Toyota Getting Bullish On Plug-In Hybrids (yes, you read that right)


Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Toyota Prius Prime

Japanese news outlet Asahi Shimbun is reporting that a high-level engineer at Toyota says that the automaker is bullish on plug-in hybrid and notes that Toyota’s big push into this segment begins with the new Prius Prime.

As the report states:

“The first Toyota plug-in was launched in 2012, after limited leasing from 2009. It will start selling its remodeled plug-in, called the Prius Prime in the United States and Prius PHV in Japan, later this year.”

Toyota Chief Engineer Kouji Toyoshima says that the automaker may be a bit late to the game, but notes that “We were just studying it thoroughly” and says that the end result “is at the top level among plug-in hybrids.”  

Toyota says that additional PHEVs will follow in the Prius Prime’s footsteps, but the automaker has not announced any firm plans for those other vehicle at this point in time.

Toyota Prius Prime gets its own unique look and name over the standard Prius

Toyota Prius Prime gets its own unique look and name over the standard Prius

Pricing for the Prius Prime has also yet to be announced, so it’s unclear how much of a success the plug-in hybrid from Toyota ultimately will be.

If priced right, the Prius Prime (full details) could be hugely successful, given its specs:

  • up to 22 mile (35 km) expected all-electric range rating via a 8.8 kWh battery
  • 120 MPGe fuel economy rating
  • Full recharge in 5.5 hours using a standard household outlet. Charging takes less than half the time with a 240V source (3.3 kW in U.S.). (In Japan also with CHAdeMO)

Source: Asahi, hat tip to sven!

Categories: Toyota

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92 Comments on "Toyota Getting Bullish On Plug-In Hybrids (yes, you read that right)"

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It would’ve been nice if it had at least 30 miles of EV range. I’ll stick to the Chevy Volt instead.

Also needs wireless charging.

Also needs 5 seats, and preferably 6.6 kW charging.

And a supercharging network. J/K 😉

And it best be cheap…

and not very ugly!

And yesterday was late.

Blah blah blah blah?

Toyota needs to hire a new design team! The New Prius design is just hard to take especially since they have had such a successful vehicle design to this point.
The new Volt is such an improvement over their older model. What were they thinking?


i think the wireless charging remark was meant as snark.

Why to wireless charging? I don’t think so.

Wireless charging isn’t quite ready for prime time, but its coming. With the SAE guidelines now here and the tech maturing, the reasons to go wireless stack up nicely.

22 mile in 2010 would be great! But for 2017 it is sad, and shows again they are not serious about EVs.

still better than the 0 EV miles Prius that you are driving.

For you and your backward area that are still surprised by a regular Prius, it is miles ahead…

9 years of development and experience of the Prius and this is what they come up with 35km on the battery.

They are “studying it thoroughly.”

That is sufficient range for the two way commute of 51% of US commuters.

That is sufficient range for one way commutes for ~80% of US commuters.

The car is a hybrid so any trips outside your commute easily are catered for.

They are trying to build the cheapest possible car that services the most people as effectively as possible and batteries are getting cheaper but they still make up a significant part of the cost.

Some people will need more range for sure, but the statistical reality is that this car will easily provide enough for a huge percentage of the population.

Discman or early mp3 players should also be sufficient with their memory for one CD, then Apple came with iPod with GBytes of storage for thousands songs and all that stupid small memory players were instantly obsolete history. 😀

There were hard disk MP3 players before the iPod. Creative Labs had one called the Jukebox. The iPod was slicker, had an integrated music store (iTunes) and Jobs did a great job getting it into the hands of high-visibility users (rock stars, athletes) and it steamrolled the competition.

The iPod predated the online music store by a lot. Its success was due to the integration with the iTunes application on the Mac & PC, and the speed of the Firewire interface compared to USB1.1 .

Only after the iPod was a sales success did Apple invest in the Music Store, and in the considerable negotiations required to convince the music labels to get onboard.
store (and

Their were mp3 players with more storage then the ipod before the ipod came onto the market. I had one with 20G’s before the 8G ipod even hit the market. The ipod was all about the cool factor.

Not in WINTER it isn’t.

In Japanese, that translate as, “We screwed up”.

They give the people what they want… I mean the people from year 2010…

the prius is very popular among taxi drivers because of the very high fuel efficiency. toyota has really developed the hybrid drive technology. i would think that they will use the battery in an optimal fashion to help push even higher mpg’s.

Like most others, they are doing it to please government regulators, in particular in EU. I don’t think everybody buying them would bother to plug/unplug daily, or even have a place to plug, especially when electricity is 0.30 EUR/kWh. But if government bases its emission calculations or free city center entrance on theoretically available electric range, automakers provide what government demands, even if it often doesn’t make sense in practice.

Other than that, Prime is still the same Prius hybrid that gives over 50 mpg EPA on gas.

The Prius was always quirky looking but I got used to it.

But somehow the managed to make it look even more ugly. And I think it will look REALLY dated in a year or two.

I agree. It’s looks are not appealing (at least to me).

Toyota will continue to roll out PHEV’s and by 2021 they will be selling enough in the Europe to meet the emissions standard. They will offer most models globally but I am not expecting anything exciting, it’s Toyota.

Keep in mind that in 2018, CARB states will stop counting hybrids like the Prius as zero-emissions vehicles, meaning that the HEV Prius will no longer receive any HEV credits.

Lower gas prices and the decision in 2011 to stop letting the Prius use the HOV lane with a single occupant have already put a big dent in Prius HEV sales. Lower sales have meant lower CARB credits, and Toyota became a CARB credit buyer for the first time ever last year.

i was thinking that this was a compliance play. the prius has really developed hybrid drive efficiency to a point where a mere 22 miles of electric range would seem to add little.

Stats show the 22 mile range will be enough for a majority of commutes, so it will help Prii cut gas usage.

What is incentive for driver to plug it at all?
55 mpg means 100m/55mpg*$2.5/gal=$4.54 per 100 miles
29 kWh/100mi * $.12/kWh = $3.48 per 100 miles. But it is likely that long range commuter will live near big city with higher electricity cost. At $.16/kWh it becomes $4.64 per 100 miles and it is MORE expensive than $2.5/gal gas (gas taxes included). Plus states like Georgia are already starting to tax plugins to recoup missing gas taxes, and then it totally stops making economic sense to buy such plugin. Other than getting government perks like lane access in California, but to get them you don’t really need to plug your plugin.

It doesn’t make sense. I have tried to explain this by simple calculation a year ago but Jay Cole tried to convince me it does make sense. So the previous Prius being some 3k more expensive, yet had only 11 miles of EV range, simple calculation gives only 50 cents savings daily over regular Prius. So the money come back in 20 years, literally. What a deal. To save any money you have to go fully electric.

I actually remember this conversation (you went by radim back then), you were wondering who would buy the plug-in version of the Prius, as at the time as sales moved higher as soon as the MSRP came down a few thousand (and as there was still inventory of the Prius PHV to sell) In response, I referenced the cost/value proposition inside a lease – as ~25% of all Prius sales (reg or PHV) were leased… and how the effect of the fed credit on a lease payment in the Prius PHV made them easy to sell for dealers (California would of course push the lease numbers way over the top, with the ~1,500 added at the time rebate). As strictly a purchase, the MSRP difference would be hard to make up as you suggest on a MSRP payback proposition only (10+ years would seem reasonable to me)…that is of course, if that is the only criteria you attach to the transaction (the base Prius and the base Prius PHV were not equally equipped vehicles, with only a plug being the difference…the Prius PHV had a lot of extra options) For reference: Here is my quotes from April of 2014: “The… Read more »

Thank you California.

This makes up for “Hydrogen”.

Bullish? More like Oxish!

A plug in RAV4 with 30-40 mile range would cause Ford to regret their decision not to make a plug in Escape.

Ford, the philosophy of the Total LOSER.
Ford has a history of quitting after gen 1, never getting to gen 2.

Right wing CEOs.

Huh? You can go into nearly any Ford dealership and pick up a sedan or hatchback with this much plug-in range (I get 26 miles on my 2013 C-Max). And they have five seats. Toyota doesn’t hold a candle to Ford’s EV offerings.

Ford has already come out with multiple PHEVs with similar range as this upcoming single offering from Toyota.

So why bash Ford here, and not Toyota? The comment seems misplaced to me.

Toyota still sells more hybrids each month than all EV’s and PHEV’s combined. They are not going to give up on that revenue, and they aren’t going to jump on the plug-in with both feet while they still have that revenue stream.

Meanwhile they will put out bare minimum plug-ins, and won’t promote them.

Then the instant they decide that they can sell enough PHEV’s to replace their Prius revenue stream, they will jump in with both feet. Full national advertising, etc.

It sucks, but it is reality. Eventually Toyota will build competitive EV’s/PHEV’s and sell them broadly when they decide there is a market for them. Whether that is 2018, 2021, or whatever.

it doesn’t really suck because toyota is in the business of selling cars for which there is public demand. the public isn’t demanding electric cars, most people couldn’t care less. the “free market” is not going to create a market for electric cars, it will take government regulations and incentives.

You couldn’t be more wrong no comment.

370,000 people putting down $1,000 deposits to wait 2 years for the Model 3 shows there is in fact a large demand for compelling EVs and as the price goes lower that demand will grow and grow.

Actually now that I think of it, your statement “…most people couldn’t care less. the “free market” is not going to create a market for electric cars, it will take government regulations and incentives.”

That statement actually describes perfectly Toyota’s push to sell H2 cars over compelling plug-ins!

“370,000” people making $1,000 is not the same thing as 370,000 paying $35,000 and up for a car. when i see people camping out overnight to make a $1,000 deposit on a car, where they don’t know exactly what they are getting or when they are getting it, those don’t sound like “informed” consumers; those sound more like people who want to experience the rush of participating in the latest social media event – in other words, ipad buyers.

as far as incentives go, if you want to see the impact of government incentives, you need read no further this forum. how many people to you see writing posts in which the stress the importance of getting a tax credit on the purchase of a model 3? tesla itself doesn’t ignore the GOVERNMENT SPONSORED tax credit because they factor the tax credit into the stated cash price of a tesla vehicle.

Once again you couldn’t be more wrong about this.

The people who were waiting in line or later made deposits online were on average much better informed/more intelligent then the average Joe about EVs and Tesla.

Because of this these people were not the flippant people trying to get in on the moment, more like people who did alot of research prior and more then willing to give Tesla $1000 for 2 years prior.

But in any case, keep deluding yourself by all means.

Maybe it is enough for this Tesla greenwashing. Put it on the same shelf with cold fusion and SolarCube. Electric cars are fine, but greenwashing isn’t.

There are around 70 million gas cars sold each year in the world. This .4 mln. is revolution in a puddle. What conversion rate you will get from $1000 refundable deposits? Model S deposits were $40,000 and $5,000, conversion rate below 40%. Model X, who knows, likely much less than that. You may get 0.1 mln real demand for $35k Model 3 in best case scenario. In reality the price will be some $10k-20k above promised $35k and all the old brainwashing about 0.5mln/year production will be forgotten for another great vision that will help to pump & dump new stock for billions.

So says the person shorting Tesla stock!

“370,000 people putting down $1,000 deposits to wait 2 years for the Model 3 shows there is in fact a large demand for compelling EVs and as the price goes lower that demand will grow and grow.”

370K or 400K out of annual global market of 86million+ is a drop in the bucket…

That 400K order might be even demand that is over a decades of anger and desire. So to put it in perspective, it isn’t much.

“no comment” said:

“…the “free market” is not going to create a market for electric cars, it will take government regulations and incentives.”

The “free market”, or more accurately the competitive market, is already in the process of creating a market for electric cars. In case you haven’t noticed, the Tesla Model S is outselling every comparable car in its price range in the U.S. And the 400,000 reservations for the Tesla Model ≡ are nothing to sneeze at, either!

It’s inevitable that PEVs will win in the market sooner or later, because it’s inevitable that the price of such cars will eventually come down below comparable gasmobiles.

But certainly government incentives have a surprisingly large effect on PEV sales, and will help them expand their market faster.

if the market for BEVs in particular is as large as you suggest then the chevrolet bolt should do very well. if not, then you’re got to suspect that a large portion of the “400,000” deposits is people who wanted to experience the rush of participating in the latest social media craze. tesla cultivates the kind of social media “cool” that you associate with the apple corp., but apple sells $500 consumer electronic products, which is very different from selling cars at an forecasted average price of $42,000.

that’s not to say that i think it to be impossible that a large percentage of the reservations will turn into actual deliveries, but ev enthusiasts are a highly fickle bunch, and most of the posters on this forum are more talkers than they are buyers, so it is difficult to gauge actual sales. but when you put down money without knowing exactly what you will get or when you will get it, it is hard to call that an “informed” consumer, and less informed consumers are highly unpredictable.

The car is called Model 3, not Model Heaven, so why do you keep calling it the latter? IMHO, it makes you look rather childish and a bit stupid. (The sign you are using, as I have explained and documented to you before, is a symbol for heaven and has absolutely nothing to do with Tesla or the Model 3.) Now, I agree that Tesla came up with a strategy for EVs looks like it could have worked even without incentives. But I can tell you for sure things would have taken much longer that way. In Norway, which until quite recently was alone responsible for most of the European market(!), EVs wouldn’t have been anywhere if they didn’t receive special treatment. The Model S base price over here matches a medium-specced BMW 5-series, not a Porsche Panamera or a BMW 7-series or a Mercedes-Benz S-class. All of those are twice as expensive as a top-specced Model S. And over here the e-Golf is considerably cheaper than the most basic ICE version of Golf, despite the e-Golf being far better equipped. And the incentives go on with a 75% reduction in the yearly road tax ($50 instead of $200), exemption… Read more »

@ Nix

Some say Toyota isn’t making EVs and PHEVs because of some future plans for Hydrogen cars. This sounds good on the surface, but the real reason is more likely that Toyota doesn’t want to start building EVs that in all likelihood would cannibalize their hybrid sales.

Glad to see Nix bring this up.

in spite of the denials among some on this forum, fuel cells are also electric vehicles; the difference between an fcev and a bev is that the fcev generates electricity on-board while a bev stores electricity generated externally.

while tesla is all-in on bev’s there are a lot of companies that are investigating fcev’s, including companies that are selling phev’s and bev’s. auto companies don’t care about the foolish “alphabet soup” debates that you see on this forum; they care about selling cars, and want to offer products that consumers want to buy.

And its pretty obvious by the numbers that virtually no one “wants to buy” a fuel cell car and that is WITH FREE FUEL.

Just wait until they try and sell them without free fuel if they ever get to that point which is doubtful.

Well, I think they are “production constrained” at the moment. It’s tough, hand-building those cars…

It is obvious that nobody is in mass market with fuel cell cars yet. They are hand built in small numbers to test their performance in real world before going to mass production. Toyota in particular has reputation of testing everything for many boring years before pushing to mass production. Using full paying customers as free alpha/beta testers in just not in their company culture.

Toyota in particular has a reputation of neglecting and trash-talking BEV vehicle.

Instead it is promoting the non-existent hydrogen economy and its few lame and ugly H2 cars that will never be built in mass production numbers because H2 makes zero sense as a light vehicle fuel with perhaps the exception of indoor forklifts.

> in spite of the denials among some on this forum, fuel cells are also electric vehicles That is of course only a matter of definition. I think it is perfectly reasonable to exclude FCVs from the EV category based on the fact that they do not run on electricity. It is easy to argue that the top two important things about (B)EVs are: 1) They are *very* energy efficient. 2) They’re not tied to any particular fuel, but run on electricity which can be created in *myriad* ways. NEITHER of these points are true of FCVs! They are at best a THIRD as energy efficient as BEVs. And they are tied to a fuel which is NOT easily created everywhere from any source that can be converted efficiently into electricty. It is true that hydrogen is easily (but inefficiently) generated from electricity AND water, but water is actually in very short supply in much of the world. So point (2) really is important. The fact that hydrogen is not easily or efficiently stored or transported only makes point (2) even more relevant and important. So you may think it is “denial”, but I beg to differ. Yes, FCVs do… Read more »

If this vehicle gets priced where I think they will price it (around $29,000 for base model) then it will sell very well, and would probably be my second choice of vehicle if the Volt didn’t exist. It would be better than a C-Max Energi.

In that it should have a plug AND collision prevention, yes, it will beat the daylights out of Ford.

Does the American public even understand what a PHEV is? Chevy seems to be having a hard time getting recognition for the Volt. I have seen as many Teslas on the road here as I have Volts (and not a single 2016-7 Volt.)

Only 4 seat!

The Rip Van Winkle of EVs awakens… Hey… let’s do a plug in that goes 21 miles ALL ELECTRIC… and a MILLION dollars… and sharks with frickin laser beams… yeah that’s what the world needs. I sure hope Toyota wakes up again sooner… so they have a chance to catch up. Tesla, Nissan, GM, and VW are going to eat their lunch soon otherwise. Looks like they need to skip a gen now… or just ask Tesla again for another setup for the RAV4… which would have been a leader by now if the capacity had gone up only slightly and license the Supercharger option… they coulda been a contender… they could be again but this is a weak restart.

I think Toyota gets a bad rap here and it is unjustified. The Toyota Prius was a first and Toyota was serious about selling it and they have.

The Prius has taken more carbon off the streets than all the Tesla’s.

I’ll bet the Prime sells fairly well and if you can’t afford a Tesla then it is a good choice.

Its a decent choice but there are now and certainly will be better choices but you could say that about many of the other compliance EVs.

Thru, and I wish every owner of SUV would drive any Prius instead.
About 20 millions of them, I guess.
That would make air much cleaner.
I don’t bet on that.
Still the inherent simplicity of BEV will dominate as soon as the price/performance become affordable for most.

In my area the regular Prius is extremely popular, – so since this PRIME is so much better than the original PIP, it should do very well, especially when gasoline prices rise again.

22 mile range ain’t that great, but it does significantly electrify the errand, and, therefore a 3.3 kw charger is all that is needed for such a dinky battery. If and when it does, perhaps Toyota will think about other EV models.

Their hydrogen efforts may get them Brownie Points in California, but I don’t see John Q. Public taking the chance on them.

Time for a bigger EV push, Mr. Toyoda.

Quoting the article:

“Toyota Chief Engineer Kouji Toyoshima says… the end result ‘is at the top level among plug-in hybrids’.”

An estimated 22 mile AER (All-Electric Range)car is “at the top level among plug-in hybrids”, when the Volt 2.0 has an EPA rated AER of 53 miles?

I wonder if he was able to keep a straight face when he said that… 🙄

Are you sure they see a GM Volt in Japan? Probably Toyota thinks in Japanese references, and simply exports their ideas!

Well, I guess the Prime will have the best efficiency on gasoline, which will make a significant difference for some people who routinely drive 100+ miles in a day. So, ‘best’ in some ways, but agreed the Volt 2 looks like the better overall package among mainstream PHEVs. That 50 mile electric range with full-electric capability is huge compared to 22 miles with the engine coming on for high power demand spots, like I assume the Prime will do

The Prius Prime also has much better efficiency than the Volt when running in EV mode. Toyota claims the Prius Prime will get 120 MPGe or better, while the new Volt gets only 106 MPGe.

With regards to ICE fuel economy, the Prius Prime is expected to get a similar rating to the 52 to 56 MPG Combined that the Prius HEV models get, while the Volt manages only 42 MPG Combined.

“That 50 mile electric range with full-electric capability is huge compared to 22 miles with the engine coming on for high power demand spots, like I assume the Prime will do”

According to Toyota, the Prime’s engine will not start due to acceleration. It will start if the car is driven over 85 mph or when the battery is depleted.

Cool, thanks.

“According to Toyota, the Prime’s engine will not start due to acceleration. It will start if the car is driven over 85 mph or when the battery is depleted.”

That just means that it will be slow in EV mode like Ford Energi.

Or the entire Prime will be power limited.

Since I live in a locale which is very cold much of the year, I’m assuming the PRIME still has no resitance heater and therefore must run the engine any time the heater/defroster is on.

Its not such a big deal. My ELR still drains the battery pushing the car but the engine runs SOLELY to provide hot water for the heater. It has a 6 kw cabin heater also, but it is rarely used since above 32 deg F you don’t really need the heater and below it the engine always runs and is undefeatable.

I think the Prius Prime will sell well, if only because it’s not quite as ugly as the regular Prius Hatchback it will be parked next to on the dealer lot. That and the big infotainment screen.

Toyota needs to do the obvious and use the prime powertrain in other models to share the cost and give consumers choices. how about thenext generation Lexus CT200h Prime?

They started the hybrid craze a long time ago.

They figured out how to make it work reliably and still make a profit.

Now, you can get a hybrid version of just about everything they make (not including their trucks…ugh)

I am hoping that the same pattern will evolve for their plug ins. I really really really want a plug-in crossover. I really thought Voltec would move it, but I’m starting to wonder.

The Toyota Highlander and now the RAV4 come in hybrid versions. The recently released RAV4 Hybrid is proving to be very popular.

“Toyota Chief Engineer Kouji Toyoshima says that the automaker may be a bit late to the game”

I’m glad they admit/realize that. Next step is putting a bigger battery in there, and maybe we can stop saying “too little too late” Toyota.

22 miles at best from 8.8 kw battery. So that is 2.5 miles per kilowatt hour. How is that 120mpge? Is Toyota’s math also bullish? 🙂

I’m sure 8.8KWH is the total capacity, not the usable capacity. I really wish manufacturers would standardize on quoting usable capacity.

“Toyota’s big push into this segment begins with the new Prius Prime” – complete with pathetic all-electric range and four seats. Ugly is standard

The classic “too little too late”

I’m very, very disappointed in Toyota and their ugly piece of shit Prius garbage.

Even with this crappy range, I think if Toyota just tries a little bit (even less effort than GM), it would outsell the much better Volt by 2x due to the Toyota reputation alone.

That is just the sad world that we live in…

Yep. And that would be great compared to them buying a normal ICE car. But it would be much nicer if they bought a Volt.

That’s not fair. The Prius seems to have more interior room than the Volt which really is a very small car — too small for it’s price.

The Volt is based on the Chevrolet Cruze, yet it is somewhere between $14,000 and $18,000 more expensive, comparably equipped. Even if you make enough to benefit from the 7500 federal tax rebate, it’s still hard to justify the price premium, especially considering it lacks power seats and a sunroof.

“That’s not fair. The Prius seems to have more interior room than the Volt which really is a very small car — too small for it’s price.” Common misconception. EPA interior passenger volume: Volt: 90 cuft. Prius: 91 cuft. 1 cuft in difference. We don’t know what the Prime rating is yet. “The Volt is based on the Chevrolet Cruze, yet it is somewhere between $14,000 and $18,000 more expensive, comparably equipped.” A load of crap that is repeated over and over again. Similar equipped Cruze is about $21K and that is what $33K Volt is equipped with. A difference of only $12K. $7500 covers majority of that. Your $14K to $18K number is often repeated LIES. ” Even if you make enough to benefit from the 7500 federal tax rebate, it’s still hard to justify the price premium,” $46K income gives you enough liability for that $7500 tax credit. If you don’t make $46K, then you shouldn’t spend more than $20K to buy a new car… ” especially considering it lacks power seats and a sunroof.”” And Cruze got less comfortable seat and far less refined in driving dynamic and it is slower. What is your point? Your posts… Read more »

If the price of a new volt give you sticker-shock, youll be delighted at the price of some slightly used volts.

In view of their expected extreme longevity, they are an excellent value.