Feb 9, 2012
Chris Salamone

Prius Plug-In Posts Potent MPGe

Since Toyota Motor Corp. announced plans to develop a Prius Plug-In Hybrid, industry analysts have speculated time and time again how the company’s top gun hybrid would perform with a plug-in system – especially relative to other electric-trend automakers General Motors and Nissan. To appease the media community, Toyota released an initial MPGe estimate back in September of 2011 which projected an average of 49 mpg during hybrid mode and, more importantly, 87 MPGe with frequent battery charging.

At first blush industry competitors might have looked down on 87 MPGe. The Nissan Leaf is currently rated at 99 MPGe, without using an ounce of gasoline. And even the Chevy Volt, an American whale by comparison, delivers a strong showing at 94 MPGe. But unlike other automakers, Toyota chose to remain modest about the Prius Plug-In’s potential.

The company now expects the rechargeable Prius to be capable of at least 95 MPGe, which effectively attaches a sinking anchor onto the pricey, less-efficient Volt and Nissan’s range anxiety-inducing Leaf.

“It’s still an estimate, but we are confident it’s going to be 95,” Bob Carter, group vice president of Toyota’s US sales unit, recently told reporters. An official rating by the Environmental Protection Agency is coming down the pipeline in a few weeks and deliveries are slotted to begin in March.

So where does that leave our beloved Detroit-based plug-in? In some respects the Volt still has an advantage over its less expensive competitors – especially in the context of our highway culture. For example, the Chevy Volt can travel in all-electric mode up to 100 mph, while the Prius can only attain a maximum electric speed of 62 mph before switching to hybrid mode. Humorously, the Leaf’s top speed is 56.7 mpg and will run out of juice in 60-70 miles at that pace.

But in most other respects the Prius Plug-In appears to be a vastly superior buy over the Volt and Leaf. If the electric Prius manages a 95 MPGe rating and achieves first year sales of the company’s intended goal (15,000 units), then in one fell swoop Toyota will gain market dominance in a field which the company appeared to be falling behind in. When this particular Prius arrives in March it will likely be the plug-in option which is least expensive (not factoring in tax credits), has the longest combined range, and includes the most practical interior in terms of storage space – the Prius Plug-In might just be one hybrid to rule them all.

Source : Bloomberg

1 Comment

  • Wow, this plugin might just be better than the other electric cars out their.