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For many, plugging in and charging up your car is no longer a matter of when, but if, with the average retail value for electric vehicles exceeding $60,000, driving Toyota New Zealand to seek a more viable solution for their sustainability conscious private and fleet customers.
Following the recent launch of the Toyota Corolla Hatch Hybrid last month, Toyota New Zealand made no secret about their strategy to introduce used import Prius Plug-in Hybrid’s through their signature class vehicle refurbishment facility at Thames to address demand.
General Manager of Used Vehicles and Marketing Andrew Davis says, “There is a lot of interest in the wider community around electric powertrains, both in the media and in corporate New Zealand, so while Toyota New Zealand does not currently offer a model in its new vehicle range we have opted to import the Prius Plug-in Hybrid’s as a used vehicle, under our Signature Class brand.”
“Current new EV options can be expensive but we acknowledge the market is slowly gaining traction so we want to deliver a cost-effective option and tackle some of the apprehension around EVs and Plug-ins,” says Mr Davis.
The vehicles are currently sourced from Japan, aged between two and four years and have travelled fewer than 25,000 kilometres. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid combines a 1.8-litre petrol engine with a 60-kilowatt electric motor.
The existing Signature Class refurbishment programme restores the Prius Plug-in Hybrid’s to new vehicle standards before fitting them with local audio and reversing camera, converting the dashboards from Japanese to English and replacing the existing Japanese owner’s manual with an English version. 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 Signature Class process.
A key factor for Toyota New Zealand was ensuring there was adequate infrastructure available to support the alternative powertrain for their customers.
Charging stations are being installed at six Toyota dealerships across the country including Manukau Toyota, Auckland City Toyota, Hawkes Bay Toyota, Manawatu Toyota, Rutherford and Bond Wellington, and Miles Toyota Christchurch. These dealerships are the first to promote a specialist hybrid area, with more dealerships expected to follow.
The vehicles are delivered with charging cables which enable charging from home and can be operated as electric vehicles for a short distance – up to 26km* - before reverting to petrol or battery power eliminating any anxiety related to range.
In terms of its economy, numbers indicate that the rating is around 2.5L/100km* in all-electric mode and 4.7L/100km* in hybrid mode, with full electric mode capable of travelling at 100km per hour.
Based on feedback from dealerships and fleet customers, Toyota anticipates to sell between 50 and 100 units this calendar year with pricing falling in the $30,000 to $40,000 range.
* Fuel consumption and range varies depending on driving conditions / style, vehicle conditions and options / accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR 81/02.