RJCIV wrote:That 12-15 miles is the number I really needed. So basically 30 mins just really isn't going to cut it. It would take 1 hr. Now I need to explore getting a 120 volt plug available at her work. Thanks for the info.
Like Gigi says, a hybrid or plug-in hybrid might be the best option if you can't get access to an outlet at work. All she would need at the school would be a 120V outlet. The other thing to be aware of in hot Texas sun is that the car will send you alerts telling you to plug in if the battery gets too hot. This is because the thermal management system for the battery is only active if the car is "ON" or plugged in. Plugging in to 120V while she's at work will ensure that the battery stays cool and will allow her to start the A/C before leaving work so that she can leave work with a somewhat cool car in the afternoons.
If she can't get access to an outlet, then check out a PHEV like the Ford C-Max Energi, Fusion Energi or the Chevy Volt. Assuming you are able to take advantage of the full $4000 federal tax credit for the Ford PHEVs they don't cost hardly any more than the hybrid versions. In a Fusion Hybrid she might get 42-45 MPG on her commute but with the battery range of the Energi she could likely get 50 MPGe (combined efficiency of the battery & the gas used). It's not as good as what you'd get with a Focus Electric, but it would still be half the cost of the minivan. And the C-Max Energi has lots of cargo space like a minivan, although it only seats 5. But if you could replace the van with a Focus Electric it appears that 6+ seats aren't a requirement for you and neither is cargo space because the Focus Electric has a lot less cargo space than a C-Max.