Toyota Denies Reports That All Priuses Will Be Plug-in

By · May 09, 2011

Prius 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.

Comments

· 54mpg (not verified) · 3 years ago

will they convert my 2010 Prius to a plug-in?

· Priusmaniac (not verified) · 3 years ago

When time comes, I gess some Prius won't be plug-in hybrids, they will be pure EV Prius. Non plug-in hybrids don't make sense anymore, unless they are flex-fuel but I don't know if Toyota is anywhere in that field, or then perhaps only in Brasil.

· Van (not verified) · 3 years ago

The last I heard, the PHV would be available in the May-June 2012 time frame as a 2013 model. The text fleet had a 5.2 KWh lithium battery, but the battery size of the production car is currently not disclosed, as far as I know. I am hoping for 10:4 KWh and a range of 20 plus miles per charge. This can be accomplished with about the same physical size battery as in the test car, but with the chemistry changed to an NMC battery.

Time will tell but the next 13 months will probably feature more stories that may or may not provide an actual view of the future of electric transportation from Toyota.

· · 3 years ago

@Priusmaniac -

Since the day I bought my 2006 Prius, I have dreamed of the day when I could have a full EV Prius. I LOVE the configuration of this car (if not the exterior looks). I can't even imagine a more practical layout. Having one that was all electric would just make me giddy.

· · 3 years ago

That Jana Hartline sounds like Toyota's answer to GM's Dave Barthmus. Just the mouthpiece to lead the chanting of their Greenwashing message. She likely comes from the Detroit-driven mindset that EVs won't work and is responsible for turning everything away from them that she can.
On the other hand, I can't see anything wrong with continuing to offer the choice of today's cheap gas guzzling Prius for as long as people are willing to buy it.

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