By on November 29, 2011

Toyota capitalized on the pre-Tokyo Motor Show buzz and presented its plug-in hybrid Prius PHV to the press. The car is not quite ready for launch, it will be launched in Japan on January 30, 2012. However, dealers accept orders as of today. The venue of the press conference was carefully chosen: The National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation.

Toyota sees this car as the “mainstay next-generation eco-vehicle following the EV.”

In carefully chosen words, Toyota managers pooh-poohed the pure plug-in. They pushed the usual buttons, namely range anxiety or time to charge. They subtly dissed the pure plug-in by saying that green vehicles are only good for the environment if they are widely used.

The EV cruising range is not far: 26.4 km, or 16.4 miles. After that, the Prius PHV will switch seamlessly into hybrid mode, using the familiar 1.8 liter series hybrid technology. Why such a short EV range? It is a careful balancing act of weight, space, and price.  A big battery adds heft and hefty cost. The Prius PHV is only 50 kg (110 lbs) heavier than the regular Prius. Its lithium-ion battery is small enough to not take away trunk space.  Trunk is the same size as that of the Prius. 16 miles is enough to get to the store and back or to roll out of town without polluting the air.

A lot more has been said today. A lot of it is already known to TTAC readers via our interviews with Chief Engineer Satoshi Ogiso.  Because there was so much, we make the whole press conference available to you via video as if you’ve been there yourself.

Toyota plans to sell 60,000 Prius PHV a year around the world. 35,000 to 40,000 are scheduled for Japan, the rest for the rest of the world. The car should arrive in the U.S. in Spring at a starting price of $32,000. People in Europe will have to shell out €37,000.

Leave it to Reuters to say why GM should be worried:

“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 U.S. regulators deciding last week to investigate the safety of the car after its battery pack caught fire in crash tests.

The Volt uses “range extender” technology to generate electricity on-board with the gasoline engine and carries 180 kg (400 lbs) of batteries.”

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60 Comments on “Toyota Launches The Volt Worrier: A Prius Plug-In Hybrid That Won’t Break The Bank...”


  • avatar
    KixStart

    “The Prius PHV is only 50 kg (110 lbs) heavier than the regular Prius. Its lithium-ion battery is small enough to not take away trunk space.”

    That is impressive.

    Seating for 5, same capacious trunk as the regular Prius, $thousands less than a Volt (although $32K is still rather a lot).

    GM has every reason to worry. They’re lucky Toyota didn’t rush things and start selling it earlier this year; that would have put a real dent in the few Volt sales they have garnered.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      +1, however a key difference is the range 16 miles vs 35-40 (and in the Leaf 75-100 miles). So depending upon your lifestyle (commuting distances etc) it may make sense to buy one over the other. A more aligned price would helped obviously!

      GM does at least seem to have gone in the right overall direction, with Toyota following, in having a plug in hybrid rather than the pure EV’s from Nissan (Leaf) and Ford (Focus) which have the range anxiety and charging time issues.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        +1, however a key difference is the range 16 miles vs 35-40
        Those numbers could change a bit with the all but inevitable Volt battery pack redesign. Reinforcing the pack could increase weight and/or decrease capacity. The Volt will still have an advantage, but I think the difference will be a bit less.

      • 0 avatar
        golden2husky

        Or changes in battery design may give more range to the Volt with the same weight and footprint…

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        Define gone in the right direction for me. I see Nissan Leaves all the time here in San Diego. I hadn’t heard of there being any surplus supply, while most Volts built appear to still be unsold.

      • 0 avatar
        CJinSD

        “Or changes in battery design may give more range to the Volt with the same weight and footprint…”

        Then what were the design objectives for the Volt’s current time bomb?

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        mike978: “GM does at least seem to have gone in the right overall direction…”

        Way higher price, fewer passengers, less trunk spaces, lower extended-range MPG being the “right” directions?

        My wife has thought about an EV-type vehicle and, today, she favors the Leaf, not on any kind of technical merit but because it’s less expensive. When the iMiev hits, she’ll probably declare it the “winner” for the same reason. In fact, an iMiev, if it really can be obtained for $23K or thereabouts, after tax bennies, might really end up in our garage.

        And while a nominal 40 miles is nice, there’s a certain part of the potential market that already cares enough about oil consumption that they don’t drive very far, anyway. For these people, 15 miles and a lot less money is a very persuasive argument.

        One other “advantage” to the Prius is… no $2K charger. Were I to buy one (not too likely at $32K but we will see), there’d be no reason to get a spendy 240V charger… regular 110 does the trick in 3 hours, what’s the big advantage of 1.5 hour charging, given that the vehicle still gets great regular fuel economy?

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        a key difference is the range 16 miles vs 35-40 (and in the Leaf 75-100 miles). So depending upon your lifestyle (commuting distances etc) it may make sense to buy one over the other.

        Did it occur to you that there may be a good reason why Toyota, which has the most experience with hybrid development, opted to make a car that was less dependent upon its battery, while Bob Lutz with his contempt for the notion of reliability as a consumer virtue, did not?

        It’s not as if Toyota didn’t have people on the payroll who could have followed the same approach that GM has taken. TMC certainly has the know-how to make a hybrid with a greater electric-only range if it chose to.

        TMC delayed the launch of its plug-in hybrid for several years. I would presume that the delays were due to the earlier versions not being sufficiently reliable to be suitable for the mass market.

        GM, with its track record of jumping the gun and misplaced priorities, is not in the same league when it comes to R&D advancements that work well in the real world and that can be dependably mass produced.

        The weak point of EVs is with the battery. Any maker of hybrids has to manage around this Achilles’ heel. A car with 30 miles of electric-only range is placing greater demands on its battery pack than would another car that does half of that. I would place my bets on Toyota doing it right before I would on GM.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        @pch101

        Toyota said that lithium ion batteries weren’t ready for prime time when the Volt and Leaf were being discussed. Less than a year later, they announce their plug-in Prius with a lithium battery pack.

        Honestly, I think the reason Toyota went with a smaller battery pack was for 2 reasons. It was easier to fit into the space that was already there from the Prius, which didn’t a huge amount of redesign, and to keep costs low on the battery side.

        The Toyota hybrids have great fuel efficiency, although I can’t stand to drive them. No power. But, it makes sense for them to build upon what they already had, which is a working formula.

      • 0 avatar

        PCH101: “A car with 30 miles of electric-only range is placing greater demands on its battery pack than would another car that does half of that”

        Not so, actually. The smaller the battery (shorter range), the greater the relative discharge (draw). The demands on a smaller battery are substantially greater than a large battery, given the same draw. It’s the main reason that the (non-plug in) Prius only uses some 20-30% of its total battery capacity: the very high draw and rapid discharges (and re-charges) demanded of it would damage it it otherwise.

        The opposite extreme is the Tesla Roadster, that can use some 70% of its battery capacity, because being such a large battery, the proportionate demands (draw) on it an any given time is such a small percent of its total capacity.

        I’d say that’s one of the main reasons Toyota put the plug-in Prius out there for two years of testing. And a very smart move.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        The opposite extreme is the Tesla Roadster, that can use some 70% of its battery capacity, because being such a large battery

        It isn’t a matter of “can”. It’s a matter of Tesla not having any choice. If they charged the battery to a lesser degree, then the car would have no range.

        The Tesla is a rich guy’s toy, so long-term reliability isn’t as important for it than it is for a mainstream car sold in high volumes to middle-class buyers who demand reliability.

        The Volt will use 50-70% of its charge. My guess is that this will prove to be a problem for long-term reliability versus the Prius. Toyota’s approach is less aggressive, and I suspect that is for good reason.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Steven02: “Toyota said that lithium ion batteries weren’t ready for prime time when the Volt and Leaf were being discussed.”

        That was quite a long time ago. And we have only GM’s word for it that the Volt battery IS ready for prime time.

        In fact, it’s not entirely certain that the Volt itself is ready for prime time. From a posting on GM_Volt:

        “I beg to disagree. The check engine light can come on for a variety of issues. Specifically, I’ve had a CEL for the following issues:
        * Low charger voltage – A failed Blink charger at a McDonalds near the WV Capitol building
        * Battery coolant pump malfunction – A low flow or low amp alarm caused by a hole in my battery radiator
        * Charge port door sensor alarm – Not only did I get a CEL, but the “Charge Port Door Open” message flashed when the door was closed.
        * General electrical fault – This came up a couple times in concert with low charger voltage and charge port alarms.

        Maybe we should start a poll to see who has recorded the most CELs. Unfortunately, I think I’d rank pretty high on the list”

        Now, that guy, I believe, LOVES his Volt and at least one fault was due to a bad public charger but it’s not a year old yet and, if I were him, I’d be somewhat nervous.

      • 0 avatar

        @PCH101: Its neither “can” nor “choice” primarily. It’s by design. A pure EV, has to have a higher capacity battery, obviously. That also means the battery is not drained as quickly at any given time (draw, as a percentage of capacity), as well as not being drained so deeply. That intrinsically allows for a lower SOC minimum.

        I can’t yet find specs on what percentage of the plug-in Prius battery is used, but I’m guessing it’s going to be around 50% too, like the Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        CJ – as requested, my definition is that if you are going to build one EV type vehicle then aim for the one with the largest potential market. A large segment of the EV buying population would have concerns about charging times and the inability to use the vehicle fully during those 12-16 hours and range anxiety (being stuck in the middle of nowhere). Therefore it made sense to make a vehicle that addresses these two concerns whilst allowing people to drive gas free as required (within the range constraints). Since two of the three biggest auto companies have gone this route it seems validated. Now Nissan’s experiment with the Leaf is perfectly valid because there will be a segment (just smaller) of the EV buying population that is happy with the two constraints detailed above. So it will sell. I don`t see Ford having much success with the pure Focus EV since I suspect the market is too small. Ford is hedging its bets since they have a plug-in version of their upcoming C-Max. Again following the GM and Toyota lead.

        Hopefully you are not too upset, especially since I didn`t mention, praise or disparage your favorite car company. I suspect if they do make a plugin version of one of their hybrid vehicles then you will suddenly think it is the best thing since sliced bread and the “right direction”!

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        kixstart,
        My point was that Toyota appears to have started lithium battery development later than GM by saying it wasn’t ready when GM and Nissan were starting to work with it. Less than a year after that statement, they announce they are going to make a plugin Prius with it. I know it was a long time ago that they did that. I was responding to pch101 who was saying that delaying the plugin Prius was to get it right when I am saying that Toyota started development on the plugin Prius after the Leaf and Volt were announced AND that is why it was a year later than the Leaf and Volt. I am not commenting on any batteries readiness to be on the market, only that Toyota started lithium battery development later.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Steven02: “My point was that Toyota appears to have started lithium battery development later than GM by saying it wasn’t ready when GM and Nissan were starting to work with it.”

        First, after a year, they may have uncovered evidence that it was ready.

        Second, who cares? I don’t know about Toyota but GM is not doing battery “development,” they are doing battery “implementation” and they are attempting to prove out whether or not it can stand up to automtive use and last long enough to be practical in a $20k+ device that people expect to last for 15 years.

      • 0 avatar
        Pch101

        My point was that Toyota appears to have started lithium battery development later than GM by saying it wasn’t ready when GM and Nissan were starting to work with it.

        Toyota had planned on using lithium ion batteries in the Prius staring in 2008. Those plans were delayed in 2007. Toyota isn’t a Johnny-come-lately to lithium ion batteries.

        We should all be skeptical of the fact that GM brought a lithium ion hybrid to market first. If Toyota, the company that has (a) more experience with hybrids and (b) a superior track record of reliability is bringing them to market later, then I would presume that it’s because they knew better than to launch it too soon.

        GM is not much of an innovator. Frankly, I don’t see why it needs to be. If it can make pleasant, reliable cars at a reasonable price point, then that should be enough. GM could dominate when tailfins and cubic inches were marks of leadership, but those days are long gone.

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      It is thousands less, but I am pretty sure it comes with less standard equipment as well. When you top it out, you are up at 40k with the same equipment as the Volt.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Steven02: “It is thousands less, but I am pretty sure it comes with less standard equipment as well.”

        Really? I heard that Toyota had tarted it up rather nicely. Their web site doesn’t go into a lot of detail but at $32K you get heated seats and Navigation. You can surf over to Toyota.com and configure yours today.

      • 0 avatar

        We don’t know yet at what level the plug-in Prius will come, do we? It may well be fairly loaded.

  • avatar
    carbiz

    This is nothing more than a Prius with a bigger battery. That is a natural progression. What is the big deal? This is nothing more than a blatant attempt by Toyota to take an end run at the Volt, which is all fine in the business world, but the media should know better.
    None of these vehicles makes any real world sense. Buying a Civic or a Cruze would make more sense; however, in the world where people will pay anything to be ‘green,’ the Prius does not appeal. It still depends on gasoline for most of its driving.
    I would barely make it to work and back on electricity with the Prius. With the Volt, I could make 2 or possibly 3 trips to work without having to recharge.
    So much for Toyota pretending not to care about the Volt. This is nothing more than a blatant attempt to steal GM’s thunder, and the usual suspects have already fallen for it.

    • 0 avatar
      mike978

      I do agree, a standard Prius is many thousands cheaper and the cost of gas for those “free” 16 miles is minimal by comparison.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      It seems like the next logical step for Toyota, and it remains to be seen if their price/battery size decision is more successful than the one GM made. Competition is good.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      carbiz,

      It’s a blatant attempt by Toyota to sell cars.

      Gosh! Who would have thought that was a worthy goal? GM maintained that the reason for developing the Volt was to “leapfrog Toyota.”

      In any event, the nominal range gets me back and forth to work almost 3 times. Charging every day, I could do all my weekly driving on electricity. My wife’s commute is longer but she could do 80% of her weekly driving on electricity (back and forth is within range but a side trip to the grocery store would put her over).

      It still gets 50mpg when the battery goes dead, so there’s not going to be much fuel expense beyond battery range, anyway.

      So, why pay much more for range that would rarely get used? Other people are going to come to the same conclusion. Since HSD could be relatively easily turned in to a PHEV, Toyota isn’t even going to be out very much development money if it turns out the market is small.

  • avatar
    Stevo

    carbiz,
    Not quite just a bigger battery. Stronger (not larger) battery so the packaging is still very efficient, 5 pax, hatch, etc. Agree it is a natural progression but Toyota now has a decade plus history in the category that speaks volumes to potential customers. Sure the Volt goes farther on battery, but the Prius line has a range of options and better price points. Toyota would be here without the Volt. The fact that they now have the plug in is just more headache for GM.

  • avatar
    iMatt

    Don’t look now, your bias is showing again. As you just said, the Prius could get you to work and back on electricity alone. Is there a problem with that?

    Slandering Toyota for elevating their product in the name of competition seems well…a little bit biased.

    TTAC seems to approach the comparison between the Volt and Prius with regard to the facts and nothing more.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    60,000 units is a lot. That’s a big difference from what Toyota Spokesman John Hanson told the Detroit Free Press not that long ago; 16-17k. The Volt also expects 60,000 units next year. Considering that the Leaf too expects a large bump next year and new EVs are expected to hit the market from a slew of manufacturers, I have to wonder how large the market for these cars are at the moment.

    $32k for a PHEV before tax rebates is attractive, and I’m sure many Prius owners will upgrade as this plug-in will still get near 50mpg when not in EV mode. But its still a car where consumers are more focused on environmental impact than economical practicality. It’ll be interesting to see how large this eco-conscious market really is, and if it could support all these models.

    • 0 avatar
      LectroByte

      I thought the $32k for the prius plugin was after the tax rebate? It’s over $10k cheaper than the Volt for about half the EV range? That does sound more interesting.

      • 0 avatar
        Steven02

        How do you figure 10k cheaper?

      • 0 avatar
        L'avventura

        Its before tax rebate. But let’s consider that Prius PHEV will not get the same amount of tax rebate as the Volt or Leaf as the rebate is calculated by battery size.

        Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the tax Rebate is $2,500 plus $417 for each kilowatt-hour of battery capacity over 4 kWh with a maximum of 16 kwh. So the Leaf, which has a 24 kwh battery, and the Volt, which has a kwh, both have a tax rebate of $7,500 (Leaf gets no extra rebate even with a 50% larger battery).

        The Prius PHEV should qualify for the base $2,500 federal tax rebate, and other local state rebates on top of that if applicable.

        http://www.pluginamerica.org/incentives

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        Federal rebate is $2500 for plug-ins with at least 5 kwh, $500/kwh beyond 5 kwh to a maximum of $7500 at 15 kwh.

        Prius PHEV base MSRP is $32000. Federal rebate is $2500 (5 kwh), net price counting federal rebate is $29500.

        2012 Volt base MSRP is $39145. Federal rebate is $7500 (16 kwh), net price counting federal rebate is $31645.

        Volt is $7k more expensive (comparing base to base) before rebates, or $2k more expensive after.

      • 0 avatar

        Count me as being surprised at how Toyota is pricing it. Given that li-ion costs are running at about $400 per kwh, the bare battery costs should be some $2-3k. Then subtract the cost of the deleted NiMh battery.
        It would seem to me that the plug-in Prius could be priced much lower. Toyota is obviously not going for volume here. But if they ever decide to, they certainly have the ability to do so.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        Woops, L’avventura is correct about the rebate amounts.

        Paul – it’s possible Toyota is setting up for a swift reduction in price once the federal rebates expire.

      • 0 avatar
        LectroByte

        My math is a bit off, the only Volt I’ve seen in real life had an over $50k window sticker on it. It’s still sitting in the showroom of our local Chevy dealer.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      It seems to me highly unlikely that the Volt will hit 60K units next year, unless they cut the price (recent FaceBook chat by ChevroletVolt says this won’t happen) or gas becomes crushingly expensive (and then the economy will tank and nobody will buy a car, anyway).

      I think we’re looking at 1100 Volt sales for November. Maybe less. Sales increases will be very modest, at best, for the next few months.

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        Toyota’s sales goals for the US seem fairly modest. Out of 60K, 35-40K will sell in Japan, leaving 20-25K for the “rest of the world.” That leaves the US maybe 15K?

        Looked at another way, Toyota seems to think something like 1 in 10 Priuses will be a PHEV. Of course, they could be hoping that they’ll be getting people from the EV market that they have been missing until now, rather than just replacing standard Prius sales with Prius PHEV sales.

  • avatar
    carlisimo

    In California our electric rates can sometimes be high enough that an EV is only a little cheaper to run than a Prius. But gasoline prices are likely to rise faster than electricity (provided you charge at night)… and the lack of engine noise during a commute is enticing. I take the train to work so I’ll keep my Miata, but my wife is considering a Leaf. A plug-in Prius would work too, but the Leaf feels better to drive. Its plug is better located, too (at the nose). We haven’t tried the Volt – too expensive.

    I understand batteries are improving about 8% a year, but no one knows if they should be taking advantage of it by increasing range or lowering price. If the tax incentives stay in place, I’d recommend that Toyota and Nissan focus on range, and Chevy on price.

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      By “improving 8% a year,” improvement in which direction? Price? Capacity? In order to increase range for any of these vehicles, capacity improvement is required… the battery is already so big that there’s not much car left over. Adding more cheaper battery isn’t very productive. If capacity is improving by 8%, increased capacity at the same price and size is more attractive but there’s a few years between development of a new chemistry and the proof that it’s really durable enough and has the lifespan necessary for automotive use.

      • 0 avatar
        protomech

        @KixStart

        Speaking very generally and over a large window of time, capacity per weight, capacity per volume, and capacity per dollar all improve by about 8% per year.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      My last electric bill came to a bit more than $0.08/KWh, now that the summer is over. Given my average driving efficiency, my cost per mile when I charge at home is now about 3.2 cents per mile, and more like 8/10 of a cent per mile using a public charger (which blends to about 2-2.5 cents per mile given that most miles are done commuting round-trip on a single charge).

      And no fires or CELs or other issues yet. More reliable by far so far than my BMW bike or Merc.

  • avatar
    Robert Fahey

    GM can’t afford a crisis of confidence, to put it mildly.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Well, the story leaves out SOME details. The $32K version is stripped, not equipped. The Prius plug-in as I understand it comes in two flavors – stripped, well below the equipment level of a Volt or Leaf, for the $32K price point. And equipped, incrementally equipped above the Volt at the bargain price of $39,995.

    Also lets be mindful, not a single EV, partial-electric, etc. etc. has delivered in the real world what the manufacturer suggests. The 16.4 mile Prius electric range is likely 20% to 30% below that (going on testing of other models) so the real world range is a more modest 12 miles likely (and yes your mileage may vary).

    The biggest thing it has going for it is the Prius name part one and the larger interior over the Leaf and Volt. However as a viable partial-EV, I see this as pretty much stillborn out of the gate, with the “electrified” premium still coming in at close to $8K for a similarly equipped gas only Prius variant. $8,000 buys an awful lot of regular unleaded, even if it goes to $20 a gallon.

    UPDATE:::

    Here is the Toyota press release on pricing and features from September of 2011, the “base” model is equipped rather well, but still comes in around $7K to $7.5K above the price of its gas only brother. That is a hefty premium for electrification.

    http://pressroom.toyota.com/releases/toyota+announces+pricing+2012+prius+v+prius+plugin+hybrid+vehicles.htm

    Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be available in two models, the Prius Plug-in and the Prius Plug-in Advanced. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid model comes equipped with an abundance of standard features including heated front seats, Remote Air Conditioning System (which can run either off the grid while the vehicle is plugged in or off the battery like the third-generation Prius Liftback), a charger timer, EV/ECO/POWER modes, three-door Smart Key, Display Audio with Navigation and Entune1 and an integrated backup camera, LED Daytime Running Lights, 15-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels, enhanced Multi-information Display and much more.

    The Prius Plug-in Advanced model adds additional standard features including Premium HDD Navigation with Entune2 and JBL® GreenEdge™, Plug-in Hybrid Applications through a user’s smartphone (Charge Management, Remote Air Conditioning System, Charging Station Map, Vehicle Finder and Eco Dashboard), Head-up Display, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Pre-Collision System, LED headlamps with auto on/off feature and integrated fog lamps, SofTex-trimmed seating, an eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, Safety Connect and more.

    The base MSRP for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is $32,000. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid Advanced will have an MSRP of $39,525. Both Prius Plug-in models are expected to qualify for a federal tax credit of approximately $2,500

    • 0 avatar
      SpinnyD

      Since when does “stripped” mean a SatNav system and iPod controls? I think your living a whole lot higher on the hog than me , my friend!

      http://www.toyota.com/prius-plug-in/features.html

  • avatar
    redmondjp

    Guys, this has nothing to do with the Volt. The concept of a plug-in Prius has been around for years in the EV community, starting back when Toyota was advertising that “you didn’t have to plug it in” and had ZERO interest in developing the concept.

    This all got started when EV club members around the world figured out that there were differences in the speed at which the Prius would transition from battery-only mode to engine on, depending upon which countries the car was being sold in (IIRC the Japanese ones had a switch on the dash which would modify this behavior).

    Discussions ensued on how far one could actually drive the Prius in battery-only mode. EV club members in CA and WA who owned new Prii actually started modifying their vehicles’ software as well as adding additional batteries, thus creating the first plug-in versions of the Prius.

    Toyota is only now bowing to this consumer demand. This website give a bit of history on the topic:

    http://www.calcars.org/priusplus.html

  • avatar
    KixStart

    I just looked at Toyota’s web site… yes, you can configure and order your PHEV today. Here’s the best part:

    “you customize”
    “and order”
    “we custom build”
    “and deliver to your dealer.”

    It is possible that Volt sales are lagging partly because of GM’s “dealer allocation” hooey. It’s certainly the case that “dealer allocation” hooey has been the foundation for the some of the blame of low sales among The GM Faithful.

    Toyota isn’t doing any of that nonsense. Their message is: “Want one? Order it; we’ll build it and get it to you.”

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    As for the so called no power Prius, many I’ve seen have been flying along the Interstate at speeds of 88-95 mph. So much for no power.

    • 0 avatar
      Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

      Can it do that on battery power alone?

      Flooring it in a Volt in sport mode is a whole lot more fun than any Prius I’ve driven, and as it’s basically silent apart from wind and tire noise (and occasional tire chirp), it’s actually rather deceptive as you don’t have the scream of an engine and the slap of a gear change to give you any indication of your speed..

    • 0 avatar
      APaGttH

      Spoken like a true Prius fanboi.

      Who needs an FT-86, my Prius is gonna whup your ass off the line!

      A 1971 VW Super Beetle could get to 85 MPH, just took it 18 seconds to get to 60 and 21 seconds to burn through the 1/4 mile. But keep that pedal down on flat pavement and it will find 85 MPH – eventually – just like a Prius.

      HINT: Second Gen Prius didn’t have enough power to hit its speed limiter, running out of steam somewhere around 100 MPH. By modern standards, 0 to 60 in the 11 second range and a top speed of maybe 100 MPH is – pathetic.

      • 0 avatar
        Thinkin...

        A normal prius has a 0-60 time of 9.8 seconds by the book, although the glossy mags beat that by a bit, and it’s limited to 115mph I believe. The damn things are so slippery that t it doesn’t take much power to get there.

        Needless to say, dragstrip times aren’t a major concern to the target market for any of these cars. Though I did read an article about a Prius with a SBC swap a while back…

    • 0 avatar
      Steven02

      It doesn’t have power. Most cars can get to 88-95… eventually. The Prius is terrible, IMHO, on starting and especially on the highway.

      • 0 avatar
        kokomokid

        A regular Prius will do 0-60 in about 10 seconds, quicker than the popular V8 family cars of the 60′s, like a Chevy Biscayne with a 283. A Prius will go as fast as you want on the highway. I’ve had one for two years, and have taken 4 trips of about 1100 miles. I go about 75 mph on the Interstate, when conditions allow, and I average about 44 mpg for these trips. This is calculated mpg. The readout is a little “optimistic” and says even higher.

  • avatar
    Da Coyote

    It would be interesting to talk with some of the GM engineers who’ve worked the Volt project. I’ve known a few over the years (not Volt engineers, but folks from previous GM generations). They were all brilliant.

    But, they also had virtually the same things to say about management and the folks who put the machines together.

    When your design constraints include MBAs with the IQ of a congress-critter, and workers to whom “quality” is the amount of time spend on vacation…well, that does put a crimp in your designs.

  • avatar
    daveainchina

    It will be interesting to see how things play out over the next 5 years. I suspect that the successors to the Volt and Prius will become the more normal type of cars (ok maybe 20 years).

    I think Volt changed things and the Prius was close enough in Technology that to do something similar was relatively easy. Notice it cannot exceed the Volt in battery range. I would say that that is because this is a modification from a design and not part of the original design.

    I wonder what the next Prius will be like in about 5 years. Want to bet on a battery range contest much like a MPG contest we have going on now?

  • avatar
    PaulVincent

    To whom it may concern: I am not in love with the Prius (just bought a 2012 Focus Titanium this past April). I’ve just stated what I’ve observed about some of them on the Interstate, and the fact is that once up to highway speeds, they move along quite well. As for exceeding 100, well, for a couple of years now (in Illinois), that can earn you a trip to jail or even a psych ward. As for the smaller battery Toyota placed in the Prius, I’m all for that: I’ve replaced oversized factory batteries in many of the cars I’ve owned.

  • avatar
    Robert.Walter

    Oxymoron: “Museum of Emerging…” Almost like “Instant or Future Classic”.

  • avatar
    mfennell

    A couple things missed.

    That 16 miles is (essentially) the Euro city cycle test. The Volt does 51 or 52 on the same test.

    The PHEV Prius is blended PHEV. If you accelerate too hard (more than 40hp worth IIRC), the engine turns on. The Prius fan club assures this is somehow better. Maybe it is, unless you want to buy a car that can run EV all the time. The Volt runs EV exclusively until the battery is exhausted (yeah, there are a few possible exceptions but I’ve never encountered them.

    my volt has had one problem in 9 months. A sticky charge door. Yes it tripped a CEL. Fixed under warranty without issue.

    • 0 avatar
      kokomokid

      The Prius is better in that it gets better mpg on gas, and has more room. The Volt is better, in that you can never use gas, as long as you don’t go too far.

      I like the way the Volt drives better. The silence and smoothness of power train when running on battery only is cool, and it it is a little “sportier” to drive than a Prius. For me, though, the (regular liftback) Prius is much better, because of the price, because I often drive more than 35 miles at a time, and, even more importantly, I would have no place to plug in a car at my condo.

  • avatar
    kokomokid

    A big difference between a Volt and a plug-in Prius, is that the Volt has “full performance” on battery power, while the Prius has much less electric motor power available, and will crank up the ICE at any time, if you floor it. The bottom line is that the Volt makes relatively more sense for people who do almost all their driving within electric-only range. If you do a lot of driving beyond electric range, the plug-Prius would be better, even at the same price, because it gets much better mpg on gas.

    As far as equipment, the “base” Prius plug-in is very well equipped, at least by my standards. Even my base regular Prius, about $23.5K MSRP is well equipped, with auto temp control, “smart key,” and other features that were only on more expensive cars just a few years ago. In addition, the base plug-in Prius has nav, bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, back up camera, and maybe some other stuff I missed.

    My car is a 2010, so it may be missing a couple things that a current base Prius has, like bluetooth.


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