2016 Toyota Prius Versus Upcoming Tesla Model 3

2 years ago by Tesla Mondo 80

2016 Toyota Prius

2016 Toyota Prius

Tesla Model 3 Price Target Is $35,000 Before Incentives - Aero Target Is Reportedly Less Than 0.20

Tesla Model 3 Price Target Is $35,000 Before Incentives – Aero Target Is Reportedly Less Than 0.20

If the VW emissions folly signals that gas engine technology has peaked, Toyota’s re-engineered 2016 Prius might signal the same for hybrids. Sure, the incremental gain in fuel economy and more-than-incremental gain in handling bespeak devout engineering effort, but they don’t approach the feverish pace of improvement in the EV camp.

Tesla sees a doubling of battery energy density every 10 years. Has the Prius doubled anything in the last decade? No. The 2016 Prius has boosted fuel economy by 21 percent over the 2006 model if you look strictly at the latest 56 mpg “Eco” version. Otherwise, the gain is 13 percent. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive is a terrific, reliable setup. But compared with the pace at Tesla, the Prius is frozen in time, and is therefore a sitting duck. This poster child for hybrids, the first one to hit the elusive tipping point, might make the loudest thud in next few years as EVs hit a tipping point of their own with Model 3.

Curb appeal, or curbed appeal?

“We forgot style.” That’s the punchline of a Toyota Venza ad. It comes when a guy sporting white socks and Birkenstocks realizes his Subaru is homely next to the Venza, and tells his frumpy wife that they blew it. With that in mind, we turn to the new Prius. And then we quickly turn AWAY from the new Prius. Green cars have lost their license to be ungainly. Tesla has revoked it for all. So this new Prius is in violation as soon as it backs out of your garage. The car with the highest BF in automotive history seems complacently homely. What’s BF? Birkenstock Factor.

Burning gas moves to back burner

Toyota is rightly attempting to shift the focus to fun, as cheapish gas shuffles buyer priorities. At the official launch, fuel economy never made it onstage. Imagine that! The accompanying press release barely mentions the subject. It’s all about the allegedly beautiful styling and the thrill of driving the new Prius. And yes, this new Prius does handle far better, according to early reviews. The problem is, Model 3 is very likely to offer far stronger sex appeal and driving dynamics. True, we’ll all be passengers in automated cars eventually, but driving still matters for a while.

Price canyon is narrowing fast

You want a Tesla, but you drive a Prius for 70% less money? Makes sense. But will it make sense when the delta is zero? The top-drawer Prius with top-drawer tech packages will push you into the low $30s, overlapping the bottom-end Model 3 when you include tax incentives. Another thing: Both cars will attract people with plenty of dough, who simply don’t want to blow it on a six-figure car. So even if Model 3’s initial run tends toward the high end of the spectrum, around $50k, even that could poach would-be Prius buyers who can justify the ROI of a Tesla, given the OTA updates and zero fuel consumption and ironclad resale value.

Pedigree no longer Toyota’s advantage

Tesla’s image could not possibly get better. It’s a renegade company that challenges the law on multiple fronts, extends a middle finger to car pocket-picking car dealers and gas stations, skips normal advertising, takes chances with vanguard technology, kicks everyone’s buttocks in drag races and has a bona fide rocket engineer in charge. He uses foul language sometimes, too. Young people swoon. Toyota’s image is super value with super reliability. Nice! Not quite rocket engineer nice, but nice. The Prius’s image in particular has indeed matured from an obnoxious accessory for liberals to a smart vehicle for smart people of all stripes. But the BF factor remains high. So too does the parental factor. Young readers here might agree that the Prius in the driveway even smells like parents. Not cool. Social media bear this out.

It might not happen next year, but by 2020, the avant-garde car of Y2k will have to hand the torch to the Mirai — its dubious styling inspiration — and hope for the best. Hybrids will have run their course.

*Editor’s note: This post appears over at Tesla Mondo. Check it and other posts of interest out here.

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80 responses to "2016 Toyota Prius Versus Upcoming Tesla Model 3"

  1. jelloslug says:

    I see the upcoming Prius as the car that Toyota thinks people(or current Prius drives) want but they did not bother to check and see if that is true or not.

    1. RexxSee says:

      Toyota sabotaged EVs with the plug-in version and continue with this thing.

      1. evcarnut says:

        Toyota may have a Rude awakening

      2. Samwise says:

        Not really.
        It still utilises electric drive technology, battery technology, aerodynamics.
        It has also improved in almost every one of these areas with every generation and has been doing so long before long range EV’s were a viable proposition for the masses.
        It’s horses for courses, but the car that does what you need it to do with the least impact on the planet while doing it.

        1. Surya says:

          The least impact? My 100% renewable energy powered EV does it with less impact.

          1. SL says:

            I see. But not every EV owner powers his EV with 100% renewable energy. I am a EV owner myself

  2. Josh says:

    Funny post.

    I saw a sticker on the back split-window of a Prius last week that had me nearly spitting out my drink.
    ————————-
    “Cool Prius”
    -nobody
    ————————-

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Have you seen this one:
      data:image/png;base64,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

      1. Josh says:

        Haha, nice.

        I wonder if people will start putting those on random TDI cars.

      2. sven says:

        Have you seen this one?

        http://tinyurl.com/

        😉

        1. kdawg says:

          It’s German. It needs to be a long URL.

      3. Cavaron says:

        You’ve heard of something called “tiny url”?

        1. Cavaron says:

          Sven was quicker 🙂

      4. pjwood1 says:

        Ok wise guys:
        http://tinyurl.com/pyaz84n

        I thought a great IEV editor, in the sky would patch it.

    2. evcarnut says:

      Ya,That would do it! Or even Bring Up Your Lunch….. l o l

  3. Warren says:

    Speaking as somebody who loves Tesla, you’re talking about a very successful, profitable car, built by the world’s #1 car company (or close to it): the Toyota Prius.

    And saying it doesn’t stack up to a car that doesn’t even exist, at a rumored price point, from a company who can’t turn a profit selling a better version of this car at double or more the price.

    Just trying to inject some reality here…

    1. fotomoto says:

      So true, totally agree; however, the best point the article makes is mentioning the fuel economy wall the hybrid platform has reached. To go any further realistically requires a plug or….. a fuel cell. Toyota, it appears, has chosen the latter.

      1. Warren says:

        True. I’m surprised we haven’t seen the hybrid drive go into more Toyota models. I drove a Highlander hybrid the other day and it’s just as nice as a Prius for all the same reasons.

        I agree with Musk in theory when he says the hybrid combines the worst of both worlds, however Toyota has shown that the Prius can last incredibly long with great battery life, easier wear on the ICE components, and so on.

        As for Toyota’s fuel cell dreams, who knows. Japan could force it to work there, but I can’t see it beating out a BEV in the long run… the infrastructure alone.

        1. Warren says:

          Oh no!! Another Warren, and he test drove an SUV. 🙁

          1. ClarksonCote says:

            Time to get an avatar/image for your posts? Gravatar.com if I remember correctly. 😉

    2. jelloslug says:

      Well, you can look at it this way also: My wife has a Prius and it’s starting to get old enough that she is going to replace it in the next year or two. She has flat out said that good MPG is no longer “good enough” and that now her base requirement is either a 50 mile+ PHEV or a 200 mile+ BEV. The new Prius is neither so it’s unlikely that she will get a new one. With every new product that Toyota shows they are starting to look more and more like Blackberry….

    3. protomech says:

      “from a company who can’t turn a profit selling a better version of this car at double or more the price.”

      I thought it was pretty well established that Tesla is making significant marginal profit on the Model S.

      The overall money burn is R&D on the Model X and now Model 3, I thought.

      1. Mark says:

        R&D costs have to be built into the cost of production, as the next iteration on that model will need to be replaced in 4-6 years. They’re a fixed cost, but they can’t be spread infinitely thin.

        Some car companies can keep a model in production for a decade (think Bentley continental or land rover defender or any work van), but very few have that type of lasting power, especially in the primary consumer market.

        To stay in the game means that you have to continually develop the replacement for the current model. if Tesla hasn’t already started the replacement for the Model S, then they’re going to be behind the 8 ball when the competition gets it together.

      2. Amir says:

        Once you spread development cost over their production run none of Tesla cars have made a single dime. Car business is capital intensive, those capex will never subside.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          That is true only of the Tesla Roadster. The Model S make a healthy gross profit margin, larger than the industry average for automobiles.

          If Tesla wasn’t spending huge wodges of money on expanding its production capacity by 40-45% every year, and also spending lots of money on other projects (such as building out Gigafactory 1), then it certainly would be showing a healthy positive annual cash flow.

      3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        protomech said

        “I thought it was pretty well established that Tesla is making significant marginal profit on the Model S.”

        It’s said that Tesla makes about 23-25% gross profit on the Model S; they plan to make about 15% gross profit on the Model ≡, but obviously plan to more than make up in volume what they lose in per-unit profits.

        I always find it more than passing strange when people say Tesla “isn’t profitable”. If Tesla wasn’t spending money hand-over-fist to build out new production capacity — including building a gigantic battery Gigafactory — then there appears to be no doubt they’d be posting significant positive cash flow every quarter.

        If Joe, who runs the local barber shop, wanted to expand his business, and took out a bank loan to move to a bigger building and install new equipment, then during the year he moved he might well show a loss on paper. But I doubt anyone in the neighborhood would say Joe’s business “isn’t profitable” just because he spent money to expand the business!

        I find it truly bizarre that people somehow see it differently just because Tesla is a large corporation dealing in billions of dollars, instead of the local barber shop. It’s only a difference in degree, not kind.

    4. Just_Chris says:

      I always thought of tesla as being like jaguar or Aston Martin expensive but special. I just can’t think of Toyota as a competitor to tesla, it makes no sense. The companies and products are so different. Both are very successful but just chalk and cheese.

      The only reason I can think to constantly push the 2 together is because of the political battle between fuel cell and battery for carb money. The model 3 release will bring tesla a bit closer to Prius country but the new Prius will start at $20k and a fully loaded phev will probably be near $30k. The model 3 will start at about $35-40k and a fully loaded version will top out at over $50k. The tesla will be a much nicer car but could be almost twice the price. I drive a leaf now, it is the most expensive car I’ve ever owned in 4-5 years my next car will probably be a nissan or Toyota not because I don’t want a tesla or because in 5 years I won’t be able to afford a model 3 but because cars from these brands will cost less and offer me what I want a cheap ev.

      I really hope the Prius is a 40 mile phev that comes in at around $25k and that the tesla model 3 is a fantastic car that comes in at $35k and that together the knock massive %’s off fuel use globally.

    5. jerryd says:

      Warren I bet you hate Tesla’s as they are turning a 27% profit on the S.
      The only reason it isn’t making a profit is it puts the money into growing the company and only a hater would ignore that.
      Note investors are very happy and shorters are PO’d.
      Nor do you know there isn’t a model 3 yet as likely they have already been made for testing and designing the equipment for building them.
      Just like GM or do you think they are starting from scratch and producing the Bolt in 18 months?

  4. David Murray says:

    Hybrids have not run their course as the article suggests. In fact, I predict most will eventually morph into PHEV. And PHEVs will be more cost effective than pure BEVs for a while still, and I think we are still 10 or 15 years away from having the charging infrastructure needed to support more BEVs.

    1. Mike says:

      I agree with you for slightly different reasons. I talked to a Big-Wig at Ford and he said that hybrids were really the only way they could meet the upcoming efficiency standards in the US and EU. At least Ford doesn’t see the future as a rapid transition to EVs. They seem to see hybrids as a necessary evil.

    2. pjwood1 says:

      Toyota might earn an 8% net margin on a PHEV, before they gave up on a 7% net margin for a hybrid. The point is PHEVs are improving to be the less “profit-effective” vehicles, and that is still a big problem to overcome.

      This is where we can begin imputing <$10 carbon prices, NOx prices, etc. as very low, and more effective at changing manufacturing decisions, right at the margin.

  5. Taser54 says:

    What’s with the comparison to a car that does not exist and will not exist for two years?

    1. jelloslug says:

      Because both of them will in the near future.

  6. AndPilot says:

    So sad for Toyota. They pioneered the hybrid cars technology with Prius but didn’t move further significantly. Prius plug-in with 10-15 miles of electric range is ridiculous. Now Toyota entered to the hydrogen technology “swamp” instead of going full electric. I still have the Prius 2005 that will be replaced with Model 3 as soon as possible.

  7. ffbj says:

    Its not that the ice has peaked its just that the missing link for the far superior electric engine, being utilized for personal transportation now has reliable, powerful, long lasting batteries that have come into flower. When they begin to fruit, and the Tesla is an early example of that fruit, the first of those vehicular products using them, the old ice will seem so yesterday as to be only a remembered technology.
    Of course the changeover will take decades.

    Apparently the market agrees with the assessment of Tesla as presented in this article. Stock is up big time today. Probably due to the configuration news on the Model X. Seems that now that Tesla has listened to tuition their plans are coming to fruition.
    The student is now the master.

  8. Ash09 says:

    The Prius still has it’s uses, mostly for people who live in apartments and can’t plug in. Or those who want a car that gets good mpg and fairly low maintenance.

    That said, the article is correct in that ICE tech is close to hitting its peak. I think the Prius is hitting the “diminishing returns” category now, and to get any better, they’re going to need to have a plug. Or fuel cell, as fotomoto mentioned above. But due to its high costs, I don’t think it’ll work out on a purely economical business sense without extremely massive subsidies. Good luck convincing taxpayers to do that, when they can’t even agree to fund road repairs.

    I think until charging stations are as common as parking meters (hmm, maybe they should combine the two…), and longer ranged EV’s can be “filled up” almost as fast as an ICE car at a gas station, most cars will eventually become a plug-in hybrid, with 15-60 miles of EV range, then a gas engine back up for longer trips.

    Sure, it’s a stopgap measure. But once people start making it a habit of charging daily, they’ll love the lower cost of “fuel”, along with the lower maintenance costs. Unless automakers decide to put “planned obsolescence” into full play here.

    1. ziv says:

      Ash, I don’t think fast chargers need to be quite that ubiquitous, but it would be nice! And I am not sure that 80% of the drivers out there wouldn’t be satisfied with an electric car that charged at half the “miles per minute” of a gas pump, given they won’t be doing it that often and that driving using electricity is so much more fun than most ICE vehicles and cheaper to boot.
      Superchargers are at 150 kW charge rates now, so you can get 25 kWh into your S in just 10 minutes. You get around 3.5 miles of driving for each kWh. 90 miles of driving in 10 minutes isn’t nearly as fast as a gas pump but if you only road trip every couple months it is probably good enough as it is.
      And charging rates are getting faster all the time and they are doing it without using some kind of Franken-plug that people would be uncomfortable using.

  9. BraveLilToaster says:

    I find it strange that the dropping price of batteries hasn’t made the Prius battery bigger and bigger (or even for that matter, smaller and smaller). Instead, they’ve stuck with the same old NiMH batteries that they made in 2001.

    Please. The least they could do is find *some* way to improve the drivetrain.

    1. Tim says:

      Because the R&D for the Prius drive train was paid off many years ago. The marginal profit on a Prius is probably excellent. The underlying point of the article is that Toyota hasn’t made any breakthrough changes to the Prius since its launch, instead relying on incremental improvements. Unfortunately for Toyota, others have already leapfrogged the Prius in almost all aspects (the Leaf and the Volt, both in the same price range, already achieve better efficiency in real world driving patterns).

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      I was simply stunned when Toyota finally introduced the Prius Plug-in, and it didn’t have any longer all-electric range than existing Priuses which had been modified into plug-in hybrids using third-party kits!

      As someone already posted upstream, the Prius is turning out to be the Blackberry of HEVs. It was good in its day, but Toyota clearly isn’t interested in improving the tech or competing with newer, more robust EVs.

  10. agzand says:

    If you look at battery improvements from 2008 (original Roadster 56 KwHr) to 2016 (new pack for roadster 70 KwHr) the improvement has been 25%, or about 3% per year. Unless there is some breakthrough that has alluded scientist in the past 20 years doubling anything in 10 years is impossible, and Model 3 will not happen in 2018 at $35k.

    1. Philip d says:

      The breakthrough isn’t all chemistry but mass production and streamlined raw material sourcing at the new Gigafactory.

      10 years ago pack level batteries were in the $550-$650 kWh range. Recently Tesla ihas been making packs in the ballpark of $250 kWh. By 2020 they most likely will have the costs down to $150 kWh at the pack level or even as low as $100 kWh.

      1. Agzand says:

        I am skeptical, in terms of raw material obviously there is more demand in the future, so prices are likely to go up rather than down. These batteries are made by robots, so at some point there is little to be gained from scaling up manufacturing, particularly in a high cost region with soaring currency.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      agzand said:

      “If you look at battery improvements from 2008 (original Roadster 56 KwHr) to 2016 (new pack for roadster 70 KwHr) the improvement has been 25%, or about 3% per year.”

      Just comparing the kWh of the two Tesla models isn’t very informative. One is a small two-seater sports car, and the other is a large family sedan. The drop in battery prices and the reduction in battery pack space required, over the same span of time, is much more significant.

      Besides, your numbers are off. The Roadster’s battery pack was 52.7 kWh, and the top end Model S now has 90 kWh. Comparing the $100k Roadster to the entry level 70 kWh Model S is not an appropriate comparison, especially since a large majority of Model S’s have 85 kWh.

      When Elon said he expected the battery capacity of the Model S to increase by roughly 5% per year, he was talking about the top end, not the bottom end.

      https://my.teslamotors.com/en_EU/forum/forums/elon-musk-average-we-expect-increase-pack-capacity-roughly-5-year-thats-very

      1. Agzand says:

        I am comparing the original roadster battery with the new retrofit roadster battery, which occupies the same space, although it is heavier. The 3% number is what I have heard from a few people. The price have dropped faster, but performance is about 3% per year. Remember this is a mature technology developed for laptops manly in the past 20 years.

  11. wavelet says:

    Very problematic article on numerous counts…

    Starting with basic facts: Tesla doesn’t have a “bona fide rocket engineer in charge”. Musk is many things, but in no way a rocket engineer.

    More significantly, comparing Toyota’s Prius & Tesla’s Model 3 is silly. Tesla’s chickens haven’t hatched yet.

    While I’d like to see them succeed for many reasons, and so far they’ve done very well, it’s still to early to tell whether they’ll be able to scale down (in terms of price, 2x) and up (in terms of mass production, 10x).

    Once a decent range of EVs will be available in multiple geographies, noone’s going to be cross-shopping a huge car like the S, or a midsize like the 3, with a compact car like the Prius. If drivetrain is the only consideration, nothing beats an electric bicycle for efficiency (including a cargo e-bike that can take hundreds of pounds of cargo or a few kids).

    A much more relevant comparison would have been to the Leaf… Cars from the same segment, same form factor, virtually same dimensions & cargo space, length/width and # of passengers… And similar (pre-incentive) price… Also both cars that have been selling for several years at volume, unlike the not-yet-existing-even-as-a-prototype Model 3.

    The natural evolution for the Prius would have been to offer real PHEV versions, and it’s anybody’s guess why Toyota never did; that’s the significant criticism that should be leveled at them.
    Now it won’t be them, but rather other players, but while I think PHEVs are temporary, until range & recharging speed issues are solved in a widespread & cost-effective manner, that temporary will make PHEVs needed for long-range cars for 20-30 years… BEVs won’t make PHEVs disappear that quickly.

    I expect more from InsideEVs than re-publishing this content-free diatribe.

    1. AP says:

      “I expect more from InsideEVs than re-publishing this content-free diatribe.”

      When you can’t argue logically, resort to personal attacks. Ask Trump.

      1. wavelet says:

        Can you actually name anyone I attacked personally? That’s right, you can’t, because I didn’t. In fact, I have no idea who wrote the Tesla Mondo article (InsideEVs didn’t mention any name(s)). You don’t actually seem to know what “personal attack” means.
        My comment attacked the article, not whoever wrote it.

        In fact, your claiming I resorted to personal attack is itself a personal attack on your side (-:

    2. RexxSee says:

      Never heard of SpaceX ?!? Musk built and fired rockets at 13 years old. He IS one of the best, if not THE best rocket scientist on this planet, maybe of two planets in a decade or two.

      1. Ziv says:

        He is the CEO of Spacex, not a rocket scientist. There is a huge difference. He has a BS in physics but he is not the tech guy at Spacex, he is the business guy. He made his money with Paypal and a few other ventures. He is a heck of a businessman, but he it no rocket scientist.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          Elon Musk says he has educated and trained himself to be a rocket engineer. Considering that he created and sold a video game to a computer magazine at age 12, I for one don’t doubt that’s true.

          Elon isn’t the kind of exec who delegates everything and spends all his time sitting behind a desk, despite the fact he’s running two hi-tech companies simultaneously. He’s a hands-on CEO who likes to get involved in everything. Elon can be criticized for micromanaging and for being a perfectionist, but certainly not for claiming to have engineering skills which he doesn’t actually have!

          1. wavelet says:

            Ziv is exactly right.
            I have no beef with Musk, who certainly has a wide science background, formal & informal.
            I was not criticizing him in any way, just that bizarro article InsideEVs chose to republish.
            He’s never claimed to be a rocket scienist, nor does he need to.
            Musk is primarily an entrepreneur (the Ashlee vance bio, while not well written, is still worth reading), with wide ranging interests; he was always just as interested in business as in the science/engineering issues, which is absolutely fine.

            The term “bona fide rocket scientist” is very specific (my ex-sister-in-law is an actual rocket scientist, BTW), and should not be abused, that’s all.

  12. agzand says:

    BTW Toyota is already skipping EV for the next zero emission tech which is fuel cell, so I wouldn’t underestimate them. After all they pioneered the hybrid tech, which so far has been more successful than EV tech.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      They’re certainly making up for it by throwing money down the rathole on the Mirai… the modern equivalent of an Edsel. Actually, that’s not fair. After all, the Edsel did function as a practical automobile.

      1. Erwin says:

        That’s an unfair comparison- the Edsel had much better style than the Mirai!

  13. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I am not sure if the comparison is fair. But I agree with author’s point.

    If Prius is the “flagship” of the conventional hybrid family of product, then its future is limited.

    If Tesla is the “flagship” of EVs, then the future of EVs are very bright.

    Despite the fact that LEAF have sold more, Telsa really knows how to make an EV attractive and desirable. That is something neither affordable BEV nor hybrids have been able to accomplish.

    1. agzand says:

      BMW i8 is very attractive and it is a hybrid. So is Porsche 918. Prius sells for $25k, only an idiot will compare it with a $90k car that loses money.

      1. ModernMarvelFan says:

        i8 and 918 are both PHEV. Calling the just a “hybrid” like Prius is silly…

  14. Scott Franco says:

    “Tesla’s image could not possibly get better. It’s a renegade company that challenges the law on multiple fronts, extends a middle finger to car pocket-picking car dealers and gas stations, skips normal advertising, takes chances with vanguard technology, kicks everyone’s buttocks in drag races and has a bona fide rocket engineer in charge. He uses foul language sometimes, too. Young people swoon.”

    So you are saying Elon is the Donald Trump of the car business…

    (standing well back)

    1. kdawg says:

      “It’s going to be compelling”

      vs.

      “It’s going to be huuuge”

    2. Nick says:

      Comparing people to Trump is the new version of Godwin’s law. 🙂

  15. tftf says:

    By the time the Model3 finally ships in volume Prius will probably be in the 2019 MY – including a PHEV option between 30-50 miles (much better than the current PHEV from Toyota).

    1. Philip d says:

      Toyota doesn’t really want to make a really good PHEV like the Volt. In fact they will probably continue to limit its power (the 2016 has less system hp than the previous gen but will still match the lackluster acceleration of the previous gen due to weight improvements) and keep its efficiency lower by about 10 mpg compared to its new halo the Mirai.

      The Mirai gets only 67 MPGe and isn’t particularly speedy either so the Prius can’t be allowed to match the Mirai in every performance metric AND be half the price.

      No, the Plugin Prius will still have a under 100 hp electric motor that will bore in pure EV mode. So they might give it a 20-30 mile EV range but with 80 hp. This will not be a direct competitor to someone wanting a true EV experience.

      However, it will compete with the dozen or so PHEVs that will be available by then that will also have low performance driving dynamics in pure EV mode.

  16. Phr3d says:

    Yeah, the PHEV Hybrids that many of us cheer as ‘at least a step in the right direction’ might arguably become fodder for the dinner party conversation of “I tested one o’ those electric hybrids and they’re slow as molasses in electric-only mode”. Hard to say how That will play out..

    1. David Murray says:

      They may be slow in EV mode.. but most of the PHEVs out there (except the Prius PHEV) are actually pretty fast in hybrid mode. Take Ford’s Energi cars for example, they will easily outrun a 1st gen Volt (not sure about the 2nd gen) with the ICE running.

      I think 95% of buyers of those vehicles probably will leave it in the default mode, which allows the ICE to come on for extra performance.

    2. Amir says:

      99% of the cars around the world are slow by your standard. Toyota wants to maximize their profit. They make as much money as all other carmakers combined. Only an ignorant person can underestimate them.

  17. IF Toyota would get over themselves as being the technology leaders, and realise some of us ‘Like’ the Prius, But just like the plain sister, we desire her hot sibling more! (The coming Model 3!)

    Or, Toyota could bump up the Hybrid Synergy Drive with something on the order of 130 kW Motors, and a Turbo 4 gas engine, and give the non-plug Prius a 5 kWh Lithium Battery (so it can use EV mode about 10 to 15 miles, even if you ran out of gas, if the battery was at a good state of charge), but build a plugin version with 12 to 16 kWh for 40 to 60 miles AER!

    With the bigger motors and a Battery to back it up, they could deliver even more exciting acceleration, but do it on possibly even less gas! Let’s see some Prius beat the Leaf or i3 in the 0 to 60!

  18. Ted Wilson says:

    The 56 MPG of Eco is without the spare tire. In case of flat tire, the person(s) will be in big trouble.

    Yes it has gained 13 % in mileage. Tesla Model S has 89 MPGe and that’s for a big 7 Seater fast sedan.

    The upcoming Model-3 which may be 4/5 seater and being economy car may boast 120 MPGe and that’s a big jump besides using 0 gas. For sure the cabbies will go for it given the 200 mile range and 30,000 chargers already being installed nationwide.

    Also those who commute 50 – 100 miles / day and use their vehicle for business, delivery, etc will go for Model-3.

    So there is no comparison between Prius Gen-4 and Model-3. However moving to Lithium battery is a big improvement that Toyota has made. So Toy is taking competition seriously.

  19. Spider-Dan says:

    I’m surprised that this article compares the Model III but not the Bolt, Gen2 Leaf, or Cadillac CT6.

    I mean, while we’re evaluating cars that don’t actually exist.

    1. Roger says:

      Perhaps that is because the Bolt is not a serious offering. Its a reaction to Tesla, and nothing else. Its not even a true GM car. All the drivetrain components will be made by LG Chem. I doubt GM will build more than a token number of Bolts.

      Tesla is making a serious investment in the Gigafactory to actually build 500,000 Model 3s by 2020. They are serious competition to the Prius. The Leaf would need to be totally redesigned to accommodate a battery big enough to compete with the Model 3. The others you mentioned are hybrids.

  20. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    What a very, very strange article. Especially when they start comparing a car you can actually buy today to a car for which nobody has even seen s picture… and even claim the unseen car blows away the real car in style!

    Much as I love Tesla Motors, I think it’s very much counting your chickens before they’re hatched to claim a pig in a poke has light-years more style than a car you can actually buy today. Let’s wait until we actually have something to look at before we start handing razzies to the new Prius, hmmm?

    “What’s BF? Birkenstock Factor.”

    Maybe it’s ‘cuz I grew up in the sixties, but I think twin-strap sandals are kinda cool. Now, if they were flip-flops… *shudder*

    “The top-drawer Prius with top-drawer tech packages will push you into the low $30s, overlapping the bottom-end Model 3 when you include tax incentives.”

    As industry watchers know, it looks a lot like Tesla’s slice of the Federal tax incentive “pie” is gonna run out about the time they start selling the Model ≡. Whoever wrote this article apparently skimped a bit on their fact-checking.

    1. Jay Cole says:

      “As industry watchers know, it looks a lot like Tesla’s slice of the Federal tax incentive “pie” is gonna run out about the time they start selling the Model ≡. Whoever wrote this article apparently skimped a bit on their fact-checking.”

      I don’t think that is true at all, I don’t know any industry watchers saying that.

      Tesla has sold ~56,500 EVs in NA, minus the 3,400 sold in Canada, so that is 53,100 units. Tesla has guided approximately to some 35,000 US sales in 2016, which brings us to ~86,000 heading into 2017 – the year Tesla says they will launch the Model 3.

      So ~114,000 credits left in 2017 before whenever the 3 launches.

      Even if you are in the camp that the Model 3 will be late (or very late), it would realistically take at least 2 more years to burn through the 114k with S and X sales (57k per year in US), so now its 2019.

      And the way the credit works, even Tesla they sold car number 200,000 in say on January 10th 2019, the credit still would not start to actually wind down until July 1st, 2019…of which it would be 50%/$3,750 (still significant to any EV priced in the 30s) until January of 2020,which it would the drop to 25% until July 2020.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        What you ARE more likely to see “industry insiders” start to realize after they see new Volt sales start to pile in (starting this November/December) is that GM will crest that number first.

        When the 1st gen Volt was lagging out into 2nd gen this year, GM was only selling 1,350 copies of the 3 cars combined each month (12,138 cumulative through October), as opposed to the historical norms of ~2,500 before 2nd gen talk. GM is currently at 90,799 with its 3 EVs (Volt-84,666, Spark EV-3,995, ELR-2,138) through October.

        By most all accounts, the “new” Volt is better than the old Volt (AER, pricing, build, etc), and GM is certainly advertising it more. We are likely to see more like ~3,000-3,500 per month of the 3 cars now going forward. – which means GM is heading for EV number 200,000 around June 2018 (+/- 3 months)…without the Bolt.

        If GM comes through on time (Dec 2016), and on projections with Bolt Sales (~2,000/month), we are looking at them hitting the number as early as November 2017.

        In reality, it is this November 2017 deadline that threatens not only GM, but Tesla and everyone else selling plug-ins as well.

        The tax incentive was practically written for GM…and if anyone thinks it will continue on “as planned” once GM hits (or even comes close to) the number, they are probably delusional. The industry’s best hope is that when it is re-written (maybe as soon as next year?), that a hard expiry date for all OEMs is put in place…and that day comes later rather than sooner.

        1. SparkEV says:

          Fed tax credit is probably why GM isn’t having wider SparkEV rollout, not because of it being a compliance car. Though they’re selling in Korea, Canada, Mexico, more sales in US would be eating into Bolt sales and tax credit, a car that’ll return more profit. Poor SparkyV, caught in politics…

          http://sparkev.blogspot.com/2015/11/sparkev-you-are-not-compliance-car.html

  21. Chris C. says:

    Awwwwww you blew it at the very end there. You were doing so well.

  22. Ralph stein says:

    I think hybrids will still be around a long time. 99% still commute in ICEs and are unwilling to change. Many still commute in full size SUVs. Hybrids will be a way to move the masses to EV or fuel cell vehicles.

  23. Ted Wilson says:

    I am interested to know whether this Prius Gen-4 will run on E85 Ethanol. With surging Ethanol production and cheaper E85, it will be nice if we can run our cars on E85.

    I am already running my Prius Gen-2 on E50 Ethanol.

    1. Roger says:

      Ethanol is a terrible fuel as it is currently produced. Very high carbon footprint and bad side effects on the food supply and eco system. Don’t fool yourself that your helping the cause by using Ethanol.

  24. Terry says:

    I do not see why comparing a cheap prius to a Tesla. The prius cannot outrun a Volt while the Volt may display 98 MPG on the odometer. Yes these prius owners say their vehicle gets better mileage than the Volt if the Volt is never plugged in for charge. Who would not plug the Volt or any EV for a charge. That’s like taking the gas pump away from the prius

  25. Ian Porter says:

    Anyone care to share an opinion as to why Toyota didn’t opt for a diesel hybrid iso the Atkinson cycle gas engine. Diesel is so much more efficient than even than the Atkinson even.