Toyota Video Campaign Puts "Normal" Prius Plug-in Into Hands of Newbies

By · May 22, 2013

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 don't own a plug-in car. A hospital worker, an office worker, a single mom and a former race car driver were selected to receive Prius Plug-ins for one week and were interviewed about their experiences. The common thread? Each driver found the car to be unobtrusive in their normal routines while providing fuel economy benefits not attainable in a gas-powered vehicle.

One of the chief selling points—and from a different perspective, downsides—to Toyota's Prius Plug-in is just how close the car is to its non-plug-in siblings. Like Cinderella's magic makeover, the Plug-in Prius's transformation into a fully electric vehicle is fleeting. The car can travel on electricity alone for an EPA-rated 11 miles before turning back into a pumpkin.

Depending upon your driving habits, this could allow you to go for months without filling your gas tank, or, for those who drive long distances regularly with little opportunity to charge during the day, the feature amounts to little more than a few extra miles on a gallon, at a rather large premium compared to a standard Prius.

But as the videos seek to drive home, most people's daily routines are actually quite compatible with the car. Since the Prius Plug-in carries a relatively small 4.4 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack, the benefits (and headaches) of Level 2 charging aren't a concern. Just plug the car into a standard 120V outlet for a few hours and you're ready to once again reap the benefits of "up to 15 miles" of gas-free driving. Can't find a place to charge or forgot to plug in? No need to worry, you'll still be getting 50 m.p.g. worth of gas-electric efficiency.

Nearly all of the test subjects note at some point in the videos that they wished they didn't have to give up their cars at the end of the week. The question for Toyota—and perhaps an idea for a follow-up to the campaign—is whether any of them put their money where their mouth is, by purchasing a Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

More of the videos:

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.