Will a Lowered Price Help Toyota’s Prius Plug-In Fly?
On the heels of a report that broke indicating that Honda (NYSE:HMC) was moving many times the number of hybrids that it was expecting to (the hybrid edition of the Fit, in Japan), Bloomberg is now reporting that Toyota (NYSE:TM), the undisputed king of the hybrid market, will be lowering the price of the Prius plug-in hybrid, to help spur sales here in the States.
At least, that’s the primary goal. Plug-in vehicles, being fully electric or not, have largely seen dramatic price cuts to generate sales, and help make the cars more comparable to their gasoline-only counterparts. However, there’s a secondary goal in Toyota’s mind behind the lowered MSRPs, which is the strict California mandates on emissions, the same ones that spurred Honda to engineer an all-electric Fit.
Plug-in hybrids are a combination of electric vehicles (no gasoline engine whatsoever), and more conventional hybrids, which use a small internal combustion unit sparingly, coupled with a smaller electric powertrain. A plug-in hybrid can often run on electric power alone for several miles before the gasoline kicks in, making them sensible and practical vehicles for those who don’t face long commutes, usually under 30 or so miles. Unfortunately, they tend to be more expensive.