Toyota's Prius has been a sales monster when it comes to
hybrid vehicles. In the U.S. market, Honda has tried to attack the Prius with
three generations of Civic Hybrids and two generations of Insight Hybrids only
miserably in matching its sales success.
With newcomers like the Chevrolet
Volt and Nissan
Leaf putting a greater emphasis on a healthy battery-only driving range,
Toyota is looking to give its Prius some additional battery power. The new Prius
Plug-in Hybrid makes use of a lithium-ion battery pack in place of the old
NiMH battery pack. As a result, the Prius can travel up to 14.3 miles at 53 mph
on battery power alone before standard Hybrid Synergy Drive system jumps into
Since the newest Prius also features a charging port,
drivers can plug their Prius into a wall outlet to recharge. Toyota says that
the lithium-ion battery pack can be fully topped off in an hour and a half.
Most importantly, Toyota says that the Prius Plug-in Hybrid can achieve this
using a standard household power outlet and doesn't require the use of an expensive
dedicated charger (or the associated installation costs).
According to preliminary numbers, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid
will reach 60 mph in a leisurely 10.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 112 mph.
Also noteworthy is the fact that despite the more powerful battery pack used in
the plug-in variant, the vehicle is only 110 pounds heavier than the standard
Sales will start early next year for the Prius Plug-in
Hybrid, and Toyota expects to sell 50,000 units per year worldwide.
Unfortunately, we do not have pricing for the vehicle, although we'll be sure
to bring you those figures when they become available.