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The 2023 Genesis electrified GV70 is priced at $84,000 and has 429 (with boost mode up to 483) and 516 lb-ft of torque.Petrina Gentile/The Globe and Mail

We are trying to decide between an electric vehicle and a plug-in hybrid.

As background, we leased a Genesis GV70 in 2022 for two years with the thought that we would go fully electric in 2024. We are having some second thoughts because of range anxiety. As a result, and with wait times, we have placed a deposit on both a Genesis GV70 EV and a Lexus RX 450h plug in hybrid. We have recently retired, live in a rural area and most of our driving is local with the occasional longer trip.

Our questions: Would you choose a plug-in hybrid over a fully electric vehicle? Which of the two vehicles mentioned would you recommend? Or is there is a third option you like? – Wayne, Ontario

Mark Richardson: Right off the top, I’d lean to the plug-in hybrid. It gives you the best of both worlds – electric driving and no range anxiety. But then I’d pause and consider all the other factors.

Petrina Gentile: I’m in agreement – plug-in hybrid is the way to go. So let’s talk about those factors. Where do you want to start first?

Richardson: We’ll start with the expected usage. Wayne says most of his driving is local, so does that mean he usually doesn’t exceed, say, 50 kilometres in a day? If so, a plug-in hybrid will probably cover that just with a daily charge. He doesn’t even need to invest in a home charging unit, because a regular 110-volt socket will fully charge a small PHEV battery overnight.

Gentile: And the Lexus RX plug-in hybrid with its 2.5-litre inline four-cylinder engine and high-capacity lithium-ion battery gets a respectable estimated range of approximately 60 kilometres on electric power alone.

Richardson: That’s in warm weather, of course, but it’s probably fine for most of Wayne’s daily usage. The beauty of a PHEV is that when the battery runs out, it just switches to the gas engine and the driver probably doesn’t notice. You don’t even need to ever charge the battery and the car will drive normally, but that’s a waste of its potential.

Gentile: And a PHEV removes range anxiety – something I’ve experienced with all-electric vehicles, especially when range is on the low end and temperatures start to dip.

Richardson: The Lexus is expensive, though. It starts at around $90,000, before taxes. The Genesis GV70 EV is about $5,000 less, and while it won’t qualify for any rebates, it will be much cheaper to maintain in the long run.

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The 2023 Electrified GV70.KELLY SERFOSS/Courtesy of manufacturer

Gentile: But the electric GV70 is a fully electric vehicle and it doesn’t have a long range – only about 380 kilometres, which is low compared to the competition.

Richardson: That’s why this isn’t such an obvious decision. The GV70 EV is less costly, but is the saving worth it for the limited range? If most of Wayne’s driving is local and he can charge at home every night, the range won’t be an issue. For those longer trips of 300 kilometres or more, he’ll need to plan ahead and maybe change his route a bit. Is that a dealbreaker for him?

Gentile: I don’t think he should even consider a fully electric vehicle for his lifestyle. He’ll have range anxiety with the electric GV70. PHEV is the way to go.

Richardson: Range anxiety seems to be something people talk about before they buy an electric vehicle, but it goes away for many once they get used to it. Not every drive is a road trip, you know. If Wayne can plug in at home for cheaper and more convenient charging, he’ll probably only even think about range for those “occasional longer trips.”

Gentile: Let’s give Wayne another PHEV option. Any suggestions?

Richardson: The plug-in version of the BMW X5 is about the same price as the Lexus. It’s perhaps a little intimidating with its plethora of features and options, but BMW knows what it’s doing when it builds electrified vehicles.

Gentile: I like the plug-in version of the X5. The electric range has increased to about 64 kilometres, which is high for a PHEV. And it has good performance and sportier driving dynamics than the Lexus.

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The 2023 BMW X5 xDrive50e.UWE FISCHER/Courtesy of manufacturer

Richardson: I’m puzzled why Wayne wants the larger size of the GV70 or the RX, when a compact crossover is usually fine for a couple. He doesn’t mention needing to carry additional people or cargo, and I’m wondering if he wants the bigger vehicle just because that’s what he’s used to.

Gentile: And that’s fine. We know Canadians like their larger vehicles. So, what’s your top pick for Wayne?

Richardson: I’d recommend the all-electric Genesis GV70 over the Lexus PHEV, because I don’t think Wayne drives enough to warrant the unlimited range of the plug-in. I think the Genesis is good value for money, and it’s less costly to run and maintain.

Gentile: I disagree. I prefer the Lexus. For those occasional longer trips, Wayne won’t have to worry about range anxiety or charging.

Richardson: But those longer drives are only occasional. It’s like buying a five-bedroom house because people sometimes come to visit. Why pay for so much when there are plenty of ways to manage when those times come around?

Gentile: Some people like five-bedroom homes for that flexibility. Wayne is retired and should be living stress-free now. When he’s on a long road trip, he can save time and avoid the unnecessary anxiety of finding a public charging station. It’s not as easy as fueling at a gas station. Go for the Lexus PHEV.

What car should you buy? Write to Mark and Petrina at and use ‘What car’ as as part of your subject line. Emails with different subject lines may not be answered.

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