More Hybrid Options Means More Savings

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Hybrids, News | Posted on 25-06-2013

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Highlights from a recent WGN radio interview with Smart Motors’ own Allen Foster…

Continual questioning from consumer and expert markets are putting hybrid and EV’s under the telescope. Despite some hesitance for early adoption, these vehicles continually climb in sales and popularity.

Toyota Prius sales in the US are up nearly 10% in May over last years figures, and at Smart Motors in Madison, hybrid vehicles consistently make up nearly 50% of our new car sales. As additional manufacturers unveil new models, these alternative fuel vehicles will gain further traction. The Nissan Leaf, for example, has seen dramatic sales improvement (nearly 300%), thanks in part to a recent 18% reduction in price.

The increase in sales is not surprising, considering the inherent savings that these vehicles can provide to consumers. CR (Consumer Reports) estimates that the Prius costs owners 49 cents per mile — less than half the cost of operating an average car. One Chicago area listener estimates saving hundreds on fuel costs each month. The advent of plug-in hybrids and full electric vehicles will undoubtedly show increased savings over the already efficient hybrids that we’ve come to know and love.

Follow the link to listen to the complete radio interview.

June 8th 2013 WGN 720 Hybrid Sales

For more information, visit our website at


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“Smart Charge” Plug-in Electric Vehicle Charging at Smart Motors

Posted by John Dolan | Posted in Community, Events, Hybrids, News | Posted on 20-06-2013


IMG_0226Charging stations for plug-in electric vehicles are now available for guest use, free of charge, at Smart Motors in Madison, Wisconsin.  The new charge stations or “Smart Charge” as they are called, feature a ChargePoint-enabled Leviton CT-2021 public station that offers Level 2 (208/240 V @ 30 Amp) charging via a standard SAE J1772 connector and a fixed 18-foot cable.  This is a two-head bollard charger capable of charging two cars at a time.  The station is network-enabled and embedded with an on-board computer, a fluorescent display, a standards-based RFID reader and a utility-grade meter that provides precise, bi-directional energy measurement.  It is located at the Toyota Showroom main entrance and sits on a space with two reserved parking stalls.  At Smart Motors car-charging with be available free of charge day and night with a ChargePass card which will be available at the showroom desk.  The Toyota Prius Plug-in, for example, can be fully charged in 90 minutes with Level 2 charging.

For EV drivers, GPS information on ChargePoint-enabled locations are included on all ChargePoint mobile phone apps for iPhone and Android.  These ChargePoint mobile apps provide an easy wayphoto to locate stations near any specified address, get turn-by-turn directions, even start and stop a charging session directly from a smart phone. Additionally, these applications allow drivers to utilize ChargePoint’s station reservation feature.  Drivers can locate reservable stations, and then make, view, and cancel a reservation directly from a smart phone.

A second wall-mounted electric vehicle charger is located just outside the entrance to the service bays at Smart Motors.  This wall unit is a Leviton Evr-Green Electric Vehicle Charging Station and it provides the same quick charging of any SAE J1772 charger. Like the Smart Charge bollard charger it is available free of charge however, the wall unit does not require a ChargePass card and can be accessed anytime it is available.

IMG_0193“The electric vehicle infrastructure is in its early stages and we see an opportunity for Smart Toyota to help make a real difference by expanding the nascent car charging infrastructure that is already in place here in Madison,” said John Dolan, the network administrator for the charging stations.  “At this stage, the goal for us is not merely to explore and understand the technology, but to expand it and in turn, support our guests who choose to go electric.”

Last year Toyota paired up with Leviton, selecting the in-home electrical giant as an approved Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) provider for Toyota’s customers and dealers.  Toyota understood that Leviton with its high level of customer service would benefit both customers and dealers who were interested in setting up in-home or dealership charging stations for the Prius Plug-in and later on, the RAV4 EV.  Leviton’s charger line, including some home chargers, are all network-enabled by the ChargePoint Network through an open interface architecture that provides Leviton customers advanced features similar to all charging stations on the ChargePoint network. coulomb-logo-solid_02

ChargePoint is the largest online network of independently owned EV charging stations operating in 14 countries.  In a recent Pike Pulse report, Polk Resarch ranks ChargePoint (formerly Coulomb Technologies) as an industry leader as a result of their range of charging products and services.

“As Plug-in Hybrids and electric vehicles become a more attractive alternative amid climbing gas prices, a city’s EV infrastructure has to be ready to accommodate growth in this area, and we believe Madison is a leader in this regard,” says Dolan.  “A key goal of our business is to provide our customers and guests with the services they need and vehicle charging infrastructure choices is just one IMG_0191such need.  With vehicles like the Prius Plug-in on the market today we have seen strong interest in the market for networked electric vehicle charging solutions.  This emerging trend is just like we saw when hybrids first came to market over a decade ago, so we are excited to offer the ChargePoint product line to our customers.  We believe that Smart Charge will provide added value to our guests seeking smart features in an EV charging solution.”







Sources: ChargePoint:  ChargePoint Station Finder Smart Phone Apps:  PlugShare EV Station Locator App:   Leviton:




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You don’t need a hybrid to get great gas mileage!

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in News | Posted on 18-06-2013


I was having a tough time coming up with a blog entry for this week when I received an email from one of our New Vehicle Sales Managers, Joe Griese. He was telling me about his recent trip to a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game with his son and commented on the incredible gas mileage he had on the trip, in his Camry 4 cylinder. I asked him to sum it up for us and here are the details:
Dear Smart Motors Blog-
I wanted to let you know how pleased I am with my 2012 Camry SE Special Edition (18″ wheels!). It’s a 4-cyl car with great power, handling, and quiet comfort, but what is most impressive is the highway MPG when using the cruise control. My commute to work is about 21.5 miles, about 19 of which are highway. I see 33.5 to 34.0 mpg for my tank averages – it is tough to get better than that when it takes the engine about 3-4 miles to get to optimum operating temp.
Test #1
May 26th, my son and I drove to Miller Park from our home in Stoughton. The whole way down I had the cruise set at 72, and I averaged 36 mpg for the 88 miles trip. 1 mpg better than the window sticker!
I noticed that the engine hovered at 2000 rpm at that speed. For reference, idle speed of the engine is @ 750 rpm. The engine is hardly working at highway speed!
Test #2
The drive home was time for another test. I reset the mpg meter as I pulled out of the parking lot, and snaked my way through the Bluemound Rd. neighborhood, back to I-94. As soon as I could, I set the cruise at 65. Included are a couple of pix to show what is possible in a Camry. The picture of the stereo screen shows my MPG in a 15-minute snapshot of driving, in one-minute intervals (vertical blue bars all above 40 mpg). 

Snapshot of my dash showing mileage over 15 minute intervals.

The second picture shows my average MPG at the end of the 88-mile drive, as I was shifting into “park.” The “N” for neutral is visible.

Over trip average of 42 MPG!

42 MPG average.
And it’s NOT the hybrid – just the best engineering available.
Trip facts:
Combined weight of us was @ 400 lbs.
It was about 63°F during the drive home, intermittent rain (high humidity).
I had assorted stuff in the trunk, weighing @ 15 lbs.
87 octane fuel from BP with 10% ethanol (MPG Killer…).
I wanted to share this real-world info with our prospective customers. If you cannot afford a Toyota hybrid, the 4-cyl Camry models will still yield best-in-class MPG, especially for those who drive predominantly highway miles.
Joe Griese
Sales Manager
Smart Motors Toyota/Scion
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Hybrids offer “best value” for new-car buyers

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Community, Hybrids, News | Posted on 03-06-2013

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Toyota Prius tops the list, costing half as much as an average car to operate

President Obama’s Inaugural address emphasizing the importance of addressing climate change dovetails with reports of rising sales of hybrid vehicles and a recent Consumer Reports study suggesting that hybrids offer the best value for those buying a new vehicle, with the Toyota Prius ranking No. 1.

CR (Consumer Reports) estimates that the Prius costs owners 49 cents per mile — less than half the cost of operating an average car.

Americans in the heartland are keeping pace or pulling ahead of politicians and reviewers in recognizing the importance and value of conserving energy. At the Wisconsin’s oldest automotive vehicle dealer, Smart Motors, hybrids account for 40% of the dealership’s new car sales. Compare that to 2008, when only 25.2% of the dealership’s car sales came from hybrid vehicles, and their growing popularity and mainstream acceptance are clear.

“When these in-demand hybrids roll in, they almost immediately roll right out the door,” says Allen Foster, vice president/general manager of Smart Motors.

Not only do rising hybrid sales suggest the nation is ready to embrace energy-efficient products and programs, but stronger sales of cars in general and hybrids in particular are a leading indicator of our nation’s economic recovery. USA Today reports that if the industry can keep up its momentum, sales could climb back to 16 million in 2013 — on par with the best banner years of a decade ago.

“As the market begins to rebound, it’s obvious people are more aware, and are planning for the future with fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Prius V, Prius C, Prius Plug-In, Camry hybrid, Highlander hybrid and Avalon hybrid” says Foster. “During the past few years, the entire auto industry saw customers scaling back on their purchases, but hybrid vehicles have always been a solid product line for us, and in 2013 it is getting even stronger.”

The demand is there to quite literally drive intense and quick sales. A $20,885 Prius C hybrid drives off the lot almost daily.

About Smart Motors: Founded in 1908, Smart Motors is one of the nation’s oldest automotive dealerships and the Midwest’s largest hybrid dealer. In Wisconsin, Smart Motors is the No. 1 volume dealer for both Toyota and Scion. In the Chicago region, Smart Motors is the No. 1 Prius, Prius c, and Prius v dealer. Located at 5901 Odana Road, in Madison, Smart Motors is Wisconsin’s only two-time President’s Cabinet Award recipient from Toyota Motor Sales for superior customer service and sales volume. For more information visit

Check out this quick video of just a small sample of our hybrid inventory!

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