Battery-electric vehicles work splendidly for many owners in many circumstances. Yet, there are jobs that a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle (PHEV) can do better than a battery-only vehicle. A happy Chevy Bolt owner, MF, recently posted a farewell picture and brief comment in the Facebook Bolt owners group. That club is a great one, and the membership wished her well. We reached out to MF to learn more details on why an EV owner would switch to a vehicle like the Toyota RAV4 Prime PHEV.
Related Story: Tesla Owners Are Buying Toyota RAV4 Prime Plug-in Hybrids – Here’s Why
TN - Tell us about your past cars concluding your Bolt. What have you owned and what did you like about them?
MF - Prior to my 2018 Bolt Premier EV, I owned a 2006 Mazda Tribute for 11 years that I purchased new. The Tribute was a great car until the repairs cost more than the car's value. My favorite features of the Tribute were the spacious interior for hauling stuff, trailer hitch (with light towing capacity), leather seats, easy to drive, 6 cylinders that had more "gitty-up" than the 4 cylinder trim. Also, it was a great-looking car!
TN - How long did you own your Bolt?
MF - A little over 3 years. All this time, I've been preaching about how wonderful it is to be free of gasoline, oil changes, smog checks, etc so it's bittersweet to have to go back to a vehicle with a gas engine.
TN - You switched from the Bolt to a PHEV crossover. What can the RAV4 Prime do that the Bolt could not?
MF - Although I've only driven the RAV4 Prime twice (test drive and drive home), I have high expectations for this vehicle.
RAV4 should allow me to:
1. road trips/camping
2. dirt roads
3. long-haul drives
4. up to 2500 pound towing capacity; tow trailer or small camper
5. haul bikes, kayaks, etc.
3. more interior space for hauling stuff/moving my things
4. more comfortable (seats)
5. maintain resale value
6. best of both worlds (EV range with added hybrid range reliability)
TN - Did you consider the new Bolt EUV coming in a couple of months?
MF - Yes, I thought about it for a moment. However, I needed a car that I could just get in and drive across the country or take on dirt roads and camping. So, until EV-only vehicles can match the range, AWD, towing capacity of a plug-in hybrid-electric vehicle like the RAV4 Prime, unfortunately, I have to revert back to a vehicle that isn’t fully electric, even if it's just for the next five years or so.
TN - Dealer markups are a hot topic. Do you feel you got a fair deal on your RAV4 Prime? How was your purchase experience?
MF - The dealer had just one XSE (mine) and two SEs on the lot when I got mine. I missed out on some features I would have wanted (in the Premium package). However, I didn't really want to wait any longer for my new RAV4 Prime, so I just took what they had on the lot. The old game of pushing for the best price and walking away as a bluff is not realistic today. I think I got a fair price considering their limited inventory and high demand. I added some accessories, a maintenance plan, and an extended warranty that brought the price to above MSRP. I find that tough negotiating, while necessary, makes the car buying process so negative and I really wanted a positive experience.
TN - Thinking about your typical month, do you think you will use the RAV4 Prime primarily as an EV in your normal daily use?
MF - I plan to use my RAV4 Prime mainly as an EV. I'm actually worried about stale gas, LOL!
My daily errands don't exceed the 42 mile EV range that the RAV4 Prime offers.
TN - How do you charge? Home, away, mix?
MF - I have a detached garage and 120 volt (level 1) charging has met my needs so far.
TN - You’ve walked the walk for three years as an EV owner. Can you add any perspective to help folks understand why you moved to the RAV4 Prime from an all-electric vehicle?
MF - EV’s are great! I think people need to really think about their lifestyle and get a car that will serve them to live their best life, as long as it doesn't break the bank. A car is a depreciating asset but it can really add value to one's life by getting you to the places and sights that make this life worth living.
TN - You chose Toyota as a brand. Any comments on that aspect of your purchase?
MF - Toyota has a great reputation for their vehicles maintaining their value over the years, so paying more for a Toyota doesn't sting as bad as overpaying for another brand. The Chevy Bolt community folks that I've had the pleasure of learning from are a very special breed and I'm hoping the RAV4 Prime community is just as inviting, helpful and friendly.
We’d like to thank MF for offering to share her personal experience. Feel free to offer your comments below on the subject of BEV owners also owning plug-in hybrid-electric vehicles.
Related Story: Why One Toyota RAV4 Prime Owner Passed On The Tesla Model Y and Honda CR-V Hybrid
John Goreham is a long-time New England Motor Press Association member and recovering engineer. John's interest in EVs goes back to 1990 when he designed the thermal control system for an EV battery as part of an academic team. After earning his mechanical engineering degree, John completed a marketing program at Northeastern University and worked with automotive component manufacturers, in the semiconductor industry, and in biotech. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on TikTok @ToknCars, on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin