Why Didn't Toyota get a charge out of the Plug In Prius?
It was fun, so we didn’t go out for much of a run until it was charged the Plugin Prius so we could see how much EV range it had. Thus, I plugged it in and had to patiently wait for it to charge on up. About 3 hours later I went outside and found it was fully charged. Hurray!
My wife and I, sans the kids, took a quick trip around the neighborhood. We lived in a hilly area so it was quick to see we could get some nice regen back into the Prius traction pack. The Toyota Plug in Prius only had about 15 miles of range so having the up and down of the hills gave it a little more.
As an Electric Vehicle nut, I was very sad to see how quickly the 15 miles of EV range disappeared and the gas engine start. It was pretty seamless and not very noticeable from a gas car driver perspective, but from an EV nuts perspective it is always sad when you start burning gas again.
This lead me to start thinking, the Ford C-Max Energi Plug-in was rumored to be a 20 miles range EV, the Chevy Volt was coming in at 35 miles of EV range. This brought me back to the question I had been thinking for the last few years: Why was Toyota not out in front with EV range? After all, they produced a great car in California in the Rav-4 EV.
Fast forward to today. Did Toyota blow a market opportunity in the same vain as GM did with the EV 1? I think so. Toyota started the whole Hybrid car market with the Prius brand. A 1 kw battery added to give the car unprecedented gas mileage and over 1 Million Prius cars sold in the USA by 2011.
Thus, the California Air Resources Board starts the EV market in California and Toyota had a head start because of the Prius. They built the RAV-4 EV. They could have lead the charge (pun intended) and had a Chevy Volt before the Chevy Volt. They could have marketed electric cars long ahead of the market like they did with the Prius. Instead, they waited, stuck their toe in the water and then decided not to. They decided to follow the Hydrogen lie.
So rather than lead, they are going to follow and now BMW has the i3 Rex, which is more of an EV than a Hybrid and Toyota Plug In Prius is a Me-too product and has sales to reflect that. Its very sad as I had high hopes for Toyota within the growing Electric Vehicle marketplace.