There are electric hybrid cars…and then there is Toyota Prius. Prius has certainly established itself as the benchmark of electric hybrid cars, and if plans stay on track, it might do so in the plug-in hybrid space as well. The only place where Toyota has not made many bold statements is in the all-electric car space. Does Toyota not believe much in an all-electric car as a 2nd car for short-distance drivers? O rmay be they are hiding a development program and just waiting until the Teslas, Thinks, IMiEVs of the world fizzle out to then enter with a bang? I find it difficult to believe Toyota does not have an electric car program in advanced stages.
Anyways…until we have enough serious material to talk about plug-in hybrids and all-electric cars from other companies, Prius remains king (queen sounds more appropriate for some reason) of the commercial electrified cars. Its unique styling is still attractive to customers, esp those who are trying to portray a green image to the rest of the world. Its performance is trust-worthy (despite earlier exaggerated claims on mpg, and some slight safety concerns), and its price is now just right for the US customers. Prius is setting the standard for making what the customers want, and doing it with simplicity. Now if they could only bring out the plug-in hybrid soon…no, not the Hymotion/A123 variety, but a real plug-in hybrid that at least goes 40 miles or so on electric drivetrain alone. GM Volt announcements notwithstanding, I get the feeling that Toyota will also rule the plug-in hybrid light duty car market when it emerges.
Japanese ratings call Prius world’s most efficient car, 89.4 mpg (US)! (source)
We already knew the 2010 Toyota Prius would put up some impressive fuel economy numbers but the official Japanese numbers are just insane. On the standard 10-15 test cycle, the new Prius is rated at 89.4 mpg (U.S.) with CO2 emissions of just 61 g/km! While the new Prius is certainly efficient, these numbers certainly seem highly unrealistic. It’s likely that Toyota has calibrated the Japan market model to specifically get the maximum out of this low speed urban drive cycle (average speed 16 mph) and most drivers are unlikely to come anywhere near those numbers. Dedicated hypermilers, of course, can top 90 mpg, but that takes way too much effort. On the newer JC08 test cycle, the numbers drop a bit to a mere 76.7 mpg (U.S.). Here in the U.S. the Prius is rated at 50 mpg combined.