Last week, news broke that the upcoming plug-in Prius was returning 65 miles per gallon in tests. That would represent a 15 mpg gain over the recently announced 3rd generation non-plug-in Prius. Now, in a post on Toyota’s Open Road Blog, Irv Miller, Vice President Environmental and Public Affairs, says that no such claims were made.
At the time, the claim seemed a bit fishy to me considering that it’s unlike Toyota (and legally sketchy) to make such claims before a production version is even announced. According to Miller:
“We believe there was a misunderstanding between the reporter and the spokesperson, who were also discussing Prius vehicles that had been converted to plug-ins by aftermarket companies and are currently being tested by private individuals, companies, utilities and so on. Many of these owners of converted PHVs have stated or publicly posted performance numbers in the 65 mpg range.”
Apparently, Toyota doesn’t even have prototypes of their lithium-ion powered plug-ins in the US yet. The test mules they’ve been using are powered by the nickel-metal hydride batteries that have been used in the Prius since its inception. The plug-in Prius that will be released for testing to fleets later this year and to the general market sometime in 2010 will use a lithium-ion battery.
As Miller sums up:
We look forward to getting in-use driving feedback from the 150 lease-fleet customers who will receive our lithium battery-powered Prius PHVs early next year. We anticipate a wide range of fuel efficiency performance numbers. And we regret the misunderstanding that prompted this recent news story.
Source: Green Car Congress
Image credit: Toyota