The Toyota Prius PHV is slated for release in Japan on January 30, 2012. The automaker recently announced that Japanese consumers can preorder their Prius PHV through regional dealerships. Toyota notes that drivers can test drive and purchase vehicles at affiliate dealerships including Toyopet, Corolla and Netz. This preordering process kicks off a major push by Toyota to spread the Prius PHV worldwide. An initial goal of 35,000 units per year should saturate Japan and surrounding markets with the next generation of Toyota’s signature hybrid.
Toyota has noted that retail prices range from $41,000 for the basic S class to $53,800 for the premium G class with leather seats. The Prius PHV drive system features a 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery, a 1.8-liter gas engine and a charging unit capable of recharging the battery in 90 minutes. Drivers can alternate between driving modes ranging from the powerful Drive mode to the fuel-efficient Eco mode. Toyota estimates that the Prius PHV could achieve fuel economy ratings of 143 miles per gallon based on Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism standards. This rating is achieved in part due to all-electric capabilities up to 62 miles per hour for 16 miles per charge.
Every Prius PHV owner receives a suite of onboard services free for three years after the purchase date. The Owner’s Navigator allows a driver to learn how to drive more effectively using a smartphone application. The eConnect service provides updates on battery charge, EV charger locations and climate control operations by phone or laptop. The Toyota Friend program connects Prius PHV owners across Japan for discussions about vehicle issues and tips. Toyota also offers free access to charging stations and battery diagnostic tools at dealerships throughout Japan.
This limited rollout allows Toyota to test new production methods and customer service mechanisms that portend the future of the auto industry. Toyota notes that the amount of carbon emissions during production, operation and disposal will be 43% lower with the Prius PHV than comparable sedans. The automaker is developing the H2V Manager for vehicle owners who are concerned about balancing at-home charging with household electrical consumption. The Prius name is familiar around the world but Toyota is adding new twists in the Prius PHV that refresh the brand’s commitment to hybrid technology.