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by Tim Beissmann

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid has been priced below its key competitors in the US, following its unveiling at the Frankfurt Motor Show last week.

The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid has been listed at a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of US$32,000, undercutting the all-electric Nissan LEAF (US$35,200) and the similar range-extending Chevrolet Volt (US$40,280).

At that price, the new Prius Plug-In is 36 per cent more expensive than the standard Prius hybrid in the US. If that conversion carries over to Australia when the Plug-In model arrives here (unconfirmed, but expected to be in 2013), it would be priced around $47,600 before on-road costs.

The MSRP prices for the US-spec vehicles do not take into account the federal tax credits available for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs). Some buyers of the LEAF and the Volt are eligible for a rebate of up to US$7500, while the Prius Plug-In is only eligible for a US$2500 credit due to its smaller battery.

With the maximum tax credits factored in, the LEAF becomes the cheapest (US$27,700), followed by the Prius (US$29,500) and the Volt (US$32,780).

Both the Nissan LEAF and the Holden Volt (as the Chevy will be called here) will go on sale in Australia in 2012. So far, there are no government incentive schemes in place to encourage Australian motorists to purchase PEVs. Neither manufacturer has put a price tag on their cars yet, but potential customers should probably brace for prices in excess of the Mitsubishi i-MiEV, which starts at $48,800 before on-road costs.

Toyota Australia will be on a winner if it can launch the Prius Plug-In Hybrid for that $47,600 figure. Time will tell how close the final product comes to that mark.

 

The US-spec Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid will be well equipped. The base model comes standard with auto headlights, LED daytime running lights and taillights, 15-inch alloy wheels, climate control with remote air conditioning, satellite navigation and integrated Entune infotainment system, smart key with push-button start and nine airbags.

For an extra US$7525, the top-spec ‘Advanced’ model adds LED head lamps, fog lights, premium HDD navigation system, an enhanced Entune infotainment system, heated front seats, dynamic radar cruise control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, pre-collision safety system, head-up display, and the Safety Connect emergency assistance system.

How much do you think the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid should cost when it goes on sale in Australia? What would you be prepared to pay for the new technology? Le us know in the comments section below.




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