Toyota Prius Prime Engineered With Input From You

1 year ago by Steven Loveday 64

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

2017 Toyota Prius Prime

The all new Toyota Prius Prime is a leaps and bounds transformation from the last-gen model, with redesigned front and rear ends and a fully revamped powertrain, all due to user input.

Inside The 2017 Prius Prime

Inside The 2017 Prius Prime

Toyota’s brand manager for advanced-technology vehicles, Nathan Kokes, said:

“We continually pay attention to blog posts. We look at Prius Chat. We also do a lot of customer research and focus groups, etc. We hear consistently how people use the vehicle in everyday situations.

For some people, 11 [miles] was just fine. They were like, ‘Okay, I have a five, six mile commute, I can make it almost there and back.’ With workplace charging, it was a piece of cake. But for others, it wasn’t enough. In the marketplace, people keep saying bigger and bigger numbers. Our message is, we wanted to showcase that you get a bigger number with this vehicle, but also retain really high MPG.”

The Prime name was chosen to emphasize that this is the “best” Prius. Kokes shared:

“After we saw the design sketches, we thought it had a lot of character. A letter didn’t give character. We wanted something that had some meaning behind it.”

The new four-seater tops out at an all-electric 84 MPH, compared to the last-gens 62 MPH. Bloggers complained that freeway driving automatically meant use of gas. Now, at freeway speeds, the engine is not necessarily needed. The new powertrain boasts 68 kW, up from the previous 37kW. This is achieved through the utilization of two electric motors and a one-way clutch. Kokes explained:

“Before, one of the motors always drove the propulsion of the wheels, and the other was a generator with regenerative braking. The one-way clutch allows the engine to lock and then the other motor can help boost the propulsion performance.”

The estimated combined MPG for the Prime is still a mystery, but is targeted at at least 52 MPG. Toyota has announced a 120 MPGe rating. Due to this, the car now defaults to EV mode. There is really no reason for the engine to kick in unless the user chooses it through auto mode, demands brisk acceleration or is running on a depleted battery. The car will determine if there is an efficiency advantage in certain situations, and engage the engine.

The Prime is as close as it gets for Toyota to and an all-electric experience. In regards to whether or not a true all-electric is coming, Kokes hinted:

“Can’t comment on future plans, but yeah. Absolutely.”

Related Video:

Source: Autoblog

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64 responses to "Toyota Prius Prime Engineered With Input From You"

  1. Pete says:

    Prime is really innovative but Toyota should hurry up with an all electric Prius.

    1. SparkEV says:

      They have. It’s called Mirai. Apparently, people have been asking for FC based EV rather than Battery based EV.

      1. Eric says:

        People asked? Surely not. It’s mainly the Japanese policy of subsidising hydrogen energy that is driving Toyota and Honda into marketing compliance FCEVs.

        Note that when Toyota introduced the very first Prius to an unsuspecting market, they immediately started with 30,000 units a year. With the Mirai, they’re hand-building 3,000 units a year and not paying much attention to the necessary infrastructure. Methinks Toyota is not really serious about FCEVs. At least not half as serious as they were when they introduced hybrids.

        So the question remains: when will Toyota start getting serious about BEVs?

        1. ffbj says:

          I think SparkEV was being sarcastic. In that Toyota is so responsive to customers that they actually asked for the Mirai, which is of course silly.

        2. Alpha777 says:

          CARB car only.
          California is funding this boondoggle.

          1. sven says:

            Is CARB funding the Mirais sold in Japan?
            Is CARB funding the Mirais sold in Europe?

            When did CARB extend its jurisdiction to Japan and Europe? Inquiring mind want to know.

        3. SparkEV says:

          I thought my sarcasm was overwhelmingly obvious. ffbj is correct; I was being sarcastic.

      2. Surya says:

        People? Who? Not me!

      3. Speculawyer says:

        LOL! Yeah, pretty much no one asked for the Mirai. And although they did improve the plug-in Prius, they only improved it a little bit. People were asking for 40 to 50 miles of EV range, not a pathetic 20.

    2. David Murray says:

      I don’t think they should call it a Prius if they do make one. I think that car is established as a hybrid.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Mirai has two power sources, fuel cell stack + battery (for regen). Much of H comes from nat gas. In that regard, Mirai is much closer to Prius than any other. They should’ve called Mirai as “Prius FC”

  2. RexxSee says:

    “We continually pay attention to blog posts. We look at Prius Chat. We also do a lot of customer research and focus groups, etc. We hear consistently how people use the vehicle in everyday situations.”

    Finally, maybe the established car makers begin to wake up… the Tesla effect again…

    Or maybe this is just P.R. BS again…

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      Toyota saw posts slamming the Volt for taking too long to charge because the battery is too big compared to the PIP, hence the lower EV range. /s

      1. PHEVfan says:

        Yet they somehow missed the hundreds of posts slamming the Volt for only seating 4….

    2. Alpha777 says:

      20 miles of range?
      Toyota listened to NO ONE.

      This is total bull.
      Toyota simply asked their suppliers what improvements they could delivery and put those in the new model.
      Nothing More.

  3. midimal says:

    Apparently, people have been asking for FC based

    It wasn’t me – Prius+ Electric that wat I was asking for, or at least Prius+ Size PlugIn with 40Milles EV Range

  4. RexxSee says:

    “For some people, 11 [miles] was just fine”
    Lol! You can count them on yours fingers.

    They all knew 11 miles is ridiculous, but like other established car makers they are still trying to kill (or at least now delay) the all electric era.

    For me the Volt is really the lower limit in AER, and hybrids are as irrelevant as they were 10 years ago when they were introduced to replace the first wave of BEVs and calm down the anger of early adopters.

    The ICE and the fossil fuel industries are dying.

    1. sven says:

      RexxSee said:

      “For me the Volt is really the lower limit in AER, and hybrids are as irrelevant as they were 10 years ago. . .”

      Irrelevant? But aren’t you a longtime Prius owner and driver?

      1. Scramjett says:

        I was. And after 9 years of Prius ownership, I’ve come to realize that hybrids were, at best, a bridging technology, but most likely a distraction away from EVs. A better bridging technology is the Volt. It gives you a real EV experience with a gas backup. But that EV experience is what will sell people on full EVs in the future.

        1. Jean-François says:

          Haha Rexie, encore un nouveau pseudo, comment va le trouble d’identités multiples?

          Once again, Rexie use a new handle.. Could you just use your name?!

          1. Scramjett says:

            Excuse me, as I am sure Jay can tell you, I am not Rex, or Rexie, or whatever his name is. As it so happens, I owned a 2007 Toyota Prius in California for 9 years before recently buying a 2017 Chevy Volt. Not a i3 Rex (presumably that’s the car he owns). I happen to think the i3 is rather unattractive. The i3 looks better than the 2016 Prius and Prius Prime by a mile, but it is not nearly as good looking as the 2nd gen Volt (but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it could very well be that Rex likes how the i3 looks better).

            1. Jay Cole says:

              While not commenting on the discussion, Scramjett is definitely uh…scramjet (same name, same IP) – long time discussion/community member

              1. Jean-Francois says:

                Sorry about that Jay and scramjett.

                The way he replied let me think otherwise, and it was probable as Rexsee has been doing this a lot on different websites over the years.

                1. Scramjett says:

                  Well, it is certainly possible for two different people to have similar opinions. 🙂

                  Apology accepted and no harm done. 🙂

                  1. Jay Cole says:

                    pas de problème, mon amie

      2. Spider-Dan says:

        RexxSee has extremely exacting standards when it comes to what other people are driving; he will accept no compromises in that regard.

        BEVs are a perfectly mature and practical technology… for other people to buy. It’s not quite so simple when it comes to making them work in your own life.

  5. Maybe they haven’t heard of, or read articles and their comments here on InsideEVS, and on autoblog green, electrek.co, green car reports, Etc!

    Also, Toyota loves fueled vehicles more than charged ones, hence the Mirai before an upgrade of the Plug in Prius!

    Per: [In regards to whether or not a true all-electric is coming, Kokes hinted:

    “Can’t comment on future plans, but yeah. Absolutely.”]

    But, don’t get too excited about the Toyota EV coming to America to try and take any sales from Fiat, Honda, or Ford, let alone Kia, Hyundai, or Nissan, GM, or least of all – Tesla!
    They wanted to sell the Mirai in China, but they would not have any of that, so Toyota will build an EV to sell in China. That does not mean it will make it to the USA or Canada!

  6. Sammy says:

    I nick my cars around the corner of the bumpers all the time, especially during parallel parking, and parking in garages. Every time I do that with this car I would have to get the bumper fixed because there are lights embedded in it. Please remove the clutter from the bumpers and I will purchase the car.

    1. ffbj says:

      Ever hear of curb feelers? Also maybe some of the sensors will alert you to various objects you are going to impact. Not a sound argument.

  7. GeorgeS says:

    Sven was right. They link the motors in EV mode like the Volt. The new Chrysler mini van also does this.

    Still one more mystery IMO. This new heat pump tech that gives better performance at low ambients….called gas injection….. will it be offered in the US? or is it just a Japanese option?

    1. David Murray says:

      I hope not.. It seems like they are keeping all of the cool features Japanese only. If I bought this car, I’d be annoyed every time I opened the charge door and saw that blank area for the Chademo that I can’t have because I’m in the USA.

      1. Alpha777 says:

        Exactly.
        We should be getting CHADEMO too.

      2. Ryan H says:

        CHADEMO for a 8.8kWh battery? That’s absurd

        1. Spider-Dan says:

          No less absurd than 150W solar panels on the roof, I suppose. You could get up to 2 extra miles of range per day!

          As for how many extra kWh of batteries the solar panel cost could buy… hey, look over there!

          1. Priusmaniac says:

            The solar panel on an ev is in fact a good idea because it compensate for any vampire consumptions in the car which is helpfull in case of very long periods without use.
            But of course it would need to be a true ev in the first place.

        2. Priusmaniac says:

          Actually a Chademo at 50 KW would allow to charge in less than 10 minutes which would make them the first to have the right charge time, so it does make sense. But of course with so little ev range it would not help much more than being first in symbol.

  8. Assaf says:

    Wow, the guy’s a genius. He reads blog posts (are they about Bernie vs. Hillary? Or maybe cute puppies and kitties?)

    He “can’t comment but yeah, absolutely.”

    Where do you find such talents? We need one for our marketing department 🙂

  9. Anon says:

    The front reminds me of a toned-down Nissan IDS Concept.

    The interior has a little Tesla influence.

    The drivetrain seems like a weaker version of a Volt, with less all electric range.

    They must be losing Prius sales.

  10. Emma says:

    I think the problem with this car is that people will buy it love it when it is running in EV mode and then hate it when the engine comes on. The EV experiance will be too little and ultimately they will want something with a bigger battery.

  11. RedLeafBlueLeaf says:

    “For some people, 11 [miles] was just fine.”

    But for the other 98% of PiP buyers, it was like: “What plug? I bought this because with tax credits it was almost the same cost as a regular Prius and I get an HOV lane sticker.” We realized that the HOV lane benefits for plug-ins with almost no electric-only range would soon be going away so we increased the range to keep the sticker.

    I mean, c’mon, if we were serious about the all-electric mode we would have made the motor powerful enough to not need gas-engine-assist during moderate acceleration and up hills. We’re not stupid. We know our target audience and they don’t give a crap about all-electric mode.

    1. RexxSee says:

      Here in Québec, it was 10,000$ more!

    2. Spider-Dan says:

      Toyota didn’t increase the range to keep the sticker, as the stickers are all gone. The second-generation PHEV Prius appears to be (for a change) a product designed to sell on its own merits.

      It’s no worse than the Ford Energis.

  12. They missed my input – stop wasting time and make an all electric drive – Battery based EV. 300 mile range too, as long as I am dreaming.

  13. Dave R says:

    How about a Prius v PHEV with 50 EV miles and 45mpg?

    Taking out the 5th seat and intruding on cargo space are the two biggest let downs of the Prime, right after that is 2013-like Ford Energi range.

    1. PHEVfan says:

      50EV miles would require a battery 2+ times the size, which would take even more cargo space away.

  14. Surya says:

    So in stead of using this new model to take a lead on the competition, they keep on lagging behind with low all electric range. Meh.

  15. Fool Cells says:

    I do not see why anyone would consider this over a Volt. The new Volt wipes the floor with this fugly thing.

  16. sven says:

    “In regards to whether or not a true all-electric is coming, Kokes hinted: “Can’t comment on future plans, but yeah. Absolutely.’”

    It’s ambiguous what “Absolutely” was referring to, so a future Toyota BEV isn’t a sure thing.

    Below is the entire passage from Autoblog:

    “Oh, so a lot of people are telling Toyota they want an all-electric experience, are they? We had to ask Kokes if this meant that there might be some sort of future all-electric vehicle from Toyota. He said, ‘Can’t comment on future plans, but yeah. Absolutely.'”

    That’s ambiguous. What exactly is the word “Absolutely” in response to, the first question or the second question? It can be read either way.

    First question: “Oh, so a lot of people are telling Toyota they want an all-electric experience, are they?”

    Second question: “We had to ask Kokes if this meant that there might be some sort of future all-electric vehicle from Toyota?”

    Does his answer mean: I can’t comment on future plans. But yeah, you’re absolutely correct, a lot of people are telling Toyota they want an all-electric experience.

    http://www.autoblog.com/2016/03/25/toyota-prius-prime-people-complained/

  17. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    The Toyota rep said:

    “We continually pay attention to blog posts. We look at Prius Chat. We also do a lot of customer research and focus groups, etc.”

    And from this you concluded that:

    1. Plug-in EV owners only really want 22 miles of all-electric range

    2. EV owners only want four seats in the car

    3. What car buyers really want in an EV is “fool cell” cars

    * * * * *

    Apparently whoever at Toyota is paying all that attention to what customers want… is getting an astounding amount lost in translation! 🙁

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      What do you expect?

      they listened to those people who are already loyal to Prius by either bought a 0 EV miles Prius or those who accepted 11 miles PIP.

      No imagination…

  18. Jacked Beanstalk says:

    So they copied the Volt’s motor configuration/linkage but they didn’t copy the Volt’s EV range?

    The sad part is that this ugly hunk of subPrime tech is going to sell better than the Volt because consumers are dogmatic.

  19. Rick says:

    They certainly didn’t ask the right people then…I know a lot of people who think hybrid is a joke and they’d much rather have an all-electric. Also road taxes are zero on BEV but not hybrid or PHEV. In nearly twenty years of existence, the Prius just got a plug and became more efficient. The latter is the case of the vast majority of cars compared to their 90s predecessors. I’m sorry, the Prius is just not special anymore and people who don’t care about cars will keep buying them just like they buy other boring econoboxes. Desperate marketing because Toyota knows they’re not relevant in the world of EVs…

  20. Mister G says:

    Where is the 200 mile all electric Toyota?

  21. Tman says:

    So here’s a list of some Plugins and their electric only power.
    Chevy Volt – 111kW(149hp)
    Prius Prime – 68kW(91hp)
    Volvo XC90 T8 – 65kW(87hp)
    Ford Fusion/C-max Energi – 62kW(83hp)
    Hyundai Sonata PHEV – 50kW(67hp)
    Kia Optima PHEV – 50kW(67hp)
    Hyundai Ioniq PHEV – 45kW(60hp)

    The prius has moved from bottom of the barrel 37kW to second place behind the Volt. Also using the discharge C rating of the LG chem batteries in its various applications, it’s safe to say the Chrysler Pacifica hybrid would have above 100kW of electric only power.

    1. ModernMarvelFan says:

      You forget about i3 REx which would take the title…

      1. Spider-Dan says:

        And, strictly speaking, the i8.

    2. sven says:

      Your Prius Prime figures are incorrect. The Prius Plug-In was rated 68kW(91hp), while the new Prius Prime is rated 95 kW (127 hp).

      https://www.yahoo.com/autos/2016-toyota-prius-prime-details-120-mpge-plug-120000897.html

      1. Tman says:

        @sven, the article you linked to is referring to TOTAL power, that’s ICE and electric combined. I was referring to ELECTRIC ONLY power. Which this article clearly states in the following statement.

        ” The new powertrain boasts 68 kW, up from the previous 37kW. This is achieved through the utilization of two electric motors and a one-way clutch. Kokes explained:”

        @Modern marvelfan and Spiderman, thanks for pointing out the BMW i3 and i8. The i3 does take the crown for Electric ONLY POWER, but the i8 has a 7.2kwh battery using Samsung power cells. If we assume an 8C discharge rating which is similar to other Plugins, we get an electric only power of 8*7.2=58kW. Lets round that out to 60kW and the updated list will look like this;

        BMW i3Rex – 127kW(170hp)
        Chevy Volt – 111kW(149hp)
        Prius Prime – 68kW(91hp)
        Volvo XC90 T8 – 65kW(87hp)
        Ford Fusion/C-max Energi – 62kW(83hp)
        BMW i8 – 60kW(80hp)
        Hyundai Sonata PHEV – 50kW(67hp)
        Kia Optima PHEV – 50kW(67hp)
        Hyundai Ioniq PHEV – 45kW(60hp)

        Though the i8 might have a lower power output than the Ford Energi, it does take advantage of it’s 2 speed GKN transmission for torque multiplication allowing for a livelier acceleration in EV only mode.

  22. Bill Howland says:

    I must agree with Toyota that the car is a big improvement over what it replaced.

    Its not my cup of Tea, but if their focus groups show this is what they want, I of course welcome another high-selling EV.

    Too bad my car company (Cadillac) has an EV-hater as its Chief.

  23. Priusmaniac says:

    If they had listen to people they should have made a 100 mile ev range Prius with their new direct free piston range extender. That would have been better than the i3 and way better than the Prime they have now. This Prime is not an effort but just an attempt to continue their existing planetary gear based system which is now obsolete.

  24. John says:

    I think they listened to the wrong people and read the wrong blogs. Total lack of vision for the future. What happened? Toyota used to be one of the better car companies, but for a number of years now it’s like the rest of the world moved ahead and they stayed in the same place and spouted the same lines. Ugh.

  25. G2 says:

    I had TWO Toyota Hybrids and begged them for five years to bring in their own BEV. They failed and so one hybrid went away and a LEAF replaced it.

    Get on with it TOYOTA don’t make ne buy elsewhere again.

    1. Epicurus says:

      Toyota is devoted to the FCEV. They won’t have a BEV until that dream dies. Best to move on to another manufacturer. How about a Tesla model 3?

      I agree that Toyota was a great car manufacturer but now they suffer the same quality issues as other huge auto companies. Why stick with it when they refuse to get on the BEV bandwagon?

  26. G2 says:

    The knights who say “ne” really mean “me”….