Published on July 7th, 2012 | by Zachary Shahan


2015 Toyota Prius Needs to Innovate to Stay on Top

July 7th, 2012 by  

As noted not too long ago, the Toyota Prius has risen to #3 in world auto sales. But, with numerous super-efficient electric vehicles and hybrids entering the market, it is facing more competition in its high-efficiency niche (an important niche to be in these days). How will it stay on top? Gas2 has run across some rumors:

2015 Toyota Prius Rumors Start Surfacing (via Gas 2.0)

The Toyota Prius has remained at the front of the MPG pack for more than a decade now, and in that time it has garnered a reputation as a reliable, cost-effective solution to high gas prices. Toyota has expanded the Prius lineup to include a compact and a larger minivan, but rivals are closing the…

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

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is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • jayzee

    There is no real competition for the prius and it is unlikely there will be for a long time to come. If someone can do a hybrid that is as reliable as a toyota and sell at least a million of them, then thats worth talking about but until then, dont waste your time !

  • Bob_Wallace

    Lots of good info – thanks.

    “(It’s interesting A123 is now claiming 2,000 deep cycles when they were claiming 3,700 a few years earlier.)”

    Isn’t it the case that A123 was claiming 3,700 cycles for their smaller lithium batteries but only 1,000 cycles for their EV battery packs?

    Honda is using Toshiba SCiB batteries in the Fit EV.

  • Anne

    “Toyota has, for some reason, stuck with heavier nickel-hydride batteries in the Prius rather than making the jump to lithium-ion cells. The reasoning could go back to affordability,”

    I think the reasoning goes back to longevity and reliability. Afaik, Lithium ion batteries have more issues with degradation than NiMH. Perhaps this has improved over the past year, but don’t forget that development on the current Prius started at least 5 years ago.

    Toyota have a rock solid reputation for reliability and they needed to be sure that the battery lasts the lifetime of the vehicle. I guess they decided at the time that lithium ion couldn’t guarantee that.

    That’s my take on it.

    • Bob_Wallace

      A123 announced recently that they have changed their lithium-ion technology and now their batteries will be good for 2,000 cycles.

      That means that smaller kW packs can be used for the same range.  Batteries can be more deeply discharged if there are more cycles available.

    • sounds very plausible.

  • EVs are definitely a threat to the Prius. Even I –  a happy Prius owner –   would like to buy an EV for my next car. I may keep the Prius for the role of long-range car but I would definitely like to switch to all-electric. In fact, I will size my rooftop solar PV array accordingly so I will supply the fuel for most of my car travels. You cannot do that with a non-plugin Prius.

    They should bring-down the cost of the plugin-Prius and only offer this version with at least 30-40km of range.

    • Anne

      “a happy Prius owner –   would like to buy an EV for my next car”


    • mds

      Ditto, but EREV for me.

      • haha, with you and Anne chiming in, it seems my thoughts on you awesome early adopters weren’t completely off the wall. 😀

    • yeah, i was actually thinking that a lot of Prius early adopters would tend to be EV early adopters…

      and the followers (most people) who have now found the Prius rocks will take a bit longer to get on the EV bandwagon.

  • Greggm

    What other high mpg vehicle even comes close in sales? What single vehicle threatens te Prius?

    • very high-efficiency EVs are hitting the market. with a little bit of time to get used to the idea, and for battery prices to drop, the Prius better be on its toes (or the folks at Toyota, that is).

    • mds

      Close in sales?  Nothing, but the Prius has been on the market now for over a decade (since 2004 in USA), so this means nothing.

      What vehicle threatens?  Go drive a Volt or Ampera.  No range anxiety and full EV performance for the first 40 miles.  Since 78% of USA drivers travel less than 40 miles each day, they will hardly use any gasoline.  I just got to drive a friend’s new Volt.  Truly amazing, much smooth power transfer than for my Prius.  I could not even tell when the Volt switched from electric mode to hybrid mode, not without looking at the display.  The only thing I don’t like is the low ground clearance.  He has over 1,800 miles on his Volt with a cumulative mileage and gasoline use that works out to over 225 mpg.  (not MPGe)  That puts the Prius to shame when it comes to reducing gasoline use.  Reducing oil use to increase our energy independence and lower CO2 output are the two main points for me.
      Comment made on another site:
      “Prius is number one trade in for Volt purchasers.”

      • the trade-in quote: nice, full confirmation. 😀 early adopters of cleaner cars tend to be early adopters of cleaner cars. no surprise. 😀

        on the Volt: yes, it definitely sounds like a step up. MPG rocks it. basically, it offers driving an EV for nearly everything, but not the warranted or unwarranted concern of running out of battery power without a place to charge.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Perhaps we might want to do an apples:apples comparison and look at first year sales for hybrids and electrics.

      “First year sales in 2000 of the Prius and Honda Insight were 9,350, with the Prius accounting for just 5,000. 

      A total of 17,345 Volts and Leafs sold or nearly double the first year sale figures for the 2000 gas-hybrid vehicles and more than triple the number of Prius sales.” 

      The Leaf started production on October 22, 2010.  Production of the electric car was disrupted for several months beginning in March 2011 due to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and as a result, Nissan announced it was not able to reach its 2011 production target of 50,000 Leafs.  Nissan sold more than  20,000 Leafs in 2011 worldwide.

      The Prius was first produced in 1997.  In 2000 5,562 units were sold.  This rose to 15,556 in the fourth year of production.  (Wiki)

      That’s a better start for EVs/PHEVs.  Were I a betting person, I’d be willing to bet that they hold their lead.  Remember, a PHEV Prius will be joining their ranks.

      • yes, this is the comparison should be making.

        i’d bet on them holding the lead. wonder more if the differential will be linear or exponentially more as the years go on.

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