Prius Plug-in Hybrid Preliminary Ordering Starts on Friday
Toyota today announced the introduction of a new online ordering system for the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid. The first phase of the system will launch on Earth Day, April 22—allowing customers who want to be one of the first to own a Prius Plug-in Hybrid to register their interest.
This is the most tangible sign so far that Toyota will deliver a plug-in version of the Prius as promised in 2012. More importantly, bringing the Prius-with-plug to market marks a major development for plug-in cars, in which consumers can choose between electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids with a wider range of battery sizes. Think of it as a battle between cars with large versus small batteries. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is capable of only about 13 miles of electric range, with some blending of propulsion along the way from a gas-powered engine.
In general, Toyota believes that hybrids and plug-in hybrids with smaller and less expensive battery packs—rather than pure electric cars with very expensive packs—will provide more value and versatility to consumers. (Toyota will also offer pure electric cars, but in limited numbers.)
Consumers submitting their names into the Toyota order system will do so without knowing the purchase price of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid. At this stage, it appears to be a simple waiting list to express interest—with the full online order system (probably with pricing info) becoming available later this year. At that point, customers can configure their vehicle from a web browser, select a preferred dealership, and track the progress of their order.
The Prius Plug-in will begin arriving at Toyota dealers in 15 launch states in spring 2012, with a nationwide roll-out the following year. The 15 launch states include: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.
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