Toyota Prius Prime (Plug-in Hybrid) News
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Japan’s Nikkei newspaper reported today that Toyota intends to mass-produce an electric car with a driving range of approximately 185 miles. According to reports, the automaker will dedicate a team starting next year to develop the vehicle by 2020. The future model will likely use an existing platform—such as Prius or Corolla.
With the introduction of the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime, Toyota’s hesitation with plug-in hybrids appears to be a thing of the past. The Prius Prime plug-in hybrid will offer a EPA-estimated all-electric driving range of up to 25 miles up and at speed up to 84 miles per hour. It's due at dealerships in early November.
Toyota unveiled the new and improved version of its Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the New York auto show on Wednesday. In keeping with the plug-in market’s trend of increasing all-electric range, the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid will double its battery capacity to 8.8 kilowatt-hours—thereby roughly doubling its electric range to about 22 miles.
Toyota announced this week that production of the current generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid will cease in June. “We are hard at work developing the next-generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid,” wrote Nathan Kokes, Toyota brand manager for advanced technology vehicle marketing. “We are looking forward to sharing more details with you as we approach our launch date.”
The ongoing price war between makers of plug-in cars continued this week with the announcement from Toyota that it will cut prices on its Prius Plug-in Hybrid for the 2014 model year. Essentially the same as the 2013 Prius Plug-in Hybrid—and without the garish two-tone paint job recently announced for the Japanese-market 2014 model—the new U.S. market version of the Prius plug-in gains no new visible tech or features, but is more affordable.
When Toyota unveiled its Prius Plug-in Hybrid in 2011, there was significant consternation in the plug-in car world. With only 11 miles of range, many EV advocates viewed the Plug-in Prius as not really very electric. To them, the Plug-in Prius was a car built with just enough EV range to give it access to California’s HOV lanes. But can the 11-miles electric range offered by the 2013 Prius plug-in hybrid make a difference to your gas mileage? Can you really drive the plug-in Prius like an EV? Or are you better off driving a car like the 2013 Chevrolet Volt?
In a new series of web videos released last week, Toyota highlighted the "normal"-ness of the Prius Plug-in by dropping it into the hands of four everyday people who hadn't owned a plug-in before.
Toyota Division Group Vice President Bill Fay told Wards Auto that dealership incentives on the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid will continue to be necessary for the company to keep pace with last year’s sales figures. The automaker sold 12,750 Prius PHEVs in 2012. “I don’t know that we have to necessarily go around and match everybody,” he said, referring to Toyota discounts intended to make plug-in cars competitive with gas-powered vehicles. “But we have to be sure we offer the same kind of value when they go to buy the vehicle.”
With sales of 1,766 units, the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid topped the sales chart in the plug-in segment in November. When you add sales of the Chevy Volt, and the first purchases of the C-Max Energi, the popularity of plug-in hybrids—over pure electric cars like the Nissan LEAF—become very evident.
September 2012 is now in the record books as the single month with the highest volume of plug-in sales in the US since the new wave of plug-ins launched in December 2010 and there's reason for Chevy, Nissan and even Toyota to celebrate.