Toyota plugs-in Prius

Toyota plugs-in Prius

prius dash

Toyota New Zealand (TNZ) has introduced media – including Auto Media Group – to its ‘new-but-used’ Prius plug-in. 

As we reported earlier this year, the cars are imported used and refurbished and adapted through its Signature Class vehicle refurbishment facility at Thames. 

The cars are likely a stop-gap as the company previously said it had put up its hand for the next generation plug-in Prius, the Prime. 

Previous-generation cars, between two and four years old with less than 25,000km on the odometer, are sourced from Japan. 

The cars combine a 1.8-litre petrol engine with a 60kW electric motor. 

Toyota is promising a combined distance of up to 1000km to one tank and a full charge of 90 minutes using a 15 Amp mains outlet (charging at home takes about two and a half hours). It has a range of 26km as an EV at speeds of up to 105km. 

EV uptake is ideal when, as pointed out by TNZ’s Mark Whittaker, 80% of New Zealand’s electricity is generated from renewable sources, around 85% of New Zealand homes have off-street parking for easy charging and Kiwis have a low average commute. 

He adds that car dealers are keen to get into the EV scene and are attending to customer concerns, especially range anxiety. 

“Government is pushing uptake of EVs and customers want the offering,” says Whittaker. “TNZ is not trying to be fully EV with the Prius PHEV.” 

Once the battery dies down when in EV mode, the car changes to hybrid mode. And it makes little difference to the actual experience of driving whether in hybrid or electric mode, except for a bit more of a rumble once out of EV mode. 



“It has regenerative braking, which will put power back into the EV for some kilometres, and it will use it whenever it can,” says Whittaker. He further explains that the car won’t use the petrol engine to charge the EV component.

Toyota’s Signature Class refurbishment programme restores the used imported PHEVs to ‘new vehicle standard’. This entails a full-service check before a comprehensive body and paint refurbishment. 

A New Zealand compatible sound system and reverse camera are installed, and relevant parts are replaced to original equipment specifications. The dashboard is converted from Japanese to English, and existing Japanese owner manuals are replaced with English versions. All in all there is little to distinguish the plug-in Prius from the standard Prius. 

The cars also receive a five-year warranty, including battery and powertrain, and undergo odometer certification and compliance checks by AA as part of the process. 

“Maintenance is no more difficult or expensive than that of the standard Prius,” adds Whittaker. 

Pricing depends on the vehicle but is between $35,000 and $40,000. 

The cars are being sold initially to fleets, and through five dealers – Manukau Toyota, Auckland City Toyota, Hawkes Bay Toyota, Manawatu Toyota, Rutherford and Bond Wellington, and Miles Toyota Christchurch – accompanied by free charging zones via 15-amp devices at 90 minutes a session.

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