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Toyota Prius Plug-In Model Helping Propel Hybrid Cause

published: 2012-09-12 15:12

Over 6000 Units Sold After 6 Months

Customers Maximizing EV Range for Savings

After six months on the market, the Prius Plug-in model has sold over 6,000 units. This sales figure represents sales momentum that has propelled the Prius Plug-in to a stronger first full six-months sales pace (6,061 units) than Chevrolet Volt Plug-in (2,745 units) and the all-electric Nissan Leaf (3,875 units).

The Prius Plug-in model combines the benefits of the standard 50 mpg-rated Prius Liftback with extended electric vehicle (EV) driving and more affordable pricing than pure electric or range-extender type vehicles. The 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which offers seating for five, is EPA-rated at 95 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) in EV Mode and 50 MPG estimate in hybrid mode. A newly developed 4.4 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack replaces the standard Prius model’s nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery and fits under the rear cargo floor, and the vehicle adds an easy-to-use external charging cable.  A full charge using an external AC outlet takes approximately 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a 120v household outlet or 1.5 hours using a 240v charging station.

Buyer data shows that some consumers purchase a Prius Plug-in instead of a Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf because of its fuel economy, how the Plug-in dispels range anxiety of pure electrics, and the value that the Prius Plug-in represents.  Customers are especially keen on the Plug-in’s EV driving capability and high MPG hybrid mode alternative.  The Prius Plug-in’s EV Mode range of up to 11 miles (EPA-rating) helps reduce trips to the gas pump by charging at home or the office.

Although individual results will vary, Prius Plug-in owners like Bay Area resident, Rich Stephens, have learned to appreciate the high efficiency of the Prius Plug-in’s blended fuel economy. Regarding his Prius Plug-in, Rich Stephens commented, “I commute 31 miles each way to work. I have put about 4,000 miles on my Prius Plug-in, equally split between gas and EV, and so far the average mileage shown on the computer is 136 MPG. With a full charge, my estimated EV range on the dash started at 12.9, dipped slowly to 11.3 as I was learning how best to drive, but has gone back up now to 12.5 miles and continues to climb. In the mornings, even when it is cool, I can drive more than 14 miles in EV mode on the freeway.”

Paul Kenyan of Massachusetts adds, “When I pre-ordered the Prius Plug-in, I was wondering (and hoping) if it would do my 15-mile commute in EV mode. To my pleasant surprise, I have found that I can do it with 2 - 2-1/2 miles of EV range to spare. Even with the A/C on, I make it home with a mile or more left. Of course, terrain, speed limits, climate and driving style have something to do with that.”

Mark Rickey, a Prius Plug-in owner in New York says his EV range helps him postpone the engagement of the gasoline engine during his commute and provides greater efficiency. “My commute in EV Mode is early in the morning with light traffic, so I am able to drive most of it at 35 mph, timingall the street lights to reduce stop and go,” he said. “My engine typically doesn’t engage until I am over the Verrazano Bridge. The system shows a 120 mpg blended average for my commute. I have put 2,500 miles on the car thus far, with an average fuel economy of 69 mpg, which is the result of blended operation that is about 30% EV and 70% hybrid.”

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