When did Toyota pull the plug on plug-in hybrids?
During a period of more than 3 years Toyota tested about 150 lithium-powered plug-in Prius hybrids - a fleet still larger than GM's current Chevy Volt fleet - logging more than 1 million real world miles in almost every type of driving condition imaginable. The lithium batteries used proved safe and reliable, but still cost-ineffective.
Next month, Toyota will produce another 350 plug-in hybrids, followed by another 150 early next year, for further testing. This time however, the goal isn't based on safety and reliability. Instead, Toyota's new goal is to provide the most cost-effective plug-in hybrid package based on real world driving needs and conditions.
Over the last few years Toyota has claimed that they would produce plug-in hybrids as soon as the technology was ready, and for Toyota 'ready' means cost-effective in addition to safe and reliable. Coincidentally, Toyota knows a little something about the cost-effectiveness of new technologies.
Today, about 70 - 80 percent of new car customers are interested in purchasing hybrid cars, a segment dominated by Toyota. With such high interest, why is market share still only about 3 percent? According to consumer surveys it all boils down to costs, and consumer surveys on plug-in hybrids tell a similar story.
So, why is Toyota bashed for stating the obvious?
Finish: When did Toyota pull the plug on plug-in hybrids?