Only 0.3% Of Toyota Sales In Europe Were Plug-In Hybrids

Blue Toyota Prius Prime driving

JUL 30 2018 BY MARK KANE 72

Toyota revealed positive sales numbers for the European region, where during the first half of 2018 it sold some 521,152 cars.

Some 46% of Toyota cars sold in Europe were hybrids, which puts the Japanese manufacturer on the forefront of electrification… really?

Well, as it turns out only 1,693 Toyota were plug-ins (Prius Plug-In aka Prime), which stands for 13% of the Prius Family and 0.3% of total volume for the brand (down from 0.4% in the first quarter).

As other manufacturers increase the ratio of plug-ins (all-electric or plug-in hybrids) to several percent, Toyota will be left behind on its own wish.

The direction of hydrogen fuel cell cars also at least for now doesn’t payoffs as only 101 Mirai were sold (and 100 were used in single taxis project in Paris, France, which means that retail market doesn’t exist).

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72 Comments on "Only 0.3% Of Toyota Sales In Europe Were Plug-In Hybrids"

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Other than the Prius Prime, Toyota seems to be flanking EVs with the regular (non-plug-in) hybrids and it’s fuel cell work. Wonder why.

You know why. Just about everyone here does. No one wants to face that reality though. Production cost is far too expensive for plug-in offerings to compete directly with traditional vehicles still.

Toyota is well aware of this problem and simply does not want to be part of the tax-credit dependency. Leadership is not about appealing to enthusiasts. It’s the ability to change ordinary people. Delivering a product able to sway mainstream interest is very, very difficult… a topic rarely discussed on a venue like this.

Next year, we’ll see the debut of Corolla PHV and an EV model C-HR. That too is an effort to offer something mainstream, not really anything that may appeal to early-adopter shoppers. Toyota wants their entire fleet of vehicle to move forward with electrification, not to just deliver token vehicles. This is why the RAV4 hybrid will included right from the start with the next-gen rollout.

The endorsement of having a battery-pack is undeniable. That makes adding a plug a very easy next step.

As the Prius Prime shows, it’s *not* an easy step, if they wanted to do it properly. A proper plug-in EV, that actually has a decent all-electric driving experience, not only needs a much larger battery, but also more powerful motors, different control software, and extras such as electric heater.

Prime already has an electric heater. In fact, it is the industry’s most efficient offering… a vapor-injected heat-pump.

Also, the more powerful electric system has already been delivered, foun in both the hybrid Camry and the hybrid RAV4.

Yeah, I guess I shouldn’t mix up things that the Prius Prime got right with things it failed to provide… However, my point is that a proper HEV->PHEV conversion needs much more than just adding a plug.

Maybe Toyota does have a better electric system (I’m not familiar with all their models); but they certainly didn’t use it in the Prius Prime — which would have been necessary to make it a serious PHEV offering.

The Prius Prime is already better than their older PHEV offerings though.

If the ev model😒 of C-HR does come to market then I will be hype

Like they are going to be left beyond. Tokyo olympics are in two years. What they are going to display hybrids, please we as Americans should send a fleet of taxis of Tesla’s and Bolts during the Olympics with American flags to embarrass them and start the push for them

Offering plug-in vehicles heavily dependent on tax- credits is embarrassing.

I’ll give Toyota a lot of credit for 46% hybrid. It is sure a lot better than say Mazda. Once people feel comfortable with hybrids, they will have less fear of BEVs or plugs.

Doubt it. a non plug-in hybrid isn’t much different than a gas car. Improves efficiency a bit in certain conditions (nothing on the freeway). All energy for moving the car comes from gas. Sure it has an electric motor, but the energy that got regenerated to run the motor still came from gas. 10 years ago hybrids were something to brag about because they do tend to help a bit with efficiency. But in this day and age, a non plug-in hybrid really isn’t saying much.

A plug-in hybrid is definitely a stepping stone, even if it only gets 10 miles on electric. It gives you the feel of electric. Plain hybrid, not so much.

The Prius in particular, including the Prime, doesn’t offer any of the performance advantages of an EV. EVs are perky because electric motors work so much better than ICE at low speeds. From an outward appearance a Volt and a Cruze are practically the same car but if you drive them the Volt blows the doors off of a Cruze, and the Volt wasn’t designed as a performance car like a Tesla, the focus was all on efficiency, but the side effect of having electric motors that can drive the car at full speed makes it much peppier than it’s ICE sister. Toyota focused entirely on MPG in the Prius, the result is the slowest car on the road. Even the Prime, while a little better than the regular Prius, is still very sad. One hopes that nobody would confuse a Prius with an EV.

I don’t get the thumbs down percent here. Coming from a current Volt owner and former Prius owner, this is all true. In some ways, I think the Prius has hurt cars like the Volt. Because the Prius is so popular, an enormous number of people have driven or ridden in one, which other than the mpg readout, is not a “wow” moment. Most of them expect the same type of ride in a Volt, not the quiet, zippy car that it is. I have let (or forced) so many people drive my Volt to help change this thinking and they all have the same reaction. A good sales tag line for a Volt might as well be “Definitelt not a Prius.” Basically, one of the reasons so many people don’t “get” plug in hybrids is due to the popularly of standard hybrids.

Probably more due to the fact that the Prius is quite a bit cheaper than the Volt while coming with a lot of stuff standard that GM charges extra for.

Clearly, you haven’t actually driven a Prime. There’s is very obvious difference for the electric power available compared to the regular Prius. The larger battery-pack combined with the one-way clutch provides a major performance advantage. You get the full EV driving experience.

That’s not what other reviewers say…

Who?

The one I read myself was on Electrek. Though comments I have seen here suggest they are not the only one.

(And just in case, I will point out that this has nothing to do with Electrek being partial to Tesla, since they were contrasting the Prius Prime to more useful PHEVs like the Volt, and I think also Clarity PHEV…)

I don’t care about performance, to me it’s about range and efficiency

Range should be right- sized, not maximized.

“a non plug-in hybrid isn’t much different than a gas car”

Look at the difference between money saved over 5 years for this BEV and HEV when compared to a gasser:

https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=39839&id=39753

Chevy Bolt EV saves $1000 in fuel costs, and is much more fun to drive than the Prius. Prius does offer good basic transportation for the money however.

…but also costs thousands more and doesn’t offer the same level of mobility as the Prius, and that’s before considering how GM charges for stuff that is standards on the Prius. Better yet, get a Prime and enjoy the best of both worlds.

It’s you last sentence that’s what’s important to the mainstream buyer (aka non-enthusiasts).

If that was true, we wouldn’t be seeing the average power output of mainstream cars increasing every year.

Prius freeway mileage is excellent. It can use the more efficient (but lower torque) Atkinson cycle since the electric motor adds torque. Even at highway speeds the motor off-loads the engine and the eCVT allows low rpm. Energy is stored on downslopes and helps on upslopes. The aerodynamic shape reduces drag. Prius is designed for low emissions and great fuel economy in all driving scenarios. In a world where most cars sold are still conventional, hybrids like the Prius are part of the solution.

Put a denser battery 18-20kw and now we talking

Prius delivers excellent freeway efficiency. Its Atkinson cycle engine saves fuel. The electric motor off-loads it even at high speed, storing energy on down-slopes for use on up-slopes. The reliable eCVT allows very low rpm at freeway speeds and the aerodynamic shape has low drag. Those who state it saves “nothing on the freeway” don’t understand Toyota hybrids. Non-plug-in hybrids can be used just like a gas car. Apparently that’s what people want since the vast majority of cars sold are still conventional cars. In Europe, Toyota positions its hybrids as a cleaner alternative to diesel and that sales strategy seems to be working.

Agreed. Hybrids give the regular person a sweet taste of EV driving and tons of those owners have moved up the EV food chain. I think it’s shortsighted for BEV-only proponents to think otherwise.

Agree; the Prius is the “gateway drug” to full BEV ownership.

That is 20 years old tech. The aerospace industry have moved 10x faster then auto industry and computer tech industry moved 100000000x faster then them too.

Their mantra is ‘You don’t need to plugin’

It’s too bad Toyota is wasting their time and money on Hydrogen fuel. Toyota should have a 200+ mile EV that can match or beat the Ioniq by now. When will Toyota realize Hydrogen fuel is a pipe dream that will never reach the ~80% charging efficiency of BEVs?

In the near future we need the most efficient energy carriers. The functional requirements is what matters. If I remember correctly batteries are actually one of the worst energy carriers that is around storing very little energy in a huge amount of material. That said batteries already provide a very good alternative to fossil fuels. And they are even only in the beginning of the S-curve with energy density hikes in the multiples possible. At this moment batteries are only interesting for short trips. (Cars, trucks, planes, ships) The same can be said for hydrogen. One of the main disadvantages is generating hydrogen and converting it to electricity. Also here it is in the beginning of the S-curve. Big steps are being made in labs to improve the conversion processes. Hydrogen is a good alternative for the high energy consumers with long range (Trucks, planes, ships) Next to hydrogen there is a multitude of alternative fuels in development. So no clear cut winner will be selected at least for the coming decade. I don’t really understand why proponents of EV’s bash hydrogen. Is it because they don’t like big oil? Is it because they are anti establishment (big oil, car… Read more »

That ship has sailed. Hydrogen can’t win against the economics of electric power and efficiency. The Tesla Semi has triggered a rush to Electric Trucks and Buses. The energy density of Tesla batteries and their rumored cost are at too great an advantage already. In other words your argument worked 10 years ago.

And as Big Oil has no intention of producing “clean” hydrogen, it’s no cure for global warming. It’s just a hoax “solution”. Then the cost of converting methane to hydrogen means it’s not efficient.

Lol this is exactly what I mean. No objective argumentation. No solid evidence.

I completely agree that hydrogen is not economically and environmentally at the moment. But if you miss to see that most of the energy in the world is actually consumed in heavy transport you miss a serious part of the energy equation.

Comments like “big oil have no intention” are not helpful either… Read on Total, Shell and some others..

Read CleanTechnica. Hybrid/Electric Tug boats and Ferries are already in service. Electric trainer airplanes are in service.

Hydrogen missed the boat.

Lol I am an aerospace engineer working in shipbuilding. And yeah with one of the shipbuilders actually building large commercial electric ships. Look for the electric trial Stena wants to try and you know what I am talking about. Or do some basic math to see if you can lift a commercial airliner of the ground if it has to fly over a couple of thousand miles. You will be surprised.

If you want solid evidence, refer to the laws of thermodynamics.
Due to them, H2 works out at about 30% as efficient as putting the electricity directly in batteries , because of the multiple steps involved in the trip from electric to H2 back to electric each of which is less than 100% efficient (obviously) and overall means that for every 1 mile you drive in an FCEV you could drive 3 in an EV, based on the same amount of initial electricity you start with.

The basic laws of physics do not prevent higher efficiencies. And actually higher efficiencies have already been achieved at higher temperatures.

Still extremely poor compared to batteries, though…

Last time I checked, heavy transport does *not* use most of the energy. It’s a large portion, but still less than passenger cars.

(And heavy road transport — by far the largest part — can work perfectly fine with batteries.)

The most efficient energy carriers? Such as, say, gasoline?… No, energy density is *not* the most important aspect to consider. (And hydrogen isn’t even all that good, if you look at the entire system.) Why do EV proponents bash hydrogen? It might be because it makes no sense economically or ecologically (at least for land transport), and the promise of a bright hydrogen future was and is just being used as a political smokescreen to fend off calls for EVs. (Among other things, it is responsible for killing California’s original ZEV mandate around the turn of the millennium, resulting in the infamous EV1 recall.) It might also be because hydrogen vehicles are advertised as clean, but in truth the vast majority of hydrogen is produced though steam methane reforming, which results in more CO2 emissions than an efficient combustion engine, or burning the same methane in a power plant to charge an EV; while the supposed alternative of producing hydrogen from electricity through electrolysis is not viable economically, both because of the expensive machinery, and because it’s about three time less efficient than just using that same electricity to charge a battery. There might be valid uses for hydrogen as… Read more »

Ok fair enough. I agree with your thesis for passenger transport on roads. For planes and ships (and one could argue trucks) energy density is however the main parameter.

Not with a network of high speed chargers.

Where between Rotterdam and Sao Paulo do they stick the fast charger?

Planes and ships… those are the ones that are undecided yet for what the solution will be, it might be hydrogen or just plain old synthetic or biofuel. For anything on the roads, including trucks, the ship has sailed.
And if Toyota wants to have any kind of shot of having small hydrogen vehicles (smaller than ships and planes) the first thing they need to embrace is that they will have to be plugin-electric range extended FCEVs in that case.

Is that why Nikola has so much pre-orders for their fuel cell truck? I don’t think the race is over yet. If there is space for multiple energy carriers time will tell.

When the cost is $0 to reserve I can see why.

Zero-cost reservations do not really say much about real demand. Those placing them just don’t want to miss out in case Nikola actually comes up with a good offer… But that seems very very unlikely. Unless there are some major unexpected breakthroughs very soon, the cost of the truck (both the vehicle and the fuel) will be totally prohibitive.

When the Toyota management saw the sales and potential of electrification, they said to themselves: woow, this is amzing! So let’s stop it and try soomething else!

51,000 Prime rolled out last year, which is quite an accomplishment for first-year sales. The problem such wide distribution created was limited supply. So when an article like this posts a percentage, of course it is going to appear small. That’s simply the reality of starting out a new product.

I have loved every Toyota I’ve owned (6) and still have an ’05 Prius to back up my Leaf. Having said that, I’m bitterly disappointed that Toyota hasn’t brought full EVs into their line up and I visit my old dealership every year to hound them on this point.

.from the perspective of an early adopter.

That view is meaningless to the masses, ordinary consumers not interested in anything offering a plug.

Hybrid is seen as a substitution for diesel drivers that make a lot of miles/kilometers. Electric cars are not yet seen that way in public perception and are not available in great numbers or models.

Hybrid is a technology that can offer an easy alternative for diesel right now. It isn’t much more expensive to buy and doesn’t require a change in driving habits.

I’m very much for EV, but it’s still in the pioneer phase. If we want millions off the diesel addiction, we sadly need to tranfer most of them to hybrid or efficient tiny turbo petrol at the moment. That’s what is happening at the moment.

Every new EV with sufficient range, good price and popular formfactor (like Kona) will be a great succes. We need much more offerings, and hopefully some with towing capabilities.

And yeah. I’m very disappointed in Toyota for not offering a compelling EV or PHEV. The Prius plugin is not compelling. It just offer much advantage over the regular HEV.

Make it electric most of the time, also at highway speeds of 140 km/h. More like a Volt in electric range. Sadly we never had the second gen Volt/Ampera in Europe.

Edit: Prius Plugin does NOT offer much added value over the regular HEV.

Prime is electric most of the time. With a top EV speed of 84 mph and an industry leading heat-pump, value added over the regular HEV cannot be denied.

Prime is electric most of your time if your daily commute is under 20-25 miles round-trip.

Actually, it’s electric most of the time if the range is less than ~45 miles.

In the US market I see the value. It gets a tax cut to price it similar to regular prius.
But in markets where you have to pay for the extra battery it’s not worth it financially. And for them to want to persuade the masses, pluging in every 40 km is not very appealing, probably much sooner on the highway. Workspace plugs are not everywhere. And the ecowarrior will also get bummed out by the engine kicking in so fast after pluging in all night.

Don’t get be wrong. I own a Toyota Auris hybrid and love my Toyota. But I was really hoping for a step up from Toyota with the new Prime. The Prius always was a revolutionairy eco warrior car, but the Prime is lagging behind in EV and therfore, in my eyes, that specific eco warrior capability.

What is your criteria for Eco Warrior ?

40 km (25 miles) capacity delivers amazing efficiency. So what if my last tank wad only 85% EV driving. You are completely missing the point of a plug-in hybrid If you want to avoid running the engine entirely.

That delivered in an affordable manner is leadership, not lagging behind.

No PHEV model sees 85% EV driving as a fleet average. Not even the i3 REx, which gets about 80%. Volt gets about 70%. Prius PHEV is in the lower forties.

According to actual usage statistics, the earlier Prius PHEV is electric less than half of the time on average. And it doesn’t sound like the Prime will improve significantly upon that…

Using outdated data, from a previous generation, no. You’re not even trying.

It’s the newest data I have seen. And from what I’ve heard, the Prius Prime has the same problems with all-electric driving as the previous generation; so I wouldn’t expect any major improvement there.

In Spain Toyota doesn’t even offer plug-in cars.

Sad!

Making a gamble on the future of hydrogen does Toyota credit, but why deliberately avoid plug in hybrids, when this is the most rational transport solution for regular private transport in the years to come ? Only one model under the Toyota brand, none under the Lexus. Why ? Apparently Lexus marketing bigwigs have decided that Lexus customers are not interested in plug ins. They have also decided they are not interested in wagons. Well, they are tragically wrong on both counts.

> Some 46% of Toyota cars sold in Europe were hybrids…

Hybrids sell.

Prius (all versions) doesn’t sell very well in Europe, it may be the looks, it may be higher price (10% import tax from Japan) it may be marketing… Either way there is no excuse Toyota doesn’t offer something more tailored for the Europeans in the PHEV segment, there is not even a future announcement of PHEV model that would be made in (or for) EU. Hope they make Auris/Corolla estate in PHEV version.