Toyota forgot about the Mitsubishi i-Miev

Toyota just announced their 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid vehicle. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers seating for 5, and a manufacturer-estimated 87 MPGe (miles per gallon equivelant) in combined driving and 49 MPG in hybrid mode.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will offer true EV operation for up to 15 miles at speeds up to 62MPH. The 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery pack can be charged via 120V in 2.5 hours. And the best part, according to Toyota’s Bob Carter, the 2012 Prius Plug-in hybrid will be “the lowest priced plug-in hybrid or pure electric vehicle on the market.”

But the Mitsubishi i-Miev’s sticker price is more than $3,500 lower than the Prius Plug-in Hybrid base model…

Yes, the Prius is a larger car, and it has, what some call an advantage, the ability to drive on gasoline once the battery charge is depleted, but the Prius and the Mitsubishi i-Miev are definitely both plug in vehicles.

Since the Mitsubishi i-Miev is a pure electric vehicle, it qualifies for the full $7500 tax credit, rather than the partial tax credit the Prius plug-in hybrid will qualify for. This makes the overall price difference as much as $8000.

Perhaps Carter was being sneaky, as he did say the Prius will be the cheapest ‘when it goes on sale’. If Toyota starts taking orders very soon, the car is technically on sale even though Toyota will only start delivering the car sometime in March 2012. That means that for a short time this fall, before the Mitsubishi i-Miev hits dealers and is actually for sale (right now it can be reserved, but not purchased), the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be the cheapest pure electric or plug-in hybrid one can buy.

Sneaky words, Toyota.

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