2010 Plug-in Prius Prototype – Click above for high res-image gallery

On Monday, Toyota's head of product development, Takeshi Uchiyamada, announced that by 2012, the Japanese automaker will take hold of the plug-in hybrid market by offering the least-expensive and certainly one of the most efficient PHEVs in the nation. Uchiyamada was speaking of none other than the company's upcoming plug-in Prius and admitted that Toyota's aim is to price its PHEV, "so close to the current version that customers really have to hesitate and think about it." From what we've driven so far, Toyota is right on target.

As we mentioned yesterday, Toyota hopes to begin selling the plug-in Prius in the U.S. by summer 2012 and is eying a price premium of just $3,000 to $5,000 over the base price of a run-of-the-mill Prius. With that info in hand, it appears as though Toyota is targeting a ballpark price of $28,000 for its plug-in, or about $13,000 less than the Chevrolet Volt. Yes, we're well aware that the plug-in Prius only boasts a 13-mile electric range whereas the Volt can travel 40 miles without using a drop of gas, and that the Volt gets a $7,500 tax rebate the Prius PHV will only get a $2,917 tax credit (the way we're calculating this is the base $2,500 rebate for the first four kWh and then the $417 for each additional kWh. Given the PHV Prius's 5.2 kWh pack, that comes to $2,917. We think this is accurate. Correct us if it's not). So, after rebates, the Volt = $33,500 and the Prius PHV is $25,083. We know that $8,500 is not exactly chump change and it could be difficult for buyers to justify the hefty premium for a mere 28 miles of added range. Don't you think?

Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]

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