For that is the question. I pondered this myself when looking at my C-Max. I really liked the tech of the Plug-In version, but it unfortunately boiled down to money and color choice (the dealer only had bad colors on the Energi plug-in). Retrofitting my garage and wiring it for 240V and a J1772 charging station on the wall also would have run a few extra thousand.
Where can you check the data if it makes sense to take the plunge for plug-in? To help you decide if a plug-in hybrid might be right for you, this website provides a plug-in hybrid calculator that estimates gasoline and electricity costs for any available plug-in hybrid using your driving habits, fuel costs, and charging schedule.
Remember the Plug-Ins typically have:
- high-capacity batteries that allow them to operate on electricity from the outlet for significant distances—electricity typically costs less than half as much as gasoline
- a larger electric motor than regular hybrids, which typically allows them to use electricity at higher speeds than regular hybrids; and
- regenerative braking to recover energy typically wasted when you apply the brakes.
Plug-in hybrid designs differ, and your driving habits, especially the distance you drive between re-charging, can have a big effect on your fuel bill. YMMV, but hybrid for me!