First Plug-In Prius Shipments Arrive in United States

By · February 27, 2012

Eminent Ace

The ship carrying the first Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid production units made a delivery at the port of Benicia, Calif., near San Francisco, over the weekend. The Eminent Ace cargo ship is now headed to the port in Long Beach to deliver more of the first Priuses equipped with a plug to thereby push its efficiency close to 100 miles per gallon.

The Eminent Ace is expected to arrive in Long Beach around 9 pm tonight. A separate shipment, on the Pyxis Leader cargo ship, recently arrived on its 20-day journey from Japan to the Panama Canal, before it makes its way to Jacksonville, Fla., and then Newark, NJ.

Customers eager to become the first Plug-in Prius drivers in the United States are closely monitoring the progress of these boats via reports on by Dianne Whitmire, the fleet sales director at Carson Toyota in Carson, Calif. Customers in the Bay Area are expecting to take deliver of their Plug-in Priuses in the next week or two.

Other plug-in cars—such as the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt and Tesla Model S—get more share of the electric car buzz. But Toyota's move to add a plug to the iconic Prius, by far the most recognized green car on the road, could shake up the consumer market for cars that use grid-supplied electricity as automotive fuel.

Toyota expects to sell 15,000 units in the first year. In 2012, sales will occur in the 14 states that follow California’s stricter emissions standards: Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and of course California. A national rollout is planned for 2013.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Texas is not on the list for 2012, but that’s not stopping Jim Bradbury of Rowlett, Tex. He’s buying one of the first Plug-in Priuses in Tucson, and driving it about 1,000 miles home. “On the drive home from Tucson, I will learn first hand how the fuel economy will work out on a trip where I won't be able to charge along the way,” he told me.

Bradbury’s order number is 1033. He said his car has not yet been built.

Bradbury, who currently drives a 2005 Toyota Sienna, has never owned a Prius. Despite his best efforts at measured driving, he’s not able to get his minivan’s efficiency beyond 21 MPG. “It will be great to possibly triple, or maybe quadruple that figure with my Prius,” said Bradbury. The Toyota Plug-In Prius is officially rated at 95 MPGe.

Bradbury teaches college 11 miles from his home—a round-trip distance that is beyond the 15 or so miles of all-electric range available from the Plug-in Prius. “But, there are now eight Level 2 charging stations between home and the school, most of which are free to charge,” said Bradbury. He plans to charge his car during the day at the local recreation center while he exercises. That will add enough energy so he can drive the eight miles home all in EV mode—without using a drop of gas.

This routine will minimize the use of gas during his usual daily driving, but then, “if I want to drive across country, I can with no worries of range anxiety in a car that is rated at 49 MPG highway,” said Bradbury. “As I see gas rolling over $4 a gallon again in California, it's nice to know that increasing gas prices won't affect me all that much with my Plug-In Prius.”


· Anonymous (not verified) · 4 years ago

I can't wait until these PIPs get into owners hands and they find out the REAL range and acceleration capabilities. With that motor and battery, I predict disappointment on both. In comparison to a Chevy Volt, this car is much less capable.

· Anonymous2 (not verified) · 4 years ago

Congrats to it has been a long wait to see these vehicles finally arrive. Thanks to everyone in the industry that helped American consumers have a choice to buy a plugin vehicle. Personally we are waiting for the Prius V plugin or the Ford C-Max Energi. It is a large amount of money to invest in a vehicle and the prius,volt and leaf are just too small for our driving and family hauling needs. Although excited about the arrival of the plugin prius the wait for our perfect plugin vehicle continues....

· Dianne Whitmire (not verified) · 4 years ago

Brad, the first boat carrying the PHEVS was actually the New Century 2. Just FYI. The 2nd boat was Eminent Ace. And, third is Cetus Leader.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 4 years ago

Anyone else notice that the electric range advertised on the PIP at the Toyota homepage is just recently down from 15 to 11 miles now?

· · 4 years ago

I second the congrats to

Well done guys.

· · 4 years ago

Thanks for clarification, Dianne. Where is New Century 2 now? Are first vehicles at dealership, or in consumers' hands?

· · 4 years ago

I was actually looking at this last night. I think I'm going to hold off until the Ford Fusion Energi comes out. There are 3rd party companies out there, including A123 Systems where they install an additional battery to older Prius's and they convert it to a plug in hybrid.

· cic101 (not verified) · 4 years ago

I also noticed the EV range on the home page dropped to 11 but I suspect a typo. I'm also from Texas and am planning to travel to CA to purchase in 2012. I believe that range will be sufficient for us to support mostly electric driving. In addition, based off of the pre-production model performance and the fact that the production version is approx. 200 lbs lighter the acceleration performance will be solid...maybe not as good as the Volt but reasonable for most drivers. Thanks for reporting this information and to all of the commenters... One final note, sales projections are 15000 for the US production is 60,000 units with 40,000 staying in Japan. But, I heard a rumor this weekend that Toyota may increase production for 2012.

· · 4 years ago

What the Prius plug-in is all about is making the already great mpg Prius even better. An average distance commuter might more or less double their mpg (depending on how far a person drives per day).

But unlike the Volt this is not about being an EV most of the time and only using the ICE for trips.

Except at low speeds, the plug-in Prius is really just using the battery to improve fuel economy. They spread the battery usage over some longer distance than the stated "battery range". That is a worthwhile thing to do and 100 mpg is great compared to other ICE cars, but it is not attempting to be an extended range EV.

· · 4 years ago


Hope you are right, but the 11 mile EV range appears throughout the their website including in the specs area. I also see it in their brochure (pdf file) and it footnotes to "2012 EPA electricity plus gasoline range combined estimate. Estimate based on fully charged battery. Actual mileage will vary."

One wonders if the EPA estimate is being conservative in light of some recent stories of hybrid owners not achieving mpg or range estimates.

I have a PIP on order, but might need to charge at work if the 11 mile range is more "real world".

· · 4 years ago

For other soon to be PIP owners out there, it appears the $2,500 federal tax credit is approved. For those of us in California, a $1,500 tax rebate is also approved as well as HOV stickers.

· · 4 years ago

"...the 11 mile EV range appears throughout their website including in the specs area."

A response to the Honda Civic Hybrid lawsuit? 11 may be the legally defensible number.

· Max Reid (not verified) · 4 years ago

Welcome for the most affordable Plugin. Hope this will give enough competition to Volt and bring down the price. PIP will beat Volt in Highway mileage easily.

GM : Take note of it.

· · 4 years ago

While I firmly believe that the Volt is a better solution for a single-vehicle household, I think that the PIP makes an excellent second car for a Leaf driver, such as myself. My driving tends to be "bi-polar"; I'm either driving less than 20 miles in a day or more than 200. That, combined with the fact that my wife and I need two cars, makes the PIP a solid option for my "other" car.

· Dave R (not verified) · 4 years ago

The 11 miles EV range is what the plug in PiP gets in EPA testing. It's not a type-o. This is under the same test procedures as the 35 mile EV range of the Volt, 62 mile EV range of the iMiEV and 73 mile EV range of the LEAF.

I would bet that the 15 mile EV range was done under the LA4 cycle - same as the 100 mile EV range of the LEAF. It's no coincidence that the EPA number for both cars are 73% of the LA4 numbers... I'd bet that the Volt would get 45 mi+ EV range on the LA4 cycle based on it's 35 mile EPA EV range number.

· ely105 (not verified) · 4 years ago

It doesn't appear that the cars have made it to the dealers yet. We are hoping that we can pickup our cars Wed or Thur this week. But being the actual first batch of cars sometimes takes a little longer to process, so we are patiently waiting. -m

· · 4 years ago

I think the earliest EV range numbers I heard was 12-14 miles, and the 15 was only recent. So I think the 11 is the "official" number with some A/C uses, etc. I know that Wayne Gerdes was able to drive one over 24 miles (with lots of up and down hills) last spring, at a hypermiling class he gave at my local Toyota dealership. He burned something like 0.06 gallons of gas for a 24.3 miles.

So, in the hands of a master, the range can be extended. And for a series of short hops, with brief stops the battery can be charged quickly if a charger is available and you can extend the range that way.


· · 4 years ago

I think the earliest EV range numbers I heard was 12-14 miles, and the 15 was only recent. So I think the 11 is the "official" number with some A/C uses, etc. I know that Wayne Gerdes was able to drive one over 24 miles (with lots of up and down hills) last spring, at a hypermiling class he gave at my local Toyota dealership. He burned something like 0.06 gallons of gas for a 24.3 miles.

So, in the hands of a master, the range can be extended. And for a series of short hops, with brief stops the battery can be charged quickly if a charger is available and you can extend the range that way.


· · 4 years ago

Sorry, I was impatient and clicked Submit twice...

· cic101 (not verified) · 4 years ago

Thanks Dave R...I did a bit more research on "Blended Charge-Depleting Operation" related to EPA testing and came to same conclusion. Looking forward to reading some actual reviews of the production version of the PiP (instead of a demonstration unit) and hearing more about the vehicles performance and real-world EV range. Would also love to watch a YouTube from actual production PiP owners illustrating production performance. Thanks again to Brad for the story.

· Anonymous (not verified) · 4 years ago

15,000 units it this economy? That's not a bad start by any means. I wish there were more specs on it. Does anybody try hypermiling on a plug-in vehicle?

HYPERMILING: Increase Fuel Economy

· CE (upcoming PiP owner) (not verified) · 4 years ago

I ordered the PiP and so excited about getting it. It seems like it's the best one out there for going short distance as well as long. I wouldn't want to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without a charged vehicle. And, they will soon be assembled in America, which makes me even more happy to support American jobs!!!

Bring them on!

· anderson (not verified) · 4 years ago

Love is the most powerful feeling in life. People need to feel connected to other person in order to be happy. Love makes people Good Night Status do things that they would not normally do.

· Nate Dunham (not verified) · 3 years ago

Let's be friends with the shipments forever.

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