Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Production Ends in June 2015, Replacement Planned for 2016

Toyota Prius PHEV 1 photo
Photo: Toyota
Toyota may be credited with the invention of the mainstream hybrid model, but the company is facing increasingly stiff competition from companies ranging from Ford to Volkswagen or Honda. This may have prompted them to rethink some strategies, as a Toyota representative announced recently that he Prius PHEV will go out of production.
Nathan Kokes, employed by Toyota Motor Sales USA in the Advanced Technology Vehicle Marketing department, announced on Prius Chat that the production of plug-in versions of the car will end in June.

What's surprising is that a replacement won't be ready straight away, and the next-gen Prius conventional hybrid is also being delayed. Toyota is indeed working on another PHEV, but it won't be ready for at least another year if not more.

No precise reason has been given for this decision, but we need only look at what's happening in the industry. Due to low gas prices, hybrid sales in America were largely flat in 2014. By contrast, buyers are getting increasing numbers of conventional Toyota, with sales rising 8% to 780,000 in the first four months of 2015.

There is also quite a lot of competition in the plug-in market, with the Ford C-Max Energi and VW Golf GTE competing for the same customers as Toyota. Soon, the new Chevy Volt will also hit dealerships. As a reminder, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid made its appearance at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show. It uses a 99 PS (73 kW / 98 hp) 1.8-liter petrol engine, a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery and an 82 PS (60 kW / 81 hp) electric motor.

These will theoretically allow the car to achieve estimated fuel consumption of 2.1 l/100km (112 mpg US / 134.5 mpg UK) with CO2 emissions of 49 g/km. However, while Toyota claims up to 23 km (14 miles) can be traveled on electricity alone, both the Golf GTE and Audi A3 e-tron can do up to 50 km (31 miles).

Of course, we're not actually concerned with the fate of Toyota hybrids. The company has recently announced, but not fully detailed, a green version of the RAV4 compact SUV. Being the first in its segment, it's sure to pay off in a major way. The Mirai FCV is also worth mentioning, but with only a few hydrogen fuel stations in America, it will take a while before it makes a dent in the market.
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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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