Toyota Starts a Plug-In War: Claims Better Whole Life Costs Over Ampera/Volt In UK

JUL 25 2012 BY JAY COLE 7

Toyota Prius Plug-In Gets A Charge In London

Toyota has just released the full spec sheet on their Prius PHV, now on sale in the UK, and in so doing have started a little dust up with their American rivals at General Motors, perhaps due to Vauxhall putting out a new lower priced ‘Earth’ Ampera model to better compete with their Japanese foe.

2013 Vauxhall Ampera

While promoting their 11 mile electric, extended range petrol hybrid, Toyota states that over three years/60,000 miles the Prius Plug-in will cost £36,272 compared to the Ampera’s £38,130.

 “Compared to the Vauxhall Ampera (cousin of the Chevrolet Volt), which uses a petrol engine as a “range extender” to support the electric motor, Prius Plug-in offers a higher specification, more seats on board and can save almost £2,000 on costs over three years/60,000 miles with its greater range and quicker battery charging time. The table below shows how the Toyota cost benefits stack up.”

It is also worth noting that the Toyota Prius Plug-in offers a 49g/km CO2 rating, so there is no annual road tax (VED) bill,as well as an exemption from the London congestion charge.

Does this signal a shift in the way the Plug-In Prius will be advertised in the future?  Will this public rivalry come to North America?  We hope not, as the last thing the plug-in industry needs right now is it fighting against itself, when there are so many fresh minds still to win over.

Toyota also offered this chart:



OTR price (including £5,000 OLEV grant)



Driving range

769 miles

360 miles

Battery charging time

90 minutes

4 hours

Cost to charge



Cost per mile electricity



Number of seats



Navigation systemIncluded

Rear-view camera


Specification adjustment value vs Prius Plug-in*


Whole life costs over 3 years/60,000 miles**



* Data provided by JATONet  **Data calculation by Kwikcarcost

Vauxhall Amerpa Interior

Prius Plug-In Interior


Categories: Opel / Vauxhall, Toyota


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7 Comments on "Toyota Starts a Plug-In War: Claims Better Whole Life Costs Over Ampera/Volt In UK"

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Well of course the PIP won’t take as long to full charge as an Ampera – its battery is much smaller! This ends up being a false argument.

If driving electrically is what a person seeks, it’s no contest. A PIP owner would have to stop and plug in three or maybe even four times to match the EV range of the Ampera. How tiring would that get to be?

And then there is the question of driving dynamics – which car feels better behind the wheel. Going on media reports, it appears the Ampera is in a different league than the PIP.

Let’s be honest here – the PIP is a stopgap measure meant to buy Toyota time to come up with something more able to measure up to the higher efficiency standard set by the Volt/Ampera.

The Ampera has the greater EV Range. He has the more powerful engine. He win the battle.

I love the Ampera

Without question the Volt can be driven on electric much more of the time than the Prius. Some have calculated that with one charge per day the Volt has better cost of ownership if you drive less than 50 miles per day. If you can charge at work or during the day then you can double that to 100 mpd. But you have to look closely at what your commuting patterns are.

Thanks to VoltStats.Net we can see what Volts in the wild are actually doing. The is a really great tool, and no other manufacturer that I know of allows such a thing. GM could easily shut it down if they wanted to, but they know what people who really run the numbers will figure out, for most drivers the Volt cost of ownership is very hard to beat.

If Toyota really believes the PIP has better cost numbers then allow that data to be collected and aggregated publicly as is done with VoltStats.

Whatever. There is no way a PiP is better than the Ampera. For one, the Ampera is an all electric vehicle for the first 40 miles and it`s possible to drive a long time without going to the gas station – this is not possible in a PiP. Also a PiP range is only 11 miles and actually will only drive the first 6 miles without engaging the engine and only if you feather the gas petal and don’t use the heater. The build quality of the Ampera is head and shoulders above the PiP and the Ampera is fun to drive, nimble an silent drive. Go test drive the two of them back to back and you will see what I’m talking about. The PiP only has one advantage – if you drive an average of 150 miles a day sure you will consume less fuel – if your commute is any less than the Ampera is going to get better overall mpg – actually 1000+mpg if your commute is 40 miles or less.

Agreed. It really is apples and oranges here. Both are good vehicles just in a different EV class. There are some drivers that actually have that short 10-15 miles commute which makes this car work. The PiP is not at all bad but not really to be compared with the Ampera. Such ads will confuse the market place. I attempted to handle this in an article. I realized that I did not set the range low enough for the PiP (thinking C-Max) but did not ask Jay to correct. I probably should. I did want to make the distinction as you are that it is in a different class.

If your commute is 150 miles a day and you are stuffed in a Prius of any kind I feel really bad for you. Regardless of the car, a 150 mile commute is an irrefutable reason for you to telecommute, move or change jobs.

That lifetime cost obviously makes some assumptions about the majority of a day’s driving being within the range of the Prius all-EV mode. Too bad they took this approach of putting down the competition to try and sell their vehicle; they must be awfully concerned about their sales.

Usually a good product can stand on its own two feet without having to put other products down to make their statement. It’s interesting that, between the Leaf, Volt, and Prius Plug in, now only the Volt/Ampera has not resorted to mud slinging with the competition.