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Will Prius Plug-in Owners View the Plug As Optional?

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid went on sale in the past few weeks, without the fanfare that usually accompanies rollouts of new plug-ins. As I reported for KQED, Toyota hasn’t made a big deal of the plug-in Prius, because the company sees it as an extension of its hybrid offerings—rather than something novel. In other words, the PIP is a hybrid first and a plug-in second.

I suspect we will start to see mainstream media review of the model—and we can expect the standard and simple ROI comparison of a Prius Plug-in starting at $32,000 and the $25,565 comparably equipped standard Prius. Consumer Reports says the Prius Plug-in “benefits from the same comfortable ride and relatively spacious interior” as the standard Toyota Prius.

The Toyota Prius Plug-in features 11 miles or so of electric-only range, but can fire up its internal combustion engine to supplement the electric motor at any time the load requires. Consumer Reports nudged the Prius Plug-in up to 60 miles per hour without the gas engine firing up, but this act requires an extremely light touch on the accelerator pedal.
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