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Toyota Shows Off Volt-Killing Prius Plug-in

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On: Thu, Dec 1, 2011 at 11:04AM | By: Chris Salamone

Toyota Shows Off Volt-Killing Prius Plug-in

Since September we’ve had a good idea of what the 2012 Prius Plug-in would look like. Toyota plans to start selling Prius PHVs in the US next spring, but just recently chose the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Japan as an ideal spot for a pre-Tokyo Motor Show release party featuring the company’s latest plug-in/hybrid vehicle. During the press conference, Toyota was quick to reinforce the Prius PHVs competitive advantages while jabbing at other, less practical EV brands – noting that green vehicles are only good for the environment if they are commonly used.

Considering the Nissan Leaf is a pure plug-in with limited range and Chevy’s Volt costs at least $41,000, the Prius PHV appears poised to reestablish Toyota as the preeminent maker of eco-friendly autos.

In the long term, Toyota plans to sell 60,000 Prius Plug-ins each year – with a majority sold in Japan. While prices vary around the globe, the company anticipates US costs to hover near $32,000. The drawback, however, is that drivers will only get about 16.4 miles of EV cruising range. That’s a heck of a lot of do-re-mi for so few miles. That’s why Toyota is betting on their pre-existing hybrid technology infrastructure…a bet which is expected to yield an overall average of 87 MPGe.

Even Reuters has noted Toyota’s advantageous market position: “General Motors Co is also looking to win over environmentally conscious consumers with its Volt plug-in hybrid, although its price tag of $41,000 is considered prohibitive. The Volt also hit a snag recently, with US regulators deciding last week to investigate the safety of the car after its battery pack caught fire in crash test.”

Factoring in the Prius Plug-in’s additional tremendous 600 mile range derived from the vehicle’s hybrid gasoline system and a recharge time below 3 hours, the Prius PHV may indeed seize enough of the market for green vehicles “to be good for the environment.”

And here’s the best part: the Prius PHV weighs only 110lbs over traditional Prii, costs slightly more, and maintains the same voluminous trunk dimensions. Since Toyota opted to rely on a city-friendly battery, the company was able to utilize a relatively small battery pack without sacrificing interior space – a triumph other companies will hope to imitate. Suddenly some of the other marketplace EVs, which seemed so futuristic yesterday, are becoming obsolete.

Still interested? Here’s the video of September’s official US unveiling:

Photo Gallery (click a thumbnail to enlarge)



Stephy21 | 9:44AM (Fri, Dec 2, 2011)

These hybrids sure aren't cheap but i guess we will have to pay big bucks just to help the economy.

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