Plug-In Prius Sign-Ups Start Friday - in 14 StatesBy John O'Dell April 20, 2011
Taking a cue from Nissan's successful on-line registration program for the Leaf EV last year, Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. said it will launch a "priority registration" site for the upcoming Prius Plug-in. The site, which opens for business Friday - Earth Day - isn't for ordering one of the plug-in hybrids but rather will give registrants a preferred place in line when Toyota launches a separate on-line ordering site later this year.
Initially, sales of the Prius Plug-in will be confined to a 15-state launch area, with deliveries to start in the spring of 2012. Sales in the rest of the country will follow in 2013. The on-line registration and ordering systems, however, will only be available in 14 of the launch states. Toyota executives in Japan didn't place Hawaii - the 15th of the launch states - in Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A.'s territory, so the Aloha State will have its own ordering system, which has yet to be announced.
The Prius Plug-in differs from the conventional Prius hybrid in that it will carry a rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack that is large enough to provide up to 14 miles of all-electric range and to give the plug-in's internal combustion engine more electric boost than the conventional Prius' receives.
Toyota said that the on-line ordering system will allow customers to configure a car, select a dealership and follow the car through production and delivery. The initial launch states for the plug-in hybrid are Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.