as a standard Fusion SE. More savings come with regular charging of a car that gets 19 electric miles and over 80 MPGe.
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