2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In: Strong Sales, Owners Happy

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2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

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The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In hybrid has got off to a good start in its first six months on sale, with over 6,000 units sold so far.

That, says Toyota, is more than the first six months of Chevrolet Volt sales, at 2,745 units, and Nissan Leaf sales, which managed 3,875 cars in its first month.

Toyota is putting demand for the Prius Plug-In down to not just its fuel economy--rated at 95 MPGe in EV mode, and 50 MPG combined on gas only--but also for its relative value next to the Chevy Volt, and lack of range anxiety next to pure electrics like the Leaf.

The Prius name may also have something to do with those sales, as for previous Prius owners, familiarity with the existing model will go a long way--longer electric range aside, it feels no different to drive.

Owners seem pleased with the experience so far, too.

Just as buyers of the Chevy Volt are finding, the extra EV range is genuinely useful, even if it doesn't entirely cover an owner's commute. Naturally, the Volt handles this better than the Prius, thanks to its 35-mile electric range--the Prius Plug-In is rated at 11 miles by the EPA.

Even so, Prius owners are recording high MPG figures on the car's computer--one owner recording 136 MPG after 4,000 miles with a 31-mile each way commute, and another managing 120 MPG on his own commute, mostly done at low speeds in EV mode. We managed 104 MPG on our most recent drive in the car, and eked out 12 miles of EV range before the gasoline engine kicked in.

A full charge of the Plug-In's 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery takes around 2.5 to 3 hours from a standard 120V outlet, or 1.5 hours from a 240V charging station.

It also qualifies for a $2,500 Federal Tax Credit if you're eligible, and a further $1,500 rebate as part of California's Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, taking the $32,000 Prius Plug-In down to as little as $28,000 for a select few.

The car is also eligible for California's HOV lane sticker. Own a Prius Plug-In, or thinking of buying? Let us know your thoughts using the comments section below.


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Comments (19)
  1. The PiP seems to be too much extra money for too little gain. It is $8000 more (not considering rebates and equipment issues) than the standard Prius. But it is nice that some folks see it as worth the money and perhaps the price differential will shrink over time.

    One wording issue though. "95 MPGe in EV mode" This is not really EV mode. It is "blended gasoline and electric" mode. There isn't really an electric range on this vehicle. The 11 mile ranged is the "blended mode" range, not EV range.

    Also, as always, the 136 MPG readings are BS as they ignore the contribution of the electricity.

  2. Somewhat surprised by your PIP assumption John. The PIP includes more then just the small EV battery and short EV range. The PIP competes only with the Volt currently(more plug-in hybrids from Ford n Honda coming within six months) so Toyota chose to add more features to the PIP to drum up the price into the 30s. Base PIP has special alloy wheels, more LED exterior lighting, Smart key system, and a few other small features that base Prius does not. Those extra features add up to at the best half of the 8K pip premium.

    It looks like Honda is going the same route w/ their Accord plug-in hybrid(touring trim n extra unique pia items too). Lets hope the Fusion plug-in doesn't add extra crap so as to keep the cost below 30K.

  3. @Erik: Loading extra luxury features into hybrid models is a very common tactic by automakers. It's largely to recoup some of the costs of the hybrid system via the markup on the luxury items, which cost less than they add to the price.

    The Union of Concerned Scientists has slammed this practice, but I see no signs that it won't continue:

  4. At least one manufacturer gave the "gold-plating" approach a pass - Mitsubishi's i-MiEV is priced ~$22k if you can use the full tax credit; it's an outstanding value for a BEV, something Mitsu achieved by keeping the car itself, well, cheap. Not everyone appreciates the i's cheap and cheerful approach, but I love mine. Those interested in a cost-effective commuter and errand-runner would do well to take one for a spin.

  5. According to a recent article you published (and wrote), the Volt is outselling the Prius Plug-in. Look at Sept 10 article by Antony Ingram with dubious title "How Much Money Is GM Losing On Every Chevy Volt?"

  6. Sure, If you last month sales volume as the metric, the Volt handily beat the PiP.

    Antony was looking at the first six months of sales and saying, with that as the metric, the PiP did slightly better.

    Of course, the obsession with this as a "horse race" seems a little silly. It seems clear that both vehicles are selling, but in modest numbers.

    On the other hand, the LEAF seems to be selling at unsustainably low numbers. Something really needs to be done to boost its sales.

  7. *** If you use last...

  8. It's worth remembering that the PiP is still selling in selected markets, while there are Volts in inventory nearly everywhere. I just bought an EV and wanted to compare the PiP while shopping, but they're not for sale in my state.

  9. "Naturally, the Volt handles this better than the Prius, thanks to its 35-mile electric range--the Prius Plug-In is rated at 11 miles by the EPA."

    11 miles is a "blend" rating. EPA rates the PIP as "6 miles electric only"...

    Now, I am curious to find out how many of the current Prius Plugin owners have owned a Prius previously. Just about EVERY PIP owners that I have talked to have owned either a Gen I or Gen II Prius...

    Now, I would also like to point out that Prius Plugin is the CHEAPEST option to get the "green" HOV sticker in California. Cheaper than Volt. Many people in California buy PIP "soley" b/c of that sticker. So far, more Volts have been sold in California, but PIP has claimed more HOV stickers.

  10. Prius Plugin also came out with HOV stickers. Volt didn't get that in CA until Feb 2012... So, comparing the numbers for PIP vs. Volt in its infancy is slightly "tainted"...

  11. Just to set the stories straight about the PIP/PHEV...I DID OWN A Prius 2010...model 5....loaded....I traded that vehicle for the PHEV...the Range IS not blended results....I have gone only in EV for up to 18 miles of PURE ELECTRIC....6 is so far off.... but Toyota is VERY HONEST with the customer in mind....I have gone 180 MPGe already....choose the Plug rather than the Pump with this Toyota product....NEVER EXPECTED to achieve these UNREAL numbers...each 6 tankfuls of 10.6 gallons has given me over 1,000 miles or more...ALL from the Hybrid System Indicator and my calculations...Very well thought out and worth every Gas saving dime....Buy one soon....Kudos Toyota....Technology Rules...

  12. @Xiaolong: The PiP's not the cheapest option for a CA HOV sticker; that would probably be the Mitsubishi i-MiEV,

  13. I see several people mentioned this, but I'm not sure what luxury features were added to this to justify the price. It's basically the Prius 3 that sells for $25K and they added really boring rims, not even the nice 17” rims or the good stereo. Good for Toyota for putting something out there, but since they have been the leaders in Hybrid cars you would think they would have come to the plate with a much stronger offering.

  14. @Rick: The bulk of the price is due to the larger battery pack (4.2 kWh vs. 1.4 in the regular Prius). We'll be interested to see whether plug-in Prius sales hold steady after the 40,000 California "green sticker" HOV lane permits are all distributed.

    There's a body of thought that says Toyota doesn't believe in plug-in vehicles at all, having bet the company's future fuel efficiency direction on power-split hybrids. That would make the Prius Plug-In a grudging, well-if-we-absolutely-have-to entry. We shall see ....

  15. Exactly. The 4.4 vs 1.4 is only 3KWh. @ $500 per KWh, it should ONLY be $1,500 in price difference...

    Even with larger motor, chargin port, it SHOULD NOT BE $6K more expensive...

    I call it a Toyota "GREEN SCAM"...

  16. @John: I think that's true - Toyota and Honda both seem very reluctant purveyors of EVs, certainly when compared with Nissan and Mitsubishi.

  17. felt this needed an update given the 2013 incentives in Boston area and NY - purchased for 28.2k and with 0% for 60 mos which I feel is worth an extra 2k invested conservatively = 26.2k. Same incentives not available for Prius 3 or 4 so very little difference in price. My range has been a true 12-13 miles so couldn't be happier with this choice

  18. Any news from Toyota on a Plug in Prius V.....

  19. Okay...u can add to these Happy owners myself....have achieved no less than 103 MPGe and also its maximum thus far 6 tankfuls later filling up every 48 days....only with 10.6 gallons the Maximum of 180 MPGe......unreal results Toyota ....my Prius 2010 achieved more than what the sticker said as well...56 Mpg in only Hybrid..I am so pleased with the PHEV.....Buy one its the BEST VALUE.....the more you Plug IN rather than fill at the pump the HIGHER the MPGe has been....KUDOS Toyota....and thank you as usual for being so technologically ahead with the Synergy Drive best in ANY PHEV or Plug IN Electric Vehicles...Congratulations ...

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