The Toyota Prius is already the world's most recognizable
hybrid as well as the most efficient hybrid available in the United States (2008 EPA rating of
48MPG city/45MPG highway). Toyota is looking to improve the efficiency of the
Prius even further with the development of a plug-in version.
The plug-in Prius, known as the "Plug-in HV," has
been certified for public road testing by the Japanese Ministry of Land,
Infrastructure and Transport. Toyota also has plans to test the Plug-in HV in
Europe and in the U.S.
The Plug-in HV features a larger capacity nickel-metal
hydride battery pack and the ability to be connected to a household power
outlet for overnight charging. With a fully topped-off battery, Toyota says
that its Plug-in HV can travel 13km (8 miles) before the internal combustion
engine (ICE) has to take over.
For comparison, General Motors says that its Volt will
travel 40 miles on
battery power, while the plug-in hybrid version of its Saturn Vue Green
Line will travel 10
miles on battery power alone.
Lithium-ion battery technology -- as used on the Volt and
Vue Green Line -- would give the Prius even greater range. However, Toyota has
decided against the battery technology citing safety concerns.
Toyota's trepidation is understandable given Sony's
troubles with lithium-ion notebook battery packs. That being said, General
Motors doesn't appear to share the same apprehension towards lithium-ion
batteries and at least one company has already retrofitted
existing Prius' with lithium-ion battery packs to boost combined (city/highway)
fuel economy to 125MPG.
quote: I think the point a lot of people here are trying to make is you rarely need parts on most Japanese cars.
quote: So According to your logic, GM should only switch to Li-Ion batteries AFTER toyota does?
quote: Americans are not "un-American" and buying Japanese cars because they naturally have a disdain for American cars...
quote: The quality of their vehicles has dramatically fallen, theres no debating this.
quote: Here's the Midsize Car Initial Quality Study:
quote: And what do they think they are going to do with all the dead lithium batteries.
quote: The internal combustion generator on the Volt, whether it's a gasoline, E85 or diesel engine is used purely to provide electricity for the electrical motors
quote: It is not connected to the drive train itself as is the case with the Toyota Prius (parallel hybrid).
quote: but it does so with a 160hp electrical engine vs. a 117hp gas/electrical combo
quote: As Spivonious said, it's a MUCH less complex design then the Prius