In the auto business, patience is more than just a virtue. Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – October 10, 2019 2001 Toyota Prius The Toyota that started it all on display and so pristine you would have thought it came off the showroom floor yesterday! Greensboro, NC -- The year was 1995 when Toyota introduced Prius to the world at the Tokyo Auto Show. Based on the then sub-compact Echo platform, it was 2 more years before it reached the Japanese consumer. Despite a slow Japanese sales start, Toyota decided to bring the Prius with a slightly more powerful drivetrain to the U.S. in 2000 as a 2001 model. Its starting price of $19,995 was a bit steep but the efficiency was beyond any 4-door sedan ever offered spanning the entire 20th century. 65,000 of the all-new 1st gen Prius were sold in the U.S. between mid-2000 and 2003. It was also a slow U.S. sales start as the Hummer H2 was garnering all the automotive press at launch... Who would have known that in late 2003 with the introduction of the 2nd gen 2004 Prius, there would be a sales explosion! 54k units were sold in 2004, 107k in 2005, with sales topping out at 181k in 2007. All the while national average gas prices continued to climb through $2, then $3, and then $4/gallon by July of 2008. This entire time Toyota had an answer for that from a model called Prius... Not only did the second gen Prius grow to a roomier midsize in hatchback form, it would come to define and dominate the hybrid segment for the next 15+ years. The third gen Prius was introduced as a 2010 in mid-2009. While new amenities, a slightly larger size, an increase in power and efficiency plus additional safety features were added, namely to meet the upcoming IIHS small overlap crash test, sales began a long and slow descent. While still offering outstanding consumer efficiency, at the limits, the older second gen Prius could beat the all-new and more powerful 3rd gen at the pump when driven with great care. Anyone remember IGN 14 on the highway? The IIHS small overlap crash test showed the Prius and in fact the entire Toyota and Lexus lineup in a negative light. By 2015, those crash test problems were in the rear view... With the introduction of the 4th gen Prius, Toyota was back on top of the real world and at the limit’s efficiency charts. The 2016 Prius 2 Eco and it's 58 mpgUS city result from an even larger and more refined platform showed the world who was the dominant player in the hybrid efficiency segment. Along with improved efficiency due in part to the first mass produced 40+ percent thermodynamically efficient 1.8L I4 engine, the all-new 4th gen was built on an all-new and much stiffer Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform with an honest to goodness double wishbone rear suspension which drastically improved its ride and handling quotient. This was a step change over all previous gens torsion beam non-independent rear ends. In addition, LED lighting all around and Toyota Safety Sense 2.0 has since become std. across the Prius lineup. The std. Forward Collision Warning with Auto Braking plus radar cruise control - the smoothest and imho, best in the business, are what make the 4th gen Prius the standout hybrid that it is today. Present Day Prius’ With the intro of the 2019 MY, Prius received horizontally laid out rear lamps. For 2020, sun visor extension covering about 75 percent of the window opening vs 50 percent before, an all-black interior vs the white-black cartoonish mix of interior plastics we were forced to accept from the 4th gen previously, and an AWD-e variant for those that want/need more std traction in wintery environments is now available. And like all the Prius' we have driven from the 2nd gen onward, triple digit efficiency is as simple as driving it... Here is our result from yesterday. I did consume 1 bar of my SOC from start to finish while driving this fully loaded Limited trim. 2019 Toyota Prius Limited The 2020 Prius Prime was out all-day and only after the last vehicle came in was I allowed to take it for a spin. The saying "Saving the best for last" certainly applies here. Some of you may remember I flew to the East Coast to pick up a 17 Prius Prime for my parents. The drive back was an adventure in "Hybridism". They have been enjoying ridiculous efficiency ever since with 80 percent of their local miles on the plug and after all the tax deals, it cost less than $19k incl. TTL!!! New for 2020 is the extended sun visor - only covers about 80 percent of the opening, a new all-black interior vs the black-white mix from the previous 3 years, Apple CarPlay but no Android Auto, 2 new 2.1 amp high speed USB charging ports for back seat passengers, and finally a third passenger rear seat meaning this one is now eligible for rideshare duties! In addition, the Prime’s swooped rear window adds rearward visibility that every Prius owner would envy. 2020 Toyota Prius Prime Off the plug and the high-volume Plug-in Prius is still more efficient than everything but the Prius on gasoline. The efficiency off the plug is ridiculous. On it, absolutely absurd. Screw gasoline costs when you have a 2020 Toyota Prius Prime... Since the Prius' introduction, more than 4 million have been sold with the model lineup - c, Prius, v, PHEV, and Prime - accounting for 61 percent of all Toyota and Lexus hybrids sold. A model success story that will surely continue well into the foreseeable future. Toyota’s Future So why are we here? Four reasons actually. Number one, Toyota announced it will extend its hybrid battery warranty from 8 years/100,000 miles to 10 years from date of first use/150,000 miles, whichever comes first. This extension is valid for “ALL new 2020 Toyota hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell vehicles. All other HV components will retain coverage under the Hybrid System Warranty at 8 years/100,000 miles, whichever comes first. While Hyundai offers a lifetime warranty on its pack, it is only for the first buyer. The new 2020 Toyota hybrid battery warranty covers not only the first owner but all subsequent owners. 2020 Toyota Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid lineup All arrive with a longer 10 years/150k mile Ni-MH or Li-Ion battery warranty! The Toyota Hybrid System 8 years or 100,000 miles warranty coverage is for the following components: Hybrid Battery Control Module (battery voltage sensor) Hybrid Control Module (power management control module) Inverter with Converter New Hybrid Battery Warranty is 10 years or 150,000 miles, whichever comes first Number two, Toyota will soon be offering the most powerful and efficient RAV4 yet – the 2021 RAV4 PHEV. A new color, Supersonic Red, was also highlighted. Toyota will debut the 2021 Toyota RAV4 PHEV at this year’s LA Auto Show on November 20 at the Toyota booth in South Hall at the Los Angeles Convention Center. This is one hell of a big deal!!! 2021 Toyota RAV4 PHEV Number three, how about the all-new, upcoming 2020 Highlander Hybrid? From the 2019 NYIAS coverage, the 2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid was introduced. In Greensboro, the 2020 was here in prototype form. 240 hp from the Camry Hybrid drivetrain will move the 7 or 8-passenger along briskly and I suspect a 31 to 34 mpg combined rating from the AWD/FWD will be its highlight once released. Android Auto on a 12.4" screen in the Limited/Platinum trim will also be a highlight. To the untrained eye, this is the final. Enjoy the 2 minutes and 47-seconds of Highlander Hybrid splendor. Number four, an all-new Mirai was revealed. Meet the all-new, much better looking, and far more capable #Toyota #Mirai FCV seconds after the cover was lifted. This is of course a prototype prop but finally the Mirai receives attractive sheet metal. Shot taken from the cheap seats as you can tell. Actually, standing on top of one of the cheap seats in fact. 2021 Toyota Mirai Reveal And from way down low in order to catch the all-new Mirai's Avalonesque like front end. The releases are all stating 30 percent more range. Today's Mirai has 312 miles of range per Toyota's EPA submissions. Instead, let us just say it will have an EPA range of at least 405 miles. 5-minute refuels and 405-miles of range? Sounds like the cars we fuel with gasoline today in fact. It also now includes a 3 passenger rear seat. It will take at least a decade for economies of scale to arrive in order to build the large capacity high pressure carbon fiber tanks - 10,150 psi - and fuel cell stacks at a price the average consumer can afford however. Fuel costs and distribution are also hurdles that Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, and GM are having a hard time overcoming since they are not in the fuel distribution business. A few additional items that the Toyota e-volution presentations exposed. Doug Murtha, Toyota Group VP, Corporate Strategy and Planning. "Meeting of the Minds..." Besides the fact that Toyota spends over $1 million dollars per hour on R&D, the public appears woefully behind the times when it comes to alternative vehicle ownership details. This slide in particular caught my eye. I do not know the sample size, the percentage confidence level, or margin of error but it took me by surprise. What it tells me that we as auto enthusiasts and journalists, the manufacturers, and dealership sales people have not done our jobs at educating the public despite almost 20 years of hybrid vehicle availability here in the US. Another asked can Hybrid electric vehicle refuel at gas station? 42 percent of Consumers believe they only plug-in. And another, only 53 percent of consumers know a plug-in does not require plugging in. We still have a long way to go!!! Regarding BEVs, they make up just over 1 percent of U.S. market. From the consumers standpoint, only 20 percent would consider purchasing and 40 percent would not because of upfront cost. The average cost of a BEV is $70k, well into the luxury market range. Ed -- Toyota is a conservative company and without a clear profit potential, they are hesitant to enter the BEV market fraught full of bankrupt companies and billions of dollars completely wasted. This is why Toyota has the appearance of being so late to the game but in fact, imho, are waiting for the market to be ready for BEVs rather than moving the market with unprofitable product offerings. Toyota is aiming for a more affordable entry point while offering all the efficiency Toyota’s electrified products are known for and in particular, will incorporate bulletproof reliability ready for the Toyota badge. Toyota’s first mass produced BEVs will be released in China next year. Here in the U.S., the bridge to BEVs is the PHEV. Costs are far more controllable and thus far less expensive than a BEV and fuel savings are better than the current lineup of Toyota HEVs. As an example, 80 percent of Prius Prime owners spend less than $50/month on gasoline. The Prime makes up to 30 percent of Prius family sales. Heather Updegraff, GM of Toyota Marketing 44 percent of hybrids sold are Toyota's. Since the introduction of the most recent AWD RAV4 Hybrid with the 219 hp Camry Hybrid drivetrain, the current best-selling CUV in the US in hybrid form has experienced a 150 percent uptick over the previous gen RAV4 Hybrid. Regarding the Corolla Hybrid, 8 percent of U.S. buyers choose hybrid beating the 5 percent volume split expectations. I will break in here and supply a few notes on the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hybrid after taking it on a short RT drive loop. It uses the current Prius' 121 net hp from its heavily atkinsonized 1.8L Hybrid drivetrain. It is rated at 53/52/52 and the 5+ mile drive loop showed off its true character. I was really surprised to 1. See a tach and 2., the front seat slides back far enough to accommodate my 6 ft + frame. Not perfect ergonomically by any means but both are good stuff. There is only one trim available, the LE, and at a base of $22,095 + $930 D&H, it is not what I would call inexpensive. Regardless, the efficiency is CALIENTE HOT!!! Jackie Birdsall, Senior Engineer of Fuel Cell Development H2 FCVs are clean and scalable yet are still a mystery to most. 20 percent have never heard of them and 55 percent do not know how they work. The 2015 Mirai was Toyota's first FCV sold to the consumer despite the H2 infrastructure not developed enough to support FCVs outside of small regions. They are as safe or safer than any vehicle on the road today. FCVs highlights? A 5-minute refuel for 300+ miles range. The upcoming 2021 Mirai is the most advanced electric on the market. It is lower, longer, more aerodynamic, and far better looking than predecessor. e-volution Q&A Tokyo 2020 is set to introduce AVs along with advanced electric powertrains. Mirai will stay under Toyota moniker despite its luxury price point. Regarding the RAV4 Hybrid - Performance sells. PHEVs will be more powerful. Major selling point? Yes. Always fuel economy with performance an advantage on some models. RAV4 and RAV4 PHEV are the performance example. H2 FCVs safety for responders? Any indication of an accident and the 12V negative terminal is separated and H2 tanks isolate. Why no BEVs? Cost of current Li-Ions are prohibitive for average consumer acceptance. No need to race to the BEV since consumer will not pay for them in volume. No CCS standardization will be announced until closer to introductions. By 2025, 5.5 of Toyota's 10-million vehicles sold per year will be electrified. 1-million will be zero emission FCVs/BEVs. RAV4 were all built in Canada. RAV4 HEVs are now built in KY. PHEVs will be built in Japan. First Toyota BEVs will incorporate Li-Ions despite problems of long charging time, battery degradation and longevity, and EOL disposal of current battery technology. So yes, Toyota BEVs are coming. Only when a profitable reason for their arrival is presented. The Tesla/RAV4 was not that vehicle. Besides more on the 2019 Camry and RAV4 Hybrid, that is what I call a wrap.