Early Sales Data Suggests The Toyota Prius Prime May Be 2017’s Best Selling Plug-In Globally


APR 12 2017 BY MARK KANE 116

Toyota Prius Prime sales in U.S. – March 2017

The Toyota Prius Prime (aka Prius PHV) is slowly spreading throughout the world, beginning from the US in mid-November of 2016.

Toyota Prius Prime

And the early results suggest that the Japanese flagship has tremendous potential when it comes to sales…maybe as much as 10,000 a month (provided that Toyota can get production that high).

In the U.S., sales have already hit 6,768 through the plug-in’s first 4.5 months on the market, with 1,618 sold in March…and never with an average inventory more than 900 units in any month – meaning the US demand is currently far greater than Toyota’s supply.

Even now, the Prime averages for more than 15% of total Prius sales.

Now we have early data from Japan to add to the mix, as the next generation Prius Plug-In noted sales of 3,230 in February domestically (around 20% of total Prius sales).

Combined U.S./Japan sales in February stands at 4,592 – one of the better results in the world in the first two months (check our updated comparison below), and a number that also made the plug-in Prius the best selling plug-in vehicle for the entire world in February, despite only being available in a couple markets…in a limited fashion.

Given those early results, there is a real good shot that the best selling plug-in vehicle for 2017 will be the Toyota Prius Prime/Plug-In Hybrid.

World’s Top 10 Selling Plug-In Cars – 2017 February (data source: EV Sales Blog)

Categories: Sales, Toyota

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116 Comments on "Early Sales Data Suggests The Toyota Prius Prime May Be 2017’s Best Selling Plug-In Globally"

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I am not surprised by this whatsoever. While the Prius brand in general is struggling they put out, in comparison to the non plug-in Prius, a very compelling option that in many places is cheaper than it’s non-plug alternative!

Prius brand us general in which part of the world Precisely is Struggling? please elaborate if you could…

I’m not at all surprised. Not that I think it’s the best car, but just knowing what I know about the market, I predicted this would be a hit. Now queue all of the PHEV hater comments….

Yeah. Toyota makes a decent car, though I think the Volt is superior in a number of areas.

I hope they get to test drive the Volt at some point later after having the prius for a while and realize that the gas engine does not have to come on for reasonable acceleration and that while the prius showed them how its cool to be able to plugin and have more range in the morning it would be even better to have a pure electric car

Just switch to EV mode instead. No surprises.

There are many reports from people not realizing they are actually in EV-Auto mode, completely unware that it allows the engine to start at time of high demand.

Looking at the button layout, it’s easy to see how that mistake could be made. There isn’t actually a button labeled EV. You have to look carefully at the dashboard to see the change from pushing them. We’ve seen people make an incorrect assumption.

It’s no big deal once you’ve owned the car for a little bit. Many reviewers simply have no idea what’s even available. So, the mistake happens. Owners take the time to push all the buttons. There isn’t a rush to write a review and return the car.

It amazes me that the Volt wins almost every comparative review and people still buy the PP instead. But, I guess I’m not that surprised given how biased most people are again US car manufacturers (mostly based on their quality issues in the 70s & 80s).

Actually the Volt only wins in two categories, EV range and acceleration (which isn’t quick by any means)…

Prime is cheaper, better badge, larger, better MPG, standard equipment (includes safety equipment standard on base) and a ton of offerings the Volt doesn’t (homelink/sunroof/power memory seats/hud/etc)…

Have you read the comparative reviews? Quick search for “Volt vs Prius Prime” will pull up several. Every one I’ve see is either in favor of the Volt, or Neutral. And some of those are from publications that normally dislike US cars.

The PP can’t even manage as much electric range as a 1st gen Volt. And, the price difference is largely offset by the larger federal rebate that the Volt qualifies for. That doesn’t even take into account discounting & lease deals.

But, I guess if having a Toyota badge with some better interior amenities is worth a 50% electric range cut, then the PP is the car to choose…

The Volt for certain months can have some incredible lease deals, yet to get them you usually cannot just drive to your local dealer get that deal…You often have to be in the know which isn’t different than any other vehicle…The Prime is a better value due to the lower price yet you have to be okay with burning more gas which according to sales, people are…

And Many reviewer said that they would rather pay more for the Volt due to FAR SUPERIOR driving dynamic.

I guess Prius Prime buyers don’t care about driving, that is why they bought a Prius in the first place… LOL.

>> Many reviewer said that they would rather pay more for the Volt due to FAR SUPERIOR driving dynamic.

Wrong audience.

Ordinary consumers couldn’t care less. Those mainstream buyers are looking for a good all-around value. They are unwilling to pay a premium for more, no matter how much enthusiasts provide praise.

People declare bias, not realizing they themselves are not representation of those shopping showroom floors, nor having anything in common with them.

Volt began as a niche and continues to be. That’s fine. We all like faster & further. But that simply is not what middle-market is looking for.

Good point, John. People that don’t know anything about cars and don’t care how they drive will probably prefer Toyota to Chevy.

Superior driver dynamic doesn’t matter when people that think of cars like they are some form of Lazy Boy furniture can buy a sofa like Prius instead.

Vive le sofa!

People that like the PiP over the Volt probably prefer fat chicks to fit chicks. Not that there is anything wrong with larger girls…

I’ve owned both Chevy’s and Toyota’s over the last 30 years. There is one word I have to contribute, “Reliability”. Toyota is my brand. I love my Prius and will buy another one.

And, the price difference is largely offset by the larger federal rebate that the Volt qualifies for.

GM is in a world of hurt when Volt hits mid-cycle and there that tax-credit (not a rebate) isn’t available anymore.

Toyota’s choice of configuration was to provide a MSRP capable of high-volume profitable sales without dependency on any subsidy.

In other words, there is no offset for anyone considering business sustainability.

>> I guess if having a Toyota badge with some better interior amenities is worth a 50% electric range cut, then the PP is the car to choose…

First year gen-1 Volt was rated for 35 miles.

First year Prius Prime is rated for 25 miles.

That’s 71%

Also, don’t overlook the STANDARD safety features included on the Prime BASE model that Volt didn’t offer:

– Pre-Collision System
– Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
– Automatic High Beams
– Dynamic Radar Cruise Control

Also, Prime comes with a much more efficient electric heater. So, that same electricity will take you further in the winter.

John you are very conveniently ignoring the Plug in Prius and it’s 13 mile range. That was the first generation, the Prime is the second generation and competes with the Volts 53 mile electric range.

Also, amusingly, the few above that felt a Prius was better than a Volt conveniently ignore that the Prius only seats 4, compared to 5 in the Gen 2 Volt. This is something those same people used to bash the first Gen Volt for since it only had 4 seats and the anemic Plug in Prius had 5.

>> the Prime is the second generation and competes with the Volts 53 mile electric range.

$33,220 Volt
$27,100 Prime

You’ve lost your mind if you think a vehicle with a much higher MSRP and lacking several key safety items is competition.

You’re also failing to take into account the big picture. The actual competition is traditional vehicles. They are absolutely grossly outselling plug-in choices, despite the generous tax-credit subsidy.

Between the Volt and Prime, if I had to sit in the middle rear, where would I rather sit? The Volt; however it’s FAR from a true rear seat thanks to the T-Shaped battery there’s a cup holder between your legs…I’d be more comfortable in an ICE Cruze…

I have a first gen Volt. It may have been rated at 35 miles, but any reasonable driver gets 40-50 miles depending on weather. I doubt the PP will exceed its rating since only GM under-promises and over-delivers on EV range. Plus, the gen 1 Volt was one of the best engineered cars ever. The PiP was a joke. The PP is a step up, but it’s still no Volt.

I do agree that GMs terrible dealers hurt them. But, I can’t see how anyone who does objective research and drives both would choose the PP over the Volt.

I’d love to hear from someone who has extensively driven both. Maybe a Volt owner who buys a PP.

>> I doubt the PP will exceed its rating since only GM under-promises and over-delivers on EV range.

What kind of meritless dribble is that? Only GM, based on what?

I’ve been seeing 29 miles of EV, despite temperatures near freezing. That in itself is clearly over the 25-mile rating. Owners experiencing Spring weather are seeing low 30’s.

Remember, Prime is quite a bit more efficient that Volt.

31 kWh/100 mi = 2017 Volt

25 kWh/100 mi = 2017 Prius Prime

You clearly get more bang for your buck from Toyota.

If the PP is able to easily and regularly exceed its EV range estimate, that’s great. It’ll be the first non-GM PHEV I’ve read about in 10 years that’s able to. If you don’t realize that’s the case, you haven’t been around here long enough. I’d also like to hear how the PP battery is holding up at 100000 miles. The Volt battery has proven to be bulletproof.

I agree that Toyota will likely take the sales prize just based on brand perception. And I know you bought the car and love it. But, does it strike you as slightly odd that almost everyone posting in these comment says the Volt is objectively the better all-around PHEV? There are always edge cases, but the automotive press and a bunch of longtime readers on an EV blog prefer the Volt. Maybe, just maybe, they have a point?

I guess in the end we’re all driving electric cars, and that’s great!

>> I’d also like to hear how the PP battery is holding up at 100000 miles.

92,000 miles on my 2012 Prius PHV.

I’m still getting the same SOC readings as when it was new. That translates to 11 miles of EV driving still, just like when it was new.

I live in Minnesota, so there is rarely ever any extreme heat exposure. I also routinely let the pack cold-soak for awhile before recharging.

Cold soaking before charging in order to maintain capacity…sounds like a solid design.

CCIE said: “I’d also like to hear how the PP battery is holding up at 100000 miles. The Volt battery has proven to be bulletproof.” The Prius Prime and most Volt’s are designated “partial zero emission vehicles” (PZEVs) under CARB rules, and receive CARB credits due to this designation. (IIRC, the first year 1st generation Volts were not designated PZEVs). CARB considers the traction battery in a PZEV to be part of the emission system. Thus, the battery must maintain 100% of its range during CARB’s PZEV emissions warranty period for PZEVs, which is 10-years or 150,000-mile, whichever comes first. If the battery doesn’t maintain 100% range during the CARB warranty period, it must be repaired or replaced for free. For comparison, the Federal emission warranty is only 8 years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first. The CARB warranty is the reason why a PZEV like the Volt and Prime will maintain their stated AER. They will do this by eating into the battery buffer and increase the depth of discharge to maintain the stated AER. To the owner this will appear like the battery has not lost any capacity over the warranty period, but in reality the some capacity… Read more »

You are correct. Car and Driver would be an example. Awarded Volt clearly the winner. However there are two very big problems with why the Prime is going to clean up in sales.

1. GM dealers suck bad. Oh do they suck.
2. Toyota has cultivated their market for 20 years now. It’s like Chrysler and minivans. At first Chrysler was just the only vans. Then there were others but Chrysler was still the best. Even once that wasn’t true, Chrysler still had the market. In fact Ford and GM gave up trying to compete and quit making them. Only with persistence over a period of nearly two decades did Honda and Toyota (and now Hyundai) make inroads. One could make that same statement about Jeep and SUVs. There was a time when Jeep was so dominant nobody even used the term SUV. They’d just ask what kind of Jeep you had.

So Prius Prime doesn’t have to be better than Volt. It just has to be good and it has to not be sold at a GM store.

Yes, that is true. Brand matters.

If Volt was rebadged under Toyota brand, the sales would have doubled easily if not tripled.

Yes, people are that stupid and naive.

+1. And the dealers.

GM owns four brands in the states, can’t do GMC (perhaps the Bolt EV could be) so selling it as a Buick or a Caddy would have increased the brand image and improved the dealership experience…However you cannot really blame the dealerships themselves…

If you walk onto the dealership lot as a Volt potential customer, ask a salesman to see a Volt and he replies “Really? You sooo looked like a Vette person” are people really test driving a Vette and buying it that day? Most buyers of all vehicles start online, aren’t “steered” by salesman and if they are don’t give up on the vehicle, they simply move on to another dealership…

Of course those 2 categories you listed are 2 of the most important categories for most day-to-day driving scenarios by most drivers (Maybe interior space would be a 3rd most important in which the Prime wins). Not all drivers but most drivers. Most Americans drive around 40 miles a day which means the Volt will be more efficient since it will be driving almost all miles in EV mode. The Prius’ EV range will only cover a little over half of most people’s daily miles resulting in having to use the gas engine for the other half. As far as longer trips the average American only takes 0-1 400 mile or less trips a year so mileage in gas mode is a small part of the equation for most drivers. As far as performance if the Volt isn’t quick then the Prime is horrendous in either mode. Plus I wouldn’t say a 0-30 of 2.3-2.6 seconds for the Volt isn’t quick. 0-30 isn’t 0-60 but you’d be surprised how much of a difference it makes driving around town from light to light. Most ICE cars don’t have a 0-30 time that quick. I don’t require 300 hp for my daily… Read more »

Most Volt owners do not care about acceleration, 0-30 is near useless 30-60 is far more relevant as you often NEED that for onramps and passing…

You pick $25K base midsize vehicles, if you add their optional V6 they’ll beat the Volt despite being midsized…There are plenty of ICE vehicles below the Volt’s post incentive price that can beat it in the 0-60…

You’re welcome to believe whatever logic makes you happy, reality is sales, the Prime beats the Volt where it counts, sales…When the Bolt EVs higher than Tesla’s M3’s range was released, there wasn’t a mass 100K cancelation of Tesla M3 reservations…

Ha… the sales pivot. McDonald’s sells more McDoubles than Omaha Steaks sells filet mignon, but that doesn’t mean it’s a better product. Toyota has a lot of lemmings (see John1701 as a prime example). Also, you get what you pay for. So if you want a not-as-nice/cheaper car, then buy a PP. However the money you save doesn’t account for the loss of value/quality.

Silver lining is, more Toyota Prius fanbois will finally join the plug-in movement. Now we just need Toyota to make more compelling EVs to attract more than just the enthusiasts. Not everyone wants to drive a fugly/slow car.

Terrible analogy since the difference between McDonalds and a filet can be 50-100 times more expensive…

Yet the Model S outsells the Volt and is at least double the MSRP…So you have a Kobe Filet prepared by an elite chef (Tesla) and a burger (Prime) both outselling your Applebees Filet (Volt)…

Celica EV anyone?
0-60 Mph of 4.5 seconds;
Range of 220 Miles Highway;
10 kW AC charging + 150 kW CHAdeMO;
Seats 4 comfortably, 5 if required!

Would those numbers work for You/Toyota?

“Most Volt owners do not care about acceleration, 0-30 is near useless 30-60 is far more relevant as you often NEED that for onramps and passing…”

Completely BS.

Volt’s 7.1 second 0-60mph is competitive to any midsize family sedan.

Prime’s 10s ish acceleration or 12s ish acceleration in EV mode is SLOW. Of course, Prius owners are used to that. And there are TONS OF PRIUS OWNERS to choose from.

That is the simple difference. You can choose to like Prime more but don’t lie about the facts.

Volt isn’t a midsize, it’s a compact and the cars you quote are the base engine so at the price point it should include optional engines…The Volt starts at $34K MSRP, dealer discounts/incentives greatly vary from vehicle to vehicle, there is a tax credit yet not everyone will qualify for it…With all that being said, most people who buy Volt will qualify and not pay MSRP…A “fair” price for a base Volt after all discounts is $25K; there are many vehicles, whether base form or optional engines that are quicker with a $25K MSRP…

“slightly more powerful motor which would hardly have cost much more”

Of course it would cost significantly more. I can’t quantify, but you have not just extra motor price tag, but also everything from battery to power electronics to transmission to handle extra instant power, and then you will have extra weight that would amplify it.
As it is aimed at Prius customers who don’t give a … about 0-60 times and don’t even know or try it when testing a car, why would they loose customers by increasing price? It is already much more expensive than some Corolla.

The PP is weak as an EV, but at least it has a plug and will expose more people to EV-driving. Maybe they can come w/something better in their 3rd try. (Or how about a 200+ mile BEV?)

>>The PP is weak as an EV

I’ve got 640 miles on mine now and all my commuting has been entirely in EV. No gas engine for highway merging, passing, or cruising. It’s all electric, with power to spare.

The vapor-injected heat-pump is the industry’s most efficient electric heater. The electric A/C is a top-notch offering too.

I’m also seeing averages around 4.5 miles/kWh.

What part is supposedly weak ?

In a sane world, there would be safe bike lanes to your job.


So many of us love electric cars because they’re more environmentally friendly than burners. Yet as you say, if doing the planet a favour is your goal, ride a bike. It’s far too easy to just get fixated on the latest shiny EV…

“safe bike lanes”

There is no such thing as safe bike lanes just as there are no pink unicorns.
Maybe you mean safe bike trails that don’t go along high speed streets in properly planned cities. But not lanes where every passing truck may swerve a bit and squash a bicycle like a fly, or cause asthma or lung cancer by diesel exhaust.

EV range
Rear seating
Exterior looks
Toilet bowl interior
You know.. all things important to many.

“What part is supposedly weak ?”

Its weak EV mode acceleration and performance.

Please spare us with your Prius fan boi rant. You do it in every green sites to promote Prius Prime.

You were also a Prius Plugin fan too. Just admit it that you are partial to Prius and stop twisting facts.

I am glad that people are buying Prime over gas guzzlers, but don’t twist the face that Prime EV mode is relatively weak.

Face reality. Faster & Further isn’t worth a premium for most people. That’s why Camry & Corolla are so popular. They target that same market, the middle. Being “strong” loses to being well-balanced.

True that the PP isn’t outstanding as PHEVs go, but it does seem to be good enough. I’m no great fan of Toyotas, but I do hope that this finally teaches them that if they actually build decent cars with plugs, that people will buy them like crazy. Just like how all of the companies that swore up and down that all we need is 100km of electric range are now seeing that people only really get excited about electric cars once they have at least 300km of range (see Zoe 40 and Bolt). The success of these models will (I hope) drive all companies to make more PHEVs and long range BEVs, and that can only be a good thing.

It’s not even an EV, it’s a vehicle that gets nearly 55MPG, an affordable price, has lots of safety features standard that are optional on the Volt and qualifies for a Cali HOV sticker…Person looking for the more range will need to pay more money…

Put this drivetrain and an AWD Rav4 where it’ll qualify for a Cali HOV sticker and it would dominate sales even if it get 15 miles of EV range…

ANY electric range is a “gateway drug”
It WILL lead to people wanting more.

Glad to see the success so far. These are still early days … I expect the car will receive some minor tweaks for 2018, hopefully including a 5th seat, and then Toyota will really ramp up volume. Could be a race between it and Model 3 for top plug-in that year if they do add a 5th seat and keep the pricing so competitive.

A Toyota employee stated they aimed for the Plug-in to follow the arc of the 2cnd generation Prius lift-back.

Toyota seems to believe that Tesla has a hole in its hull, not being able to offer unlimited range, obviously knowing little or nothing about the magnetic field, not building up power towers withing city hearts. Toyota understands perfectly people want security and ubiquitous ability to fill their vehicles. For as long as Tesla and/or any other BEV maker decides not to build massive 10 storey ABOVE ground power towers in city centers, for that long will such distorted PHEV manage to survive and hence enable furher pollution of environment. Only power towers in city centers can eradicate that.

“The magnetic field” is not a power source. Please stop the pseudo-scientific babbling.

What? They don’t plant Ions in them there ‘Magnetic Fields’ and harvest Batteries?
/sarc. :*)

I’m interested to see where the Ioniq Plug-In lands in the sales race when it finally arrives. IMHO it’s a damn sight prettier, probably offers better range and efficiency, should be a bit cheaper and has a MUCH more attractive interior. With 5 seats. Yes, you could argue that it’s ever so slightly smaller than the PP, but I still have trouble picturing a world in which most people look at both cars and still go for the ugly one that costs more. Thoughts?

Ioniq is a blended plug-in hybrid, meaning it’s purpose is to deliver more of a significant MPG boost rather than favor EV. In other words, it will operate similar to Prius PHV.

Prius Prime offers stronger EV, as well as outstanding HV.

The average from my Prime so far is 132 MPG. As the weather warms, I expect to see it continue to climb.

As for “ugly”, the adjective for Ioniq could be “ordinary”. Some people simply don’t want a vehicle that looks like everyone else’s. My Prime has surprised a number of people already… those who never imagined a sporty looking Prius. But from the front, it certainly does look that way.

I’ll certainly give you that the PP is far better looking than the standard Prius! To the point that I wonder how long it’ll be before it gets a serious facelift.

As for the interior, I guess I grew up with German cars, so I may have developed slightly more conservative tastes there… I’m also a sucker for physical buttons 🙂

Like all the buttons on the steering wheel?

I’m finding that most people look at the screen and never notice all the physical buttons still available.

You get 132mpg on your Prime and people get 1,000mpg on their Volt.

Your biases makes you miss the point entirely. For most people and their commutes, a Volt overall is more efficient and will burn less gas. The big data statistics prove it.

Someone needs to be taught about diminishing returns.

25 mile range is a joke for a PHEV in 2017. And, the performance of the PP is so bad that it’ll perpetuate the myth that most ICE drivers believe about all electric cars being slow and boring.

I can understand an average person who walks into a dealer and buys a PP based on the Toyota name without doing any research. But, given all of the third party reviews and this being an EV enthusiast site, I can’t understand how anyone here believes the PP is a better choice than a Volt.

If everything you need to do is within 10 miles from home, or 20 miles if you charge at work, both vehicles can just drive Elevtric.

The Volt today could let you miss a day charging and still be OK!

Beyond that, I have driven a 2004 Prius from Toronto, ON, to Key West, FL, with no risk over sluggish acceleration! I have ‘put my foot in it’ a couple times for a test, but hardly out of need!

I think you also need to add the Kia Niro PHEV to the list. Both will be offered in all three formats. I think both knock the sucker straight out of the park while offering differentiation between each other which is even better. The reviews I’ve read of the Niro are insanely positive. It even has a real transmission. The ‘regular’ hybrid Ioniq just happens to out MPG the regular Prius. That is not a small feat. The PHEV will have the same pricing advantage baked in that is making the Prime so popular. i.e. just enough electric range to get the govt discount sufficient to reduce out the door costs to be the same or less than the regular hybrid. In short they are if not beating Toyota at their own game, they are doing a damn fine job of approximating it and in my own opinion have outdone them in the following. 1. Style on both Ioniq and Niro superior. 2. Efficiency in the hybrids are better and will likely also be so in the PHEV versions. 3. There’s an all electric version…your move Toyota. 4. Drive like regular vehicles and have regular transmissions. Entered the market just… Read more »

I would prefer the Prius Prime. The Ioniq Plug-In has something ridiculously small for a drive motor, I think somewhere in the ballpark of 40 KW. The Prius Prime delivers somewhere around 68 KW in all electric mode, which is about 70% more powerful than the Ioniq and has a pure-electric mode so you can drive it as an EV. Granted, it still has a bit more power in hybrid mode with the ICE running, but it should be able to perform as an EV in most cases.

The mass market appears to be sending a very clear message. Price matters.

This makes me fear what will happen the day after the $7500 fed incentive goes away completely.

The Prime is only eligible for a federal tax credit of up to $4,500. It only has an 8.8 kWh battery so there’s room for its sales price premium to decrease.

I think it is more that “badge matters” rather than “price matters”

Also, dealer knowledge and manufacturer marketing are both key to increased sales and overcoming badge perceptions.

Then again if the Tesla Model 3 ships in 2H 2017, it might put in a good run for that title as well.

So Japanese sales of Prius Prime are 25x Mirai sales? Maybe it will make Japan respond to an actual demand for vehicle charging, rather than make a speculative investment in H2 stations.

I guess it’s a sign of how poorly GM has marketed the Volt, because it’s better than the Prius Prime in very nearly every way. Even the rear seat; the Volt 2.0 is criticized for having only seating for 4-1/2 rather than actually 5, but specs say the Prius Prime has room for only 4.

And of course, the Prime’s electric range is a paltry 25 miles. The Volt more than doubles that, with 53!

But as poor a PHEV as it is, we gotta give credit to Toyota for one thing: They’re actually willing to promote it and advertise it; GM makes little if any effort to promote or advertise its plug-in EVs. I also suspect that most Toyota salesmen will be quite happy to sell you one, which — according to reports — many or most Chevy salesmen are not.

“I guess it’s a sign of how poorly GM has marketed the Volt, because it’s better than the Prius Prime in very nearly every way.”

Marketing does not matter at all. People are biased regardless. If you actually had read GCR’s article on how an oregen Prius owner end up choosing a Prius again, depsite the fact that GCR editors “highly recommended” the Volt to her. It clearly shows how Prius owners are loyal to its brand.

Marketing will NEVER change a loyal dummy regardless how good an alternative is as long as their current product is running fine. That is why brand loyalty is important and GM has lost its. It will be a long way climbing back for GM. But marketing won’t change that.

I’m a Prius owner who switched to a used 2012 Volt last year, but I’ll point out that you seem to ignore at least one important point in favor of the Prime over a 2017 Volt: expected reliability.

A lot of people will simply pass on a car that has lower than expected reliability. GM really dropped the ball with the 2016 Volt scoring ‘Much Worse Than Average” on the Consumer Reports survey

“But as poor a PHEV as it is, we gotta give credit to Toyota for one thing: They’re actually willing to promote it and advertise it; GM makes little if any effort to promote or advertise its plug-in EVs. I also suspect that most Toyota salesmen will be quite happy to sell you one, which — according to reports — many or most Chevy salesmen are not.”

That isn’t supported by facts. Toyota’ ads on Prime is about as little as the Volt. Toyota’s dealers, at least in California are pushing hard for regular Prius (due to dropping sales) but with California incentives and HOV access, the price premium is also nil over regular Prius. That is why it sells.

HOV stickers still matters in Prime sales.

Prime shouldn’t be HOV eligible. All electric ranges for Green stickers should be increasing by some percentage each year for new cars to qualify. This isn’t 2004 anymore. 25 miles, Pfffft.

It seems to me that the 25 EV miles on the Prius Prime is about 20% better than the Ford CMax energi or Fusion energi, so there is that!

To be fair to Toyota.. they don’t need to advertise the Prime right now since they can’t even get enough inventory to meet current demand. Sort of like Tesla won’t need to advertise the Model 3 anytime soon. However, I’m willing to bet once it is fully stocked you’ll see ads for the Prime.

The interesting number for me would be what % of driven miles on the PP (fleet miles) are electric; It’s still far too soon for data, but hopefully in a year’s time.

If the number will be low (<10-15%, say), as I suspect, it'll mean that the car isn't really used as an EV, and shouldn't be considered one for our purposes.

Well, I think you could look at the data for the Ford Energi products. It’s not nearly as bad as the 10%-15% you are concerned about. And since the Prime has about 25% more range than the Ford products, I think it is safe to say they’ll get more EV miles on them.

We have two Prius’s, non plug in, I’m on my second my wife on her 1st.
The Prius gets fantastic fuel economy + low costs to maintain.
And as a reward for owning a Prius they hold there value, higher resale values.
All other auto manufactures are so far behind, it’s as if they’ve already given up.

Would love to see some real world data in a year of the EV to gas ratio…Most people buying this are gas first, EV second, the opposite of Volt drivers…

>> Most people buying this are gas first, EV second, the opposite of Volt drivers…

I don’t believe that for a second and I can’t imagine you being able to produce data to confirm such a claim.

The comments I have encountered overwhelming speak of excitement to use the 25-mile capacity to the fullest, prior to purchase. After purchase, ownership reports of by how much they exceed that EV rating distance are plentiful.

Of course, what difference does it make? They aren’t the target market anyway. Volt is an enthusiast vehicle. It’s nice, but simply priced too expensive for mainstream buyers. More capacity isn’t necessary. Faster acceleration isn’t necessary.

GM doesn’t offer something to compete directly with their own vehicles on their own showroom floor. Toyota has just begun. Prime is clearly configured to entice Corolla, Camry, and Prius shoppers. Even without a tax-credit, it can compete directly.

The test-drive experience seals the deal. No need to mention MPG. No gas necessary. That EV acceleration, dropping the pedal all the way to the floor without the engine starting, speaks for itself.

I find it interesting that you praise the superior MPG on the Prime (vs. Volt), yet when it was pointed out that Volt owners frequently have 4-digit lifetime MPG numbers compared to one-hundred-something in a Prime, then people didn’t understand diminishing returns. Put simply, unless you are traveling more than 150 miles between charges, the Volt will have better net MPG than the Prime, full stop.

I also distinctly remember hearing Prius fans repeatedly cite the 5 seats of the first-gen Prius Plug-In vs. the 4 seats of the first-gen Volt as a Very Important Difference. Yet now that it’s precisely the opposite for the second-gen, suddenly this is no longer a factor worth considering. Hmmm, indeed.

So, per: “Put simply, unless you are traveling more than 150 miles between charges, the Volt will have better net MPG than the Prime, full stop.”, on a road trip from Toronto, ON, to Oshkosh, WI, the better Fuel Economy of the Prius Prime wins over the Volt, but for Commuting, the Volt should be better!

Except, nobody is ‘Average’, and each person should buy what is best for themselves, and if they don’t drive beyond the EV range of the cars daily range, between charges, they will conserve their fuel based economy for Summer Trips, for example!

The Volt costs more, a lot more once you factor in insurance and registration costs…Cheapest deal out there is buying a $12K econobox…

False, see my real world comparison down there on the price.

>> Very Important Difference

Volt was marketed as a one-size-fits-all solution. That gen-1 model was supposed to be a “Prius killer”. That certainly wasn’t in any way a goal for Prius PHV… a very important difference.

With this generation, we know their is the hope to offer plug-in crisis of both RAV4 and Camry hybrids. Prime is clearly not the same.

Bacardi said:
“Would love to see some real world data in a year of the EV to gas ratio…Most people buying this are gas first, EV second, the opposite of Volt drivers…”

Surprisingly, early data on Fuelly shows that the Prime is just about even with the Volt in lifetime MPG (total EV and ICE miles traveled ÷ gasoline used).



Once all incentives are figured in, It’s the cheapest way into the HOV lane without range anxiety. It will sell very, very well.

Sorry to burst all of your PP fanboy bubble but in reality the price differences between Volt and PP is very little. Most dealer around my area (San Jose, CA) up price the PP over the MSRP around $1000 – $1500 when Chevy dealler have discount on both Volt model from 3000 – 5000 which bring them a lot closer in price. For example: Prius Prime Plus: $28,640 Prius Prime Advance: $34,939 Volt LT: $29,095 Volt Premier: $34,920 Source https://www.capitolchevysj.com/ and http://www.capitoltoyota.com/ Toyota stubbornly refuse to make any discount on PP because they loyal buyer who will buy it anyway. I talked with them and they told me that due to the demand, no discount is expected. I physically visited both of them (they are next to each other) and feel much more comfortable dealing with Chevy dealer since they are understand that I know what I want and market just that. Toyota’s sale man keep bragging about the Prime 133 MPGe while he didn’t even understand what the difference between MPG and MPGe when I asked. Anyway, count in the tax credit, I don’t see any point that can make PP win in pricing. About endurance, Volt is also… Read more »

Also, they way of Toyota using only one center screen for everything drove me a way from the Prime. Climate control access need me to get through the menu and such?

Not to mention that Toyota don’t want to jump on Android Auto/Apple Carplay bandwagon. I like to put in address on map though voice via Google than anything crappy that Toyota system can offer. And Android Auto/Apple Carplay can be expanded much more in the future. I can’t really trust the map that Toyota put on their vehicle because they need to get update over time when Google map is always updated.

By the way, don’t get me wrong here since I owned the very first gen of Prius. It’s a fun and cute little car and it feel more advanced/futuristic at that time. I stopped looking at the 2nd gen because they look so ugly. From the futuristic stand point, Toyota is losing out on making their Prius accommodate new tech.

My family has always been using Toyota/Lexus but I’m not the fanboy though. I buy car after a lot of research and data but not follow the brand blindly.

>> Anyway, count in the tax credit, I don’t see any point that can make PP win in pricing.


Sure, a consumer can stay a good deal right now, but that is very temporary.

GM’s business model is heavily dependent on the tax-credit. Toyota’s is not.

Cost or price doesn’t matter as it’s just terminology. The final $ number that come out of customer pocket matter. GM is known for their weird pricing strat with more discount on MSRP compare to Toyota who hold their price around MSRP. And if you want the simple EV, Volt win out on more categories than PP with better EV range and driving experience.

There’s a profound difference, a fundamental relation between business & customer clearly not understood.

COST = how much $$$ it takes to build a vehicle

PRICE = Cost + Profit – TaxCredit

Also, don’t forget better lease deal from the Volt due to tax credit. And check the quarter sale scorecard, Volt is still leading PP every month.

Based on the example real-world prices given, the Volt is about the same price as the PP before the tax credit. The larger credit makes the Volt even more compelling.

It’s just sad that people are buying an inferior car and won’t realize until later that they could’ve had more than double the EV range at a lower overall price point. Hopefully those people won’t be turned-off to all PHEVs & EVs by Toyota’s half-hearted attempt to join the PHEV market.

Striving to deliver a product that’s both affordable and doesn’t depend upon tax-credits is half-hearted ?

If you believe that…

I don’t say that they are half-hearted but we need to agree that Toyota is very slow in implementing new tech even though they are the one who start the hybrid trend back then in 2001.

A good business should be able to utilize all the advantage they can use (like tax credit). Who tell you if GM won’t reduce the price when the tax credit phase out on the Volt?

A larger battery is not new tech. It’s just more capacity from adding more cells.

New tech is improved thermal efficiency, lower cost, and higher density… all of which Toyota delivered.

An industry best vapor-injected heat-pump was delivered too.

Are you serious?
Prius Prime battery weight 265 lbs/ deliver 8.8 kWh -> 30 lbs per kWh
Volt battery weight 405 lbs/ deliver 18.4 kWh -> 22 lbs per kWh

Don’t tell me that the Prius has better density, it’s a joke. Volt’s battery has more than 30% charge compare the one same in Prius.

Also, lower cost?

In real world situation, they have about the same price. You are telling me that Toyota are selling me a cheaper price battery? Why do I have to pay the same price for smaller battery?

I don’t know about improved thermal efficiency or vapor-injected heat-pump like you said because there is no actually benchmark that it’s superior to the same counterpart in Volt. Also, would you notice any of those tech in regular driving?

One of the decision making for me is the implementation of Android Auto and it’s not on the Prius so that make an obvious choice for me to pick the Volt. I also get better Value out of the same price when buying a Volt (battery size/range and the tech I need).

“About endurance, Volt is also known for it’s durability in the first gen so that is not much thing to worry about here.”

The Gen 2 Volt scored a miserable “Much Worse than Average” reliability rating for the 2016 car from the Consumer Reports survey. The 2017 has predicted reliability from them of “Much Worse than Average” though I might expect some slight improvement to “Worse than Average”.

That’s not good enough for me. I demand at least “Average” reliability from the cars I buy. The Gen 1 Volt passed that hurdle, if only barely and not for the 2015 model year. Priuses on the other hand routinely score “Much Better than Average”.

I am proud to own a 2012 Volt, but GM has a problem with the Gen 2, so far.

Keep in mind that we are talking about “predicted” reliability. Everyone mileage my vary. While first gen has average rating, did you see any major problem with your car after owning it for a while?

Agree that reliability rating can be a big factor decide resale value but as an owner, you should have more in-depth analysis on what you want. Ask yourself what you really want from a car.

My Gen 1 Volt has been fine so far, but I did see in looking over the maintenance records of the prior owner that she had quite a few minor headaches the first year of ownership.

Expected reliability is big for me. I’ve owned unreliable cars before and they are a pain in the rear. I always buy a car at least a couple years used and hope to drive them for 5 years or more, so it’s more important to me than to someone who buys new and replaces frequently.

I think we can see it pretty much like iPhone vs Samsung phone.

Prius like iPhone, you have generally better stability and resale value when the Volt is like Samsung phone, they keep trying new stuff in their product.

My main problem with Toyota and their Prius is that they are too slow when implementing new stuff because of the fear of trying new thing. Just like iPhone is gradually losing their game in the smartphone market, Toyota will more likely to lose out in long run game if they don’t change they way they play their game. Of course it won’t be as fast because you don’t buy new car every 2 years but it will eventually come true if they keep doing this. (Look at them already lost the battery density to the Volt like I mentioned on the upper post)

All in all, it’s down to buyer preferences though. My priority is new tech and value/price. there is people who want reliability and I completely understand. But I just point out that Prius is no superior to Volt. Both have their weaknesses and buyer need to be more aware of what they want.

About Toyota, they have been losing the PHEV since the first gen of PHEV Prius, this is their effort trying to get back on track. I have to agree that it’s quite a good car but clearly not impressive.

Assuming goals were the same, it’s easy to draw that conclusion. They were not though. Toyota rolled out Prius PHV as a mid-cycle update to just 15 states. It started out as an effort to gather a massive amount of real-world data… and continued to be as they witnessed the problems GM was having with the market. That kept rollout confined to those markets, where they could more deeply collection information about what ordinary consumers actually want & need. That has put them way ahead of GM, who has clearly stumbled with gen-2 of Volt… having delivered another enthusiast-oriented vehicle, rather than something for the masses. Say whatever you want about it not being impressive. That will just fall on deaf ears. Those shopping the showroom floor couldn’t care less. They don’t participate in online discussions. They don’t want to pay a premium for performance. Heck, they aren’t even interested in statistics. They just want something affordable, reliable, and practical. Toyota has not lost their customer base. The target audience of Corolla, Camry, and Prius shoppers is still there, waiting for Prime. None of them care that GM temporarily gained some conquest sales. Toyota was never off track. They patiently… Read more »

If you say customer don’t care about anything but only to get the affordable car then why do you need to explain about Cost vs price above. I gave you an example of real life price that are right at my location and you conveniently ignore those.

If you say customer don’t care anything but the money that they really have to pay then give me a reason that I should buy a worse tech car like Prius which has smaller battery size and worse energy density per weight for the same amount of money? Those price didn’t even count in the tax credit that you keep swabbing about.

Also, you say Volt is stumbled? Check the score card result for yourself. Volt is still ahead of Prius very month proved that their strategy is winning against Toyota. Prius Prime only win on global market because GM didn’t sell the Volt out but still keeping it in US market. Look at the US market only, PP is still a loser no mater what you say.

And you keep saying about refinements but I have yet to see anything that appealing and can compete with traditional vehicle except the MPG.

In exchange, you have worse performance than any traditional car and additional big fat look. Compare to EVs, it lose out on battery range, battery’s energy density and even value/price.

What a regular customer want when they test drive? Everyone know that Prius’s responsiveness is a big weakness so it likely to not be able to win in the test drive anyway. Then look at the price is not cheaper and tech is not that impressive compare to it’s counterpart, only uninformed customer who don’t want to do any research or fanboy would buy the Prius Prime anyway.

Reading the same old rhetoric repeated again is a sign of sales growth concern. That continuation of complete disregard for business cost, focusing solely on price paid by the consumer, tells a story of short-sightedness. Attempting to draw as much attention as possible to speed & handling is confirmation. That nonsense solidifies shortcomings.

What I find most revealing though is the lack of understanding for audience. Look around. Notice what people actually buy? Ask around. Notice how people actually shop?

Middle-Market is what provides business-sustaining profit. That’s high-volume production, resulting in sales far greater than the tiny fraction celebrated each month for plug-in vehicles.

In other words, the spin here shows that situation still isn’t being taken seriously.

You can keep slamming on GM and their business model, I don’t care nor I have any intention to defend them in this regard. I don’t care how much money they make, all I care is using my money where it worth it.

My discussion is at consumer level and strictly on Prius Prime vs Volt only and you are failing to give me any fact or statistic that back up your assumption.

GM is winning on sale and the Volt is pack more useful Tech that make it matter for me. Toyota win on reliability but this number is also a “predicted” projection. Toyota also has worse battery tech than GM (on energy density). Can you explain these facts? Stop being a fanboy and use solid fact in your argument. The only thing I can see is your bias assumption and trying to divert me away from the main discussion.

Note: GM also listened to Volt Gen 1 customer and make a lot of positive changes in Gen 2.

I don’t know where you are getting your claim that GM won on battery pack energy density?

Volt has a bigger battery than the Prime. I’ve not checked the energy density but I doubt it’s much different.

Toyota is partners with Panasonic battery tech who is the leading automotive Li-ion battery supplier, IINM, thanks to Tesla’s volume.

Toyota went with a smaller pack because in their estimation that’s where the best tradeoff was for price/performance/engineering to fit within the existing Prius platform. It allows them to sell the Prime at a price that makes it the cheapest new liftback Prius you can buy after tax incentives. That’s aiming squarely for the mass market where Toyota has sold more than 9 million Priuses globally.


I can’t reply to your comment anymore (limit of reply depth) so I reply to myself here.

Ok, I know that you would be too lazy to scroll up a bit to look for my calculation so I copy it down here for you:

Prius Prime battery weight 265 lbs/ deliver 8.8 kWh -> 30 lbs per kWh
Volt battery weight 405 lbs/ deliver 18.4 kWh -> 22 lbs per kWh

Volt battery hold about 30% more energy compare to Prius. About the final price after incentives, look at my real life price comparison up there for more info. Volt and Prius have about the same price before tax incentives so Volt clearly has advantage after tax incentives.

No one is arguing that Toyota will win the battle in the showroom. People that decide what car to purchase based on what they see at the dealer are idiots. Unfortunately that’s also the majority of people. So, people who don’t do their research will buy the PP, because they know the Prius name and don’t realize Toyota stopped innovating years ago. Anyone who looks objectively at the specs and reviews will buy the Volt.

How you came to be a reader here and still bought the PP, is beyond me.

I agree with you completely.

Like my analogy before, Toyota is Apple in auto industry. After built up their brand, they started slow down on innovating new tech.

Of course, there will be uninformed customer and fanboy would buy their product anyway so why bother making improvement, right? If there are still fanboy like john1710a who keep ignoring all the facts that showed in front of him, Toyota will still be able to suck money out of customer pocket anyway.