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When it comes to electrified cars Toyota is the undisputed champion with its popular lineup of Prius models, but Ford is hard at work building brand recognition for its lineup of battery-powered vehicles. Things must be working out well because the Blue Oval is crowing about sales of its plug-in hybrids.
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.
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:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
- New York
- New Jersey
Toyota will add another vehicle to the Prius lineup shortly, with the upcoming Prius c subcompact. Intended to be the entry point into the Prius range, the Prius c will supposedly get over 50 mpg in the city.
Technology will also be at the forefront of the Prius c, which comes with an integrated app suite for use with websites like Bing, MovieTickets.com, Pandora and OpenTable, along with Bluetooth integration and a host of safety features.
Expect the Prius c to be about the size of a Toyota Yaris, but positioned as a more premium product. Performance details have not been announced, aside from the obvious use of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive hybrid system mated to a 1.5L 4-cylinder engine. The Prius c will get its official unveiling at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show in January.
Gallery: Toyota Prius c
Toyota’s Prius plug-in hybrid has been testing in London, all the better to usurp the Continent’s diesels in favor of its “27% better” electric cord.
What does this “27% better” get you? Well, Toyota says, the Prius plug-in takes 27% less fuel than a diesel after a full charge, which takes around 72 minutes. As a city car, the Prius excels in small, slow journeys: the tests in London show that the average journey has been 7.3 miles at around 17 miles per hour. In electric-only mode, the Prius plug-in can drive 12.5 miles, but that hasn’t dissuaded owners from pushing the official limit—22% of drivers went beyond this figure, all the way up to 62mph.
The Prius plug-in will officially launch in Europe early next year. The tests are expected to take three years, and so far they’ve only started last summer. With regular recharging points, Toyota hopes, the Prius plug-in could be a viable alternative to diesels. We’ll see about that, as long as there aren’t any road trips to John O’Groats.