Toyota Motor Corp. is reducing the prices of its 2014 plug-in Prius models as it seeks to increase sales as well as to comply with California’s Zero-Emission Vehicle program. The 2014 Toyota Prius Plug-in now carries a starting price of $29,990, down $2,010 from the current version. The top-end Advanced grade is subjected to a 12-percent drop to $34,905, Toyota said in a statement.
The new versions, which will be available in November, are also eligible for a $2,500 U.S. tax credit. Existing 2013 Prius vehicles already on dealer lots are excluded in the price cuts, according to Toyota’s spokesman. He, however, noted that there are incentives available with the current models.
He remarked that depending on the region, incentives are available that either take the 2013 Prius near the 2014 price right now, or even below.
He reiterated that while there is no move nationally to get the 2013 Prius at the same price range as the 2014 version, there are incentives to “help close the distance."
Toyota started offering reduced lease and loan deals in August for its electric version of its RAV4 crossover to boost its sales. Honda, Nissan and General Motors have already cut the prices or are offering discounted leases on their plug-in models.
Toyota accounts for the largest share auto sales in California, which means that it’s under pressure to sell the most number of plug-in hybrids and battery-only vehicles in the state.
The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is another application of the carmaker’s Hybrid Synergy Drive that is considered as its future core technology platform.
Toyota designed the Hybrid Synergy Drive to be modular and flexible enough to employ various energy sources. This allows the carmaker to readily use the Hybrid Synergy Drive in its Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) and Electric Vehicles (EV), as well as Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV).
When employed in a PHEV, the Hybrid Synergy Drive’s full architecture and its ability to travel long distances stay basically the same. It makes use of a more powerful battery – as charged from exterior energy sources – to practically extend its all-electric driving range.
As employed in an EV, the architecture of the Hybrid Synergy Drive becomes simpler as it makes use of no conventional engine. To compensate for the absence of a petrol engine, the Hybrid Synergy Drive employs a more powerful electric motor as backed by a dynamic battery, thereby allowing the EV to be driven for several hours before needing to be recharged from an external source.
When the Hybrid Synergy Drive is employed in an FCV, the electric motors remain while the conventional engine is replaced by hydrogen fuel cell technology. Since the fuel cells could generate electricity to recharge the battery pack, the FCV doesn’t need to be recharged from an external electric source. Instead, the FCV just needs to be refueled with liquid hydrogen.