“We believe there was a misunderstanding between the reporter and the spokesperson, who were also discussing Prius vehicles that had been converted to plug-ins by aftermarket companies and are currently being tested by private individuals, companies, utilities and so on. Many of these owners of converted PHVs have stated or publicly posted performance numbers in the 65 mpg range,” Irv Miller, Group Vice President – Environmental and Public Affairs, said today.
Bill Reinert, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s national alternative-fuel vehicle manager, last week said the fuel economy achieved by Prius depends on driving style and average speed, as well as several other factors, such as the total weight of the battery or driving conditions. Irv Miller said the mileage is indeed depended on a wide variety of factors, but it's too early to discuss such an aspect as the company is only conducting very early preliminary tests.
“Although mileage data has been collected during demonstration events, it varies too widely to offer any indication of what to expect consistently. Most importantly, these vehicles are not representative of the lithium-ion battery-powered next-generation Prius PHVs that will be delivered to lease-fleet customers later this year,” he said.
That's why Toyota says it is expecting a large variety of fuel consumption figures in the next testing session. Approximately 150 lease-fleet customers are expected to receive the lithium-ion battery-powered Prius plug-in hybrid in early 2010 as part of a testing schedule prepared by the Japanese automaker.