Toyota's Everyday Drive Website Highlights Plug-In Hybrid Benefits: Video

While purchasing a hybrid vehicle is a relatively easy decision these days, the purchase of a plug-in hybrid can be significantly more difficult to justify, thanks to its greater expense.

In terms of the Toyota Prius, a 2013 Prius Two with no options can be configured with a sticker price as low as $24,995, including destination charge. The least expensive Prius Plug-In, meanwhile, would sticker at $32,760, also with the destination charge factored in.

While the Prius Plug-In comes as well-equipped as a Prius Three, we’re more interested in comparing the least-expensive variant of each. The $7,765 difference in price between these models would require a significant amount of battery-powered travel (or a hefty rebate) to justify the expense.

Now, a new microsite from Toyota called “Everyday Drive” hopes to help demonstrate the benefits of the Prius Plug-In. Promising “an online experience showcasing new levels of fuel efficiency,” Toyota hopes to illustrate the advantages of its plug-in variant.

To begin, users enter starting and ending addresses, then select the preferred unit of measurement (EU L/100km, U.K. mpg, JP km/L or U.S. mpg). Selecting “start” shows appropriate background scenery via Google street view as the car virtually “travels” in EV mode.

Presumably, the site factors in variables such as speed limits and terrain, all of which will have a significant impact on the range in EV mode. When the batteries are depleted, the program switches to Hybrid (HV) mode for the remainder of the virtual journey.

At arrival, Everyday Drive shows a Google street view image of the location, before spitting out data on distance traveled, fuel efficiency (in desired units) and carbon dioxide emissions.

Is the microsite, available here, ideal? No, it’s not, since it doesn’t show comparative savings versus a standard Prius (which, honestly, would be easy enough to calculate manually). It also requires Google Chrome to run, rendering it useless for users of Firefox, Safari or Internet Explorer.

Still, it’s a step in the right direction, as it forces drivers to think about the implications of their daily travels. It may not be optimal, but it’s better than nothing at all.
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Comments (20)
  1. Can't decide if that is really cool or completely useless.

    I put in my commute (which I am very familiar with, of course) and watched the video. Between the high speed and distorted nature of the images, I couldn't recognize anything.

    So as Art, perhaps this is good, but as Knowledge Transfer, not so good.

  2. I think it is more a promotion of the "site" that allow you to do the calculation to see if it makes sense...

    What it doesn't mention is the fact that once the heat is demanded, the EV miles becomes impossible.

  3. Xiaolong, I can tell you from experience that keeping the Prius Plug-In in electric mode, even without the heat on, takes delicate throttle inputs, akin to driving a Dodge Viper in the rain. With slick tires. On greasy pavement.

    It's possible, but challenging and not entirely recommended in traffic.

  4. That is the case in my experience as well. (I actually drove it for a while).

    My two co-workers who have the PIP also complained about it as well (they were the early adopters who paid $40k for their fully load version b/c that is all the dealer offering at the time). They can hardly keep in EV mode with the small hill by my work place.

    Now that winter is here in Northern California, temperature is in the low 40s and they are NOT getting ANY PURE EV miles anymore even with short commute of 3 miles and 11 miles. Once the heat button is pushed and ICE comes on and stays on for the trip...

    I am still getting 31 miles EV range with my Volt even with the heat on AND 75mph+ hwy cruising.

  5. The video is right on. I live in a city, so everything is close together.

    With PiP, I can do 3-4 chore trips with one charge (11-12 EV miles).

    The acceleration in EV mode is surprisingly strong. I find myself jumping out of the light faster than what others normally accelerate in NYC.

    Most of my trips are in EV. Since they are very short, they only make up 40% of all miles.

    The amazing part of it is, the results. I am averaging 128 MPGe on EV miles(charging loss included) and 55 MPG hybrid miles.

  6. "With PiP, I can do 3-4 chore trips with one charge (11-12 EV miles)."

    Tell people the truth, you did it without ANY HEAT ON in those EV miles. Don't trap others into it. My two coworkers are already complaining about it... They did NOT KNOW about it.

    So, PIP is designed to make their owners trade off between having cold feet and EV miles.

    Greatest "scam" ever...

  7. My gas engine has come on a few times due to heat request. I have measured the amount of gas it takes to finish the warm up. It took less than the size of two eggs (111 ml).

    That's like doing engine/fuel maintenance to prevent gas going stale, when I need heat.

    128 MPGe on electric miles and 55 MPG on gas miles, are the average from the past two months, including 2 hours drive in Nor'easter snow storm. Let me remind you that PiP is a midsize with a flat floor cargo. Sweet!

    What's your averages for both fuels in your compact 4 seater?

  8. Let me remind you that my compact 4 seater is Safer, more fun to drive and have way better and more useful EV range. It is also more efficient overall in trips less than 75 miles than your boring, less safe transportation box.

    FYI, sporty cars such as Mini and CR-Z are all 4 seat compact. There is a reason for "sportiness".

    Feel free to drive your boring, unsafe box. I will have fun with my Volt. Just make sure you don't get into an frontal offset crash...

  9. Actually, the CR-Z is a two-seat subcompact, not a four-seat compact ...

  10. Okay, less than 4-seat.

    The point is that less seat usually correlates with "sportier" offering.

  11. Oh, please. C-max hybrid/Energi with 5 seats is faster than Volt and probably more fun to drive.

    BTW, I have fun driving my PiP every single time. Don't you dare pass on your judgement/definition of fun or boring on me or others.

  12. There are more comments in this thread
  13. fully agree - Boston area, 30 degree average actually exceeding that 128 MPG and 10mile EV range.
    No I don't crank the heat. Its reasonably warm leaving the garage and I suspect from Li's constant heater warnings that its more of a California issue as in I'm so cold duuude !
    Only thing I will agree w Li on is - fun driving but thats not why I bought a PIP. Its fun to me to not need gas. Also I paid 28.3k for a new 2013 PIP - if price was not important a Volt would've been considered

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