Toyota Not Fully Charged About Plug-In Hybrids

Frank Williams
by Frank Williams
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toyota not fully charged about plug in hybrids

While GM is trash talking about selling 60K plug-in Chevrolet Volts in their first year on the market (whenever that may be), Toyota is more circumspect about the technology's chances. The International Herald Tribune reports that the world's largest automaker (ToMoCo) wants to conduct more consumer testing and market assessment before offering a plug-in Prius. Toyota's U.S. manager for advanced vehicle technology admits "there's a lot of enthusiasm right now about plug-ins." But, Bill Reinert adds, "I'm a little cautious about how much of that ends up as real consumer behavior." In other words, will consumers walk the talk? Cost and convenience may be the critical factors. GM pegs the cost of their plug-in Volt– with a 40-mile electric-only range and mandatory extension cord fun– at around $30K. Toyota's gas-electric Prius currently sells in the low 20s– and experienced a major surge when the price was lowered. Do the math.

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4 of 13 comments
  • Stuntnun Stuntnun on Aug 27, 2007

    kixstart i was just using another example of how we are trying to fix one thing while braking another- my point is that using electricity to recharge that battery will pollute just as much and maybe more if its coming from a coal powered electrical plant--so whats the sense? watch it raise electrical prices just like ethanol is raising food prices.

  • Foobar Foobar on Aug 28, 2007

    I really don't understand Toyota's years and years of hesitancy to market a plug-in hybrid. For the first few years after the Prius's introduction they essentially defended it as a marketing measure, saying they didn't want to confuse mass-market consumers who had misunderstood what a hybrid car was with the suggestion that it might "need" to be plugged in. After that they cried, and are still crying, expense (which seems odd since third parties can apparently make one-off plug-in Priuses for around an extra $10-15K without a single economy of scale). What's the point of this whining? Why not just offer a plug-in option at its real extra cost, as a limited test-marketing measure? I bet it would sell -- there's real pent-up demand, especially with the Prius's currently enviable but soon-to-be-diluted green image. Methinks Toyota is reluctant to paint itself into a corner where it can't back out without seeming anti-environmental, but this decade of fence-sitting has cost the company a lot of green cred in my book.

  • Gentle Ted Gentle Ted on Aug 28, 2007

    I dont think the fuzz makers at GM have considered how much the cost of Hydro(Electric) will cost to fuel up the Volt! Its a crazy concept and in some parts of both our Countries very cold, wet and salty for the Winter months.

  • Starlightmica Starlightmica on Aug 28, 2007
    If GM profiled the Prius crowd’s taste in styling, I doubt if they find many who would be caught dead in such a cartoonish design. Form is function here, Hummer H3 shaped suppositories would be painfully stylish.