• Sep 8th 2008 at 5:33PM
  • 19
Even with the $5,000 difference between the Prius and non-hybrid Toyotas, there was a time when Toyota lost money on the car. Even when the car entered the black, and even though they halved the cost of the hybrid system from one generation to the next, Toyota still didn't make the margins on it that they did with their go-to sedans. Yet with plans to start making batteries for the Hybrid Synergy Drive in the U.S., Toyota says it should be able to halve costs again, and bring the next-gen Prius profit to near parity with the Corolla.

Toyota doesn't know where or when it will start building batteries in the States. The company says "it's difficult to make the main parts of batteries outside of Japan," but didn't explain why that was the case. From 2010, the Prius will be manufactured in Toyota's Mississippi plant, however, that doesn't mean the battery plant will be nearby.

Toyota moved up the date to offer the plug-in Priuses to government and fleet operators to the end of 2009. Right now, Toyota says the Prius gets 13 miles on battery power alone. If the plug-in Prius does arrive in a year or so, and with a substantially higher range -- and that is a ginormous "if" -- then it has a chance of upstaging the Chevy Volt, which appears to be what Toyota is aiming for.

[Source: Automotive News, sub req'd]


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  • 19 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      If the US government gives Toyota any grants for them to develop batteries, that'll make me raving mad. The reverse would be unheard of in Japan. It is time we Americans wake up and start treating the Japanese the same way they treat us. Their markets are only opened if it suits them.
      If I have to buy foreign, I buy from Korea.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Sorry, Korea is extremely tight on US imports.
        • 7 Years Ago
        That's a strange thing to say. Especially, when most of the foreign you see on the road are built in your backyard. Where as your Ford and GM are imported or soon to be imported from either Mexico, China or Canada. Do you not see all the plants closure at GM, Chrysler and Ford?

        A more intelligent thing to do would be to look at the VIN and see where it's made instead of over generalizing based on the brand. It's more than meets the eye.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Because the South Korean market is soooooo open.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Actually in Florida there is a Natural Gas Company named Wise Gas Inc. that not only coverts cars over to Natural Gas tank, sells home units that you can fuel up at home and are setting up gas stations from Fort Lauderdale to Orlando. It works great with the new Honda Civic GX which is a Natural Gas Car and you can purchase it through them with Natural gas prices at less than $3.00 a gallon plus alot of of tax incentives for ex. $0.50 back per gallon. This is perfect for anyone especially for the one on the go ex.from FT Lauderdale to Orlando, FL. can drive on a full tank of $16.00 which is 209.43 miles and that's 3hours. 21 minutes.
      So everybody needs to get wise to Natural Fuel Alternatives.
      Remember Natural Gas can also be converted to Hydrogen.
      www.wisegasinc.com
      • 7 Years Ago
      $5,000 PREMIUM FOR A CRAP CAN. CIVIC, ESCAPE AND EVEN THE TAHOE AND ESCALADE ARE NOT EVEN ASKING $5,000 OVER THERE GAS VERSION MODELS. BUY A PRIUS .......WAS YOUR MONEY.
        • 7 Years Ago
        @ From My Cube

        You made me laugh. haha
        • 7 Years Ago
        Incidentally, that "$5,000 premium" figure was just pulled out of someone's nether regions. I'm not sure where AB got it, but it really makes zero sense when you compare pricing feature-to-feature.

        A 2009 Prius Standard costs $22,000. To get a Matrix (the closest gas-only equivalent in Toyota's lineup) with the same features, you'd have to buy an S model ($19,450) and option it up to $20,730 to get the Prius' alloys, traction control, and rear wiper/washer.

        Similarly, you'd have to option up a Corolla S to $18,445, and you still wouldn't get the Prius' hatchback cargo area, rear legroom, or automatic climate control. A Camry CE with TCS and alloys costs $21,415, and doesn't offer the Prius' trip computer.

        That makes an $85-$3,555 premium for the Prius over equivalent Toyotas--which still lack some standard Prius features--and ignores whatever extra value buyers might assign the hybrid car's technological novelty, distinctive image, and 22-27 MPG city mileage advantage.

        This is why no one should be confused as to why the thing sells as well as it does.
        • 7 Years Ago
        The $5,000 premium of a Prius over a Corolla or Camry may get you a much better MPG increase than a Tahoe or Escalade hybrid does over the non hybrid version.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I see your bet, and raise you one caps lock
      • 7 Years Ago

      All Prius's has to do is get to 30 mph and then have the engine kick in to increase MPG by a minimum of 25 to 30 percent. That is the worst time for gas usage and if they can go to 60 MPH then get and then they might get an additional 5 percent increase in millage. The only problem with going to 60 is the reduced range that it will cause on the batteries. If I remember correctly a car can Cruz at 60 miles per hour on a relatively flat surface at seven horse power. This will be the next major increase when they can scale down the minimum amount of power an engine will make under very very light load but keep it from knocking (diesel time). If they can do
      a trick like this then 80 mpg is right around the corner for hybrids on the highway. But then again what do I know I stay in the Autoblog section at night.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is where I make my plea to the Detroit readers. This has "Dave Bing" written all over it. If he can somehow get into office as Mayor of Detroit, I'm fairly certain opportunities like the above would end up in Motown given his close ties with Toyota, his largest client.

      I'm starting the Dave Bing for mayor campaign right now.
      • 7 Years Ago
      same old story.. We'll do it... at some point.. lmao..
      • 7 Years Ago
      (above posters) Did intelligence just drop a few points today?

      Anyways... A few messly miles is sad for a plug in Prius. Its 2008 now, and they should have better technology. Oh wait, thats because of big oil. Thanks
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      "The company says 'it's difficult to make the main parts of batteries outside of Japan,' but didn't explain why that was the case. "

      I wonder if Toyota has better luck dealing with Japan's version of the EPA.
      • 7 Years Ago
      yeah yeah yeah we all know Prius's aren't what they could be..
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