You don’t use Chevy and Car of the Year in the same sentence. But the Motor Trend 2011 Car of the Year is the Chevy Volt. Unlike the Toyota Prius, the Volt can be used like a plugin-hybrid if you charge the batteries overnight and drive no more than 40 miles (64 km) per day. This means that the vast majority of the office commuters don’t need to visit the petrol bunk other than to use the restroom or buy some candy. If you drive more than 40 miles, the gas engine of the Volt is used as a generator. 1
But the Chevy Volt costs $41000 in the US. Toyota Prius costs $24000 in the US. Even if you subtract $10000 in Federal tax credits and rebates for the Volt, it is still $7000 more than the Prius.
The Toyota Prius is available in India. But you will be in for a rude shock if you are planning to go green. You may want to sit down. The Prius costs $61000 in India — 2 and a half times more! 2
To add insult to injury, petrol costs a lot more than diesel in India. In Bangalore, unleaded petrol goes for $1.45 (65 Rupees) and diesel $0.94 (42 Rupees) per litre. Though both petrol and diesel prices are subsidized, petrol costs almost 55% more than diesel. You may ask, “If you can afford to pay $61000 for a Prius, I don’t think you will be worried about the price of petrol”. However, at these prices, just like when the first adopters of cars such as the Toyota Prius (and Tesla) in US were Hollywood movie stars (who parked their Prius next to their Hummers), I would suspect that the same would happen in India.
For the rest of us in India, we would gladly choose a CRDI diesel engine which is 25% more efficient than a petrol engine and use diesel fuel that is 55% cheaper than petrol.
If you want to go green but don’t have much green, then the REVA is your best bet.