Question: Should Toyota Make a 100-mpg Prius?

September 2, 2008
Should Toyota play it safe with the new hybrid it's bringing to the Detroit show in January--or shoot for the moon with a 100-mpg Prius?

We've shown you spy shots of the 2010 Prius before its anticipated intro at the 2009 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. But where the Prius has had things easy for a while, it's about to get some serious competition. This week, we're waiting on word for the Chevrolet Volt, which could see a formal public intro on GM's centennial, September 16. We're also seeing some rumors that the Honda small hybrid that's due as a Paris auto show concept will emerge this week.

Where does that leave the 2010 Prius? Toyota's putting a fleet of plug-in Priuses in the hands of consumers next year, to see if the plug-in concept can become reality--but it's already reality for a group of owners that are putting more batteries and lithium-ion batteries into their Priuses. Owners like Colorado's Clarence Robinson have bought kits to add better battery power to their Priuses for a claimed 100 mpg. While he uses extra lead-acid batteries to get the fuel-economy boost, companies are also offering lithium-ion batteries in kits that can turn Priuses and Ford Escape hybrids into 100-mpg machines, the report adds.

Our question, then: does the Prius need to aim for the end zone with the new Prius, or is staying a step ahead of GM and Honda enough? Your comments solicited below (and if you can boost our 42-mpg Prius at all, the garage is yours).

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