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Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Ad Shows Driver...Not Plugging In (Video)

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Toyota has been quite upfront about its belief that plug-in electric cars are not the technology of the future. (It says hydrogen fuel-cell cars are.)

And now this belief has appeared in the advertising for its Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

That car is the third or fourth best-selling car with a plug in the U.S.--after the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, and somewhere around the sales total of the Tesla Model S.

DON'T MISS: Toyota Exec Stresses Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Future, Slams Critics

It also offers the lowest electric range (11 miles, only 6 miles of which are continuous) of any plug-in car sold today.

Called "Choices," the ad spot focuses on what every driver of a plug-in car supposedly fears: no place to plug in.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, production version road test, San Diego, CA, Jan 2012

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, production version road test, San Diego, CA, Jan 2012

Enlarge Photo

"Just pull in the garage if you want to plug in," offers the host to a friend who arrives in his plug-in Prius.

But there are no plugs. Every socket is in use, with extension cords stretched everywhere.

ALSO SEE: All-New 2016 Toyota Prius: What We Know So Far

The driver looks at an aquarium, but the steely gaze of a small child dissuades him. "I'd never!" he protests.

(For the record: Most electric-car drivers we know are not so desperate to plug in that they're willing to kill living creatures.)

"Good thing it's also a hybrid," comes the tagline--with a gasoline engine that gets you where you're going, reliably.

MORE: 2016 Toyota Prius Launch Pushed Back Six Months: Report

A gasoline engine as backup has always been the rationale for plug-in hybrids (from Toyota, Ford, Honda, and others) and range-extended electric vehicles (from Chevrolet): You can drive on electricity first, then switch to gasoline afterward.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, production version road test, San Diego, CA, Jan 2012

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, production version road test, San Diego, CA, Jan 2012

Enlarge Photo

To be fair, the Prius driver mumbles a message up front about plugging in to "get a little charge, get some extra mileage on the way home."

With the limited electric range of the plug-in Prius, that's an accurate description of its role in dispersed suburban America.

MORE: 2015 Kia Soul EV: Animals, Electrons, Maroon 5 (Video)

Still, to create an ad (viewed online more than 1 million times) underscoring fears that electric-car drivers can't recharge seems to promote an image of electric cars as unworkable in the real world.

Which may be exactly what Toyota intended.

Give the company marks for message consistency, anyhow.

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© 2014 Green Car Reports. All Rights Reserved. Green Car Reports is published by High Gear Media. Send us feedback. Stock photography by izmo, Inc.
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