MADISON, WISC. – What is perhaps the greatest thing about the second-generation Prius Plug-In, the Toyota Prius Prime PHV? Why, it’s the Awesomeness Factor which is pretty high for a vehicle that gets an industry leading EPA-estimated 133 MPGe (equivalent) and a class leading EPA-estimated 55 MPG city. Prius Prime also features a class-leading total drive range with an EPA-estimated 640 miles. And the car is so smart it can even parallel-park itself! (Before you ask, yes, they do come with a cord and need to be charged… more on that later.)
With all of those astounding features aside, though, the most fantastic thing about the new 2017 Prius Prime is that it’s actually now available in the Midwest!
Smart Toyota on Odana Road in Madison is indeed excited to offer the new-generation Prius Prime. For the past decade, Smart has been the largest hybrid dealer not just in Wisconsin, but in the entire Midwest. This unique situation is in no way a gamble for Smart Toyota given its two decade reputation with hybrid buyers. Since the Prius Prime was launched in only 14 states late last December, Smart has purchased nearly three semi-loads of Prius Primes and has sold over a dozen of the vehicles.
Sure, Madisonians love the new Prime, but customers from Blue Mounds, LaCrosse and as far away as Lawrence KS and Maryville MO have made the trip to Smart Toyota for their Prime.
Smart Toyota hybrid vehicle specialist, John Dolan, a.k.a. “Mr. Hybrid,” is not only an expert on hybrid vehicles, he’s also a proud owner of his very own Prius Prime. He has a mere 380 miles on it and he says he has not used any gas as it has a 25 mile range between charges. He can get anywhere in Madison on a single charge and he loves the vehicle’s low negative impact on the environment.
“The fact that Prius Primes are now available in the Midwest at Smart Toyota has a far-ranging impact,” says Dolan. “If you think about it, people are travelling to our market here in Madison and that has a positive impact across the board. We’re able to showcase our great city, and visitors are able to shop and dine at our restaurants and take in the attractions. Who knows? Maybe out-of-town guests will love the area so much they’ll end up moving here.”
If a Prius Prime owner were to move to the Madison area, they would be electrified to learn that there is a network of charging stations available in and around the city. The Madison area currently has about 30 charging stations provided by MG&E – distributed on the both sides of town and downtown. The Smart Toyota dealership has three complimentary charging stations at its west side location that are available free-of-charge to anyone with a plug-in hybrid vehicle regardless of the make.
The increase in plug-in hybrid vehicles, however, comes with some changes that could affect all motorists, says Dolan.
“Charging station etiquette is a real thing now,” says Dolan. “Other motorists may not even be aware that they’ve accidently parked in a dedicated charging station space. So if someone says to you ‘Hey, don’t I.C.E me, bro’ it’s their way of asking you to move out of the charging zone.” (I.C.E stands for Internal Combustion Engine.)
Dolan says hybrid owners need to be respectful, too and ask before they charge up in, say, a hotel parking lot by tapping into a light pole. “There are many rules applying to charging station etiquette that can be found on websites like PlugInCars.com.”
However, plug-in hybrid owners are not slaves to public charging stations alone. Dolan says that most plug-in owners prefer to charge at home with a dedicated level 1 electrical circuit using ordinary household current on a 20 amp circuit. A level 2 circuit can also be installed at home on a 40 amp circuit by one’s local electric company allowing a plug-in hybrid owner would pay for vehicle charging through their monthly utility bill. A level 2 ChargePoint home charger at 240-volts will charge the Prius Prime’s 8.8 kWh Lithium-Ion battery in about two and a half hours. A level 1 charger at 120-volts takes roughly 5 hours.
Dolan says that when charging at home, owners can plug their car in at night, and use Bluetooth™ from their phone to start and time a charge. He says in many instances it’s beneficial to charge a vehicle late at night to take advantage of lower electric rates.
Dolan says there is sure to be more charging stations coming to Madison soon to keep up with the increased sale of plug-in hybrid vehicles.
“Hybrids have moved beyond the eco-friendly consumer and into the mainstream,” he says. “And manufacturers are working hard to keep up with demand. That’s why Toyota, Honda, Hyundai, Nissan and many other motor companies are in the game now. It’s all a change for the better.”
Smart Motors was founded in 1908 by O.D. Smart and is one of the nation’s oldest automotive dealerships. Smart Toyota is the Midwest’s largest hybrid dealer, and Wisconsin’s #1 volume Toyota dealer. Smart is also the #1 Prius, Prius c, and Prius v dealer in the Chicago Region. Located at 5901 Odana Road, Smart is Wisconsin’s only two-time President’s Cabinet Award recipient from Toyota Motor Sales for superior customer service & sales volume. For more information visit www.smarttoyota.com