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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
 |  Oct 09 2013, 3:31 PM

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Toyota is cutting the price of its Prius Plug-In Hybrid model down to a starting MSRP of $29,990, a total price cut of $2,010 from the 2013 base model. 

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 |  Jul 10 2013, 4:02 PM

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Toyota has launched wave two of the “Prius Plug-in MPG Challenge,” building on the success of its first wave which launched in May.

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 |  Nov 05 2012, 8:11 AM

The Fisker Karma didn’t need any more bad press when several models caught fire after being submerged in water at a New Jersey port during Hurricane Sandy. But now it appears the luxury hybrid wasn’t alone in its combustion.

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 |  Sep 12 2012, 8:31 AM

After six full months on the market, the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid has sold 6,061 units, outpacing the first six months of sales for the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf.

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 |  Aug 03 2012, 8:31 AM

As July’s car sales figures start to trickle in, the Chevrolet Volt continued its dominance against the Nissan Leaf for the sixth straight month in a row.

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 |  Jun 02 2012, 12:01 PM

There are very few iconic characters that can be recognized worldwide, but Star Wars‘ R2-D2 and C-3PO are undoubtedly two droids with universal appeal.

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 |  May 29 2012, 7:31 AM

When it was first introduced 15 years ago, even many at Toyota had little faith in the pug nosed Prius. But now the automaker can unequivocally state that it’s no longer a niche product, with sales numbers for the first quarter of 2012 ranking the gasoline-electric hybrid as the world’s third best selling car.

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 |  May 04 2012, 9:11 AM

Toyota continues to enjoy success with its Prius family of models, as its plug-in hybrid sold 1,654 units in the month of April.

The sales figure trumps its main competitors, the Chevrolet Volt (1,462 sold) and the Nissan Leaf (370 sold) making it the most popular plug-in vehicle last month in America. It’s no huge surprise that the plug-in variant of the Prius is selling well compared to its counterparts, considering how well-known the Prius moniker has become over the years.

Last month the Japanese automaker also saw the highest sales total for its Prius models ever for the month of April, moving a combined figure of 25,168 units across all its model variants. In total, Toyota sold 30,126 hybrids while its luxury division Lexus moved a respectable 2,467. Compared to April 2011, Toyota’s hybrid sales saw a huge jump of 124.6 percent, but it’s worth noting that April 2011 was also after the disastrous tsunami that hindered vehicle production.

“Thanks to continued strong sales of Camry and Prius family, Toyota was America’s number one retail brand for the second straight month,” said Bob Carter, general manager of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. “With consumer confidence improving, we expect to see sustained industry growth in the months ahead.”

 |  Feb 27 2012, 8:01 PM

Toyota confirmed today that the 2012 Prius Plug-In has been approved for the State of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP).

The CVRP is a consumer incentive made available in addition to the $2,500 Federal Tax credit for qualified vehicles. The 2012 Prius Plug-In has started to arrive at dealerships, and will also be eligible for the State of California’s HOV lane sticker.

The Prius Plug-In will be eligible for a $1,500 rebate that will be given to consumers on a first come, first serve basis. That rebate will be available to anyone who purchases or leases a Prius Plug-In for 36 months or longer.

The Prius Plug-In features a new Lithium-ion battery, boosting overall fuel economy and offers convenient charging times of only 2.5 to 3 hours using a standard 120-volt outlet, or 1.5 hours with a 240-volt outlet. The Plug-In also comes in an “Advanced” model which adds additional standard features of Premium HDD Navigation with Entune, Plug-In Hybrid Applications through a smartphone, Head-up Display, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and more.

The base MSRP for the Prius Plug-In Hybrid is $32,000 while the Advanced has an MSRP of $39,525. Both models are eligible for up to $4,000 in government-supported incentives – $2,500 federal tax credit and $1,500 CVRP.

A national rollout of Prius Plug-in is planned for 2013. At launch, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be available in the following 14 states:

  • California
  • Oregon
  • Washington
  • Arizona
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Vermont
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Connecticut
  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Virginia.
 |  Jan 31 2012, 1:00 PM

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Toyota is updating its figures for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid model ahead of the car’s launch, with improved numbers for both the MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) rating and the remaining hybrid drive mpg rating. Previously Toyota had claimed the plug-in Prius would achieve 87 mpge using the electric mode and a 49 mpg once the battery pack energy is depleted and the car resumes operation as a conventional Prius.

The new numbers announced by Toyota Division Group VP and GM Bob Carter at a launch program for the Prius c put the plug-in model at an improved 95 mpge, while the regular hybrid drive operation has increased one mpg to 50. That MPGe number is now just one shy of the Chevy Volt.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will get a 15 mile range on electric energy alone, at speeds of up to 62 mph. In addition, the car will gain a AT-PZEV emission rating meaning it will qualify for access to California’s HOV lanes.

First deliveries of the Prius plug-in hybrid to customers will take place in March.

 |  Sep 19 2011, 10:30 AM

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Toyota has finally released pricing for the all-new Prius Plug-in Hybrid, setting the retail rate at $32,760 – a roughly $8,000 premium over the conventional model.

At $32,760, Prius Plug-in provides more standard features like heated front seats, Entune, LED daytime running lights, an enhance keyless entry system as well as a remote start air conditioner, letting the car’s interior cool off even when the car is off. For $40,285, customers can opt for the Prius Plug-in advanced trim, featuring GPS navigation, a better speaker system, radar-guided cruise control, and much more.

With a 15 mile electric range, the Prius PHEV gets an impressive 87 MPGe rating, with a 49-mpg rating once operating as a conventional hybrid. A recharge cycle is said to take fro 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a conventional household outlet or 1.5 hours with a special charger.

At nearly $10,000 less than the Chevrolet Volt, the Prius PHEV is also expected to receive federal tax credits to make it an even more enticing buy.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius PHEV

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 |  Sep 16 2011, 2:40 PM

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After debuting the car earlier this week at the Frankfurt Auto Show, Toyota has now released official details on the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid including expected fuel economy numbers. While it’s not quite up to the much-hyped Chevy Volt, the Prius PHEV will feature, “more affordable pricing than pure electric or range-extender type vehicles,” says Toyota; though no numbers have yet been released.

With a 15 mile electric only range, it falls well short of the Volt and is a few ticks shy in terms of a MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) rating of 87 MPGe, compared to 96 for the Volt. However, the Prius PHEV is more efficient after, with a 49-mpg rating once it reverts to its conventional hybrid mode, compared to 37-mpg with the Volt. And if it matters to your wallet, the Toyota uses conventional 87 octane gas, while the Volt required premium.

Charging for the Prius PHEV doesn’t take too long with a 2.5 to 3 hour charge using a conventional 120v household outlet or just 1.5 hours with a more powerful 240v household outlet.

With the use of a lithium-ion battery pack, the Prius PHEV does gain 123 lbs but doesn’t give up any space in the passenger or cargo departments. One thing it does gain Toyota’s new Entune system, as first seen on the Prius v. Additions to this system for the PHEV include Charge Management, Remote Air Conditioning System, Charging Station Map, Vehicle Finder and an Eco Dashboard.

GALLERY: 2012 Prius PHEV

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 |  Sep 14 2011, 8:45 AM

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After showing it in concept form almost as many times as the FT-86, Toyota has finally unveiled the production version of its Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Called “the world’s most sophisticated hybrid electric powertrain” by Toyota Europe boss Didier Leroy, the company is claiming an incredible 112-mpg rating for the car. Believable? Not really, and for good reason. The actual rating provided is 2.1 l/100 km in Europe and while that does translate to 112-mpg, the European test cycle is far more forgiving the in the U.S. Still, that number could reach as high as 70-mpg (or higher) on the U.S. EPA system.

On a full charge the Prius PHEV is capable of 23 km (14 miles) of emissions free driving, after which is operates like a conventional Prius hybrid, eliminating any range anxiety. During this post-emissions free stage, Toyota claims the Prius is still, “much more efficient than the backup powertrains in competitors,” says Leroy – a shot a the Volt (sold as the Opel Ampera in Europe).

On sale in the first half of 2012 in Europe, look for it to arrive in North America about the same time. European pricing is set at 37,000 Euros, or about $11,500 more than a conventional Prius. If that increase holds true, look for the Prius PHEV to be priced between $35,000 and $40,000 in North America.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius PHEV

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 |  Aug 12 2011, 10:15 AM

With a lead-up almost as log as the Chevrolet Volt’s, the production version of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) will debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in just over a month’s time.

Using a more powerful and smaller lithium-ion battery, the Prius PHEV is expected to have an electric-only range of around 10 miles, at which point it will operate like a conventional Prius, using either gas, electric power or a combination of both to move the vehicle.

The car is expected to achieve a 128.4 mpg rating, although that’s on the European test cycle. U.S. EPA numbers are expected to differ significantly.

The Prius PHEV will set as the new flagship model in Toyota’s Prius lineup, with the conventional Prius continuing on, plus the addition of the new Prius v, as well as the upcoming Prius c.

 |  Jun 16 2011, 2:54 PM

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Toyota will be bringing an interesting blend of past, present and future cars to this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed. Climbing up the famous hill this year featuring Toyota’s moniker includes their GT One sports car, Dynojet Racing’s Avensis, a rare MR2-based Group S rally car, the famous “King of Africa” Celica Twin Cam TA64, WRC Corolla and this year’s Dakar Rally class-winning Land Cruiser. In the factory cars department, Toyota will be showing off its Yaris Hybrid concept, Auris Hybrid and Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

The Toyota GT One sports car is the same car seen at the 1999 Le Mans and will be reunited with its driver from that race, Thierry Boutsen. The Belgian F1 grand prix winner will be back behind the wheel of the GT One as it climbs up the hill. The Dynojet Racing Avensis is one of Toyota’s current racers in the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. It will be driven by Frank Wrathall.

A rare sighting will include a MR2-based Group S rally car, which was once codenamed 222D. This rally car was a prototype car made in the 1980s that never saw competition due to championship regulations being changed. Only two of these are left and one of them will be campaigned up the hill!

Lastly, Toyota will have a strong World Rally Championship presence with their King of Africa Celica Twin Cam TA64, and the WRC Corolla that claimed 25 podiums between 1997-1999. The Land Cruiser from this year’s Dakar Rally (that claimed the win in its class) will also be present.

GALLERY: Toyota’s 2011 Goodwood Festival of Speed Cars

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[Source: Toyota UK Blog]

 |  May 10 2011, 7:16 AM

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Toyota is denying a report that the automaker plans to switch all of its Prius models over to a plug-in hybrid setup by 2014.

With the Plug-in Prius about to go on sale, a report from the Nikkei business daily indicated that the Japanese automaker is set to then make all future Prius models use the same technology, likely starting with the next generation of the car. Using a more advanced lithium-ion battery pack, but retaining the same Prius engine, the PHEV model has an electric only range of 12 miles and can be recharged in 3 hours using a conventional household outlet or 1.5 hours using a quick-charging station.

It might not get the 25 to 50 mile range of the Chevy Volt, but Toyota is expected to price it much lower, allowing for a significantly larger volume of sales.

Speaking to PluginCars.com, Toyota environmental communications manager Jana Hartline refuted the Nikkei report stating that it is, “not accurate.” “There is no formal plan to make all Priuses plug-in by 2014,” she said, indicating that it doesn’t fit with the brand’s new Prius family plan.

Click here to read AutoGuide’s 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Review

[Source: Reuters, PluginCars]

 |  Dec 14 2009, 3:13 PM

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After displaying a concept version of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid (PHV) at the Frankfurt, Tokyo and LA Auto Shows, today Toyota officially announced the introduction of the production model in Japan. Starting immediately and carrying over the next six months, Toyota will build and ship 600 Prius PHVs to different markets around the world with 230 in Japan, 150 in the U.S. and 200 in Europe. The models will be leased to fleets and studied by Toyota.

The vehicle itself is in many ways identical to the current Prius, except with a 5.2 kWh lithium ion battery pack in place of the nickel metal hydride unit. In addition, the car gets the necessary charging hardware. Toyota claims the Prius PHV will be able to recharge fully in just 100 minutes from a 200 V outlet or in three hours from a 100 V outlet.

Toyota claims the Prius PHV will be capable of 134 mpg, although that assumes almost 50 percent of the driving is done in pure electric mode. The car is capable of traveling 14.3 miles on pure electric power and can reach speeds of 62 mph in pure electric mode.

Inside the Prius PHV will get a new PHV screens in the Navigation and Eco-Drive Monitor areas, including the range possible in EV mode.

Retail sales are set of late in 2011 and Toyota has said the car will be a “reasonable” price.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

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Official release after the jump:

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LA Preview: Prius PHV Concept Set to Plug-In at Los Angeles Auto Show

Toyota expected to announce delivery of first Prius PHV models to customers

 |  Nov 25 2009, 4:21 PM

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After first debuting in Frankfurt and then traveling to Tokyo, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid Concept is set debut on U.S. soil for the first time at the LA Auto Show next week.

Using Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and lithium-ion batteries, Toyota says the Prius PHV will be able to reach highway speeds on pure electric power. Toyota also claims the car will be able to recharge fully in 90 minutes using a conventional household outlet.

The car has a zero-emissions electric mode that will allow it to travel up to 12 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. This is considerably less than the Volt’s 40 mile claim.

Toyota has announced that some time in 2009 it will deliver 500 Prius PHV vehicles, 150 of which will be sold in the United States. It is expected that with only one month left for the year, delivery of those 150 vehicles will be announced at the LA Auto Show.

See AutoGuide’s Live 2009 LA Auto Show Coverage Here Starting December 2nd

GALLERY: Toyota Prius PHV Concept Debut in Frankfurt

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Frankfurt 2009: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Concept Recharges in Just 90 Minutes

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 |  Sep 15 2009, 10:17 AM

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Until now we weren’t overly impressed with Toyota’s idea for a plug-in Prius hybrid, along the lines of the Chevy Volt. There’s still a lot we don’t know (including, hopefully, a lower price point), but today at the Frankfurt Auto Show, Toyota announced that the Prius Plug-In Hybrid Concept would be able to recharge fully in just 90 minutes – using a conventional household outlet.

The car has a zero-emissions electric mode that will allow it to travel up to 12 miles before the gasoline engine kicks in. This is considerably less than the Volt’s 40 mile claim.

Using Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and lithium-ion batteries, Toyota says the Prius PHV will be able to reach highway speeds on pure electric power. Engineers at the Japanese automaker are also looking beyond lithium batteries for future energy solutions.

Later this year Toyota will deliver 500 Prius PHV vehicles, 150 of which will be sold in the United States.

In Europe Toyota is looking to start raming up interest in its hybrid models and start a new program called “2010 Toyota Drive,” which will get potential customers into Toyota products.

GALLERY: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Concept

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 |  Jun 04 2009, 8:35 AM

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Toyota has announced that it will lease 500 plug-in hybrid-electric Prius models starting this year. These will be the first plug-in version of the Prius on the road and will feature new lithium-ion battery packs, which hold more energy than the conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries used in other hybrid systems.

Of the 500 vehicles, 200 will be leased in Japan, while 150 units will be sent to the U.S. and 150 to Europe. Two-thirds of the European vehicles are earmarked for France. The vehicles will be leased primarily to corporations and governments.

Toyota hopes that by introducing these plug-in hybrids now it can raise awareness about the upcoming production model. For short distances the Prius plug-in hybrid will be able to operate on just electric power. Once that energy store has been depleted, the gasoline engine will kick-in to to charge the battery-packs, which in turn will power the electric motor. This will allow for the cars to be driven without the driver having to worry about a place to plug-in.

Toyota is currently considering expanding this project to include the United Kingdom, the Netherlands and Germany.

[Source: Edmunds]