Approach: 149-hp electric drive unit runs 40 miles on a charge, then an 80-hp gas engine recharges battery.
Pros: Great acceleration and handling. No "range anxiety." Goes 350+ miles on a tank of gasoline.
Cons: Uses gasoline. In gas mode, averages a modest 37 mpg; tailpipe lowers green cred.
Approach: Pure all-battery electric, no gas backup.
Pros: Great acceleration and handling. No tailpipe, zero emissions. Up to 100 miles per charge.
Cons: Limited range. Running heater or A/C sucks power. Fewe public chargers for now.
TOYOTA PRIUS PLUG-IN
Approach: Drives 10 to 15 miles on a charge before gasoline-electric hybrid system kicks in.
Pros: Small battery weighs and costs less. Most cost-effective approach for next five years.
Cons: Requires frequent charging to produce best mileage and enviro benefit. not available until 2012.