Some insider notes on the 2017 Prius Prime

Discussion in 'Prime Main Forum (2017-Current)' started by Danny, Mar 23, 2016.

  1. bhtooefr

    bhtooefr Senior Member

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    That was covered under #3 in my list - the performance and driving experience of an EV counts as qualities other than efficiency.
     
  2. Vike

    Vike Active Member

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    I don't believe he did miss that - I assumed it was covered in #3 (other qualities than its efficiency) [and now I see he already replied while I was writing this].

    Anyway, I do agree this is hugely undersold. EVers know what we mean by "the electric smile", but hardly anyone else does. Just as ICEVs are at their best cruising steadily down the freeway, BEVs are ideal for moving briskly through urban traffic. It is the main reason I bought an EV, which brings me to....

    Actually, it was a perfect example, insofar as it's a car with widely mocked characteristics that happens to suit its buyers extremely well. I should know - I own one, and I love it, but I promise you that nobody buys that car unless they really, really want to (more on that in a bit). I needed a car for a short commute that was ruining an ICEV (my job moved from a downtown location to an office park much closer to my home) and to run local errands in a compact mid-size city with a mild climate; the i-MiEV was everything I needed and at the time something like $7500 less than getting a LEAF (the gap's even wider now). Now I don't need to fire up the Prius unless the drive's going to be long enough for it to warm up to full efficiency (or we're going out with friends and want some elbow room!). So yes - a good example, not a bad one.

    I believe TP's broader point was that it's ridiculous to reject the Prime just because it doesn't have enough AER to "take seriously", since by that reasoning you could just as easily reject any non-Tesla EV as having range judged "inadequate" by some arbitrary standard. In the context of this discussion, I don't think anybody's arguing that the Prime is right for nobody - just that its appeal may be very limited given the expected combination of attributes.

    As to your other point, the fact that almost nobody buys the i-MiEV is directly attributable to the fact that literally nobody actively sells the i-MiEV. Yes, there are hundreds of Mitsubishi dealerships where you can order one, but only a handful carry inventory, and MMNA's advertising of the vehicle amounts to including an i-MiEV in their "array of vehicles" picture flashing by at the end of some TV ads. You could be forgiven for thinking the car has been dropped, since the announcement of the 2017 model was probably the industry's least-known non-secret of 2016. It will probably stay in the lineup until the kei car from which it's derived goes out of production (won't be long - the new Nissan/Mitsu joint venture keis are in the pipeline), and it doesn't appear that Mitsubishi has a replacement in mind for the U.S. market, focusing instead on electrified CUVs that they, umm, don't sell here yet (and yes, I do assume Mitsu execs only attend meetings with their NA dealers while accompanied by bodyguards).
     
    #202 Vike, Jun 13, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2016
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  3. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    EV drive quality is probably a whole category by itself and it is valid.
     
  4. Vike

    Vike Active Member

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    Nobody said EV drive quality wasn't a valid reason to buy an EV. The point I was making (I'll let the poster speak for himself) was that it wasn't a valid criticism to say that the poster had missed EV drive quality, because he hadn't. The original context was "the markets that I see existing for efficient vehicles" and one line item was "People who want the vehicle for other qualities than its efficiency," and I figured that covered it. It's not a mistake or oversight to skip listing every single quality other than efficiency in that context, so the claim that the poster had missed something was not accurate. Had Jeff N said "A good example of #3 would be drive quality, something that Tesla's promoted very effectively [etc.]..." instead of critiquing the post as missing something, we could have skipped this whole exchange (except the part about dis'ing the i-MiEV, of course :p).
     
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  5. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    ...agreed...I was just trying to say we should probably have incentives (monetary and non) as one reason, and the drive quality as another reason.
     
  6. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    Just for kicks, Ontario offers an additional $1,000 incentive if the eligible EV/PHEV has 5 or more seats.

    upload_2016-6-13_13-57-36.png
    Electric vehicles incentive program

    The 2015 Prius Plug-in Hybrid has a rebate of $5,000. The new Prius Prime should be around $7,300 (I don't know how it's calculated. All I did was determine the rate of incentives between $6,000 and $10,000 by dividing it by the kWh difference to get $363 per kWh).

    In Canada, the 2016 is $38,000 but gets $11,000-$12,000 (depending on trim level) of incentives so Toyota Canada is going to have to carefully calculate how they want to position the Prime. I'm hoping it's lower than the 2015's MSRP of Cdn$35,905 base price ($41,140 for the ATP). Freight/PDI here is $1,495.

    Agree.
     
  7. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That incentive is like the flex-fuel problem here. You get the reward even if the feature is never used.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    but it's important to encourage larger alt fuel vehicles.
     
  9. Ricprius

    Ricprius New Member

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    While I occasionally check into this site, this is my first post. I am reading a lot of technology comments but few about the attraction the Prime offers for many buyers. We have a 2007 Prius and will be buying a Prime. My wife drives 5 miles one way to work plus friends and family are less than 10 miles away. Our cottage is 225 miles away so out of EV range but still 50+ MPG.

    The Prime has a power seat and an adequate cargo space which the Volt lacks. If the two of us need 3 passengers, we take the Jeep. Both of us love techie features so the 11" display is a great feature as well as the full array of electronic options. Our Prius was trouble free so Toyota reliability is a draw as well. With the $4,000 tax rebate, the price (TBA) may be close to a loaded 4 Touring. My wife loves driving our Prius and the new model's drivability and comfort are improved. Plus, unlike most, I like the styling of the Prime.

    Just because the Prime is a great car for us, doesn't mean it is for everyone. But for people looking for similar vehicles (or if high gas prices return) they may find it their best choice.
     
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  10. Vike

    Vike Active Member

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    I'm not so sure about the cargo space on the Prime. Look hard at the reveal pictures - there's not a lot of room between the cargo floor and the tonneau cover. If you're serious about cross-shopping with the Volt, I'd inspect both in person and maybe even try some luggage to see how things work for your requirements. They're hard to compare directly because they're such different shapes, but from what I understand if you're using JDM cargo volumes (the American organization cheats by counting cargo space above the level of the tonneau cover), the Gen4 has less than 18 cu.ft. of "real" space, and the Prime's batteries take up about 7 cu.ft. That sounds awfully close to the Volt's 10.6 cu.ft. Of course, shape matters a lot, so again, you should really check it out for yourself after the Prime is available for you to review/measure. I'm just not sure the matter's as cut and dried as you suggest here.
     
  11. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    I've been a Prime cargo space critic, but I've decided to wait and see on cargo space...I think they may have added space above the tonneau cover in the hatch and possibly length to back is further. Also with seats down the cargo space should be superior to most plug-ins albeit funny shape with rear portion of floor higher.
    But I don't think it will rival the PiP1.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The Ford Energis and Sonata PHEV match the Prime on range, and still would return around 40mpg on gas. The Fusion and Sonata are also more comfortable rides that could carry the passengers you use the Jeep for. If the 50mpg is more important, sounds like the PiP would have been perfect for you, but likely not available where you live.

    We don't have official numbers on the Prime's cargo space yet, but it isn't looking good. If it does lose 7cu.ft. as reported, that is as much space the C-max Energi loses compared to the hybrid version. Which would also bring within the same amount as the Volt. From the pictures, I prefer the Prime styling to the new Prius.

    The criticism of the Prime isn't that it won't work for people. It is that this is Toyota's second attempt at a PHEV, and it doesn't appear much better than others first try.

    The Volt is the go to comparison because of recognition and sales, but the C-max Energi is a closer one in form and specs. The C-max and Prime have near the same EV range. The Prime has a higher EV speed, but we don't know if that is only in EV auto mode or also EV mode. Either way, the low mid-70mph limit for the C-max is high enough for many people to stay in EV mode for their commute.

    Their batteries are about the same size, and they might lose the same amount of cargo space. This doesn't look good for the Prime when it is considered that it is Toyota's gen2 PHEV that was supposedly designed on a dedicated hybrid platform with a PHEV in mind, and the C-max is Ford's gen1 PHEV built on an ICE platform. Toyota should have done a better job of packaging the battery pack.

    The Prime does have better gasoline fuel economy; its first name is Prius after all. In order to keep it at the level of the hybrid model, Toyota opted to get rid of the middle rear seat. Maybe they determined that the weight for that seat might drop the MPG down to 49. That is still better than everybody else, and the car wouldn't lose potential sales because of the lack of the middle seat. Something the first Volt was criticized for, and tried to fix in the new model. Toyota thinks that the lower fuel economy to the hybrid would cost more sales.
     
  13. Vike

    Vike Active Member

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    Yep, after years of research and thoughtful design, Toyota's engineers have come up with a C-MAX Energi killer - the world is indeed their oyster. Their parents must be so proud.

    I'm not sure the C-MAX Energi even counts as an also-ran if the majority of people surveyed would assume it's a beverage or diet supplement.
     
  14. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That mindset of design did not work in the past.

    What's different now ?
     
  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    If Ford's hybrids sold better in general, the Energis would be near the top of plug in sales. Ford, the dealers, or the cars themselves manage to get a higher percentage of of people considering the hybrid to opt for the PHEV than the rest of those offering both versions.

    Toyota's plan to name their PHEVs Primes is copied from Ford's Energi template. Perhaps they think they just need to give the C-max Energi better fuel economy and a Toyota badge to dominate the plug in market.
     
  16. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Ford got the idea from Toyota using HSD.
     
  17. Vike

    Vike Active Member

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    That's an oversimplification, and I think unfair to Ford. Much of Ford's hybrid technology was independently developed, but they realized as they got into product development for the Escape Hybrid that they were infringing some broad Toyota patents. They reached an agreement to compensate Toyota for use of their patents with an undisclosed cash settlement and a cross-licensing agreement covering hybrid systems and emissions control technologies. While the production Escape's hybrid system did wind up being more Toyota-like as the result of the cross-licensing, it was still very much a Ford-developed product, with more independently developed content than, e.g., Nissan's Altima Hybrid. I'm not overly impressed with where Ford's gone subsequently, but they're not in the same boat as tech-renters like Nissan hybrids and FCA BEVs.

    But hey, that's just my take - y'all are free to Google it up and reach your own conclusions. Heck, if past is precedent, there may even be someone in this forum who'll tell us they were in the room when the cross-licensing was negotiated and can give us the straight dope ;).
     
  18. Vike

    Vike Active Member

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    Well, that sentence got my attention. It sounds kinda like "If Mitsubishis sold better in general, the i-MiEV would be a major BEV contender." It might prove to be true or not in the wake of observable events, but regardless I'm not sure that it's a logical assumption.

    Ford's hybrids have not taken the market by storm, and it's not like they're invisible - I don't have numbers, but my impression from my own TV viewing is that Ford advertises their hybrids more than anyone but Toyota. If they're not romping in the marketplace, it's not because people are unaware of the offering - I think hybrid shoppers are just moving on to door #2 because they don't think much of Ford hybrids (especially after the MPG adjustments a couple years back).

    PHEVs are a distinct category from non-plugins - they cost more, need chargers, entail certain compromises, etc., so it's a different audience with a different level of interest in EV tech. There are a lot more hybrids than plug-ins out there, so PHEV choices are more limited. Energi buyers are making decisions separate from their assessment of Ford's conventional hybrids, and if the result is that they find Energi models more competitive among PHEVs than Ford hybrids are among HEVs, I'm not sure it follows that Energis would do even better if the HEVs did better.

    My own circumstances didn't favor a PHEV in 2012, but if they did I don't think a C-MAX/E would have appealed. Early JDPower numbers weren't great, and reviews of MyFordTouch were abysmal. If C-MAX quality has stabilized and Sync3's as much of an improvement as reviews suggest, the C-MAX/E does have some meaningful advantages over even the Gen2 Volt (notably rear seat accommodations) if the AER gap isn't a concern (e.g., my own commuting is easily in PiP range, much less Prime or Energi). But unless it wound up having a big price advantage over the Prime (i.e., the Prime gets priced toward the high end of guesstimates and/or the C-MAX/E sees an effective cut), I don't see much case for the C-MAX/E unless losing the middle rear seat is a dealbreaker. AER's still mediocre, and the trunk is more like a parcel shelf:
    [​IMG]

    I may have judged the Prime to fit a "slice of a niche", but the C-MAX/E seems suited for the crumbs from that slice as its plugin rivals have moved on to their next generation. If I consider the Volt, Prime, and C-MAX/E independent of pricing, to me the Ford's the least attractive option.
     
  19. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That has absolutely nothing to do with what I posted.

    The topic was vehicle naming.
     
  20. Vike

    Vike Active Member

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    Of course it was. Given my very low level of success understanding what you mean, I will skip going into why I disagree with your "Ford calling their PHEVs Energi is the same as Toyota naming their hybrid system HSD" analysis, since I probably misunderstood what you meant about that too.

    Regardless, it was interesting to review Ford's hybrid efforts, so I won't regret composing the post.
     
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