Toyota Considers Making Prius Only a Plug-in hybrid

“To beat your own record becomes very difficult,” Satoshi Ogiso, Toyota Motor Corporation’s managing officer, stated in 2013. And he was right. By being better and better with every Prius model, Toyota created a specific situation for the company. Having the fifth generation of Prius, Toyota is considering to make every future Prius a plug-in hybrid. The reason is very simple – it’s difficult to improve the fuel economy all the time. And that is one of the goals.

Of course, the Japanese manufacturer wishes to be in front of the competition when it comes to reducing fossil fuels dependence, and even eliminating it eventually. By producing new models and making a better standard hybrid powertrain just might not be enough. Creating the next generation of the popular Prius model will be a tremendously difficult challenge, as stated by Shoichi Kaneko. Kaneko, who is the Assistant Chief Engineer for the Prius Prime, concluded with not so optimistic words: “Ultimately, PHEV may be the way to go.”

With every Prius generation so far, Toyota had to improve all the statistics, but all eyes were on the fuel economy. For the previous, fourth-generation of Prius, they had to make many little upgrades in order to have the results they do. The most efficient Prius is the Eco trim line that gets 56 combined MPG. This is great, but it’s also very hard to further improve. The idea of adding a plug-in option on every Prius would definitely move Toyota forward, keep it compatible and also meet the manufacturer’s goals.

Shoichi Kaneko stated that the Prius Prime plug-in hybrid is the best Prius that could be, but it surely wasn’t easy. A lot of invested resources and tremendous effort was the price for it. Toyota is optimistic about Prius Prime plug-in hybrid being a success. However, if, in some case, Prime meets certain market problems and do not fulfill the goals, then the Japanese company will probably reconsider the strategy on PHEV they have at the moment.