Rivalry for extended range electric cars hots up


Competition is hotting up for the eco-warriors' car of choice, with Toyota claiming that its new Prius Plug-in delivers better value for money than its key rival, the Vauxhall Ampera.

Toyota says that the Prius Plug-In, which is one of a new generation of extended-range hybrids, offers a higher specification than the Ampera, plus more seats on board and a potential saving of almost £2,000 on costs over three years/60,000 miles, thanks to its greater range and quicker battery charging time.

According to the carmaker, the Prius has a driving range of 769 miles versus the Ampera's 300 miles, while charging time is 90 minutes compared to four hours for the Vauxhall. Naturally add in a higher cost-to-charge and higher list price (£32,250 versus £28,630 after a £5k government grant) and over three years, the Prius works out almost £2,000 cheaper. This figure also takes into account adding a navigation system and rear-view camera to the Ampera, which the Toyota has as standard.

Meanwhile, Vauxhall has recently announced a new entry-level Ampera Earth which starts at £29,995 after the government subsidy, £2,255 cheaper than the existing Ampera Positiv. Vauxhall environmental strategy manager Ian Allen said that he expects the more highly specified models to be the biggest sellers but that the Earth iteration would appeal to some electric pioneers and companies.