Are lower cost and longer all-electric range in a plug-in hybrid mutually exclusive concepts? That's what Toyota appears to be arguing to the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In documents recently filed with CARB concerning the Golden State regulator's 10-mile minimum requirement for all-electric range in plug-in hybrids. The EPA says the Prius Plug-in Hybrid has an all-electric range of 11 miles, but CARB's calculations put it at six. Green Car Reports says the Prius will likely get a boost to 10 miles to comply with CARB requirements adopted last year.
Toyota may be extending that range begrudgingly, arguing in the documents that it's more important to use technological advancements to bring battery costs and vehicle pricing down for prospective buyers, as opposed to maintaining price and extending all-electric range.
The California mandates are especially relevant because the state is home to what's easily the country's highest sales of plug-in vehicles. Through October, Prius Plug-in Hybrid sales through the entire US were up 4.6 percent from a year earlier to 10,069 units. October sales grew even faster, at an 11-percent clip, to 2,095 units. Last month, Toyota said it would cut the base price of the 2014 model-year Prius Plug In by $2,010 to $29,990.