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3 Threats That Could Shut Down Prius And Other Hybrid Production Permanently

Prius is one of my favorite cars. The thing is so was the model T 100 years ago. Technology advancements are going to mean something drasitc. Read here on how I know history will repeat itself and hybrids are going to be a thing of the past.

In 1920 the Ford Model T was one of the most popular and affordable vehicles sold at the time. With the birth of a rapidly growing industry, people latched onto the automobile as a staple in their daily lives.

We do not usually hear about the negative things that went along with building the first automobiles. Congregations of workers from carriage companies strongly opposed automobiles. They knew it was a severe threat to their way of life.

Like it or not, the automobile came around, and we now know today that this was partly due to the industrial revolution. America was advancing, and those on the fence were left behind.

Why am I giving you a history lesson? Because you must understand what I am about to tell you next. The gasoline car we have loved for over 100 years is now going through a new revolution. If you do not believe me, consider these three threats to change everything we know about the industry.

California Bans Sale Of Gasoline Cars By 2035
Who cares about some ban, right? Well, that is what we should all start to take a closer look at what this means for us. Yes, there are plenty of memes out there that make-fun of California for not even being able to support the power grid it has but hear me out.

We have never advanced in society by thinking small. Henry Ford proved that long ago. For our society to progress, we have to ask bold questions and say powerful statements that get us to think about the unknown. California saying that they will ban the sale of gasoline cars is a very aggressive and powerful statement. It encompasses everything about advancement. It also challenges us to think about how we will get there.

2003 Honda Civic Hybrid is now obsolete according to California

The ban is a massive threat to the existence of cars like the Toyota Prius. While a very eco-friendly car, Prius still has a gasoline engine. According to the ban, Prius and other hybrids would no longer be available for sale in the state.

California has a large population, and for hybrids to get pushed out and gone would cripple sales and cost Toyota billions annually. Toyota does have the Mirai, its hydrogen fuel cell car, but even if it were to go full-scale mass production, there are far too many people that cannot afford to own one.

The ban is sure to be a nail in the Prius coffin. It saddens me, but that is how we move forward in life by letting go of one thing to gain something better (hopefully).

Telsa, Battery Advancements And EV Popularity
Battery day for Tesla Motors was an incredible win, though investors thought differently about it. I do not believe that most people understand the weight of what Tesla has done. They have improved everything about the electric car, including cost.

This bit of information is enormous. I have been preaching solid-state battery technology for quite some time now, and I still believe that it will be in our future, but. Elon and the team have been able to increase range, capacity, cleanliness, and affordability. These increases have given new Tesla models a 54% increase in range, a 56% decrease in the cost of kilowatt-hours production, and a 69% reduction in Gigawatt-hours production.

New Telsa Battery Cell Is Far Superior

Just reflect on the range increase alone, and you can see the barriers Tesla has broken through. When you combine that with the fact Tesla is now far more environmentally friendly and will take even larger steps to keep batteries recycled, the choice for our future is simple.

Now, if Prius pivoted into becoming an EV with a Tesla-esque range that could save the brand, but this is not Toyota's idea. Toyota motor is a very conservative company, and that has played to its benefit for decades.

Now with Tesla pushing the envelope, Toyota will have to reconsider everything they once knew about the future of transportation.

Affordability Of EV
With how well Tesla is reducing costs, consumers will inevitably reap those benefits. Again, look at what Henry Ford did a century ago. He made it possible for every family to afford an automobile. What was $100,000 has dropped to $35,000 + depending on the model and package you desire.

Tesla Roadster Gen 1

Elon projects that EV cars with these new advancements can bring Tesla cars into the $20,000 range. Revolutionary is the word that comes to mind when I think about how incredible a $20,000 600 mile range Tesla is. Even Prius with as affordable as it still costs over $20k.


The trifecta of change is upon us, and if you do not think so, I suggest crawling out from under the rock and taking a look.
History (for better or worse) is doomed to repeat itself, but not in the same way. These ripples in the space-time continuum are from the past, making our modern-day advancements possible.

As exciting as all of this is, it is scary to see what will happen to our hybrid lineup. I hope to keep my hybrid as long as possible, but 15 years from now is not that far off.

Who knows, maybe this is all just some pipe dream, but to me, the evidence shows we are in this for the long haul.

Thank you, everyone, for reading. I hope you have enjoyed this article. I look forward to seeing you in the next. Have a great day.

Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will change the auto industry forever.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


Bob (not verified)    September 30, 2020 - 1:40PM

The law only says to ban new gasoline cars but no used cars so what's the problem? Is electric cars reaches 1,000+ per charge range why would you want to pollute the earth with gasoline?

DeanMcManis (not verified)    September 30, 2020 - 1:57PM

15 years is a long time, and much can change. Even though Toyota and other Japanese automakers have chosen the path to electrifying their automobiles in steps, as they are conservative. So they are migrating to hybrids, and plug in hybrids currently. Although Toyota won’t say much, the plan has been to migrate the Prius brand to BEV over time. Hyundai moved first in BEVs by creating their Ionic brand of BEVs. This is not a problem, but an opportunity.

William G McCown (not verified)    September 30, 2020 - 2:34PM

This looks like it was written with or by AI, and not something as sophisticated as GPT 3. Silly me for reading it, grammar errors and all.

James T. Kirk (not verified)    September 30, 2020 - 5:59PM

So California will shut down all gasoline stations and anyone who drives a gasoline car into the state will no longer be able to buy fuel? I truly doubt that will happen for another 100 years.

Ensign Chekov (not verified)    October 2, 2020 - 1:54PM

In reply to by James T. Kirk (not verified)

What you said was my first impression too, but on further thought this is my take. 1. 15 years is a long time, it may not happen, 2. Used gas cars will still be on sale so the gasoline market will tail off, for years after 2035. 3. It WILL get harder to get gas approaching 2035, since reduced demand will mean fewer stations needed, and seeing multiple stations on a street corner may dissapear. 4. Regardless of Elon Musk's optimism about interstate trucking becoming all electric, I think Bill Gates has the correct take. While a single tanker can fill up a station with diesel in one shot, a truck stop would need a massive amount of electrical wattage to fast charge hundreds of trucks in one day, turning the station into a mini power substation almost. 5. For the same reason, a five minute stop at a "gas" station might turn into at least 15 minutes or more with the number of charging stations and wattage coming from the local power utility being the limiting factor. 6. This might be a boon to restaurants, since this gives them a captive audience to sit and eat while they also pay to have their vehicle charged.

DANTE SANTIAGO (not verified)    September 30, 2020 - 6:34PM

Thank you for the article.

It is very informative. It is just surprising that Toyota and Honda are not spending much on EV's.

Yar (not verified)    September 30, 2020 - 7:41PM

Do you think there will be Prius gatherings like model T groups do today? If the replacement battery for my Prime is 5 times as powerful as the one that came with the car and available 10 years down the line I could see the vehicle being on the road for 50 years.

Manny (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 7:51AM

Let's back track a little history here, the hybrid battery has more life expectancy than the Tesla battery and why do I say it? Because Toyota warranties 150000 miles on it.
So, if Toyota comes out with a super hybrid battery then your futuristic view just went out the window!

James T. Kirk (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 10:26AM

In reply to by Manny (not verified)

Exactly! When you can fill up a battery as fast as you can fill up a fuel tank, then the supposition may come to pass. Right now it cost more to fill up a battery than it cost to fill up a fuel tank when you have to use a remote charging station.

Thomas Gilfoyle (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 11:11AM

You say this like it's a bad thing. I've had my beloved Prius for ten years, and have saved 1500 gallons- but used the same. I did what I could for the transition, and the it's time to replace it there will be something better, greener, and more economical.

How sad?

By the way, moving on to heat pumps lets me save 3 times as much carbon per year. Just a suggestion for those looking for greening up.

BobComer (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 12:19PM

I'm on my second Pruis, a Prius Prime, and don't see any problem that the Prius, as we know it, will eventually go away. I crave having a full EV car!

But there's a big problem with your trifecta -- we in the south east U.S. still don't have near the infrastruture to support full EV's for all but the in town drivers. That's why I don't own an EV already, and probably why toyota doesn't make an EV Prius, it just doesn't make sense to own one in a lot of different places -- yet.

WisdomLost (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 2:03PM

"Hybrids" need to shift gears. The only real way to save them, in my opinion, is to reverse the design language from "electric-assisted ICE" to "ICE-assisted EV".

The next phase in hybrid production should shift to an all-electric drivetrain with an ICE (or other) range extender. For most cars, this will be a good introduction to EVs, but largely unnecessary with BEVs making strong advances. However, for larger vehicles (large SUVs, trucks, semis, etc.) the large battery necessary for range and workload will remain a barricade for a long time.

A range-extended EV truck with enough battery capacity to handle peak power output of the motors, and 60+ miles of normal highway driving would have all the performance of a BEV, and more range than a comparable ICE. When towing, the EV drivetrain will be superior, while the small ICE provides the needed range. Properly tuned, the ICE would be far more efficient than a hybrid, due to the ICE always running at the most efficient speed.

As opposed to a PHEV, the vehicle would be EV-first. Charging would be primary, while the range extender would be reserve. This is exactly the opposite of how today's hybrids are used.

In short, hybrids will remain relevant if they drop the hybrid drivetrain, and simply use "hybrid power" in the form of a range extender.

Nick (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 2:35PM

It's the sale of any new vehicle with an internal combustion engine that will be banned. Given how long well maintained cars last these days it'll be 20+ years after that that petrol/diesel cars are a rarity on the roads. Especially as there'll be some great deals to be had just before the ban as the manufacturers shift stock.

Jim (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 2:46PM

Good article. I love my 2012 Prius but looking forward to buying my first Tesla. Musk is quite the business genius.

jay (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 7:58PM

toyota will have to come out with a fully electric car in the next 2-5 years if they want to survive. The Prime lineup is great especially the rav4 prime. Theyll likely just increase the battery capacity/range to 100 along with the gas engine within the next 2 years.

Dave (not verified)    October 1, 2020 - 10:54PM

California is looking for a day when they have enough clean electricity to power all their automobiles. If so that may kill all gas vehicles sales there, but I take a wait and see. A bigger threat to me are 1) current and future low gas prices and 2) utterly idiotic state legislation to increase the cost of car tabs on hybrid vehicles. Some of us drive a hybrid because it is a sensible economic decision that in addition is good for the environment (a two-fer we can feel proud of). However why in god's name do we have state legislators who feel it is good government to add additional high car tab fees to hybrid vehicles when there are more sales and far more per-vehicle road damage for 4-5000+ lb SUVs and pickups What next? Taxes on vegetarians or people who go to church on Sunday or people who teach there 4 yr old to read.

Esthetic (not verified)    October 4, 2020 - 5:10AM

What is here to bemoan. From inception, prius cars have been an eyesore on our streets. Hopefully the california law will put a nail in its coffin.

Thomas Gilfoyle (not verified)    October 5, 2020 - 8:46PM

Well, having had one for 11 years, saved 3000 gallons of fuel, and only having to do one brake job and two sets of tires in 150,000 miles, I can live with your scorn.

Oh- wiper blades.

Mike DARE (not verified)    October 19, 2020 - 10:17AM

Big deal. Toyota can just convert the Prius to electric and my guess is that is exactly what they will do. Hey Ford did it to the Mustang.