Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Offers Choice Of Plugging In Or Not – Toyota Commercial


“Let’s have options. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid gets the same great MPG as a normal Prius, plus the ability to charge up for even better mileage — when it’s convenient. Let’s have it all.”

States Toyota in this Prius Plug-In Hybrid ad spot.

We get it…plug-in hybrids don’t have to be plugged in.Ā  Whereas pure electric vehicles do, but we do think Toyota should focus more on the plugging in aspect of the vehicle.

In fact, what separates the Prius from the Prius PHV is the ability to plug in, so putting out an ad spot that makes plugging in seem optional is not wise in our opinion.

But it does kind of show you where Toyota’s head is at these days.

To Plug In Or Not To Plug In?

To Plug In Or Not To Plug In?

Hat tip to Mark F!

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35 Comments on "Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Offers Choice Of Plugging In Or Not – Toyota Commercial"

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Bad: because it makes it look like it’s hard to plug in, or you could come off as a jerk.

Good: they showed regular outlets that normal stuff was plugged into. A lot of people think plug-ins need special outlets.

With an EPA rated all electric range of only 6 miles, plugging in shouldn’t be emphasized. And yes, I know many PIP drivers get 10-15 EV miles despite the rating. Many Volt owners get 50 but the Volt rating is still 38….

Please quit spewing that 6 miles nonsense. EPA rating is 11, real world usage is the same if not more. Get over it.

Actually, Mreneryczar is correct. EPA rating 6 miles ev only 11 miles ev+gas.

But he is very misleading. You don’t have to hypermile to get 11 EV miles in the PIP. You just have to stay under 62mph. The 6 mile estimate is just a fluke attributed to the EPA cycle. He does this all the time and it is very misleading. The Volt getting 50 miles of EV range is in no way comparable to the PIP getting 11 miles of range. I’ve owned a PIP and a Volt.

Hey Justin – It would really be helpful for you to give your impressions of Volt vs. PIP since you’ve owned both.

Have you considered doing a writeup?

The EPA rating is comparing apples to apples. It is a consistent, repeatable methodology that does not attempt to tell you how many real road miles you are going to get. But it does allow you to compare cars in a meaningful way. All the other numbers people throw around are anecdotal at best, not repeatable, and totally irrelevant in this context. It embarrasses me that Mr Energy Czar is taking flak for this. It demonstrates a remarkable lack of understanding of the issues.

Who the hell puts his aquarium in the garage?

Really dumb ad.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

“Yeah, we have a car that plugs in, but you really shouldn’t bother, unless you need a HOV lane sticker.”

I guess being able to kick off climate control while on shore power is a plus as well, assuming the Prius has electric heating..

That was my take exactly. The entire purpose of the PIP is to reclaim the HOV sticker for CA Prius owners who lost that privilege.

Yes, there are other benefits. As someone posted below the bigger battery means more regen which can help in some situations, and if you have lots of short trips and the ability to plug in during the stops you can be almost a real EV.

But the vast majority of PIP sales are in CA. Take away the HOV benefit and this model gets dropped by Toyota. And if there were any doubt left who Toyota thinks the market is for the PIP, this ad leaves no doubt.

Yes, California has been too generous with the Green HOV decals. They should raise the bar to 20 miles+ (that means even Ford should take it up a notch).

Actually, this commercial really is helpful. Even back when I drove a regular Prius, people often assumed that it was an electric car that had to be plugged in. And even with my Volt today, it is hard to explain to people that I don’t HAVE to plug it in if I don’t want to. Plug-in hybrids is a concept that is hard to get some people to comprehend.

You know, I was just thinking the other day that the Volt would be better if it had 2 large (like 1-inch wide) buttons on the dash, one that said “gas” and the other “electric” which could essentially replace the hold-mode idea. Then if they showed that in a commercial, it would make a lot more sense to the regular consumer.

Toyota is merely doubling down (yet again) on their “hydrogen is the savior, EVs are the devil” shtick.

They know that for their gambit to pay off — meaning the huge hydrogen investment returns enough credits to let them sell profitable SUVs and pickup trucks — they have to hold EVs at bay. Sadly for them, they’re trying to hold back the ocean at this point. They can have very limited success in a narrowly defined time and space, but eventually they’ll be swamped by the one thing they can’t stop: Brute force economics fueled by cheaper batteries. The per-mile cost of HFCV vs. EV operation, which already greatly favors EVs, will only grow wider in the coming years, turning hydrogen into the New Coke of automobile technology.

The PiP can get better highway mileage than the regular Prius. A friend has one, and on a 580 mile trip, he averaged 72MPG. The “extra” regen that can be stored from long down slopes helps even when you are way beyond the plugged in charge.

What kind of gas milage did he get on the way back?

That is sort of an extreme case. Unless you live somewhere with significant mountain ranges the extra batter capacity won’t help much. I had a 2012 Three and a 2012 PIP and I do live next to mountains. On regular flat or rolling terrain the difference is negligible. šŸ™‚

Bad. Bad. Bad.

Even though the basic idea is that sometimes it’s inconvenient, the message being sent it “don’t bother, you don’t need it”. This simply reflects Toyota’s commitment to the ICE as the primary power source for transportation.

With a Tesla, it is likely I don’t need to charge when I go to a friend’s house, even if he’s an hour or so away.

That fine, California should cite this commercial when YANKING their sticker eligibility.

This 100X!

If Toyota is suggesting people not plug in then they should not be allowed in the HOV lane.

(Especially since they are leaving California!)

I don’t know why I welcome all EV’s but the Plug-in Prius.

I simply dislike this joke of an EV. All it does is unnecessarily hog charging stations. David Murray has made it clear it has an EV-only range of 11 miles. A wimpy battery coupled with a wimpy charger causes it to hog a charging spot way longer than it should (i.e. 30mins).

It has the slower 3.3 kW charger, just like all Volts, earlier Leafs/ lower-specced Leafs, and Ford Energi’s. So hogging charging stations isn’t Prius Plug-in specific. And those that have the slower charger pay double for their electricity at public charging stations that charge by hour instead of kWh. With my 100 mile round trip commute for work (no office charging available), I’d spend more money on gas + electricity for a Volt, and the only EV to get me through a full day safely plus errands is a Tesla. The Prius Plug-in is the winner for my commute. And, on weekends and evenings, I can do a significant portion of my local driving on EV, which helps the environment/ shift emissions. So yes, the Prius Plug-in might not be ideal for everyone, but for some of us it works out better than the other plug-ins. Regarding public charging stations, first priority should be full electrics that can’t make it home without it. Second should be plug-in hybrids that can’t make a full round trip on electricity without it. The rest should have equal priority. You really should only use the public charger for as long as it takes to… Read more »

“With my 100 mile round trip commute for work (no office charging available), Iā€™d spend more money on gas + electricity for a Volt”

Are you sure about that?
100 miles in PiP = 10 EV 90 Gas = 1.8 gallons of gas
100 miles in the Volt =40 EV 60 gas = 1.6 gallons of gas.

.2 gallons = ~80 cents

10.8kWh – 3kWh = 7.8kWh = ~80cents

Seems like a wash to me. Other than if you go w/the PiP you are stuck with it and it’s limitations. If you go w/the Volt you have a much nicer car and more AER when you need it. And what happens if a plug does open up somewhere at/near work?


“.2 gallons = ~80 cents”
That’s assuming gas is $4/gal. I think year round average in my area is closer to $3.75, so about 75 cents more gas with the Prius.

“10.8kWh ā€“ 3kWh = 7.8kWh = ~80cents”
That’s assuming electricity is $10.26/kWh. My electricity bill comes out to about $.17-.18/kWh, so that would be about $1.37, not to mention using 3.6 times the electricity per day would put me in higher tiers so the marginal additional electricity would be charged at 28 or 32 cents/kWh. Sure, I could switch to TOU rates, but if I want to run AC in my house during the summer I’m charged 49 cents/kWh during on peak times, and even off peak at tier 2 is 32 cents/kWh, so no thank you.

I agree it’s about a wash money-wise. But each has it’s own limitations. The Prius has more storage and fits my longer surfboards for instance, plus the 5 seats is necessary on occasion. But the Volt does have nicer amenities. They’re both good cars, it just depends on your specific needs.

I’m not sure where you live, but given that you drive a PiP, CA seems likely.

For PG&E customers, switching to the new EV-A plan eliminates tiered pricing, which should provide substantial savings over your current plan. On that plan, all off-peak charging is <$0.11/kWh year-round.

Of course the ad doesn’t mention that when you plug in, you pay about 1/4 the price for your fuel. So instead of the selling point being saving a few thousand dollars a year, and being environmentally responsible, the selling point is with this car you can keep buying gas.


Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

A stock plugin Prius would have been great… in 2007.

However, the one on the market now was obsolete before it was designed.


Is it just me or lately does Toyota sound like the guy at the end of ” Animal House” telling everyone” stay calm, all is well.”

I admit to asking family if I can plug in with my Volt while I’m visiting. We did some easy math and with the inexpensive electricity ( clean hydropower ) here in the Seattle area, my brother usually rejects the buck I toss at him when I plug in at his house. On long visits, I can get enough juice for the return trip home ( 30 miles ).

It works out great and last year I gave him a Starbucks card for his birthday and joked that part of it was for the 2 bucks of juice I borrowed from him during the last year. šŸ™‚

I recall the early Prius, were modified to be more electric, by installing plug-in battery pack chargers, which they did not have, and adding an auxiliary battery pack, to give about 30 miles of ell electric range, and the charging unit, and the auxiliary pack were both placed behind the back seat where they didn’t effect the interior passenger spaces. Is any one still doing these accessory aftermarket enhancements? If not, WHY NOT ?

@Dennis Miles I believe the City of Houston still has quite a few Prius vehicles that have been modified in this way. They showed one at National Drive Electric week a few years back.

Pretty sure there is more than one place to plug-in in that garage. He just didn’t look hard enough.

Kind of an odd place for a plug too. Right between two windows? Not something you see too often.

I really dislike this ad. The friend is doing the driver a favor and the driver is determining whether to unplug his fridge or his fishtank?

It’s tone-deaf.

I always carry a 3 way plug with me so that I can plug in whenever I run into this situation. 8 amps with the volt plus 5 amps for the freezer plus 1 amp for the fish tank seems doable.

Mixed feelings here about the Plug-In-Prius. I’d put it in the ‘get your feet wet with EVs’ or ‘its better than nothing’, so while it is in the most visible vehicle possible, it is also in my judgement one of the poorer implementations solely due to the 4.4 kwh battery. I certainly hope this doesn’t push the market this way, and some manufacturer ‘push the envelope’ with a super-huge 2 kwh battery or some other non-sensical size.