Will the Prius V Get the Plug-in Treatment Too? According to Toyota it's a Possibility

By · June 24, 2011

A few weeks ago I had the chance to drive the Prius V on the West Coast regional media launch in Monterey, CA. Brad Berman wrote up the full first drive report over at our sister site, HybridCars.com, and he found that Toyota accomplished its mission of making a larger Prius that still returns good mileage.

I can corroborate that the Prius V will greatly expand the market for potential Prius customers and the car shows all the hallmarks of Toyota's value and quality proposition. If you like the Prius but the only thing holding you back from buying one was the cargo room, you'll like the Prius V.

One thing of note, however, was that the noise level in my Prius V tester was quite high—I could hear the whine of the engine much louder than in a regular Prius and every bump in the road seemed to be echoed in the cabin. Toyota representatives said that this was likely due to the test vehicles being pre-production cars, and that the level of sound insulation would be much better on the production version. Let's hope so, because it was quite disturbing.

Is There a Plug-in Prius V on The Horizon?

The one thing I was very curious about for PluginCars.com readers was whether or not the Prius V would get the plug-in treatment. Given that Toyota is just about to start selling the Prius Plug-in Hybrid to consumers, and the Prius V really is just a larger Prius, it seems like a no-brainer for Toyota to eventually sell the Prius V in a plug-in version as well.

Turns out I was right—sort of.

"We don't have any plans right now to deliver a plug-in version of the Prius V," said Ron Ishii, Senior Field Engineer for Toyota in an interview with PluginCars.com. "But the engineers and designers don't leave any possibilities out of the equation. The Prius V packaging is very similar to the Prius on purpose. In the back of the car under the floor where the battery sits, the packaging is almost identical so the larger battery required of the plug-in system could fit there the same as it does in the Prius Plug-in."

According to Ishii, Toyota is using the Prius Plug-in Hybrid as a way to gauge how best to move ahead with adapting the plug-in technology to other vehicles. If consumers show that they are willing to trade off higher cost for the 12 mile all-electric range of the Prius Plug-in, then Toyota will start moving the plug-in system to its other Prius family cars.

"Hopefully the success of the plug-in Prius will help us move towards the release of a plug-in Prius V," said Ed Laroque, National Marketing Manager for Toyota Advanced Technology Vehicles, in an interview with PluginCars.com. "We don't have any firm plans to add the plug-in capability to the Prius V. We're going to monitor consumer demand for the Prius Plug-in, we're going to monitor how successful the Prius V is and we're going to listen to our customers. If our customers demand a plug-in from us we will deliver it."

The upcoming Ford C-Max will be the closest competition for the Prius V, and the fact that Ford will be releasing both a hybrid and plug-in hybrid version of the C-Max could also push Toyota to make a plug-in version of the Prius V.

"We have a million U.S. sales of the Prius and we will continue to be the dominant player in that arena," said Laroque. "But with that said we will absolutely be looking at the competition—Honda announced they will be delivering a plug-in hybrid, Ford will be in the mix and the Volt is already out there. If we need to adjust our product strategy to remain on top, and that means we need to add a plug-in Prius V, we will do it. I think ultimately the customers will tell us if they think the plug-in technology is worth the extra cost."


· · 5 years ago

Toyota use to be ahead of the game, inovating and pushing new technology.

Now that they're on top it appears as though Toyota's more than happy to sit on its cash and let all the other car makers get ahead of them..... boggles the mind.

Non-plug-in hybrids are ancient history. I feel sorry for anyone who buys a non-plug-in vehicle at this point, it's like they're blind to the fact gas will be between $6 to $10 / gal within the next 5 years.

· · 5 years ago

It would be great to have Prius V plug-in!

1) The more plug-ins are available the better it is. Why we have so many different sizes and types of cars? Because this is what people want.

2) How much cargo space will be left in Prius Plug-in after additional battery is installed? Not very much.
Prius V seems to be a better choice for a Plug-in - you can put a bigger battery in Prius V and extend range to 20-25 miles because there is more cargo space in Prius V. I would probably buy it.

· · 5 years ago

Prius V is just a little bit bigger than Prius in passenger space (particularly only in shoulder space). Prius V is mostly bigger than Prius in cargo space (it is actually very good use of space - nothing is wasted).

But I would also like to see a mid size Plug-in in passenger volume - ideally a Camry Wagon Plug-in or at least RAV4 Plug-in.

· Dave K. (not verified) · 5 years ago

As a daily driver of a Prius plug-in conversion I can tell you that I lost very little cargo space. The 10kwhr pack I have is the same size as the small tray under the back deck that holds the tire tools. The battery Toyota is using is about 1/3 the size of mine and replaces the Nimh battery in the standard Prius (I still have mine). I don't think it can possibly be more than 50% larger than the standard battery.

· · 5 years ago

I read recently that the plugin Prius WILL have a button which puts the car in 100% EV mode as long as you stay below highway speeds. :-)

@Dave, how much did the conversion cost you? How far does the 10kwhr pack take you on a charge?

· priusmaniac (not verified) · 5 years ago

Toyota was supposed to put the Prius second generation on the market with a plug. Now we are in 2011 with already the third Prius model and we still can't buy the plug-in Prius.
In the same time we are still not able to run the Prius on E85 oe on E100, which is a pity for an environmentaly friendly car.
Today we expect the plug-in Prius somewhere in 2012 but from the initial planned 20 miles EV autonomy we are now left with only 13 and this article even reduces that to only 12 miles.
Making extra models from the Prius base is OK but not if it distract Toyota from the main Prius objective, the ultimate enviro car. To achive that we should today have a Prius with 75 miles EV autonomy, able to run at freeway speed in EV mode and capable of using E100 instead of gasoline as an auxiliary fuel to the standard plug supplied electricity. It is really time to wake up otherwise people will flock to the Volt or to the Leaf and other cars starting to overtake the "has been" Prius.

· Crazy Al (not verified) · 5 years ago

It appears Toyota don't want to commit.
Their rival, Nissan, has a plug in Leaf so why does Toyota want to be a follower instead of a leader?

There is a company in Australia I believe that converts Prius cars to plug ins.

It appears other car companies are saying they will produce a plugin, next year and next year never comes.

Screw the car makers. Life's too short. I just converted my go kart to Electric and now I'm itching to put an electric motor in a Merc I have sitting in my back yard. The motor and transmission and diff are all pulled out already. I'm researching motors at the moment. By the time I get this car ready and my next go kart ready, the major car makers probably won't have got their act together in terms of producing a plug in.

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