Toyota: Prius Plug-in 65 MPG Just a Press Misunderstanding

A few days ago, Autonews reported one of the greatest achievements of the US Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid: a 65 mpg fuel consumption rating. The aforementioned source quoted a Toyota spokesperson who gave us a glimpse into the newly-developed model at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Unfortunately, the old saying “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't” matches this subject perfectly as the Japanese automaker has just announced that it was only a press misunderstanding and no official Prius reaching 65 mpg is yet available.

“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.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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