Toyota still leads the pack when it comes to electrified models and is asserting that lead with a new contest, the Prius Plug-in MPG Challenge, which pits 30 New York metro region drivers against each other to log the highest MPG over a one-month loaner period. The program kicks off its first wave of contestants today at a key hand-off in New Jersey.
The MPG Challenge underscores Toyota’s confidence in their Hybrid Synergy Drive’s ability to deliver amazing real-world returns, something that marks their models apart from pure EV’s like the Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S as well as conventional economy hatchbacks like the Hyundai Elantra GT and Ford Fiesta . Toyota’s point of view in the efficiency debate is valuable. They’re betting that their Prius Plug-in can entice normal drivers to "hyper-mile," a term meaning to maximize potential range through creative (and very slow) driving.
Can the Prius Plug-in Hybrid resolve the range anxiety of EV drivers and the disillusion felt by buyers of small gasoline-powered cars that can barely get near their official EPA stats – no matter how slowly they drive. The idea is to use the MPG Challenge as both a sales promotion and consumer education platform, while also highlighting the latest tech advancements in the 2013 Prius Plug-in Hybrid in the hands of real-life potential buyers.
How is Toyota positioned to weather the current state of evolving eco-car priorities? As the hard-core greens adopt full EV models, will Priuses start coming factory-direct in Taxi-cab yellow with barf-proof vinyl upholstery?
Click past the jump for the full review of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, including detailed info on ordering dedicated chargers from Toyota’s new home-electricity partner Leviton.