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Tesla Model 3 Is Replacing Toyota Prius as Green Car of Choice (forbes.com)
63 points by prostoalex 7 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 52 comments

The author supports the title of the article based on the Tesla Q2 report that the Prius has been the most common trade-in for the model 3.

When I drive daily in a sea of Prii (pl. of Prius), and I get excited when I see a few model 3's a week, I feel like it's too early to make that strong of a statement.

These two competing cars aim at very, very different markets. Forbes' breathless prediction of Toyota's hybrid market demise is a myopic opinion piece and a stretch of wishful thinking.

The lower-tier Prius' are profoundly less expensive than even the mythical base-model Model 3 (which the article points out, isn't available; Tesla has said they hope to offer the base model by the end of the year). A 2017/2018 Toyota Prius can be driven off the lot for $20,000. The Model 3s that have been sold are $40,000+. That makes A Prius Prime plug-in hybrid the most direct competitor. I trust the sales figures quoted are accurate.

But there's more to it: Price, availability, utility, and maintainability are big considerations once you leave the ultra-luxury price range (100k+) that is Tesla's core market. The Toyota wins in all these aspects, in my opinion. Where Toyota does not compete is the "status symbol" market.

> A 2017/2018 Toyota Prius can be driven off the lot for $20,000. The Model 3s that have been sold are $40,000+.

The Prius is basically the best car on the market if what you care about is the combination of safety, mileage, and cost. Until the model 3 able to pass the NHTSA safety testing, I don't see Tesla being able to make any serious inroads into the core Prius demographic. FWIW this is their current 'rating':


It also has two decades of being a proven reliable vehicle. Who knows what issues might creep up with the Model 3 in the span of twenty years.

The other thing consumers don't realize is how hard it is right now to get replacement parts for these vehicles. I have a friend who was rear ended at a stop sign who purchased a Model 3 a month ago. They have no idea when they're going to get in the replacement bumper for their vehicle.

The entire market is unpredictable and new. If you are replacing a daily driver with a Model 3 it feels like a gamble.

NHTSA hasn't crash-rated the car, but the IIHS has: http://www.iihs.org/iihs/ratings/vehicle/v/tesla/model-3-4-d...

The page you linked to shows that the IIHS hasn't crash rated the car. The only thing 'rated' was front crash prevention. None of the six crash tests they normally do were conducted.

Forbes' breathless prediction of Toyota's hybrid market demise is a myopic opinion piece and a stretch of wishful thinking.

You're railing against a dark pattern. "Forbes" didn't write this, a "Forbes Contributor" wrote it. Much different. Here's an explanation: https://www.joshsteimle.com/writing/how-being-a-forbes-contr...

Basically they allow bloggers to publish on Forbes. Unpaid. With no pre-publish editing.

And then some people are surprised why the trust in the press is declining...

If you sell something, usually the amount you are left with declines.

Great catch. You're right, I completely missed that and probably wouldn't have made the distinction even if I had seen it. I will now, and in the future, though.

Agree, except I think certain Toyotas are status symbols. It's why I see so many high trim 4runners and a few land cruisers around the DC area.

>When I drive daily in a sea of Prii (pl. of Prius)

Man, in Latin, prius isn't even a noun.

It would be if Latin was still a living language, and then they would invent a plural form. Not that Prius/prior is a great name choice for a futuristic car -- but still better than el Chevy No-Va.

FYI, the Chevy Nova story is apocryphal.


Exactly — the fact that people who buy a Tesla Model 3 are likely to be trading in a Prius doesn't mean the Model 3 is "replacing" the Prius. It means the Model 3 targets a subset of customers of the Prius and is substantially more expensive (which is why people are trading in).

I live near Palo Alto and see lots of Teslas and Prii. The Teslas might be more common in parking lots along Sand Hill Road, but Prii are more common pretty much everywhere else.

Based on the evidence cited, a better conclusion would be: Tesla Model 3 is Replacing The Prius Among Wealthy Buyers.

Sure, but the Prius has been out for almost 2 decades.

It's a lame almost-clickbait, almost contentless article, but it's not an unreasonable conclusion. The 3 is already EVERYWHERE in the bay area, it's by far the most common car I've ever owned, and in very short order it'll be more common than the S, which has been out for, what, 6 years now? Just last night I had another 3 immediately in front of me and an S immediately behind.

> When I drive daily in a sea of Prii (pl. of Prius).

What's next, Teslae?

At work, we have multiple Prometheus deployments (one per DC), so naturally we've added the plural, "Promethei", to our vocabulary.

It probably stays Tesla, like the unit of measurement does.

> based on the Tesla Q2 report that the Prius has been the most common trade-in for the model 3

This sounds like logical fallacy - like saying if people mostly exchange dollars for pounds at London airport exchange kiosk, pound is going to take the place of the dollar on the world's currency markets. I suspect there's not even one but multiple fallacies - the fact that Prius is traded in more than other cars does not mean most of Priuses would be replaced, or that consumers of this kind of car will always prefer Tesla to Prius or other cars (not only when they already have an old car that they want to exchange for the Tesla 3).

It's an analysis of a trend, with admittedly a small sample size thus far. But it's a trend nonetheless. Prii have been produced for decades; the 3 for maybe a year?

What everyone is overlooking is that of course the Prius would be a top trade-in how many have been produced in the last 20 years? It's like saying that the CAR X is the new Camry, because the number one trade-in is the Camry. The Camry being the best selling passenger car for the last 25 years...

What's number two on the list? The BMW 3 Series, which is way more in line with what you'd expect and certainly not a "green car" by any stretch of the imagination.

The last time Forbes was a credible news source was when the Prius was just coming out.

It's not really "Forbes". The article was written by a "Forbes Contributor", which is an unpaid blogger. I elaborate here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17728614

I agree with you, back in the "good old days" Forbes was a respectable publication. Not any more.

it's interesting how a discussion about the SEC possibly investigating Musk and Tesla over Twitter comments was flagged by HN moderators and this blog post presenting a rosy view of Tesla showed up in its wake

As far as I can tell there are just two moderators, and this is a big website. Is it possible that they’re just focusing on what gets the most flags and not scouring every post? Maybe the pro-Tesla people flag articles critical of the brand in a way that gets moderator attention more than everyone else flags a post like this?

It seems more likely to me than any other explanation.

So HN already has certain voting ring detectors -- shouldn't the moderators be able to detect the pro-tesla/pro-musk voting ring?

I don't know anything about that, but if it’s not coordinated behavior then why would it run afoul of a detector? Maybe Muskies are just way more easily angered than everyone else, so their actions coordinate, but they’re doing it spontaneously?

I could be wrong, I just doubt that this adds up to more than the moderators being overworked and overwhelmed.

I'd love to trade in the Prius to get a Tesla but there's no way in hell I'm doing that when they are so expensive. You can get a used Prius for about CAD$14,000. Maybe in another 5 or 6 years.

This is exactly how I feel. I've owned my Prius for 4 years at this point and I love it. I think I'm just going to ride it until it dies. Then I'll consider getting a Tesla.

You can get a pre-owned Model S right now for $43,600

Source: https://ev-cpo.com/hunter/

So only about three times the quoted CAD$14K of a used Prius? What about used Tesla Model S's, again?

Anecdotal, but: my hometown of Orinda is a good bellweather; when the Prius first came out, the small downtown area felt like 1/3rd of the cars were Prii. In the past couple years, every time I visit I see many, many Teslas. It's an affluent but liberal town in the Bay Area, a lot of people who buy in to green-but-luxury brands.

In some ways it's far more impressive that the Prius is as ubiquitous in the Bay Area as it is. People who would never buy a Corolla flocked to it.

The 3 is also a generic transportation appliance, but it's a much nicer one.

Watching traffic in downtown SF is a game of seeing if the total sum of non-Prius cars outnumber the Priuses or not.

I live in Fremont and my neighborhood has 3 Model 3s between 10 neighbors.

Hello from Lafayette.

Still don't understand why anyone would get either option over a Volt, from a purely "green" standpoint.

I absolutely get the appeal of Tesla from a quality and technology standpoint though.

Telsa over Volt is easy for me, no carrying around a gas engine that I don't need. I actually don't even have a Tesla, but I do drive an all electric. I didn't want to carry around added weight in an ICE engine and have more room for batteries.

Not sure why. Not having range anxiety is great. I’ve had mine for 2 years and I’m getting 124mpg over the lifetime.

Some people don't think highly of American automakers, Chevy in particular, so for them it's not even an option. I don't think I would every personally buy one.

Tesla is an American company.

Yes and I think we both knew I was referring more to the big three but thanks for being pedantic.

Tesla 3 costs (at least) twice of the Prius, doesn't it? Are we talking about multimillionaires with zero sensitivity to price, of is $25K in California now considered pocket change not worth mentioning? If not, I don't see how that could be true.

Hmm, this seems like an apples to oranges comparison. EV customers are not hybrid customers (even PHEV models like the Prius Prime - full disclosure, I drive a Prime). It's odd to see Forbes claiming people bought Teslas instead of Primes - they're not very similar... It would be more relevant to compare Model 3 sales to the Nissan Leaf[1] and Chevy Bolt[2].

1: https://www.forbes.com/sites/sebastianblanco/2018/01/09/niss...

2: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/gm-sells-more-than-20000-c...

Hmm, this seems like an apples to oranges comparison. EV customers are not hybrid customers

Citation? I'm considering both an EV and a hybrid for my next car.

You are hereby allowed to buy whatever car you'd like to! What that suggests (and what Forbes doesn't quite seem to be getting at) is that more people are buying EVs in general - they make a lot of sense for in-town / commuting use.

> they make a lot of sense for in-town / commuting use.

And a lot of sense for a bunch of other things. These are higher end Model 3's, they have a pretty decent range.

Yes, clearly the Teslas are standout EVs (but at standout prices). The steady sales of the Leaf and Bolt suggest to me that more people are inclined to choose them as budget EVs with "good enough" range.

What is much more important is the Model 3 replacing pure ICE cars, that is the real revolution.

That is what hybrids have been doing for 20 years.

Didn't even read the article: calling BS. Model 3 is easily twice as expensive. It is a better car by all accounts, but the steep price differential will make it safe from becoming the "green car of choice".

Lol exactly my thought...they are not even in one price range. No one is thinking of buying prius or tesla

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