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Prius Plug-in Hybrid on the left.
Toyota hopes to sell 50,000 Prius Plug-in Hybrids per year worldwide

Toyota's Prius has been a sales monster when it comes to hybrid vehicles. In the U.S. market, Honda has tried to attack the Prius with three generations of Civic Hybrids and two generations of Insight Hybrids only to fail miserably in matching its sales success.

With newcomers like the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf putting a greater emphasis on a healthy battery-only driving range, Toyota is looking to give its Prius some additional battery power. The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid makes use of a lithium-ion battery pack in place of the old NiMH battery pack. As a result, the Prius can travel up to 14.3 miles at 53 mph on battery power alone before standard Hybrid Synergy Drive system jumps into action. 

Since the newest Prius also features a charging port, drivers can plug their Prius into a wall outlet to recharge. Toyota says that the lithium-ion battery pack can be fully topped off in an hour and a half. Most importantly, Toyota says that the Prius Plug-in Hybrid can achieve this using a standard household power outlet and doesn't require the use of an expensive dedicated charger (or the associated installation costs). 

According to preliminary numbers, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid will reach 60 mph in a leisurely 10.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 112 mph. Also noteworthy is the fact that despite the more powerful battery pack used in the plug-in variant, the vehicle is only 110 pounds heavier than the standard Prius. 

Sales will start early next year for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and Toyota expects to sell 50,000 units per year worldwide. Unfortunately, we do not have pricing for the vehicle, although we'll be sure to bring you those figures when they become available.

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RE: WOW a wopping 14.5 miles - STOP the presses
By Samus on 9/14/2011 11:38:23 AM , Rating: 0
First, I'll defend ordinary cars.

What maintenance is there in modern ICE's? Other than oil changes, there is none, other than a timing belt or water pump. The Prius is not immune to this. Most modern transmissions are actually sealed for life, such as the Ford 6F. The Prius also has one of these.

All ceramic brake pads last at ~60,000 miles unless you're one of those drivers who brake too much...

So basically the Prius has every component of an ordinary vehicle. It's regenerative braking system doesn't really save you a whole lot of pad life, but might save you some as the rotors produce less heat. But we're not here to debate $30 brake pads. We're here to debate what the Prius does differently that costs you more in the long run.

The primary issues with the Prius are all, unsurprisingly, electrical.

Look at these common issues:

Now look at these complaints:

Ok, so you could look up ANY car and find people complaining about various problems, thats a fact. But the Prius problems are very expensive to fix, primarily because electronic vehicle components are expensive as they are, in the case of the Prius, unusual and uncommon, and finding somebody who works on Hybrids almost always means you're going to pay pound-me-in-the-arse dealer labor rates.

Toyota is not big on recalls. They really don't care about customer satisfaction. The recalls they have are considerably severe, and often the action of a government body pushing for a recall. Most auto manufactures voluntarily recall based on customer satisfaction and ethical business practices. Toyota does not. They are riding their previous century reputation to the bank.

Toyota never made exceptional cars. During the 70's and 80's when they seemed so good, they weren't exceptional, its just that everyone else was making garbage. During the late 90's, everyone began to make quality vehicles, and over the past 10 years it's safe to say many Ford, GM and even Korean vehicles meet or exceed Toyota's perceived "quality."

Back to the point.

The Prius has electrical components that are very uncommon in daily drivers. Electric water pumps. THREE of them. One for the engine, one for the speed controller, and one for a coolant warming chamber to keep coolant warm while the engine is off. This chamber has a heater too.

All of these components regularely fail, especially in hot and cold climates. Most complaints seem to be concentrated in Arizona and Texas.

Once again, these cars a STUPID to own for a variety of reasons. The ONLY people who should even be allowed to buy them on grounds of being environmentally hazardous are people who will actually have a lower carbon impact by owning one, ie: fleet vehicles, taxi drivers, delivery services/company vehicles, city/government, etc.

They simply don't make sense for the average Jane or Joe.

By priuspete on 9/15/2011 1:33:42 AM , Rating: 2
According to, a 2006 Prius typically needed 1/3 fewer repair trips than a 2006 Civic and 70% fewer than a 2007 VW GTI. Problem-prone components such as starter motors, alternators and transmissions are replaced in the Prius with the highly reliable synergy drive motor-generator-transaxle. My 2004 has lots of brake pad left after 120,000 miles. A Prius taxi has logged 1 million km (the traction battery lasted 700,000 km).

Toyota did a recall to replace the inverter coolant pump on the 2004-2006 Prius. Even though the warranty had long expired, they replaced the pump with an improved design at no cost. They do care about customer satisfaction.

The Prius may not meet your needs or your tastes, but a million buyers have found it to be a practical, reliable and cost-effective vehicle. Its successful introduction by Toyota has spurred all car companies to re-examine how to make vehicle drive trains more efficient. I expect the plug-in Prius will also work well for many buyers. The Prius is not a stupid choice.

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