Suit says '13-mile' range for Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid was deceptive


2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

The discontinued Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid is now the subject of a lawsuit alleging that its advertised 13-mile electric range is deceptive.

Filed earlier this month in Michigan federal court, the suit alleges Toyota misrepresented the Prius Plug-In's ability to achieve that range in real-world conditions, specifically colder-than-average climates.

The suit was filed by Richard Rosenbaum, who bought a Prius Plug-In Hybrid in 2012 and is seeking to represent a class of affected Prius Plug-In Hybrid owners.

CHECK OUT: 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid: Is It An Electric Car, Or Not? (Oct 2012)

According to the lawsuit, Rosenbaum was never able to achieve the rated 13-mile electric range in everyday commuting.

He claims to have only been able to drive the car approximately 8 miles on electric power alone, and took it to a dealer for inspection.

Rosenbaum claims the Prius was then able to achieve 10 miles of range, and alleges that mechanics made some alterations to the car, although Toyota denies this.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

The suit also suggests that the Prius Plug-In Hybrid will not operate in electric-only mode at all in temperatures below 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Toyota allegedly failed to highlight these limitations in its advertisements for the car, which constitutes a violation of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, the lawsuit argues.

MORE: 2017 Toyota Prius Prime: first drive of new plug-in hybrid

Information on the 2012 Prius Plug-In Hybrid posted on the EPA's Fueleconomy.gov website does put an asterisk on the Prius' electric-only range.

According to the EPA, the Prius has an electric range of 11 miles, but small print notes that only 6 miles of continuous battery-only operation is available. The balance includes intermittent operation of the gasoline engine.

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid - production model

Production of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid ended in June 2015, several months ahead of the switchover from the third-generation Prius to a redesigned fourth-generation model.

A new plug-in hybrid based on the fourth-generation Prius was unveiled earlier this year at the 2016 New York Auto Show. Called the Prius Prime, it will go on sale in November as a 2017 model.

Toyota has claimed a 22-mile electric range for the Prius Prime, but there is already some question of whether a true electric-only mode can be locked in by the driver.

[hat tip: George K]

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