Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept

Toyota is
unveiling a new Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with
CO2 emissions of less than 60g/km.

This time
Toyota has used lithium-ion battery technology to allow for compact packaging
and quick recharging. It can be recharged from a domestic power supply or
public charging point in around an hour and a half, and has an extended
electric driving mode of up to 12.5 miles at speeds up to 62mph.

Over longer
distances, the Prius Plug-in switches to conventional petrol-electric full
hybrid operation.

Toyota is to
launch a global test programme to evaluate the Prius Plug-in during early 2010,
which will see more than 500 cars leased to customers worldwide for real-world
evaluation of performance and monitoring of driver attitudes and experiences.

Toyota says
that Europe’s population is increasingly urban-centered and its research into
commuting patterns shows that in the UK and France, more than 80 per cent of
car journeys cover a distance of less than 25km; in the UK around 80 per cent
are less than 10km long.

From the 500
plus Prius Plug-in cars that will be released around the world early next year
for lease programmes, more than 150 of these will be on the road in Europe.
This will let Toyota evaluate all the technical aspects of the new model in a
real-world environment, an essential step in preparing the vehicle for a
potential market launch. The lease programme will also yield valuable
intelligence on market response and which characteristics drivers find
appealing, and why.

The Prius
Plug-in Concept’s powertrain is similar in format to the Hybrid Synergy Drive
used in the new Prius, but with the nickel-metal hydride battery pack replaced
by a new, high-output lithium-ion battery – a first for a Toyota hybrid

The new
battery is more compact and has a higher volumetric energy density, so it does
not compromise vehicle weight and packaging. It can be recharged much more
quickly than the nickel-metal hydride type: the battery in the Prius Plug-in
can be fully recharged in one-and-a-half hours from a 230v power supply.

The battery
allows strong acceleration up to a maximum 62mph in EV mode. On a full charge,
it can cover approximately 12.5 miles in EV mode, six miles further than the
nickel-metal hydride battery in the latest Prius model. Over longer distances,
the car operates as a regular full hybrid.