Toyota, a leading automaker in hybrid passenger cars and SUVs, introduced the Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the annual Green Drive Expo Friday, as the newest member of the Prius Family.
Joining the third-generation Prius Liftback and the new Prius v, the new Prius Plug-in combines the benefits of the standard Prius model’s hybrid vehicle operation with extended electric vehicle (EV) driving and more affordable pricing than pure electric or range-extender type vehicles, says the company.
The 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which offers seating for five, is expected to achieve a manufacturer-estimated 87 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) in combined driving and 49 MPG in hybrid mode.
The new model retains the Hybrid Synergy Drive of the standard Prius model and will seamlessly switch into hybrid operation at a pre-determined state of battery charge.
A newly developed 4.4 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack replaces the standard Prius model’s nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery and fits under the rear cargo floor, and the vehicle adds an easy-to-use external charging cable.
A full charge using an external AC outlet takes approximately 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a 120v household outlet or 1.5 hours using a 240v outlet. The included 120v charging cable connects to the charging port inlet located on the right-rear fender.
In addition to offering Entune, Toyota’s new multimedia system, available smartphone applications developed for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid include Charge Management, Remote Air Conditioning System, Charging Station Map, Vehicle Finder and Eco Dashboard.
According to the company, introduction of the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid follows an extensive test-fleet program involving 125 early prototypes in the United States. Toyota applied experience from that test phase, along with input from participants, to finalize engineering and improve features for the production model.
Photo courtesy: Toyota