Toyota Motor Corp., the world's biggest seller of gasoline-electric cars, said today the rechargeable version of its Prius hybrid will cost $32,760, including transportation costs, when it goes on sale early next year.
The car goes as far as 15 miles solely on electricity, after which it runs as a standard 49 mpg Prius, Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president for U.S. sales, told reporters here today. Toyota dealers will start selling the car in 14 states on the West and East coasts in March, he said.
The plug-in Prius' lithium-ion batteries recharge from a standard wall outlet and don't require installation of costly charging equipment. It will qualify for a $2,500 federal tax credit, Carter said.
"This will be the most affordable plug-in in the market," Carter said.
GM has said its 2012 model Chevrolet Volt will cost $39,145, before a $7,500 federal tax credit. That rechargeable model goes about 35 miles on electricity per charge, before a gasoline engine engages to power the vehicle.
Toyota plans to offer four Prius models, including the Prius v wagon that goes on sale next month and a compact version next year. Prius will outsell Camry, the nation's top-selling car line, to become Toyota's most popular models by the end of the decade, Carter said.
U.S. sales of the rechargeable Prius should be about 15,000 units in its first 12 months on the market, he said. It can average more than 80 mpg, based on company tests, he said.
The Prius v wagon will have a $27,160 starting price, including transportation. It gets an average of 42 mpg, Carter said.