Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Toyota has announced the Prius Plug-in hybrid will launch in the UK in early 2012 priced at "less than £31,000" ($48,379 U.S. at the current exchange rate). Sounds steep, right? It is, but this "guideline pricing" does not include government incentives of up to £5,000 ($7,803) that buyers of the Prius Plug-in are likely to receive under the UK's Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle scheme.

After rebate, the 2012 Prius Plug-in checks in at a price of less than £26,000 ($40,576) – on par with the Nissan Leaf, which currently sells for an after-rebate price of £25,990 ($40,560). Meanwhile, the Prius Plug-in undercuts its main competitor, the forthcoming, £33,995 Vauxhall Ampera, by a substantial £3,000 ($4,682).

Here in the States, the 2012 Prius Plug-in starts at $32,000 before any applicable rebates and jumps to $39,525 for the top-o-the-line Advanced version. Rebates of $2,500 should be available to most buyers.
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Guideline pricing and European corporate demonstration partnership announced

KEY POINTS

New Prius Plug-in Hybrid to cost less than £31,000 − before any sales incentives are taken into account
Electric (EV) driving range expected to be more than 14 miles, with combined cycle CO2 emissions of 49g/km and 134.5mpg fuel economy
Benefit-in-Kind tax rate for company car users expected to be no more than £52 a month, with 100 per cent Write Down Allowance for businesses
Toyota enters partnership with LeasePlan to support European corporate sales programme for Prius Plug-in Hybrid in Europe

The new Prius Plug-in will cost less than £31,000 when sales start in the first half of 2012. This headline figure does not take into account Government funding through the Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle grant scheme that could reduce the price to customer by up to £5,000: the Toyota has qualified for grant support by meeting the criteria for plug-in vehicles.

The pricing is competitive compared to the latest EV models on the market, but Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers more flexible performance, thanks to its powertrain which combines an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery and a petrol engine. This will allow drivers to cover more than 14 miles in EV mode, using power from its hybrid battery, after which the vehicle will seamlessly switch to power from its full hybrid system, including the 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine. This means the driver need suffer no "range anxiety" about the distance the car can cover.

The convenience and efficiency of Prius Plug-in Hybrid extends to the system for recharging the lithium-ion battery. Simple connection to workplace or domestic electricity supply, or a roadside charging point, can enable a full recharge in an hour and a half.

Prior to official homologation, Toyota predicts Prius Plug-in Hybrid will emit 49g/km of carbon dioxide and achieve 134.5mpg combined cycle fuel economy. This strengthens its position as a strong prospect for corporate fleet operators, as it will qualify for a Benefit-in-Kind company car tax rating of just five per cent for drivers, and consequently a monthly tax burden of less than £52 (for a 40 per cent tax payer, based on the guideline vehicle price). Furthermore, businesses will save on fleet costs thanks to a 100 per cent write-down allowance and lower National Insurance contributions.

Ewan Shepherd, General Manager Toyota/Lexus Fleet Services said: "Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be an exciting and valuable addition to what is already an industry-leading Toyota range that delivers significant financial benefits to companies and company car drivers with advanced and highly efficient models such as Prius and the British-built Auris Hybrid."

The advantages of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid are being measured in real-world demonstration programmes with 200 prototype Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) in Europe – 20 of them in London. Initial data are showing how the car can achieve significantly better urban driving performance than the best-in-class diesel and petrol models of comparable size. The London demonstration, in partnership with EDF Energy, is also monitoring battery recharging patterns and how motorists can time recharging periods to make best use of the power supply in terms of cost and emissions.

Toyota partnership with LeasePlan
The intelligence gathered from the demonstration programmes is being shared with major businesses, including LeasePlan Corporation N.V., which manages around 1.3 million vehicles globally and has one of the world's largest corporate fleet portfolios. LeasePlan, working in partnership with Toyota, will increase the exposure of Prius Plug-in Hybrid and PHEV technology to its clients.

Didier Leroy, Toyota Motor Europe President, said: "With the commercial launch of the new Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, the partnership with LeasePlan supports our commitment to offer fleet customers a greener, more efficient mobility solution.

"Toyota has already put almost 3.3 million hybrids on the road. The introduction of Prius Plug-In Hybrid is a major step in our company's journey towards sustainable mobility by reducing energy consumption, improving air quality and further curbing CO2 emissions. We are very satisfied to work in partnership with LeasePlan; by endorsing our technology, LeasePlan will not only help us to raise awareness and understanding, but also enable us to engage with their customer base."

Vahid Daemi, Chairman of the Managing Board and CEO of LeasePlan Corporation N.V., added: "We are excited to enter into this new partnership. For many years we have worked with our clients on improving both operational and environmental fleet performance. It is partnerships such as these that help us continue to meet the needs of our clients and, at the same time, further support our ambitions in this area. The insights we will gain through this relationship will be valuable to our sustainable mobility approach and will further support our global GreenPlan service."