Could Prius Become a Plug-in Powerhouse?

· · 9 years ago

On our sister site, HybridCars.com, we just posted an interview with Doug Coleman, Toyota's product manager for the Prius brand. The big news from the Detroit Auto Show is that Toyota finally revealed the larger version of the Prius and a concept version of a compact hybrid that promised to be the most affordable and highest mpg model. All these models, plus two Toyota EVs, are on track to hit the market in 2012.

But it's important to note that Toyota made sure the plug-in version of the Prius was also on stage in Detroit. With the expansion of the Prius into its own vehicle line and brand, I asked Doug this question:

Could plugging in get built into the DNA of Toyota hybrids and specifically Prius?

He replied, “Absolutely.”

When asked specifically if the Prius V wagon, Prius C compact, and other future Priuses might be offered with plug-in capabilities, Coleman repeated, “Absolutely. We’re looking at a lot of things.”

Prius is a well-established proven brand in the marketplace. The company has exhibited a long-term commitment to hybrids. Yes, Doug hinted that the company is more interested in cars with smaller batteries rather than "large battery vehicles." (His way to describe EVs.) But could you imagine a Toyota showroom with Prius-branded hatchbacks, wagons, and compacts, all with the ability to plug-in, and decisively aimed at mainstream consumers who are familiar with the Prius name?

The plug-in market is heating up fast. But things could get extremely interesting in 2012 or 2013.

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