• Dec 14th 2009 at 10:30AM
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Toyota Prius PHEV - click above for high-res image gallery

In Japan today, Toyota officially launched its Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) lease program. Over the next six months, Toyota will be building and deploying 600 examples of the plug-in Prius for testing primarilly in Japan, United States and Europe. The Japanese market will get 230 units, with 150 coming to the States and 200 going to Europe. The cars will be leased to government, commercial, and university fleets for field testing that help to gather more data on how PHEVs are used in the real world.

To accommodate plug-in charging the Prius gets a 5.2 kWh lithium ion battery pack in place of the standard nickel metal hydride unit. The battery and associated charging hardware appear to be the only significant mechanical changes to the PHEV. The motor and other hybrid hardware are apparently carried over intact. Even with the standard motor, Toyota claims a maximum EV speed of 62 mph.

On the Japanese JC08 cycle, the Prius can run about 14.5 miles before depleting the battery. It's not clear what the performance level will be in EV mode and what sort of driving will trigger the engine to start up while the battery still has available power. Based on that driving cycle, the PHEV is rated at 72 mpg (U.S.) in post-EV hybrid mode which compares with the 50 mpg or so that we typically see in real use. Since the hybrid system is essentially unchanged, the 14 mile range is probably a bit optimistic. The combined efficiency based on a utility factor of .436 (43.6 percent of driving in EV mode) the Prius is rated at 134 mpg (U.S.). The PHEV Prius will undoubtedly get very good mileage, but we suspect that triple digits are unlikely for most people. During the presentation, Toyota also announced a target of retail sales for the PHEV of late 2011 at an "affordable" price. Video of the presentation and the press release are after the jump.

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[Source: Toyota]


TMC Introduces 'Prius Plug-in Hybrid' into Key Markets



Tokyo - TOYOTA MOTOR CORPORATION (TMC) announces the introduction of the "Prius Plug-in Hybrid", a plug-in version of the third-generation "Prius" gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle, into key markets. Approximately 600 units will be introduced in Japan, the United States, and Europe over the first half of 2010, for use by governments and businesses.

In Japan, TMC will lease approximately 230 units to government ministries, local governments selected for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry's EV & PHV Towns program, corporations such, as electric power companies, and other entities. In the United States, approximately 150 units will be provided to government agencies, corporations, universities and research agencies for use in a demonstration program aimed at collecting driving data and spurring the development of battery-charging infrastructure. In Europe, TMC will lease approximately 200 units, with approximately 100 going to the City of Strasbourg, France. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will also be introduced in the United Kingdom and Portugal, with the company also considering 10 other European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, along with countries in other regions, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid can be charged using an external power source such as a household electric outlet, and is the first vehicle produced by TMC to be propelled by a lithium-ion battery. Further, due to the battery's expanded capacity, the vehicle has an extended electric-vehicle driving range, enabling use as an electric vehicle (EV) for short distances, while for medium and long distances, after battery power depletes to a level no longer allowing EV driving mode, the vehicle functions as a conventional gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle (HV). Thus, use is not constrained by remaining battery power or availability of battery-charging infrastructure.

Furthermore, plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs), such as the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, are expected to achieve fuel efficiency superior to conventional gasoline-electric HVs, reduce consumption of fossil fuels, and reduce CO2 emissions and atmospheric pollution. Verifications and rules that gauge the performance of a PHV differ from region to region, but in Japan, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid has a cruising range in EV mode of approximately 23 km with a fully charged battery, and an average PHV fuel efficiency of 57km/L and CO2 emissions1 of 41 g/km under specified driving conditions combining driving performance both as an EV and as a HV. (Results are based on the JC08 Japanese test cycle2 and verified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.)

TMC believes that, to meet the diversification of energy sources, plug-in hybrid vehicles are a highly suitable environmentally considerate option. TMC is therefore actively encouraging market introduction and aiding understanding, and to promote the soonest widespread use of PHVs, TMC will analyze feedback regarding the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, with an aim to begin sales in the tens of thousands of units to the general public in two years.

TMC promotes the use of energy sources other than gasoline, such as electricity, to limit the consumption of fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions. Thus, the company is accelerating the development of electricity-related technologies honed by experience gained from 12 years selling gasoline-electric HVs, the market introduction of the "RAV4 EV" SUV and the leasing of fuel-cell HVs.

1Includes only CO2 emissions generated during vehicle operation, not those generated in the production of electricity used to charge the vehicle's battery.

2Newer Japanese test method than the preceding 10-15 test cycle that better approximates actual driving conditions, meaning that the fuel consumption rates tend to be slightly lower than those measured under the 10-15 test cycle. Fuel-consumption rates and cruising distances are values from specified test conditions. Average fuel consumption and cruising distances will vary markedly depending on such variables as driving conditions and driving methods, particularly, daily driving distance, the battery's charge level and air-conditioner use.

Vehicle Outline

Newly Developed Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle System
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid features the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) II Plug-in, based on the THS II hybrid system used for the Prius, with a new, battery-charging system to facilitate highly efficient charging of the vehicle's lithium-ion battery from an external power source.

Use of electricity from an external source dramatically decreases gasoline consumption, with the vehicle measuring an average plug-in hybrid fuel efficiency of 57 km/l. In EV mode the vehicle has a cruising range of 23.4 km (under the JC08 Japanese test cycle) and top cruising speeds up to 100 km/h.

The vehicle comes in Light Blue Mica Metallic-exclusive to the Prius Plug-in Hybrid-while the side-view mirrors, door handles and trim around rear license plate is in high-gloss silver. This color combination creates a cutting-edge image befitting such a next-generation vehicle.

A standard Prius Plug-in Hybrid decal (suggested) placed on both sides of the vehicle further distinguishes the vehicle from other grades of the Prius. Vehicle-exclusive emblems also feature on the fender and charging port lid.

Displays for PHV-specific Information
Special selectable screens that display information for PHV operation have been added to the Prius-base car navigation system and the Eco-Drive Monitor. The screens display information to assist EV-mode driving (using battery power only), as well as provide an enjoyable way to check battery-charge level and resulting fuel consumption.
  • Energy Monitor Screen displays possible in EV mode driving range
  • EV-Drive Indicator on the Hybrid System Indicator Screen also indicates possible EV cruising range; driver notified of potential accelerator use with current battery charge level, thus supporting environmentally friendly driving through use of EV mode
  • Electric Vehicle Cruising Ratio Screen-exclusive to Prius Plug-in Hybrid-displays difference between driving in EV mode (using battery power only) and driving in HV mode (using both gasoline engine and battery power)

Vehicle Specifications
Engine displacement 1,797 cc
Transmission Electric automatic
Powertrain Front-wheel drive
Length 4,460 mm
Width 1,745 mm
Height 1,490 mm
Wheelbase 2,700 mm
Track Front 1,525 mm
Rear 1,520 mm
Weight 1,490 kg
Seating capacity 5
Minimum turning radius 5.2 m
Tire size 185/65R15

Environmental Performance (Japan)*1
1) Fuel efficiency when using only electric power from external source N.A.
(no gasoline consumed)
2) Gasoline-electric-hybrid fuel efficiency 30.6 km/L (CO2 emissions 76g)
3) Plug-in hybrid fuel efficiency*2 57.0 km/L (CO2 emissions 41g)
4) Cruising range when using battery power*3 23.4 km
5) Electricity efficiency 6.57 km/kWh
6) Electric vehicle mode cruising range*4 23.4 km
7) Battery charging power consumption 3.56 kWh
Emissions reduction level under 2005 standards 75% or greater
*1Items "1" to "7" are guidelines developed by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure,Transport and Tourism; *2Equals combined fuel economy of EV drive and post-EV-drive HV drive; *3When also using electric power from external charging (in the case of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, same as "Electric vehicle mode cruising range"); *4When using electric power from external charging only

Hybrid System Specifications
System THS II Plug-in (with motor speed reduction device)
Engine 1.8-liter gasoline 2ZR –FXE (high-expansion ratio)
Maximum output 73 kW (99PS)/5,200 rpm
Maximum torque 142 N-m (14.5 kgf-m)/4,000 rpm
Motor 3JM (permanent magnet)
Maximum output 60 kW (82 PS)
Maximum torque 207N-m (21.1kgf-m)
Drive battery Lithium-ion
Capacity 5.2 kWh
Rated voltage 345.6 V
Charging time Approx. 180 minutes (AC100 V)
Approx. 100 minutes (AC200 V)
System maximum output 100 kW (136 PS)
System voltage Max. 650 V
EV mode maximum speed approx. 100 km/h

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Numbers can be manipulated any which way, I'll wait to see what happens after a year on the road.

      Also, the difference between chevy and toyota is that I would buy the toyota. I'll let someone else to find out the chevy build/design quality (which could be good, who knows).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Haha, Gary, I have a friend with an 02 Grand Am that goes through steering racks, electric relays, and intake manifold gaskets like they're all 10k mile wear items.

        Guess I'm just stuck in the early 2000's and assume all GM cars are the same today!

        Unlike Ford, with which I have had great luck with and are substantively doing better today as shown by independent awards and analysis from multiple credible sources. Wish I could say the same about GM; if I could, I'd consider switching (well, if the car was objectively better, as I suppose the Volt is if it ever comes to market).

        So I guess I can't knock the Toyota guys or Honda guys from being afraid to make the switch. I am, too. Give me a great reason to and maybe I'll consider it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yeah, I had a friend with an 88 Camaro that was a piece of crap. My mind is stuck in the 80s. I believe that all GM cars are the same today.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Gary, that is such a lame point of view, I hope you can get past 20 years of history. Public perception is 5 years behind actual build quality, but you're taking it to the extreme.

        Pretty much everything sucked 20 years ago - Toyota's and Honda's included. The funny thing is you didn't even own the car, so you didn't have the first hand experience with it. Go test drive a new Camaro, and base your opinion on that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Apex, Gary was being sarcastic.

        ...I think.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The real question is the price, hopefully 'affordable' is closer to $30k.

      The single biggest cost contributor is the li-ion battery, the Volt has 16 kWh, this gets only 5.2 kWh. Which means that this car should equally be cheaper to build. The current Prius starts at around $22-24k, so a $6-8k premium for a the 5.2kwh li-ion battery replacing the current 1.3 kWh NiMH should be reasonable.

      Also a large issue is the tax credit. The current PHEV tax rebate was pretty much written for the Volt, to get maximum $7,500 credit you need a 16 kWh battery (the government didn't pull that particular battery size out of a hat). However, the Transportation and Domestic Fuel Security Act allows for $2500 plus an additional $417 for batteries greater then 4kWh.

      ...so the Volt will get $7,500 from the government, and the Prius PHEV around $2,917.

      Right now, the Volt is expected to cost around $40k (after tax rebates), if this Prius can cost $30k (before its smaller rebate) then it should be fine. We have to keep in mind that the Volt has a much much longer EV range, but the Prius is a series-parallel hybrid so it runs perfectly normally even without charge, but it can't justifiably be priced ~$40k considering its reduced range.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Considering the first batch be will be "lease only" you won't see final prices anywhere. They'll all be $599/ month or something like that.
        • 5 Years Ago
        >>My point was, and still is, that you can't automatically compare prices of base models across until you know what the spec of the models are.

        This is my point as well, we don't know what the trim levels for the Volt are going to be, and we can guess the trim level of the PHEV based on only whats available.

        But I disagree with NAV and extras being built in, I could be wrong, but I would suspect until GM becomes profitable with the Volt they would want to charge for those extras so they can minimize their loses.

        I think we both agree that the Volt will be a sell-out with the small initial volume. The Volt when it launches isn't a mass-production car, its too expensive, and there aren't going to be enough cars anyway. Most of the first 10,000 or so cars will be bought by early-adopters and likely wealthier individuals that want the latest 'green' car. These are people that can, and will, spend on the extras.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?

        Your pricing arguments are based on comparing extras against the Prius versus a Volt, which doesn't exist yet, and I'm sure people at GM have still yet to finalize the price and options on. Either way, if you add Nav and leather seats on a Volt it'll cost more as well.

        We do know what the Prius offers already, and I'm assuming that the PHEV Prius has a 'starting price' of around $30k. Let's consider what you get with the current base Prius starts at a little over $22k, you can walk out with one with destination, etc for around $23k.

        This is a base Prius: (Prius II)
        hybrid Synergy Drive®, Touch Tracer Display, cruise control, color-keyed foldable power heated outside mirrors, AM/FM/MP3 CD player with six speakers and satellite radio capability [3], auxiliary audio jack, power windows, 6-way adjustable driver's seat, Smart Key System

        The one grade above that (Prius III) adds, 6-disk CD changer, and sun roof for a grand more, the one above that (Prius IV) adds leather seats, air ionizer, etc. And the Prius V LED lights, etc.

        All the safety features are one the the base Prius II, there are no performance differences between the trim levels. The most expensive option are those solar panels.

        The base Prius is NOT a stripper model, I'm saying that a PHEV Prius with a Prius II level trim could cost around $30k.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Volt is expected to run about $35K after tax rebates. That's the last GM has said. Of course, that might have been for a stripper model. And with only 10,000 made, how many will be strippers?

        I don't see how this Prius will cost $30K before rebates when the current Prius V costs $28K already. I again don't really expect to see a lot of plug-in stripper models made or bought.

        What is your thing about being a parallel hybrid this runs perfectly normally without a charge? The Volt does also. You could own the car for years and never plug it in and it would drive normally. You could even reach highway speeds, which likely will be impractical in this. Have you ever driven a Prius in EV mode? The top speed is about 38mpg, but without the gas engine assist to accelerate it takes forever to get there (seriously like 30 seconds or more) and only on level ground.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @why not the LS2LS7?

        We need to compare starting-prices to starting-prices, or as you like to call 'stripper' models to 'stripper' models. We don't know how GM is going to price the Volts, and we don't know how the option list is going to evolve. We do know that GM is losing money on every Volt it sells, and its only making a paltry 10,000 of them. Considering the hype I expect there to be VERY long waiting lists, and it really doesn't serve GM any benefit to discount a car which is guaranteed to sell out.

        Aside from that, the base-Prius is pretty well-equipped. Its not really a 'stripper' model, it comes with all the amenties you would expect of a normal vehicle. Looking at the site. The higher-end models above the base 'Prius II' seem to only benefit from the usual options like CD-changer, leather seats, sun roof etc.

        ~$10k difference price difference between the PHEV Prius and Volt is likely how its going to play out, and a ~$10k difference between a base Prius and PHEV Prius. If you look at the videos posted in the article, this PHEV Prius is almost identical to the regular Prius aside from the battery and software. If they sell the PHEV Prius at or above $30k I would assume there is some healthy profit in it for Toyota.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Actually, there aren't a lot of options on the Prius. You have to change models to significantly upgrade it. There's a stripper, one with NAV, the deluxe model, and a model that takes the NAV one and adds the solar roof. I don't expect Toyota will make any plug-ins based upon the stripper. It'll be NAV models and higher.

        GM has most recently said their target price is "high 30s", everyone presumes this is after rebate. I bet this Prius costs $32K. So I would say there's a $11,000 price difference before rebates, $7,000 after rebates. Yow, that's pretty steep.
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, I'm saying that the only config of the Volt announced will likely have NAV and such built-in, not extra. This is because the price of the vehicle is already so high. So I can't see how you'd compare against the base Prius. This is my opinion, you somehow think my opinion is "wrong" and yours is "right" even though the Volt info isn't out.

        My point was, and still is, that you can't automatically compare prices of base models across until you know what the spec of the models are.

        You're wrong about the Prius II, III, IV, V stack up. Yes, III adds to II. But V doesn't add to IV. The solar sunroof isn't available on the V, but it is on the IV. Basically, the features list splits above the III, offering two different range toppers, but with different feature lists. None is a superset of all others.

        I don't think any PHEV Priuses will be offered with Level II trim any more than I think Volts will be offered with low end trim. Both vehicles will be expensive due to the battery and available in limited numbers, so why make lower-end configs that squeeze your profit margins?
        • 5 Years Ago

        It says in the article that next year it will be lease-only next year to test it, and in 2011 they will officially launch it at an 'affordable' price.

        @why not the LS2LS7?

        There have been conflicting reports on what the Volt will cost relative to rebates, either way, at 10,000 units demand will outstrip supply anyways. There will be a waiting list regardless.

        Also, the Prius starts at around $22k, every car can be added with options, including the Volt as you've said- 'stripper' model as you've said. The PHEV Prius is essentially a normal Prius with a higher-capacity li-ion battery and new software.

        The cost difference should be only several thousand dollars for the small 5.2 kWh Li-ion battery sans the cost of the current NiMH battery. I'm thinking Toyota eventually plans on making all their Prius' li-ion, and possibly PHEV in the future.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The paint looks like dazzle camouflage:

      • 5 Years Ago
      There are a bunch of smart guys that read AB so help me.

      The plug-in Prius version has been teased to us for a couple of years now with, "They are working on the technology," "more to do," and so on. Now it is reported it's the same technology with different batteries and a plug. Seems like they could have had this on the street a couple of years ago. What am I missing?

      It is my understanding the Volt, Prius and other battery powered vehicles only use 30-40% off the top of the battery's capabilities. Any more would shorten the life of the batteries. It is even suggested GM is thinking about making the Volt's batteries "removable" so when it's time to junk the car the battery can be used in the home to power something (NFI). Does the Telsa use a greater percentage of the usable battery charge at the expense of its life in order to obtain that 200 miles or is it just lower weight and more batteries?

      And why hasn't some wiz-kid developed some reprogramming that would allow, say, 50-60% of the battery to be used for more range, perhaps 20-25 miles. Should last as long as the average Prius owner keeps their vehicle.

      Just wondering...
        • 5 Years Ago

        You display a significant lack of Understanding

        #1. On Volt Battery.
        Volt has a 16 kWh battery pack that GM will operate from around 80% SOC to 30% SOC, or 8kWh. They expect on the US EPA "City" and "Hwy" Cycles this will acchieve 40 Miles before 30% SOC is reached. (These are the Pre-2008 Cycles). Based on comparison between US and Japanese testing, the Volt should travel between 50-60 miles on JC08 (a range roughly 4 times this Plug-in Prius) Why the difference? Because regardless of the initial capacity of the Battery, Toyota needs to retain a certain amount post "EV transition to ICE" to maintian correct Hybrid operation. This means even though they have a 5.2 kWh battery, they likely are only using ~2 kWh for EV mode.

        #2. On Plug-in Prius EV mode.
        The critical factor in the Prius and Plug-in Prius is the output power of the Battery. In the Prius, the Battery only outputs 27 kW of power. (This is comparison to the ~40-50 kW peak required by US City Cyle). Unless this has been raised significantly (and due to a maximum speed of ~60 mph, it doesn't look like it), the Prius will not be gas free for an ordinary person in ordinary US traffic, regardless of the distance.

        #3. Comparison Estimates to Volt "230 MPG and 25 kWh/100 miles"
        Since the Prius plug-in is unlikely to pass -any- US driving cycle test without using the gasoline engine, its unlikely to break the 100 MPG limit. We already have a model for how this Plug-in appears to work. The Hymotion modification of the Prius. (Uses roughly the same battery size and same operation methods). Provisional estimates for the Hymotion are more like 70 MPG and 5 kWh/100 miles.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The battery must be removable in the Volt if they want to sell it (or a similar model) in Europe. It's an EU regulation.

        Yes, the Tesla does use all its pack and it is expected this will lead to reduced pack life. No one is sure yet though, as Teslas haven't been out long enough.
        • 5 Years Ago
        quote from Temple:
        - "being that its an series-hybrid and the ICE cannot directly power the wheels, but still having the engine kick in when its needed. So gas usage won't be absolute zero like an EV even when the car is fully charged." -

        I think you need to re-read how the Volt works, at least a little bit anyhow.

        If the battery is fully charged, there is no reason for the ICE to kick in. The ICE is not programmed to kick in until the batteries have dropped below a certain threshold, said to be about 30% capacity. That is where the whole 40mi of electric range comes from. From a full charge (which isn't really 100% either) down to the 30% range.

        Again, this is why its said that if you drive less than 40mi per day and plug in the Volt at night, you can conceivably drive the Volt using no gas at all (depending on your driving demands), for very long periods of time.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Temple, your understanding of the Volt is flawed at best.

        Additionally, not there aren't times when an ICE is more efficient than an electric motor, at least not only if you are talking about the energy you carry and getting it to the ground. Wheel-to-well can be tougher to quantify but still greatly favors the electric motor.

        Also, you use mpg in a way that doesn't really make sense. Which isn't surprising since mpg on a parallel plug-in hybrid is probably one of the most difficult figures to express.

        If the Prius runs as a parallel hybrid in plug-in mode (as current conversions do), I think it'll be a failure. It has no value to most customers that way. The economics already don't make sense on a Prius unless you drive it a ton (think taxi drivers) and adding plug-in just adds more cost on top. The real marketable value of a plug-in is if it is a series hybrid like the Volt you can drive without using any gas at all. That appeals to some people, and so they'll buy it despite the poor economic return (see the Tesla).
        • 5 Years Ago
        This is an interesting point.

        I think this is really the crucial difference between PHEVs and pure EVs aside from the ICE acting merely as a backup. From Toyota's video they seem to be discouraging pure-EV mode aside from limited urban usage.

        Toyota seems to taken the philosophical approach that it isn't beneficial to make the car a pure-EV; and the drivers petroleum foot-print an absolute zero, but rather to greatly reduce it. For that reason, the PHEV Prius seems to have constant input from the ICE even when the battery is full.

        There are many situations where the ICE is far more efficient then an electrical motor after-all, so Toyota seems PHEV that can get 100mpg+ rather then one that can have a 15 mpg EV range and be 50mpg after that.

        This is important because if you don't have to worry about "EV Range" then you can have the battery operating at where its most efficient and most reliable.

        The Volt seems to be taking a more mixed approach, concentrating on EV range, being that its an series-hybrid and the ICE cannot directly power the wheels, but still having the engine kick in when its needed. So gas usage won't be absolute zero like an EV even when the car is fully charged.

        Since both cars are a PR move as much as a practical one, we'll need to see which philosophy makes more sense in relation to both PR and practical perspectives.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @montoym @why not the LS2LS7?

        The Volt is a series-hybrid, meaning that the engine isn't delivering power, and only generates electricity. But my point exactly is that before the EV range (40 miles) is completely exhausted the engine will kick in. Since this thread is in relevance to battery capacity the Volt unlike most EVs won't allow the battery to be completely drained, maybe I could have worded it better, but my point was, even in the claimed 40 mile EV range you're likely going to be using gasoline.

        As far as electric motors versus ICE is concerned, ICE is incredibly efficient at certain applications, producing consistent amount of power at specific load. For instance, for highway driving ICE is very good. For an electric motor, high power output requires a equally large motor. The Volt uses a 120 kW (160 hp) motor in addition to the 1.4l engine, the motor is twice the power of the Prius. When you consider that rare earth element dysprosium is a primary material to those motors, and 95% of the world's supply comes from China, reducing our dependence on that limited natural resource is equally as important.

        As far as what makes sense, the PHEV Prius will likely make a profit, the Volt won't. This is only due to battery capacity, the Prius can act as both a series and parallel system. The Prius only needs to add a larger battery to extend its range.

        As li-ion batteries come down in price to reasonable level, Toyota has the flexibility in adding capacity, extending its range just by putting more battery cells in it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That's exactly the point, neither vehicle really justifies the dollar cost. This is the difference between PR and practicality.

        But the Volt doesn't need to be practical, it a PR vehicle, a rolling advertisement. The original Prius was launched when gas was below a $1 a gallon in the late 90s, it wasn't successful then but it turned out to be a good investment. However, the technology this time around is dependent on battery technology, something that automakers are leaving to the LGs and Panasonic-Sanyos of the world.

        The serial-parallel system in the Prius is a stop-gap solution, the inescapable fact is that li-ion battery technology in nowhere near practical right now or in the near future. In neither the PHEV Prius or the Volt makes sense financially. Something Toyota has said unceremoniously in the this PHEV Prius presentation above.

        But what I've been trying to say from the beginning is that *maybe* someday battery technology will become cost-effective. ICE technology is evolving rapidly as well, the Cruze is expected to hit 40 mpg highway when its released, finding a solution that can incorporate both the advancements of the ICE and hybrid systems is likely more important then idealistic pursuits of using absolute no gasoline- which was my original point in this thread.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ steel.pirate

        You have a SERIOUS lack of reading, because I've been saying that from the beginning, again, judging from the presentation video in this article, the PHEV Prius is focusing on extending mileage on parallel-hybrid operation and not on pure EV mode other then limited urban driving.

        The other point I was trying to make, is that PHEVs, like the Prius and Volt, can maintain battery charge at its optimal capacity compared to pure-EVs and extend the life of the battery.

        Also, once again, as originally discussed Toyota is clearly putting a 5.2kw li-ion battery in the Prius because li-ion battery are still astronomical expensive and heavy. If you have bothered to watch the video in the OP then you would have heard them say that Prius series-parallel approach allows them a modular platform that can accommodate different li-ion capacities as the market develops.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Accidentally posted to the wrong comment:

        It was told to me by some people that bench-marked Toyota that they develop new technology early, then hold it to release it only when they have to... they don't want to be first to market with new technology. The strategy gives them the luxury to make it reliable, manufacturable, and cheap.

        In this case, the Volt is imminent so they are just following suit with tech they already had. Granted it doesn't seem to be as bold as the Volt, but you can bet they will make money on it sooner than the Volt.

        Why be the first to push the supply chain to scale up on Li-Ion? Let someone else pay for that. Why be the first to market plug-in technology? Let someone else do that. Why be the first to see if new technology catches on with consumers? Let someone else take that risk.

        It may not get them any accolades from the car culture, but it makes good business sense and it makes money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      A solid first step towards testing and implementing PHEV technology. I bet with a bit more tweaking to the HSD system Toyota can squeak out even more efficiency. If I owned one of these I'd almost never have the ICE on since I drive less than 14 miles/day. However I don't think I could stay under 62mph easily :)
      • 5 Years Ago
      This could spell really bad news for the Volt.

      This plug-in Prius might have some new tech, but overall it's still based on the existing Prius platform that has been on the road for a few years now - that has got to help Toyota in keeping costs down.

      Even with a much longer electric-only range of 40 miles, the Volt is going to have a tough time in the marketplace if it costs a lot more than this Prius.

      I also think Toyota is being very conservative with it's claimed 14 mile range. I could see them ratcheting that up fairly quickly if the first couple of years of production go smoothly.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I think given the battery is 1/3rd the size of the Volt's and the listed EV range is 1/3rd of the Volt's, Toyota probably holds no conservativism advantage over the Volt. Additionally, with a pack draw (expressed in C) of 3x that of the Volt, the Toyota will have whatever pack life problems the Volt has but much worse.

        It will enjoy a significant price advantage though, I'm certain.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Most importantly Prius already has a following of people who have put the money where their mouth are. I do not see why they will not do the same for this Prius.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So much for the Chevy Volt.
        • 5 Years Ago
        It was told to me by some people that bench-marked Toyota that they develop new technology early, then hold it to release it only when they have to... they don't want to be first to market with new technology. The strategy gives them the luxury to make it reliable, manufacturable, and cheap.

        In this case, the Volt is imminent so they are just following suit with tech they already had. Granted it doesn't seem to be as bold as the Volt, but you can bet they will make money on it sooner than the Volt.

        Why be the first to push the supply chain to scale up on Li-Ion? Let someone else pay for that. Why be the first to market plug-in technology? Let someone else do that. Why be the first to see if new technology catches on with consumers? Let someone else take that risk.

        It may not get them any accolades from the car culture, but it makes good business sense and it makes money.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll let someone else to find out the chevy build/design quality (which could be good, who knows)

      I do. It (is) will be lousy, it always is, always was and shows no sign of changing anytime soon. The Prius is several orders of magnitude superior to the volt joke. Anyone who pays 40 large for the Volt is in need of an analyst.
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