Complete newbie question. I have the opportunity to buy either the energi model or standard hybrid for about the same price. I thought it was a no-brainer to buy the energi model, but reading through some of the discussions it would seem some people are pretty adamant about not wanting the energi model. So, that left me confused.
My understanding was that the energi model has the ability to use electric only for about 20 miles. That figure varies depending on whether or not you're using air conditioning or heat, road conditions, etc. After that 20 miles, my understanding was the vehicle then reverted to a standard hybrid. Is this incorrect? I guess there's an option to to use the power immediately or later or the option of 'auto" mode if I understood the literature correctly as well?
Is the standard hybrid better (more efficient) at producing battery power vs the energi model? It's not as though the energi model suddenly stops after 20 miles. It just simply has to start the engine, and then gets its energy power through regenerative braking, and coasting--correct? how is this different than the standard hybrid? This is where I get confused. I thought the vehicles were essentially the same other than the energi model had the ability to run on pure electric for 20 min., so what am I missing?
I can appreciate you're carrying around some extra weight with the energi model, but is that enough to significantly lower mpg? I can certainly appreciate if you had no place to plug in, and the vast majority of the time you were not using the electric only mode, then that extra weight becomes a liability. But, if you can plug in at least once a day and make relatively short trips often, isn't the energi model the better way to go? It appears to me that the energi model can use 120 voltage, so it's not as though it requires a special 240 charging station, although I do realize it charges much faster that way. Seems pretty slick they designed it to be plugged into a standard wall outlet, so that opens up a lot of options for charging, albeit at a slower rate.
I would think in colder climates that using electric power to generate heat versus gasoline to produce heat would be cheaper but maybe not? Don't know. I also understand the energi model can be set up so that the interior is warm (or cool) and ready to go when you are. You do not need to warm the engine up to generate heat or cooling IOW. I would think that would save fuel, no? I appreciate the engines going to have to come on in colder climates to maintain minimum antifreeze temperature assuming the battery is not adequate to produce heat or cooling in more demanding situations, but it can do so while moving, as opposed to sitting in your driveway warming up. I would think that a real plus for the energi model.
So, could somebody please make an argument for one over the other to help me better appreciate why you would want to choose one over the other?
Most of my trips are very short ( 10 miles round-trip, most even less). I would think the energi model would be ideal for this. I also live in a cold climate, so presumably I would use a lot less gas just warming the interior up correct? That is to say I could get in the car and go, and allow the engine to come up to temperature while driving as opposed to sitting in my driveway. Seems like a better way to go for short trips.
Now for highway driving, and longer trips I think that scenario changes. You are now carrying around a bunch of dead weight, quite literally, and that weight becomes a liability. My question is how much of a liability are we talking? What do you loose in terms of MPG from the extra weight?. Is there any design difference in the way the vehicle produces power between the hybrid and energi model?
Thanks so much for helping me understand all of this!