Some insider notes on the 2017 Prius Prime

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

  1. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    My argument about "too much battery" have always been with respect to cost. They are far from the same in that respect.


    Because it has a plug, a much larger battery, and far more EV power.

    What is your definition of mainstream? The industry standard for over a decade here has been a minimum sales of 60,000 annual.


    So...? Corolla doesn't sell a well as Camry. Sales of Prius Prime only need to be sustained & profitable at about mainstream minimum. More would be nice. But another plug-in hybrid from Toyota would be nice too.
     
    #241 john1701a, Jun 16, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2016
  2. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    We have problems attracting ordinary consumers. Dealers are a major contributor to that. Most simply aren't interested in selling a plug-in vehicle. Why? Because it requires a lot of extra effort for very little in return.

    The lame automaker excuses and constant bickering about supposed deal-breakers isn't accomplishing anything. And yes, we're aware that a few individuals do everything they can to prevent conclusions from being draw for the sake of keeping the discussions going.

    No more.

    Thankfully, the local plug-in owners club here has a very different attitude than some online. They don't see the claim of 22 miles of EV not being enough. They see a system fully capable of delivering an EV drive experience. Then even if the engine fires up afterward, that resulting +100 MPG average in the end is a compelling sales point. It's very easy to stir interest.

    Potential buyers won't care what we say. They'll be discovering Prius Prime right there are the dealer. Being able to plug in using the outlet already available in their garage and being able to activate EV drive when they want is all they'll need to settle any uncertain. No intimidation. Unmatched hybrid performance, rock solid Toyota reliability, and a few technical goodies... that will appeal to both consumer & dealer.
     
  3. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    The 22 miles of EV is good. So is the fuel economy in hybrid mode. But pretending that the missing fifth seat and raised cargo floor of the Prius Prime that potential buyers in a dealership can see and touch, and compare to a Prius on the lot, won't have any bearing on their decision is delusional. These buyers already skip on the hybrid version of the Camry because of the compromised trunk space. Which for many of them, would have little impact in how they use the car.

    The car's positives can pushed, and the negatives downplayed until the cows come home, but unless the Prius Prime's starting price is within it's value of the federal tax credit of the Prius's starting price, it isn't going to sell much more than the PiP would have over 50 states.
     
  4. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Why are you continuing to state the situation as an absolute?

    Of course it will have a bearing. The point of a Prime model is not to replace Prius. Stop portraying the situation as if that was the goal.

    This is the very problem Volt enthusiasts failed to overcome. They refused to acknowledge who the audience actually was.
     
  5. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Pointing out that the Prius Prime has cons that are being overlooked isn't stating an absolute.

    How have I portrayed it as the goal?

    The car's name is Prius Prime. Shoppers in a dealership aren't likely to miss that, and will make the comparison. Even if they don't, the four seats and raised cargo floor will stick out from their experiences with previous cars. Pretending that they won't notice it, or that at it will be easily overlooked, goes against shoppers past reactions in regards to plug ins and hybrids.
     
  6. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    toyota dealers won't even have one in the showroom, and btw? you can't plug in willy nilly, you need a dedicated circuit. and if they have one on the lot? it won't be charged.

    why am i being so negative? because i saw how the pip was displayed and sold. it's nice that the minnersoter plug-in owners club sees things differently, but how is that going to affect the lower 48?
     
  7. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    You did it again! By what other means would you like the situation explained? Clearly, this approach isn't working. I'm open to suggestions...

    Here's the most simple alternate way I can state it:

    The past has taught us that people will consider the plug-in when shopping, but will not view it as an "upgrade" model. It will stand alone, sharing only certain traits of Prius.

    The differences will be viewed as tradeoffs, a clear acknowledgment of pros & cons. That overall balance will be the selling point.
     
  8. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    i don't recall anyone considering a plug in, in the past, except greenies, ev'ers, and hov'ers. i don't see how an upgraded model is going to change the perspective of people who don't care about the environment, fossil fuel use, or saving money, if that were possible with prime.
     
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  9. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Look at it from another perspective, how do you compare the programmable/remote climate-control feature? It doesn't exist on the hybrid.

    Being able to jump into a car pre-warmed by drawing electricity directly from a plug in the dead of winter is worth how much?
     
    #249 john1701a, Jun 17, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2016
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  10. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    nothing, if you can start it from your fob like all my neighbors do. but the big screen might grab some attention.(y) will people buy a car for the screen size? you won't know unless you try. seems like a funny way to design a car. maybe i'm not your typical shopper.:cool:
     
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  11. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    You won't be able to. There isn't a HEAT-PUMP available in the hybrid.

    And from a public charger, that's pretty much impossible with either heating or cooling. You're simply parked too far away.
     
  12. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Saying shoppers will compare the Prius Prime to the Prius isn't saying they will view it as an upgrade. Toyota stressing the upscale interior, exotic materials, and a large flashy screen will.

    I'm saying that if people that car shop by seeing what is at the dealer's can use the smaller trunk to pass on a hybrid sedan, they will use the loss of the fifth seat and the raised cargo floor to do so on the Prius Prime.

    I was excited upon seeing the first exterior photos of the Prime. The styling was more appealing to me than the gen4's. I was hoping for longer EV range, but conceded that 20ish miles would mean the best balance of features. Then I scrolled down to the first photo of the rear seat, and my excitement became puzzlement.

    I didn't think the first Volt not having a middle rear seat was a big deal, but have come see how it could be a factor in losing a sale. Now the new Prius plug in, a car that is seen as 'bigger' than the Volt, has abandoned it. Then I see the raised cargo floor.

    As a fan of plug in cars, I have a grasp of the technical compromises that go into a PHEV design. The core of my disappointment is in the belief that Toyota could have done a better job in packaging the Prime. But price could redeem that.

    Car shoppers coming from an ICE car will just see a car missing a seat, and then notice the cargo floor is higher than expected. A good salesperson could teach them about the compromises that go into a PHEV, and they might find that the plug and EV driving is worth it to them.

    Which does mean another plug in sold, but the Prius Prime was no better or worse than any other PHEV in that regard. The Toyota nameplate and Prius fuel economy could give it a bit of an edge, but those are also the only things that can be pointed to that make it different than the other PHEVs available. Aside from outside influence like a spike in gas prices, I do not see the Prime selling markedly better than the Volt. It might get to Model S numbers, but it won't reach 'mainstream' ones.
     
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  13. Tideland Prius

    Tideland Prius Moderator of the North
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    The Prime is a touch longer than the Gen 4 but I think it's mostly the lengthened front bumper.

    But the Prime will be more efficient in using its battery capacity. The issue is that we don't know what the actual capacity is, just the listed maximum capacity. The Prime will benefit from all the increased efficiencies made to the inverter and electric motors that debut on the Gen 4.

    Keep in mind that the Prime doubled its capacity but the weight has only increased by ~60%. They have made improvements to the battery. (I can't remember if this was mentioned before but this is one of the last tidbits that we're allowed to reveal).

    Surprisingly, that is actually an accurate statement. Toyota has told us that they preferred to focus on lowering the price to bring more consumers into the PHEV fold. I hope Toyota also realises that it has to have a reasonable and competitive AER. If the Prime was only $1,000 more than the Gen 4 but only had 15 miles, I don't think it would sell as well compared to the 22 miles that was announced and whatever Toyota will price it. (assuming it's also a reasonable upcharge).
     
  14. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    Back in 2012, Toyota delivered what supporters of Prius had been asking for. It took many years. Toyota simply wasn't interested in delivering a configuration which would allow a plug to be taken advantage of. The reason was simple. Cost of batteries for that was prohibitively high and the source of much of our electricity was dirty.

    A tipping point still hadn't been reached yet, but the time had come to prove the system design was capable of what supporters though consumers wanted... a hybrid with significantly improved efficiency. Increased electric-only driving was an expectation, but there was never any priority set on having a full EV experience.

    The only supposed "competition" was struggling. Volt had the industry spotlight. GM wasn't able to draw in its own customers though. Sales came primarily from conquests & early-adopters. That was confirmed as the shockingly low lease-prices were phased out. That was followed by dramatically lowered PRICE with no correlation to COST having been reduced. It didn't anyway. Sales continued flat. Now in 2015, we see GM struggling with flat sales of gen-2 Volt and the new problem of cannibalization. Bolt will be stealing away potential Volt buyers.

    Toyota is working really hard to avoid falling into the same trap. Rather than trying to conquest or cannibalize, they configured Prius Prime to be different from Prius. The true competition is traditional vehicles. How do you entice a customer who's been absolutely delighted with their Camry or Corolla to consider the purchase of a vehicle offering a plug?

    Squeezing a battery-pack large enough into a sedan just plain isn't realistic. Ford has only had modest success with Fusion Energi. The loss of trunk space is so extreme, most potential buyers abandon the idea upon seeing it. Prius Prime doesn't have that limitation. Even with the slightly raised floor (less than the height of a smart phone), the area available for cargo still significantly exceeds that of what Camry or Corolla offer.

    The 22-mile range for EV easily covers traffic congestion spans for long work-commutes and the entire distance for short work-commutes. That also covers errand-running around the suburbs in the evening. In other words, it's enough to make selling the idea very easy. Sales people don't even have to bother with any discussion of level-2 chargers. The customer can simply use the standard 120-volt electrical outlet they already have in their garage for recharging.

    Think about the test-drive. When someone who was shopping the showroom floor is offered the opportunity and suddenly finds themselves behind the wheel experience the full-power EV drive, what do you think their thoughts will be? They'll be trying to remember when the last time was that they actually had more than 2 people in their Camry or Corolla. They'll wonder if any are available for immediate purchase and what colors are offered. They'll consider what their MPG average will be.

    In other words, it's a carefully considered approach to overcome barriers of the past. Toyota did their homework, studying every bit of data the limited Prius PHV availability could provide. The rollout of Prius Prime will be to 35 states which will see this plug-in as Toyota's first offering. The others will see a greatly improved version. The nation as a whole will see it as an undeniable step away from traditional vehicles.
     
    #254 john1701a, Jun 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2016
  15. Trollbait

    Trollbait It's a D&D thing

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    Do you think Toyota low balled the 22 mile EV range that was announced then? The Energis have 7.6kWh packs with 20 mile ranges. A 10% increase doesn't seem like much for a PHEV with a larger, newer battery that is also ore efficient. Did the gains go into the higher EV performance?

    I would hope Toyota would use an improved battery over the PiP. GM and BMW have installed an improved battery in the mid-cycle refresh of the gen1 Volt, Spark EV, and i3.

    Plenty bought the PiP. I think not being available nationwide hurt its sales more than the low EV range. So I think a gen4 Prius plug in with 15 miles range would sell well for just $1000. That is far lower than the PiP and aftermarket conversions. Keep in mind the car wouldn't be losing a seat or cargo space compared to the 3 trim.

    The worry is what Toyota will price the Prime at? At $30k, it should attract more than the C-max Energi, but I don't think that will bring more to PHEV over having increased the field by one more choice with a Toyota badge would have.

    Which of the other manufacturers aren't lowering the price and cost of their PHEVs? The gen2 Volt has a lower price, and...actually no one else has second gen out with an official price yet.
     
  16. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    I'm somewhat surprised by how deeply entrenched the group-think problem has become. True, a large chunk of that will fade away as the rollout of Prius Prime progresses. Real-World data can be a very effective tool. But prior to even knowing what the price will be, some have dominated discussions with what could be looked upon a rhetoric. That should be easy to see too, simply because the market-attitude toward plugging in has changed yet the perceived audience has not.

    In other words, there's still an perspective of us & them. Either you're in the market for a plug-in vehicle or you are not. It's an approach that intentionally limits scope. Rather than take on the monumental problem of traditional vehicles, you choose to stay within the realm of those who won't settle for anything without a plug. It's a head-in-the-sand stance that no one seems to notice. How can so many be so naïve?

    I'm beyond frustrated with the pig-headed nature of this outlook. It may not be intentional, but it sure is predominant... so much so, it's getting in the way of progress. You've heard of "being your own worst enemy" used as a reason for getting stuck. Seemingly harmless habits lead to years of struggle. This group-think problem is becoming the very barrier we've been trying to overcome. It's a self-inflicted situation which prevents goals from being achieved.

    Don't expect me to stop pointing out the true competition or the reasons for Toyota's approach. Knowing audience & purpose is absolutely vital. Acknowledgement of that is a necessity; otherwise, we'll continue to argue amongst ourselves rather than actually make any progress.
     
  17. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    you keep asking the same question john, but your answers fall short in my mind. i can't prove you wrong until the car hits the street. i hope i'm wrong, but i just don't see the attraction of prime for people buying ice vehicles at todays gas prices.

    the biggest sticking point in my mind is size. people want big vehicles. even a corolla is bigger. i don't believe you're going to entice them with a big screen, a heat pump and a big price.
    also, you've got a radical exterior. mainstream buyers don't want that. look at the top ten cars.

    that doesn't make you wrong, but it doesn't make those of us on the other side of the argument 'group thinkers'.

    in fact, the group think is all the mainstream car buyers, so you need a vehicle that appeals to group think.

    i hope i'm all wet and they sell like hotcakes!:)
     
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  18. wjtracy

    wjtracy Senior Member

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    Reposting this in this thread-

    As far as I can see, the TNGA platform for Prius Gen4 gives almost the exact same total interior ft3 as the Gen3 non-TNGA platform. So that seems to be the initial TNGA design basis for Prius.

    Total Reported EPA Interior Vol ft3
    Gen3: 115.3 ft3 (presumably this excludes 3-ft3 under false floor) so + 3-ft3 = 118.3-ft3
    Gen4: (w/ spare tire) 117.7-ft3

    Possibly Gen4 is even a tiny bit smaller inside than the Gen3...not sure.

    But then, for Gen4, Toyota wanted to shift space out of the rear to lower the back roof line to make it look more like a sedan. Presumably this means a little more passenger space over Gen3, but I have not figured out exactly where yet.

    Meanwhile the Gen4 style shift made it harder to graciously convert Gen4 to plug-in with less space in back.

    Sort of the whole concept of HEV Gen4 is to move the hybrid batt under the rear seat, which allows downsizing the back hatch vol and lowering the roof line. Nothing in that equation makes PHEV conversion as seamless as PiP1, not to mention 2x batt size. Basically, given the Gen4 style changes, we would have expected a whole new (bigger) vehicle for the Prime.
     
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  19. john1701a

    john1701a Prius Guru

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    That's because you left something out of the equation. It's a very common oversight. You're in large company. So, no worries. The missing element is time.

    It will take 2 years following rollout for Prius Prime to become established. Anyone who thinks the distribution, education, and real-world data sharing can be achieved in a shorter duration clearly hasn't studied history. Think about where the industry will be at that point. Many tax-credits would have expired and EV sightings will have become routine. At that point, the MARKET WOULD HAVE CHANGED.

    It's that upcoming audience is what Prius Prime is targeted at, not what we'll in just 6 months. Think about what their perspective will be. Low gas prices won't have as much of an influence since battery-tech will be affordable. Parking spots with charging-stations becoming common by then is a realistic expectation. Reputation for reliability would be established. Uncertainty of industry intent will have diminished.

    8.8 kWh may be thought of as "too small" by some now. 2.5 years from now is an entirely different story. That will be entry-level for plugging in, much like around 1.2 kWh became for hybrids. Rather than being treated as insufficient, it will have become an expectation for mainstream competing with traditional vehicles.

    In other words, a platform like Camry and Corolla still won't be realistic for plug-in hybrid offerings. Prius Prime will. It's configured to become competitive within this generation, even with cheap gas and expired tax-credits. It has the potential to bring about a RAV4 Prime offering as well.

    What other approach has that going for it, being able to survive as a high-volume profitable vehicle in a market so different from the one it is currently being judged against?

    Remember, Toyota will still be producing traditional vehicles. That presence on showroom floors represents a serious barrier to overcome in the minds of ordinary consumers.
     
  20. bisco

    bisco cookie crumbler

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    don't forget the independent suspension, which is apparently taking up a lot of space.
    in fact, the whole reconfiguration of the hatch floor in the gen 4 lift back is absurd to me. varying heights of the floor, some with spare and some without, even though there is room for one, has caused a lot of consternation here.
     
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