First post here - this topic seems like it would be a hot one but I surprisingly had some trouble finding any discussion about it on these forums.
At a glance it seems obvious: figure out the range you need, and buy the version that fits the required range. Maybe I'm making this more complicated than it should be, but I wanted your thoughts on it.
We live in Hawaii, where the distances are pretty short. It's rare that any one-way trip exceeds 15 miles. The trade-off is that the traffic here is horrible (second only to Los Angeles!), it tends to be very warm year-round (air conditioning gets utilized), and there are some pretty large mountains (but what goes up must come down - on my non-plugin Prius, the downward trips easily fill up the tiny battery well before I've reached the bottom, so while we can't beat thermodynamics I know there'd be a significant recharge coming back down). We talk about the battery packs in terms of miles, but the difficulty I'm having is in terms of knowing how much loss there is due to the air conditioning, idling in traffic (with or without air conditioning), and how those mountains will affect things. The dealer talked us out of the Plus version, but this isn't a dealership that I have a pre-existing relationship with; I'd guess they're trustworthy if they're selling down.
The final consideration - and one that the dealer didn't really address, and probably couldn't - is about the future. We've read about battery care and plan to follow best practices, but nothing lasts forever. The larger the battery pack you have, the more you can afford to lose before you reach the point where the battery isn't cutting it anymore for your daily needs. We tend to hold on to our cars, and for this reason the Plus model seems like the better choice. If the rest of the car is doing well we're not opposed to replacing the battery pack if we have to... but again, hopefully that wouldn't be for well over a decade (and there's a trade-off here: while the Plus model probably wouldn't need a battery replacement quite as soon, the battery would likely be more expensive than replacing a standard battery). Or maybe EV's are still new enough that we'll just have to accept that there's no point in holding on to an EV for decades as they're still rapidly evolving, and even if my concerns for the future are valid we should just expect to have to transfer to a new EV within ten years regardless?
I'd appreciate any thoughts and experiences you all have to share. Thanks for reading!