Toyota Denies Reports That All Priuses Will Be Plug-in
The Japanese business journal Nikkei reported Monday that Toyota is planning to make plug-in capability a standard feature on all Prius hybrids beginning in 2014.
PluginCars.com editor Brad Berman reached out directly to Jana Hartline, environmental communications manager at Toyota. "The report is not accurate," Hartline said. "We spoke to our offices in Japan, and the story is not true. There is no formal plan to make all Priuses plug-in by 2014."
Toyota is traditionally tight-lipped about its future product plans. So Brad inquired further about the "no formal plan" reference. He asked, "There's no formal plan, but is it a possibility?" Hartline emphatically replied, "No." She added that it didn't make sense considering the company's recent marketing efforts to launch an entire family of Priuses with a range of sizes, costs and options.
Toyota has been one of the auto industry's most reluctant companies to offer plug-in vehicles, and has put a priority on pushing non-plug hybrids into the mainstream, while only taking modest steps to introduce its first electric and plug-in electric vehicles. Going all plug-in with the Prius would represent a major shift in strategy.
The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, scheduled to launch in 2012, provides about 14 miles of all-electric driving. Unlike the Chevy Volt, the Prius-with-plug can use the gasoline engine at any point that extra power is needed. This approach is based on Toyota's belief that plug-in hybrids with relatively smaller batteries will provide more value to customers.
The Nikkei article also reported that Toyota will abandon its nickle-metal hydride technology in favor of lithium-ion battery backs on all of its hybrids beginning the same year, and will sell the base plug-in Prius at a similar price point to the current non-plug-in model, “at around 2.05 million yen” (or $25,400).
We'll keep our eye on the story as more information—or possibly a retraction—comes in, but for now it looks like Nikkei might have gotten this one wrong.
New to EVs? Start here
What Is An Electric Car?
Before we get going, let's establish basic definitions.
A Quick Guide to Plug-in Hybrids
Some plug-in cars have back-up engines to extend driving range.
Electric Cars Pros and Cons
EVs are a great solution for most people. But not everybody.
Eight Rules of Electric Vehicle Charging Etiquette
Thou shalt charge only when necessary. And other rules to live by.
Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
Eight Factors Determining Total Cost of Ownership of an Electric Car
EVs get bad rap as expensive. Until you look at TCO.
Federal and Local Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
Guide to Buying First Home EV Charger
You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.
Electric Car Utility Rate Plans: Top Five Rules
With the right utility plan, electric fuel can be dirt cheap.
The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks
If you plan to charge in public, you'll want to sign up for charging network membership (or two).