Top EV Story Of 2018: How Tesla Killed The Conventional Toyota Prius


It’s the end of the hybrid era.

Toyota might be regretting the sweetheart deal it gave Tesla for its plant in Fremont, Calif. in 2010. Nearly a decade later, the all-electric cars produced by Tesla in Fremont make conventional gas-electric hybrids look as timely as iPods and Blu-ray disks. The Toyota Prius Liftback – once the darling of eco-oriented techies – is the biggest victim.

This year will mark a definitive decade-long trend of declining Prius sales in the United States. There was a blip-like uptick to 147,516 sales of the Prius Liftback in 2012. But the downward trend has been steady since then – to a tepid 50,000 or so units expected by the end of 2018.

Meanwhile, to Toyota’s credit, the Prius Prime plug-in version became the second highest seller among EVs and PHEVs in 2018. The shift in momentum from the no-plug Prius to the Prime is incontrovertible. In 2017, Toyota sold more than 3.3 times as many conventional Priuses as the plug-in versions. But this year, the ratio dropped below a factor of 1.9.

Tesla showed that it is economical and safe to use a big battery. That makes the conventional Prius’s use of a minuscule 0.75-kWh battery pack look sad. The pipsqueak battery indeed assists efficiency to yield a city/highway efficiency of 52 miles per gallon.

Meanwhile, the Prius Prime’s battery is 8.8 kilowatt-hours – still small by EV standards – is enough to provide an official all-electric range of 25 miles. It has an E.P.A. efficiency rating of 133 MPGe. When you consider the $4,502 federal tax credit for the plug-in Prius, its net price drops below $23,000. That’s less than the base price of the no-plug Prius. No wonder the Prime is catching up to the conventional Prius Liftback, even though the plug-in variant seats only four passengers.

A Time for Praise

There are signs that Toyota sees the writing on the wall. The Japanese automaker has plans to transplant the Prius powertrain to the ultra-popular Corolla and recently introducing an all-wheel-drive version of the Prius. But maybe the Prius jumped the shark this week when the company announced that its in-house tuning division, Toyota Racing Development, is trying to spice up the dowdy hybrid with a sporty body kit.

Even if these steps help revitalize some Prius sales, I think it’s time to say that the Prius’s time is up. Of course, it’s too easy to pile on with criticism against Toyota for not making the shift to battery-electric vehicles. Go for it, if you like.

Or we could praise the quintessential hybrid as a critically important vehicle in automotive history. More than 4 million Priuses have been sold globally. It was the gateway to the new EV era – evidenced by how the Prius is one of the most popular models traded in for the Tesla Model 3.

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250 Comments on "Top EV Story Of 2018: How Tesla Killed The Conventional Toyota Prius"

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Toyota killed the Prius all by themselves with the super funk styling, the Prius was always an unassuming very conservative styled car but then they introduced this abomination, Tesla helped but Toyota finished it off.

You’re 100% right. It’s death by ugly styling, not death by Tesla.

There are many factors contributing to its demise.

20 miles of range killed it too.
Along with BMW i3 REX’s great leasing deals.

I think it is the ugliest car I have ever seen. Worse than the Gen 1 Fiat Multipla.

Oh come on now! Nothing is as ugly as the Multipla.

How about the Pontiac Aztec?

Good point!

The Aztek was ugly – but it wasn’t ‘Multipla Ugly’.

The Aztek was so ugly, it killed the Pontiac brand. Look it up.

It’s funny everytime I see a model X it reminds me of a modern day Aztek. All the lines are there – just smoothed out.

I kind of have to agree. The X is pretty weird-looking to me. Like a turtle car with wings.

Oh, please. The Multipla would have a hard time winning even a bronze medal for fugliness; it’s got plenty of competition. The Aztec wins the gold quite easily.

I’d say the Toyota Mirai takes the silver, but that’s just me.

Definitely one of the ugliest

I love Multipla. XD At least, it has sense, is designed for a function. Prius is only horrible.

The AMC Pacer the precursor to the Leaf

Looked it up and you win

I thought it was designed by Homer Simpson

Seriously, how does the designer of this ever get hired. Second, HTF does this even get green-lighted for development. Third, WHOTF actually buys something this horrid looking.

A friend of mine bought one. A decision solely based on utilitie and finance

Actually the Toyota CEO overruled the design team and made them create a “sexier” car than had been planned and tested. Making the new Prius ugly actually delayed its introduction.

It’s a combination

Hey my leaf resembles that remark

Meh. That contributed but availability of better green cars (plug-ins) has been big.

Several factors really account for its decline: The ugliness for sure (an extreme version of a common Toyota problem). The shift away from cars to “trucks”, SUVs and CUVs. Persistent cheap gasoline. Tax credits and state rebates (for those who qualify) make the the Prime and entry level EVs price competitive. The fact that EVs offer more green cred to those who want to show and feel it. The fact that it offers leisurely acceleration by today’s standards, etc. The reality is that absent the credits and rebates no “affordable” PHEV or EV would offer any real competition to the Prius as an economical green(ish) vehicle. The reality is that with or without the tax credits/rebates no EV can offer the practical utility of the Prius (drive to the store or work today, head off across the country tomorrow at 75 mph with NO range or “fuel” supply issues all the while getting 1.5 miles per kWh THERMAL (50 mpg, $.05 to $.07 per mile ($2.50 to $3.50 gasoline)) with all the heating or cooling you could want. And for those in cold regions there will soon be an all wheel drive version. The prime (the only negative being the… Read more »

My model 3 gets 4 miles per kWh and already has all wheel drive. It can also go across the country with no issues and has heating and cooling. And it looks great, drives like a dream, and has power at the ready to handle any traffic or merging situation. No lump in the trunk.

The four seater did it for me. I would have traded in the 2012 PiP for the Prime if I didn’t lose cargo room and a seat.
Now, it’s all EV for me. So long Prius, my love affair with you is over.

Life is to short to dance with ugly women

Tesla May follow, Tesla designers are not up to great designs. model S is a nice car after the horrible nosecone update, Model 3 is nice too, however it could be amazing, and model X, well a huge Prius not appealing style.

I agree – the X is not their best effort. The S is good and I absolutely love my 3 styling….. I think the main issue is Tesla trying to make these larger / taller vehicles aerodynamic — so they do not have the major efficiency issues like the iPace

As an aside, what would a Race look like, if a Model X P100D was Towing a Model 3, while Racing a Model 3?

Most all of the Toyota’s are ugly – especially the Lexus brand with that nasty HUGE front grille — what is Toyota thinking? If they did not build a good quality reliable car (their reputation….) — their sales would be dropping so fast…

Boo on you! The Prius created the sensation of “Feel Good Marketing” which Tesla now enjoys. Respect the pioneers.

Research shows mean people go green to feel better about themselves

That’s like saying we should “respect” BlackBerry because that company sold the first smart phone. But just like Toyota, once it had the pioneering product it just sat on it, letting it go undeveloped, and failing to respond in any meaningful way when Apple came out with the iPhone.

Just like BlackBerry, Toyota has failed to respond in any meaningful way to Tesla making the Model S or the Roadster, cars which are both stylish and a pleasure to drive.

I thought “The Simpsons” did a great job of parodying the Prius as the “Pious”, and parodied the stereotype of the Prius driver as having a holier-than-thou attitude about being “green”. I don’t know how many Prius drivers actually had the attitude of “I’m better than most people because I drive a hybrid car, and I’m glad that the Prius’ distinctively odd styling shows that off to everybody.” But that is certainly the stereotype, which means the perception that many or most of the public at large has.

Thank goodness Tesla has put an end to electric cars appealing mainly to the market niche of the the “holier-than-thou” crowd!

I think the eco-warrior types with smug attitudes were mainly 1st or early 2nd generation Prius owners, much like several Tesla owners fit in the same demographic, but it’s starting to really open up. Prius has been open for years now. For instance, I bought a Prius because it’s one of the most reliable cars on the road and has one of the lowest total ownership costs of any vehicle out there. Being “green” had nothing to do with it.

Just as Toyota opened up Prius ownership from smug eco-warriors to reliability shoppers, Tesla has opened up Model 3 ownership from smug eco-warriors to performance and technology enthusiasts. And while some of the eco-warriors bristle at that, it is far more effective at getting electric cars on the roads in volume.

Except Tesla Took “Zoom, Zoom”, and made it “Swish!”

I never understood the stereotype for Prius owners. I bought one in 2017 and only did so because of the many problems around Oil. I would have never considered a Prius owner to be someone like described but maybe I was/am naive. That car goes to the grandson soon and I too was one to move to Tesla. So happy i did.

>> Prius was always an unassuming very conservative styled car

Attempting to push that narrative is what I would call the “Top EV Story Of 2018”. You can’t be serious. Prius was mocked from way back even before the word “smug” was coined and the South Park episode aired. 15 years ago Prius was labeled as “fugly” and mocked relentlessly for being a standout vehicle, that the only reason people purchased one was to make a statement about being green. This is why so many mainstream consumers turn their back on EV advancements.

Prius was the only midsize hatchback available back then and it delivered 50 MPG for a competitive price. Years later when the next-generation was rolled out, it had established a strong reputation for reliability & resale… and the look was anything but conservative styled.

RAV4 hybrid is what really turned the table. For only $800 more than the traditional model, you could get Prius technology in a SUV. The market lost interest in all types of cars, as sales of the entire segment confirm.

Agree. The car is terrible. Tesla is priced much higher than Prius, I don’t think both cars could share buyers, so Tesla in my opinion, doesn’t kill the Prius, Toyota committed sepuku.

Tesla had little to do with it. Toyota does need to replace some design engineers, however. What wasn’t considered is all the hybrids types and plug-ins now available. The Camry LE hybrid is my favorite. Low gas prices also contributed to the decline.

The Only car that is uglier is the 2013 Leaf my dad owns

Tinted windows help make a Leaf more attractive lol I should know I’m on my second Leaf lease.

It is pointless to wait for a toyota BEV. There are so many offerings already, and even if they come up with one it will be full of obvious and not so obvious limitations, like that atrocity honda clarity ev. Simply ignore them.

The many happy Clarity owners might beg to differ. Here in the midwest, where DC quick chargers are scarce, a Clarity offers both all-electric driving for in town, and the ability to go distances without range anxiety or long charging stops. Plus seating for five adults, and Honda quality. YMMV, but it’s a solid choice for plenty of folks.

The clarity is almost as ugly. Will only be 1% of Honda sales at most.
Designed to not sell.

Joe nailed it.

30-35k Clarity for the year is not bad for 1 st year model

From Honda it is! When are we going to stop pretending evs are not cars?
A 40+ mpg full size Honda that sels for under $25k after credits and you are telling me that 30k units per year is fine? They butchered the design intentionally and got the expected results.

How much of that 30-35k sales of the Clarity is for the PHEV? I guess from what I’ve read, most of it. Apparently the PHEV version greatly outsells either the Electric (BEV) or the frackogen-powered FCEV (*ptui!*) version.

At any rate, if the Clarity is outselling the better-known Chevy Bolt EV, then Honda must be doing something right!

It screams compliance car cause it is

More the merrier. More female is always better at the party.

What are you talking about?

This, gentle reader, is why you should never post while drunk. 😉

Hey, now! Honda Clarity owners are generally very happy with their cars, and unlike Prius owners, they didn’t have to settle for a gasmobile that merely uses EV tech to improve its MPG somewhat. The Honda Clarity section of InsideEVs Forum is by far its most active section, so there are obviously a lot of Clarity owners who really love to talk about their cars!

It’s true that the Clarity’s styling gets what may be politely described as “mixed reviews”, but not everyone values style over substance — or superior engineering, or the ability to drive without burning any gas most of the time — in a car.

Here in the UK Toyota are selling the Plug-In but they don’t really promote the ‘plug-in’ feature.
Until recently, their TV advertising was promoting their ‘Electric Driving without the need to plug it in.’
Talk about two faced!!!!

Their USP for the Prius is well past its sell by date.

Yeah, they naively assumed they can trick the customers with lame stunts. It did not work out very well.

That was probably a good attempt to preserve the service model that served them well. The new energy seems to be a whole new ball game.

But if Phev + Hydrogen ate pitted against Bev lets see who prevails, we have already seen BlueRay vs HdDvd we know only one prevailed.

While true, the reason BluRay won over HD DVD is not a matter so simply understood. It had nothing to do with the fact that most hydrogen supply is from processing fossil fuels. Media formats have nothing to do with economies of scale, chemical engineering, and available infrastructure. Why, then, did BetaMax fail and VHS thrive? Do not look up the reason, it’s scandalous.

Yeah, Blu-Ray vs. HD-DVD isn’t at all a good analogy for the EV revolution, or EV marketing. That short-term format battle was settled at the manufacturer level; market demand had little or nothing to do with which one prevailed.

Agreed, was wrong on the comparison

And yet global sales of Toyota hybrids continues to rise. 2018 is truncated in this table. There is more than just the standard Prius these days.

Hybrids use about half the gasoline of a standard vehicle. Selling 1.5 million per year like Toyota does, has the same environmental impact as selling 750,000 pure EVs. A hybrid battery is about 1.5kwh. You can make 40 of them for the same battery of a single Chevy Bolt. In other words there’s a 20 to 1 improvement of environmental benefit to build hybrids in a constrained battery supply.

Build more battery factories. This is a market economy, not a centrally planned economy.

Yeah I would imagine only a minority of Germans want to bring the Trabant back for sale. Even if the waiting list was at one time 10 years long and they made around 3 million of them. From 1957-1990 – and the last model was a beaut…. didn’t even have headlights.

In the ‘Barklay’s’ futuristic GM profitability report – GM supposedly is going to be mostly EV and Autonomous by 2021. I suppose, since they close battery plants in the States, they’ll get the $145/kwh cost down to under $100 by having the Chinese make them. They claim they are the LEADER in autonomy, what with 180 AV’s made to date.
We’ll see.

Military units are most likely pushing the development of AV’s, as are insurance companies – to date they are more unsafe than ‘drivered’ vehicles. But I don’t think the general public (or me certainly, is in a huge rush for them), since as soon as they just get a ‘bit’ safer than a typical driver, insurance companies will effectively make it impossible to drive your own car anymore.

GM doesn’t own any battery plants just like Tesla doesn’t. GM did have a pack assembly plant for the Volt’s pack that they will be shutting down with the Volt. But their is a new LG plant to build Bolt EV style packs in Michigan.

Battery supply isn’t like oil supply. It’s growing, not shrinking.

Entirely weaning ourselves off burning fossil fuels for everyday transportation means transitioning to BEVs, not trying to spread out a limited supply of batteries into as many low-EV-range PHEVs as possible.

There is a place for PHEVs, and that place is shown by the Chevy Volt and the Honda Clarity. It’s not shown by the non-plug-in Prius, nor even the Prius Plug-in. All of those were and are merely gasmobiles which use some EV tech to improve the MPG of the car.

The current Prius PHEV, with only ~25 miles of range, isn’t much better. Yeah, there are people who own cars but seldom drive more than 25 miles in a day. There just aren’t very many of them, as a percentage.

Improvement on the lithium battery which is a small component while losing heavily on the pollution during usage which is the majority of the pollution involved.

@Tom, This exactly. BEV’s are still too expensive for most people yet (at least for me & everyone I know) if you’re coming from a old diesel car to an hybrid car you’re cleaning up your act hugely until you can afford to go full BEV.

Hell no they do not use half the gas. You’re comparing apples to oranges.

A BMW 330e gets 30mpg on gas, while a 330i gets 27mpg. A regular Toyota RAV4 AWD gets 25mpg, while the hybrid gets 32mpg.

Hybrids use 10-30% less gas, not half.

The only battery production constraint is that chosen by automakers, but I’ll entertain this red herring of yours.

A 1.0kWh Prius battery pack weighs 100lbs, while a 20.8kWh battery module from a Model 3 weighs 207lbs. With equal battery resources, it’s a factor of 10, not 40.

More importantly, there is no sustainable endgame with the 20% emissions reduction from regular hybrids. Replace a billion regular ICEs with hybrids, and the environment is still screwed. Build 100 million decent-range plugins, however, and we’re well on the way to sustainability.

Tesla Model 3 has only been available in the USA.

Don’t forget Canada!!!

How often do Canadians have to post that, in general?

Eh, they’re generally too polite to point out when ‘Muricans are wrong. 😉

Toyota could sell a lot more plugin hybrids but they dont keep them in stock. They take forever to order. They could also sell 100% electrics but they dont make any.
All automakers are COMPLIANCE only makers with as few electrics as they can get away from. They dont teach their sales people how to sell them or any FACTS about them.

I agree.. The Prius Prime could probably be taking about 75% of Prius sales but none of the dealers in my area even stock the Prime.


That’s true except for the one automaker that only makes and sells EVs.

The dealers probably makes more money on the non plug-in Prius vehicles. Again, this is why Tesla (wisely) refuses to go with the conventional dealer model. The dealers would always push the non-Tesla cars.

The Prius is a utilitarian vehicle made for mass market adoption. Where the Tesla is style and performance, two different markets, two different consumers. The technology of the Prius will live on (in the Corolla) the Prius facade has a limited life span.

The Prius lost it’s utilitarian features when it became a four seater fugly mobile.

Not exactly – I think you’re conflating/confusing some things. The Liftback’s styling has admittedly not been well received (hence considerably tempered for 2019), but only the Prime is a four-seater, so that criticism doesn’t apply to the 5-seat LB.

I don’t see that controversial styling has anything to do with compromising utility; I might prefer the exterior of the Gen3, but I greatly prefer the interior of the Gen4, porcelain console and all (though my favorite on most counts is still the Gen2). While I’ll admit the Prime’s 4 seat thing is hard to explain/justify, compromised utility in PHEVs is pretty common due to the weight and volume of battery packs.

…But don’t forget, all of the Tesla models are TWICE as expensive and are not the “everyman’s car” like the Prius is. Tesla will run out of rich people soon and their sales numbers will never be mainstream until they are affordable to the common customer.

They are NOT TWICE as expensive as the Prius. And the price is coming down.

They are ALREADY MAINSTREAM unless you don’t think BMWs, Audis, Mercedes, etc. are mainstream.

And you need to factor in the lower cost of maintenance & fueling.

The question with the Model 3 is where is the ceiling in sales. We know where the ceiling in sales is for the Model S/X. Tesla has shown it’s hand a bit. We know sales aren’t where they would have hoped they were otherwise we wouldn’t see that last minute sales push or Model 3 MR. If the Model 3 turns out to be 150k/yr vehicle is that enough?

The Prius will never be mainstream. It’s not aimed at the mainstream, and it’s not being bought by the mainstream. It may be that the Prius has a fat market niche, but it’s still a niche.

Contrariwise, Tesla has always aimed to capture the general market for automobiles, to literally replace gasmobiles with fully electric cars. With the Model 3, Tesla has proven beyond any reasonable argument that it is succeeding quite well at moving the industry (not just its own sales) in that direction.

Mainstream is determined in my mind by volume, not price. And this year, the Model 3 is certainly mainstream from that perspective. Also, remember that Tesla still has hundreds of thousands of reservations for the standard range Model 3, so whenever it’s financially possible for them to make it, lots and lots of people are going to buy one.

Prius tech is already in the Camry hybrid.

The focus of this article takes too narrow of a view. Had it been “How EV killed the Hybrid” instead, that would have been a constructive of entire market. The reach of 2018 was only to early-adopters with the benefit of a $7,500 tax-credit.

2019 is the true measure of progress and it won’t be focused on just Prius. The next-gen RAV4 hybrid will take the “conventional” buyers by storm. It’s quite obvious when you read an article from a GM source and they omit mention of Toyota’s newest offering entirely. 39 MPG from a 219 horsepower system for only $28,000 will definitely draw in SUV shoppers.

Tesla has a great deal of potential, but the mainstream market is far more fickle than early-adopters.

I think this view will continue to be proven wrong. While Tesla can’t compete in a segment where they don’t have a product yet, like CUVs and trucks, the luxury and midsize sedan segments have proven what will happen when they do.

Yah, I think you have to bring the Rav4 hybrid into the conversation. AWD, 8.1″ ground clearance, 1750 lb towing capacity and about 40 mpg with 220 hp. This will be Toyota’s most popular hybrid going forward, imo.

Absolutely, I want a plug-in, 40-50 mile range. Put the full size spare on the hatch. Loose the 4wd if they need the room.

I totally agree. I don’t think this article presents any real evidence that sales of the Prius are waning, yet the article goes on to make assertions and conclusions based on that false premise. As you say, John1701a, the overall market for mild (non-plug-in) hybrids is declining, but I see no evidence that Toyota is about to stop making mild hybrid Prii.

I think this would have been better labeled an op-ed, rather than a normal IEVs article. It’s certainly not fact-based.

Don’t agree. There are more prius on road than tesla.

Legacy which is on its way out.

If increasing in global sales steadily is code for ‘on its way out’ then yes.

This way to the Egress, or Prius, if you prefer.

Overall, of course. But in the last six months more Teslas have been sold in the US than Priuses.

That’s still no evidence that the Prius is on the way out, let alone that it is competition from Tesla which will force that to happen.

I’m a strong Tesla fan, but I see no advantage in wishful thinking or ignoring reality. Overall, gasmobile makers are moving away from mild hybrids, mainly because they can get better MPG by simply improving the efficiency of their gasoline engines. That movement in the auto industry is due to tightening emissions controls, not because of competition from Tesla.

I have no doubt that eventually, almost everyone in first-world countries who drives a car, will drive a BEV. Probably within 15 years, a lopsided majority of new car sales will be BEVs. Possibly that will happen even sooner than 15 years from today. But the EV revolution won’t be helped by wishful thinking, nor by EV advocates exaggerating the progress which is being made.

True, but I think the article was trying to compare the signature hybrid car (Toyota Prius) with the signature electric car (Tesla Model 3). And 2018 is the first year an electric car has gone mainstream, while hybrid sales are down.

I replaced my Prius with a Tesla Model 3. A new Model 3 is still too expensive to be mainstream.

Waiting for Leasing.
Clock Ticking…

Which is one reasons among many that I bought a Bolt instead.

We tried the same thing, but considering the distribution model of traditional dealers, we got tired of waiting. After our Bolt was spending 2 months on railcars and in a railyard 100 miles from our house, we canceled the order and 13 days later Telsa put a brand new Model 3 in front of our house.
I am done with the GMs of this world. They want to sell monster trucks that are already sitting in their lots, nothing else. And while for a number of people Tesla’s price is still a challenge, prices will drop. They are already cheaper than many of these gas guzzling monster trucks and SUVs that are selling well. So if only half of these people would consider a Tesla instead, there would be huge market even after the expiration of the tax breaks.

And that is going to change when the base Model 3 comes out and you can get a base Tesla for about as much as a loaded Camry.

Depends on definition of mainstream. I just picked up a Model 3 for the wife last night for only $40k after incentive. That is Toyota Camry price! How much more mainstream can you be since it is best selling car in America…for now.

The model 3 is a lot of great things and I love mine but it is not nor ever will be “Camry priced”. Even the “base” model 3 will be well $37.5K + delivered in any color but black. Some Camrys might list for $40K but the ASAP is in the low 20s and nobody pays anywhere close to list price. I my goal was to minimize my total transportation cost in a road trip capable vehicle a Prius or Camry Hybrid would be pretty tough to beat. With $2 gas and 40-50 MPG those cars approach the cost of a model 3 per mile at $.12 / kWh electricity. And the model 3 tire replacement cost delta (at least $400) costs more than 4-6 oil changes Fortunately driving a Camry for 11 years allowed me to save enough cash for an LR model 3. But, I am not going to kid myself it “saves me money”.

Yeah, there is definitely some wishful thinking here. According to Car & Driver, the top 10+ best-selling cars (not light trucks) of 2016 all had a MSRP under $25,000. That’s not to say the average purchase price was that low, but that was the entry point for all of the best-selling cars. I don’t see the Model 3 being in that market segment anytime soon, if ever.

My prediction is that the first compelling, highway-capable, 4-door BEV passenger car, sold in first-world countries, with an MSRP under $25,000, isn’t going to come from Tesla.

The Tesla Model 3 is a great car, and Tesla is going to sell a very large number. But it’s not an “Everyman” car, nor is it accurate to describe it as an “affordable” car; it’s too expensive for that.

After all, the TM3 was marketed to compete with the BMW 3-Series and the Audi A4, not the Toyota Corolla or the Honda Accord.

Sadly, that is true. It is coming down though. The Bolt EV is available too….but it REALLY needs faster DC fast-charging (it needs more than 100KW and it only has 60KW)…and the CCS infrastructure sucks.

Problem with the Bolt is the funky look. Not as bad as the Prius or that God awful butt ugly i3, but still why can’t these cars be stylish?

The Bolt doesn’t really look that funky from the OUTSIDE, at least not much more so than, e.g., a Honda Fit, at least if you ignore the dumb “floating roof” black trim on the C pillar (mercifully, floating roofs aren’t as bad as the opera window craze of the ’70s, but they’re equally pointless). It’s nothing like the metal origami of the Prius skin or the alien “I’ve never designed a car for humans before” weirdness of the i3 (a difficult vehicle to excuse on appearances alone, made unforgivable by mini-suicide doors that turn egress/ingress for four passengers in a normal parking space into a game of Sokoban). If your objection is to the “hatchbox” form factor, I can’t help you – that’s just the most efficient shape for a small footprint vehicle to maximize interior space. For me, the real problem with the Bolt from a design perspective is the INSIDE. From oddly narrow seats with two-tone upholstery in a self-consciously weird design to a dashboard that makes a Gen1 LEAF look downright restrained, the Bolt practically screams “HEY i’M FROM THE FUTURE, TAKE ME BACK TO ASTRO BOY”. I was really impressed with how much Nissan toned things… Read more »

Because if they were perceived as both stylish and as useful as gasmobiles by American buyers, they would compete with the auto maker’s own gasmobile models. No legacy auto maker is ready for that. Not yet, anyway.

I think Toyota products are the best for the money, but not in the ev space, since they don’t make one.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Regardless, the Prius has never been considered an attractive car by mainstream car enthusiasts. Personally, I liked the second and third generation Prius body style. But those are starting to look dated now. The 4th gen body style is sort of “meh.” The Prius Prime looks somewhat better but I think the front and rear are too “busy” looking. Full Disclosure: I own a Prius Prime (along with 4 other EVs that I rent on Turo) and so I have spent a lot of time driving one. I feel like the Prius Prime is essentially just a modified Prius. And I think that Toyota had banked on selling far more regular Prius hybrids than Prius Primes. It’s pretty clear the vehicle was never really designed with battery placement in mind. Granted, it had far more forethought that Ford put into their PHEVs, so I give them credit at least for that. The Prime is also just as slow as the regular Prius. However, I can’t figure out why. The battery and inverter are able to output more amps than a regular hybrid. Combined with the engine power, in hybrid mode the Prime… Read more »

There are only two options to explain toyotas plugin vs non plugin hybrids behavior:
a) thay really don’t want to admit plugins are superior. Bad.
b) they can’t figure it out (like other have already done so). This is really bad.

c) they intentionally don’t want to sell more plug-ins than the minimum to get ZEV credits.

Perhaps they can’t make the plug-in at a profit or they don’t want to get people hooked on plug in electric when they have no plans to advance that to more models.

There’s probably something to this. Toyota had to price the Prime low enough to achieve the volume needed to meet their compliance targets, but I’m pretty sure that means it’s much less profitable than the Prius LB. They could sell a lot more of them if they wanted to by just making them available, but outside of CARB-led states it seems they’re rarely in stock. I’ll at least be grateful that you can order them from just about anywhere, which wasn’t the case with prior PiP models.

I own a gen 3 Prius and I still consider it an attractive automobile. It is reliable and quite functional and serves our one car household perfectly. If only Tesla had designed the model 3 with a hatchback we would own one right now. A sedan is a non -starter. Ditto for the Honda clarity. The volt is too cramped and visibility impaired.
I have wanted a car with a plug since 2012 but to date there is no viable alternative to our gen 3 Prius. I’m still impatiently waiting. Maybe the Hyundai Kona but currently only vapor ware in Oregon.

I would say the Kia Niro electric as a more suitable replacement. But Hyundai/Kia does not seem to have the production capacity to fulfil demand.


Toyota has been WAY TOO LAZY and resting on their butts. They needed a good kick in the butt. They should have AT LEAST been building good PHEVs for a decade now.

I’m happy to see the Model 3 & Bolt drinking their milkshake.

This is the effect of the innovator.
Makes the old stuff look like last weeks garbage.

Nope ! TESLA 3 Not for Me….my 10y/o Prius III
Has provided dependability as well as frugality..
Why GO intro hock for a LATE ‘First Adapter’ “status” Same was also said of the Prius, which will be running long after the hastily ‘built’ 3 starts failing…

Best joke of 2019.

LMAO at the newest troll username.
Since the Prius is the number one most traded in car for the Model 3 he must be panicking. Just wait until the base Model 3 comes out and even more Toyota customers start heading for the exits in order to get a real EV.

There are always early & late adopters. You could buy a cheap sub 100 range EV and join the EV revolution while keeping the prius for long trips.

If he did that he’d actually never drive the Prius again.

The Prius might not be the preferred driving experience, but a Prius and a short-range BEV make a great combination – they’re in my garage right now. The Mitsu i-MiEV is perfect for my short commute and almost all local errands, for which the Prius would never properly warm up. Before the required trip approaches the BEV’s limits, it’s into the sweet spot for the Prius to get warmed up and deliver max MPG, so off-loading short hops to the BEV absolutely improves the Prius aggregate MPG. The Prius is the road trip car, of course, and preferred for ferrying friends to dinner and a movie if we’re sharing the ride (riding in the i-MiEV’s back seat is an interesting experience, but the novelty wears off quickly).

I think your comment could have been shortened to “I can’t afford a new car.”

I’m in the same situation, as are a majority of folks. New cars are expensive! And it’s both economically and environmentally responsible to continue driving a current car that works. I’ve had my Prius for 3 years now, and it’s 10 years old overall. I’d love a Model 3, but it’s just not going to be affordable for me to buy a long range electric car for a while. That’s okay. I can enjoy reading about tech that I could possibly experience 7 or 8 years later. 🙂

I’m sorry to see that your income is dependent on Toyota.

If Toyota doesn’t change its head-in-the-sand attitude towards making BEVs, then your job won’t last many years.

Wait a second, maybe toyota will compensate by selling FCEVs. Ahhhm, okay, maybe not. Forget that.

Twisting the Knife.

That twisting is richly deserved. FCEVs are an obvious scam for too many reasons to review here (if you’re still drinking that kool-aid, have a swig of, and Toyota’s too smart not to know that. GM’s new leadership stopped pushing H2 as a BEV alternative almost immediately, reversing years of FC BS, making Toyota’s continued peddling of this garbage even more unforgivable.

FC is worthy of research for numerous reasons, but the engineering constraints around the current technology make it impractical for universal use in the foreseeable future. Auto manufacturers know that, and those that pretend otherwise, as Toyota has, deserve to be mocked for their duplicity.

It is Amazing that they are STILL kicking that dead horse expecting it to move.

Even if someone could come up with a good case for them (which no one really can), EVs are now so far ahead that it doesn’t matter.

They were always just a stalling technique thrown out by oil companies. Why can’t Toyota figure that out?

The ‘Why’ question is probably not that interesting… why Kodak… why Nokia, why Sears, why xxx… the more interesting thing to bet on is that it is never the case that all the incumbents survive a transition, that is the ‘who’ question and toyota is a pretty good candidate to fall flat on its face.

BlackBerry sales peaked 2010, three years after the introduction of the iPhone. I’m continually surprised when people think the leaders cannot be toppled.

Toyota will survive if for no other reason than they are literally the largest automaker on the planet. Manufacturing capacity & experience matter.

That said, they do deserve a serious beat-down for dragging their feet for more than a decade on plug-in cars.

I want to see Toyota lose huge market share and then start panicking like all the German sports sedan companies have (BMW, Mercedes, Audi, etc.)

The bigger driver is all the EV laws being passed in Europe.

The “who” is Mr. Toyoda

😆 😆 😆

Sure, the future of automobiles is fool cell cars FCEVs! How could Toyota keep saying so if it wasn’t true? 🙄

Yeah, good luck with that plan, Toyota.

I replaced my Prius with a Bolt. If they hadn’t basterdized the hatch space with the battery, I would have been willing to overlook the ugly exterior and the limited battery range. The 2010 prius was amazingly reliable (nothing more than oil changes in over 100k miles) and amazingly practical with huge hatch space. They could have totally dominated the PHEV market if they put just a small amount of effort in to it. I actually do think there is a ton of overlap in people looking at the Prius and Tesla. I almost switch to Tesla but the trunk was a non starter for me in the Model 3. I’ll be lining up at the door for the Y to replace my Volvo PHEV. I’d have a hard time buying another Toyota simply because how I perceive them to be attempting to derail BEV’s in general.

“[Toyota] could have totally dominated the PHEV market if they put just a small amount of effort in to it.”

Yeah, this is why I have no sympathy for Toyota and its apparent obstinate determination to being one of the market leaders which fail to survive the EV revolution. Just like BlackBerry, with its smart phone, it has been far too content to let the technology languish, with no real effort at improvement.

Even worse is how Toyota has been happily promoting Big Oil’s “hydrogen economy” hoax, telling us that fool cell cars are “the future of automobiles” and that there isn’t any market for BEVs.

The Tesla Model 3 is busily proving Toyota very, very wrong!

Honda Clarity PHEV did Prius no favors.

Star Trek John is now reluctant to do his Prius Prime Commercials since someone will immediately bring up the Superior Honda Clarity PHEV. He used to complain ‘the battery is too big for mainstream VOLT customers’, and then HONDA comes out with a much larger one than the GEN 1 volt or ELR had.

Its best features are its large mid-sized comfort, value-pricing , excellent efficiency in either mode of operation, HONDA reliability (eventually), long ev range (47 miles), and fast (6.6 kw) charging.

That is just plain not true. So, I will now shout what I actually said in response to that spin:


That cold, hard reality is confirmed by GM dropping Volt. This is also why Toyota’s approach to spread their hybrid technology to the rest of the fleet with a design easily adaptable for offering a plug is such a wise business move. Being profitable is absolutely vital. Volt pricing never made any sense.

As for the claim of Honda being superior, that’s proof of not understanding who the audience is. Each automaker will offer a variety of choices. Corolla will have a plug later this year too. C-HR is rumored to follow as an EV the next. Somewhere in the mix, we hope to see RAV4 get one too.

Meh…it is only a few thousand more than a Prius and you get a tax-credit. You’ll also save money on gasoline.

I think GM is making better decision to go full electric instead of going backwards to conventional hybrid. The Tesla Model 3 is a break-out hit making up nearly half of all plug-in sales alone right now. And the Prius sales have been dropping for years.

Yes, the EVs are a bit more expensive….but when they are well done like the Model 3, it is worth it.

“…will have a plug later this year…rumored to follow…we hope to see…” Seriously? As with conversations about the Prime before its launch, speculation is largely pointless. As it turned out, the Prime was priced lower than most of us (certainly I) expected, and the resultant value hit a sweet spot that the Volt clearly missed. But as for all that Toyota vaporware, I give credence to nothing until it’s actually for sale at a dealership near me. The Honda Clarity passes that test – there are three sitting on the lot just down the road. On that same score, the Prime’s on shaky ground – the nearest one I can find is over 300 miles away. While I’d agree the two cars are priced far enough apart that they’re not directly competitive, there’s still a lot of overlap based on some use cases, where the Prime would be acceptable but the Clarity preferable for a buyer that can afford it. And most important (at least to me), Honda’s delivering the Clarity – Toyota with the Prime, not so much. Since the breakthrough of the Gen2 Prius, Toyota’s exhibited a recurring pattern of constantly talking futures and falling short on delivery;… Read more »

The Volt has a bigger EV range and looks better than the Clarity PHEV (IMO). The Clarity has more passenger room. The Volt has the advantage of being a hatchback.

The Toyota PiP is a waste of time/attention. Toyota’s motto should be, “shoulda-coulda-woulda”.


There, fixed that for you.

Volt is being dropped with other sedans. Everyone is launching more CUVs at the expense of sedans.

No hatch though. Where is my hybrid cargo van?

Meh. The rumors of the Prius’ death are greatly exaggerated.

Toyota has added a hybrid option to most of its car and SUV lineup and significantly lowered the price premium, which has cannibalized/siphoned-off sales from the Prius hybrid. A large number of Prius hybrid sales shifted over to the 52 mpg Camry hybrid and the 39 mpg RAV4 hybrid CUV. Toyota also sells hybrid versions of Highlander CUV, Avalon large sedan, and soon the Corolla compact sedan and 4Runner SUV.

Through November, Toyota sold 46,423 Prius hybrid sedans and 45,888 RAV4 hybrids, mirroring the shift from ICE sedans to ICE CUVs. For some reason Toyota doesn’t report the number of hybrid sales for the rest of its lineup . But the Camry hybrid must be selling well, since it has a significantly more powerful engine than the Prius, making it faster than the Prius while offering an almost identical MPG rating and styling that’s less polarizing and more conventional.

There was another link in the comments showing all their hybrids. I counted 43 models. And something like 1.4million sales of hybrids in 2017 for about 16% of their sales. Can kinda see why they don’t want to give up on that strategy quite yet. Huge capital investment and economy of scale.

The price premium for the hybrid drive-train is still pretty big though.

In my country there is a 30% difference between the starting price of the non-hybrid and the hybrid variants of the CH-R (a crossover).

If the premium was something like 5-10%, I would say that Toyota has done their work well.

As it is, after almost 2 decades of development they have failed to bring down the cost of the hybrid power-train.

Here in the United States, the premium difference is far less. Where is your country?

Profit. Priced for profit not for consumers.

GM killed it’s sista, too! The Volt! Long live the Bolt!

Is it killed off? You are making this story up!

>> A GM spokesperson also confirmed to Electrek that Chevy Volt production will be discontinued by March 2019. <<

That’s the Volt, not the Prius.

Although the Prius V is dead.

Cars are inanimate objects that cannot be killed. It is just an expression meaning that they have lost a lot of market share.

No, it’s an expression meaning they won’t be manufactured any more.

Meh. If I say the Bears really killed the Vikings in last night’s game….

…then we’ll know you aren’t talking about market competition.

Context matters, and Vike is correct.

So is Dan. The Prius is not being killed off, and whoever wrote this article is making that up.

You would be wrong…

Isn’t the Prius supposed to be a technology incubator? Seeing as Toyota has introduced a hybrid variant in much of the lineup, the case for selling any Prius without a plug is diminished. They should just cut the Liftback entirely, leave the Corolla to fill that need (including the wagon version), and only sell the Prime under the Prius name.

If the Prius was intended as a technology incubator, then it should have hatched out something like the Honda Clarity several years back, and should have a monopoly on at least the PHEV market by now. Toyota has also had ample time to develop at least a contender in the second-rate (that is, non-Tesla) BEV market; at least one as compelling as the Bolt EV.

As a reminder, Toyota didn’t start making its first PHEV, the Prius Plug-in, until after there were already multiple aftermarket conversion kits to convert a mild hybrid Prius into a plug-in. Let’s also not forget that the first-gen Prius Plug-in had no better EV range than Prii equipped with those aftermarket conversion kits! 😯

The fact is, Toyota has demonstrated over and over that it has no interest in developing compelling EVs, whether they are PHEVs or BEVs.

Let’s not forget the Clarity is based on Volt technology. It’s not like Honda just built the Clarity. GM and Honda have some partnerships going on.

Rational thought is not becoming on the internet. You must now go to the stairs for time out!

There should be a fully electric successor to the Prius by now. Toyota failed us all.

I do feel they deserve credit for their hybrid powertrain. In Europe it is now the alternatuve for diesel, but that will not last very long.

I think we can expect a lot from the Volkswagen group in the coming years. They seem to be taking a quite hard turn into the right direction and will probably be selling a lot of new electric Golf (ID) based BEV from 2020 on. In 2019 I hope to see many E-Tron.

Thankfully we have Tesla that will bring us the boatloads of Model 3 from february 2019 on.

Even though I love my Toyota Auris hybrid, my next car will be electric and most likely not a Toyota. Probably a second hand Kia Niro or something.

Fully electric by now? No. Cost is clearly not there yet for mass-market acceptance. The entire industry is still showing dependence upon tax-credit subsidies, investment capital, and the support of early-adopters. We thank all those who contribute to the cause, but the death of plug-in hybrids is grossly exaggerated. Automakers are a for-profit business. Dumping new product on dealers with poorly informed customers, no infrastructure, and an appetite for guzzling cheap gas makes no sense whatsoever. How well did Nissan or BMW’s exploration into that approach work? Tesla’s advantage is not having that legacy to address, but that makes reaching loyal legacy buyers a challenge. To say “Toyota failed us all” means turning a blind-eye to ordinary consumers. We see that Prime delivers all-electric commutes for many owners. Keep in mind, the small battery-capacity makes it an affordable choice, delivering a MSRP so low it can compete directly with traditional vehicles. How many fully electric vehicles can do that? Think about how my vehicles per year are required. Not understanding cost & volume makes constructive discussion basically impossible. 200,000 tax-credits is less than a single top-selling vehicle in this market. To be both popular & profitable, it takes far more… Read more »

“…the death of plug-in hybrids is grossly exaggerated.”

This article, badly informed as it is, is not claiming PHEVs are dead; it’s claiming that mild hybrids, that is, non-plug-in hybrids, are dead.

While I see no evidence that Toyota will soon stop making mild hybrid Prii, at the same time, it is true that most auto makers have stopped making most of their mild hybrids. And it’s not because of competition from Tesla, but rather because they have found it’s easier and less expensive to lower a gasmobile’s emissions by using a more efficient gas engine than by adding a hybrid EV powertrain which only improves the MPG by a handful of miles.

As mild hybrids go, the Prius is light-years ahead of what other auto makers make. That’s why Toyota is showing no signs of taking it out of production — despite the “fake news” headline of this article.

More to to do with the hideous styling and hybrids on the other lineups

It’s horrendously ugly. I couldn’t buy it when my Gen 3 was written off. No matter how good a car drives, beauty is what sells.

Exactly. When Tesla achieves the success of the Prius, it can start to brag. Until then, bow down in reverence for an amazing technological achievement by Toyota.

Actually, the Model-3 is likely outselling the Prius now. Certainly in the USA.

Yes, the more expensive Model 3 is outselling the cheaper prius, which basically means prius is not worth even for its cheap price. Big hook in the face of toyota.

6 months does not make a trend. The Prius has been around for well over a decade and saw it’s high point long before the Model 3 came out.

Oh come on. It was amazing in 1997 but they can’t continue to win praise by sitting on their hands for 20 years. Time’s up on the Prius.

Dude…the Tesla Model 3 *HAS* achieved the success of the Prius NOW. It sells 6000 to 7000 a month in the USA right now. The Tesla Model 3 beats that.

Nice self-own there, Joe.

Prius success has been measured by the ability to sustain mainstream sales volume without tax-credits. We have yet to see that from Model 3. So, you can’t draw the conclusion. You can point out the tremendous potential though. Despite being a good looking car in a predominantly SUV market, there is a draw with such range, performance, and super-chargers. Deterrence of the higher price still is the big unknown.

Oh, I think we already have plenty of evidence to draw a conclusion about the growing market for the Model 3. Those who think Model 3 sale are going to fall off a cliff just because the U.S. federal income tax credit is going away… Happily, those Tesla detractors and bashers are going to be proven to be every bit as wrong about that as they have been about all their other false claims about Tesla and its cars.

The Prius isn’t in any danger of being killed off in the short term, despite what this article says. But neither is it in any danger of seeing its sales grow sharply year after year, as Tesla Model 3 (and eventually Model Y) sales are and will continue to, over at least the next several years.

> Toyota might be regretting the sweetheart deal it gave Tesla for its plant in Fremont

They can regret it all they like, but I don’t think selling the plant was the problem. Toyota owned a large stake in Tesla for quite some time during the early years; I think the bigger regret may be selling that. If they still had that stake, they might actually be quite pleased with the outcome of selling the plant to Tesla.

The Fremont factory was great for Tesla mostly because they got it nearly for free. But when Tesla builds a new plant, there’s no way they’ll build it in an area with such high land and labor prices.


SUVs killed the Prius, not Tesla. You can’t take a Tesla on a long trip since it requires charging time. Try to drive a Tesla from South Florida to DC with just two five minute stops. Plug in Hybrids and Fuel Cells are the future.

Fuel cell cars are the future? Seriously, that’s your argument?

Toyota helped by coming up with the ugliest Prius ever in 2016.

Since 2014 the Prius has lost sells simply because it’s just plan ugly. The designers just don’t get that consumers like something easy on the eyes and the 2018 Prius is saying “turn away I’m hideous looking”.

Tesla didn’t kill the Prius. Toyota killed the Prius by offering the RAV4 hybrid that is only $800 more than the ICE version, with one sec quicker acceleration and e-AWD.

Non plug in hybrids are good in the city where they can be a lot more efficient.
Diesel cars are much more efficient outside the city, also “micro hybrids” are simpler and offering nice gains in efficiency.

The various EV rebates may distort the picture in some jurisdictions but the Prius is well within the price range of most folks who can’t shell out serious $$$$ for EVs. The Prius is ECO friendly, it rides fine and spacious inside and super reliable. Yes, it looks peculiar and yes, it started to fade away in favor of EVs and ‘long range’ PHEVs. Toyota fell behind in developing EVs.

However, should Toyota decide to update the Prius PHEV, a.k.a. Prime, to a 50-60 mile EV range it would be big seller for years to come. With the demise of the VOLT the only current competition in the “long range” PHEV category is the Honda Insight.

For many people with concerns about living green, but live in apartments, condominiums (or even in some town homes) EVs are simply not practical for an other 20 years or so. Even with the new building codes it will take time until home charging will be practical for many.

There’s no Phev Honda Insight

I’m pretty sure you meant “Honda Clarity” there – there is no PHEV Insight (at least not now), and that underscores the problem – the Clarity isn’t nearly as affordable as a Prime, and that’s because the batteries that provide the Clarity’s longer BEV range are still big, heavy, and expensive. The Volt was always a compromised vehicle, with its cramped rear seating and limited cargo space (only partially addressed in the Gen2, which at least sits better).

I think the Volt’s departure matters a lot more to the Clarity than the Prime, which could add BEV range only by further compromising its cargo space (already a sore point, as a quick read of this thread will show). A long-range PHEV option might make more sense for the Prius v, which could probably accommodate more battery and still provide decent passenger and cargo space, depending on how it’s all configured.

Worldwide Toyota is selling more hybrids than ever before. The prius just doesnt look all that great against its other hybrids let alone the competition.

Comments like this continue to puzzle me. Toyota’s other hybrids don’t get 60 MPG. That might seem irrelevant, but it matters a lot to people looking to minimize carbon footprint (not everyone, but it’s the Prius target market), and it’s a great convenience on road trips. The Prius is a fundamentally different vehicle with a different set of tradeoffs in relation to Toyota’s other more conventional hybrid models.

Yup. The non-plug-in Prius (and also the Honda Insight) may be only mild hybrids, but as mild hybrids go, they’re pretty robust, with a very significant improvement in MPG (that is, fuel efficiency). The non-plug-in Prius and the Insight are true hybrid cars, not merely gasmobiles with some EV tech added in to improve the MPG by a mere handful of miles. They are cars fully deserving of the label HEV: Hybrid Electric Vehicle. (There, that should set the EV “purists” foaming at the mouth! 😉 )

That’s why we can expect the Prius to be sold for at least a few more years, even as other auto makers cease to produce mild hybrids altogether. If Honda doesn’t also continue to make the Insight, then hopefully that will be because it has found success with the Clarity PHEV, and hopefully with future PHEVs and BEVs.

I can’t really agree. The notion that “conventional gas-electric hybrids look as timely as iPods and Blu-ray disks” is wishful thinking at best in a market that remains tepid for high-efficiency vehicles in general. It might not seem so in EV-rich SoCal, but a Prius remains a damn moon shot next to a Ford F-150 – and that’s exactly where it’s sitting in parking lots and at stop lights all over this country.

The Prius’s slide is no cause for celebrating Toyota’s comeuppance for ignoring BEV tech and wasting time and resources on the Mirai fool-cell con. It’s a cause for decrying the shortsighted indifference of U.S. buyers to fuel-efficient personal transportation.

I never considered an electric vehicle and still don’t. Every several years I look at them, but am always turned off by them. The primary reason early on was that all the fuel efficient vehicles and electrics/ hybrids were just ugly. Too ugly. So ugly that they were depressing. Then they started looking less ugly, which had accelerated after Tesla. Next issue however then is the price. Way to expensive. The second hand sales are equally expensive, and even the oldest multi owner non Tesla vehicles are still in the 15k range. Any older and you are back to the ugly first gen stuff. Even if Tesla gets the 35k model 3 out… Still won’t get one. Too expensive, and is a car. Leading to problem 3 Cars/ sedans even with hatches, are just not as useful for me as a large SUV or truck. An old rust bucket truck for under 3k with 15mpg is still far more attractive to me than so the electrics. My leased VW Jetta, my final sedan till I switch completely to large vehicles, has some the features for maxed out for 28k brand new. The final nail in the coffin is the government… Read more »

OK, Grandpa. You keep using that land-line phone.

I’m sure you’re very happy driving your horse-drawn wagon. No doubt you can carry a lot of freight in the back. Yeah, these newfangled EVs are just a passing fad. 🙄

CA is already charging an extra EV registration fee, thus eliminating some of the savings over gas.

Prius and Tesla are in a completely different price categories. The currently lowest priced Tesla costs twice as much as the Prius / Prime. The low gas prices killed the Prius, together with the rising popularity of crossover vehicles and the much improved fuel economy of ICE cars. Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 routinely get 30 mpg or better. While getting 40-50mpg with a Prius is great, the difference in gas expenses is just not enough to justify the loss in convenience, status etc. for most buyers . Also, the prior Prius model looks much better and is almost indestructible, likely causing owners to delay purchases of the new model that looks hideous.

You are apparently not up on the data. The Toyota Prius is one of the most-turned in used cars for people turning in a used car in order to buy a Tesla Model 3.

Yes, the Model 3 is more expensive. But a lot of people that bought a Prius are willing to stretch things in order to go full EV. Part of it is probably upgrading to a fancier car. Part of it is wanting to go full electric & get off gas.

2018 Toyota Prius Prime
Mid-size car
MSRP: From $27,300

2 * 27,300 = $54,600. You can get a Model 3 for the mid-40Ks.

Not understanding the early-adopter market will lead to mistakes related to the mainstream.

200,000 sales is a trivial quantity for a product-cycle of a top-seller. GM either didn’t recognize that or simply didn’t care, because they ran out long before being able to ramp-up production… as Tesla has very successfully achieved.

That next step without subsidies is a difficult one though, something most here aren’t willing to address yet. Toyota is well aware of the challenge though. We see that by the aggressive actions taken with their hybrid diversification.

Toyota should kill off all their conventional hybrids by bumping up the battery size (and perhaps motor size) and making them ALL BE PLUG-IN HYBRIDS. They would would all be much more useful. They would all get a tax-credit. And they would all run on electricity for at least some of the time.

They would also a) cost more, and b) have reduced utility. The Prime’s a great deal for a PHEV, but for many buyers the Prius LB is still a better choice, in part because of the passenger and cargo capacity that the Prime trades for its plug-in capability. I’m a big fan of PHEVs, especially as only cars (most multi-car households would benefit from having a BEV in the fleet), but one needs to be realistic about the tradeoffs.

The costing more can be made up by the tax-credit and gasoline savings.

The reduced utility needs to be addressed by clean designs. They are shoe-horning these larger batteries into already existing conventional cars or conventional hybrids. FFS, make the car a tiny bit bigger.

This is an area where Tesla continues to have a big advantage in that they have clean-sheet designs for all their vehicles (except the original roadster). They end up with cars with plenty of truck space AND plenty of frunk space. Yes, I know PHEVs have more in them but they can do better.

>> I’m a big fan of PHEVs, especially as only cars… but one needs to be realistic about the tradeoffs.

Ironically, not seeing that a 5th is rarely ever needed and not acknowledging the large cargo area from folding down seats are great examples of being unrealistic. Both are excellent tradeoffs.

It’s weak arguments of claimed necessity that discredit sources like this as anything beyond group think. That is what killed Volt. Few saw the pattern then (a clear repeat of Two-Mode history), so it is no surprise the same mistakes playing out again.

Balance for an affordable price is what mainstreams shoppers seek. That is why Prius was so successful. Rather than delivering more capacity & power, Toyota carefully weighed tradeoffs to find a pleasing middle… a concept clearly not embraced by many of the posters here.

Seems like a solid plan, and one Toyota’s leadership has already openly discussed. The Prius Prime is the TOP-SELLING affordable EV in America. The RAV4 hybrid is the top-selling green AWD compact crossover on the planet (compact crossovers are the country’s top segment now, having passed trucks). The Prius HEV is the top-selling green car in the known universe. Toyota overall is the top-selling green vehicle producer in America and on Earth. Why aren’t we talking about the failure of Ford, FCA, VW and every other car company, GM the possible lone exception, to take their thumb out of their butts?

I’d argue that it was Toyota, not Tesla, who debilitated the non-plug Prius on the US market. The Toyota corporate mavens woefully misread the evolving desires of the US driving public. They should have just given it a more CUV-esque appearance, a sportier drivetrain and a lot of electronic doodads.

RAV4 hybrid delivers 39 MPG with 219 horsepower for $28,000.

How is that not being responsive to a changing market?

Finish the sentence: “I have changed the subject from Prius to RAV Hybrid, because … “

…because the market has shifted interest to SUV choices and the AWD model of Prius won’t be available for a few weeks still.

I find it intriguing to see topic spin as an attempt to polarize. Rather than seeing Toyota’s effort to diversify, it’s a one-size-fits-all perspective being pushed. That’s the very thing that killed Volt. GM failed to spread the technology.

In other words, I didn’t actually change the subject. I drew attention to the fact that the single-mindedness was creating a false narrative of what’s really happening. The goal is to end the production of traditional vehicles with electrified choices. That’s exactly what Toyota is aggressively pursuing. What other automaker is addressing their entire fleet of Cars & SUVs like that?

Ignoring the fact that Toyota hybrids in other (more popular) models have grown sharply in a story that talks about the top-selling green car on the planet being “dead” is the least of this story’s issues that should have been booted back the poster in editing.

Prius sales world-wide doing very, very well. In the US there has only been a decline due to low fuel prices

That’s not true….hybrid sales have been dropping FOR YEARS now.

Citation for the claim? More models are being released every year.

Seems to be true in California at least, altho perhaps it’s not true globally.

“Conventional hybrids claimed 4 percent of [California] market share in the first half of 2018, which marks a decline from previous years. Last year, new hybrid vehicle registrations in California represented 4.6 percent of market share. In 2014, hybrids claimed 6.3 percent of market share.

Tesla isnt killing the Prius, the hybrid powertrain is in basically every other Toyota model…so there is little point in having a Prius…

Simple math. At $2.50 a gallon a Rav 4 at 35 mpg is fine can butt ugly Prius. Finally hybrid in a Corolla soon.

Meanwhile Tesla losing $2b a year and Toyota making record profits.

Toyota messed up the Prius liftback with the whacky styling of the gen 4. It was just too much for many to swallow.

They need a clean sheet design that fixes the styling and puts the plug-in battery into the floorboard.

Meanwhile, selling ~1.5 million hybrids in 2018 means that Toyota’s hybrid strategy continues to be a success for the largest and best automaker, even if the Gen 4 Prius failed to build on the success of the Gen 3.

Their go-slow approach so far on plug-in vehicles allowed Tesla to steal some noticeable market share, but Toyota is still pretty well-positioned for the ongoing electrification of the personal vehicle, given their massive hybrid-electric production, IMO.

Also where is the station wagon (or CUV) version of the Gen 4 liftback Prius? If/when they get around to delivering that, then a plug-in version would solve some of the problems of the Prime: beef up suspension and reclaim the 5th passenger seat. Lift the roofline over the hatch area and get more storage back too.

There’s a lot of obvious things that Toyota can do to improve their lineup going forward. The all-wheel drive is one small step.

RAV4 hybrid is what you’re looking for.

Good to acknowledge the death of the “kinda electric” car represented by the hybrid. But here is a thought for you all to ignore as usual:

The hybrid rose on the rise in price in gasoline, and now falls with the fall in gas prices. And yet fully electric vehicles continue to rise. How could that be? Because EVs were never about high gas prices, but hybrids were. If you wanted to get the best gas mileage, hybrids got you there, nearing 50mpg. But wait, didn’t EVs get you to zero gasoline? Yes, but EVs are a total lifestyle change. Hybrids allowed you to just continue to keep using gas the way you always have, just less of it. The people buying hybrids were never that “green committed”. EVs (true EVs) are a commitment.

>> The hybrid rose on the rise in price in gasoline, and now falls with the fall in gas prices. And yet fully electric vehicles continue to rise. How could that be? That narrative has a fundamental flaw. From Jan. 2000 to Dec. 2005, there was no tax-credit available for hybrids. All you’d get for purchasing a green vehicle was a $2K deduction, which worked out to between $300 and $400 for most people. Despite that, sales of Prius grew to exceed the 100,000 annual milestone. EV purchases have yet to prove their ability to reach mainstream volume without tax-credit help, which is quite generous at $7,500. As for the narrow-minded view that a plug-in hybrid cannot have a huge impact to being green, you’re fighting people on the same team. Those are really messed up priorities that the oil industry will appreciate. Even with a small battery-pack in Prius Prime, owners commute can dramatically reduce oil consumption… to the point where some are entirely electric. Also, keep in mind that hybrid choices were very limited then and some automakers were fighting fiercely against electrification, most notably GM and VW. There was no sense of electrification being the future like… Read more »

The prius was a great car (still has many qualities making it preferable over an average ICE car). But 2 decades after introducing it Toyota is still trying to hang on to that and just make a newer/slightly better version of it. OTOH, Tesla has introduced 3 generations of revolutionary vehicles in half that time. Toyota needs to step up the game.

Great car- for the 20th century

“Toyota Racing Development, is trying to spice up the dowdy hybrid with a sporty body kit.” – It is not the wrapper, it is the torque and power to the wheels that count.

Don’t forget the taxi fleets. It seems like every frickin’ taxi is a Prius, at least in the U.S. Those sales had to be a huge part of the total and will have to be replaced soon.

And Priuses will still be a top option for new taxies. Utility, economy, reliability are all huge for the standard lift-back Prius.

The Prius is also a popular ride-share vehicle choice. You make a good point.

Other than the Prii that are directly traded for a Tesla, I don’t see the causality. The link between Tesla sold and Prius not sold doesn’t seem to have any relationship at all. Especially not a strong enough relationship to say Tesla directly ‘killed’ Prius sales. So, we’re saying that Prius prospective customers are cross-shopping a car that costs 2x as much? Doubtful.

Past Prius buyers are probably buying RAV4 or another Toyota product.

As far as ugly killing the beast, doubtful as well. Toyota customers are very loyal regardless of ugly or not.

Toyota has been a pioneer in hybridization. competition has multiplied and improved. As good is Tesla, the competition is coming (Volks among others) and will improve as well. This is a normal cycle and Tesla will need more funds to diversify and become competitive. My opinion.

You are spot on. The Prius sales decline was steepest prior to Tesla entering the picture. From ’07- to 2010. The story’s premise is incorrect and not supported by any facts.

Past Prius buyers have been a major source of Tesla sales for years. Some fair number of former Prius buyers have plenty of money, they were just choosing the most technologically advanced, efficient car available.

Pretty sure former Prius owners made up a fair percentage of Model S buyers going way back.

Model 3 is obviously increasing the number of potential conquest sales from Prius to Tesla.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

The only causality would be that Tesla has helped to make people look towards long-range BEV as the desirable solution and in doing so has helped destroy the Prius cachet.

They’ve also helped made a mockery of Toyota’s HFCV push.

With that, nobody’s looking to Toyota for innovation.

It has and that is a good thing. I bought my Prius in Dec 2005 (2006 model) I kept it up until 3 months ago when I bought my Tesla Model 3. My father owned a Shell service station, but I realized that extracting oil and using gasoline is bad for the entire planet.