Toyota is the undoubted leader when it comes to hybrid cars. Not only was the company one of the first manufacturers to offer hybrid models, it has managed to continually develop its offerings to stay at the front. What it doesn’t have is an electric car, and with big rivals like Nissan going down the all-electric route, it has felt compelled to do something.
The result is the Prius Plug-in. By fitting a larger 8.8 kWh battery it works exactly like the standard Prius but has a 39 mile electric range at up to 84 mph before it switches back to being a normal Prius. Toyota reckons that this gives customers an electric range that will cover most daily commutes without the range anxiety of a pure electric car.
In common with all plug-in hybrids the Prius Plug-in makes a mockery of the industry standard fuel consumption test producing a figure of 235.4 mpg. If you can cover all of your journeys in electric mode you will use no fuel; the good news with the Prius Plug-in is that thanks to the Prius mechanicals, fuel economy is also excellent when you run out of electric range. In normal hybrid mode it is more efficient than the standard Prius which itself can achieve over 60 mpg.
Despite doubling the capacity of the battery the pack is only 2/3 larger and 50% heavier. At the same time electric range and EV performance have increased dramatically whilst the asking price has actually reduced. Everything else is standard Prius so check out our Prius review for the full details.
Thanks to the bigger battery and a revised duel motor system the Plug-in Prius offers a good electric range which will allow many people to complete daily tasks in electric mode. If you do cover more miles but still want a plug-in hybrid, fuel economy is better than other plug-ins and even the standard Prius so it is genuinely efficient in either mode. The 13% company car tax rating is also worth noting.
Official electric range: 39 miles
Electricity consumption: TBC
Battery pack: 8.8 kWh lithium-ion
Recharge time: 3 hours 10 minutes 240v; 2 hours 3.3 kW
Please note that CO2 emissions quoted for electric cars are not directly comparable to diesel and petrol cars. This is because CO2 emissions quoted are calculated by Green Car Guide and include the emissions created at the power station turning fuel (e.g. gas etc) into electricity and in transmitting and distributing the electricity to an end user. They do not include the actual production of the fuel (e.g. gas extraction and refinery emissions). Petrol and diesel emissions are supplied by car manufacturers and are based solely on the fuel burnt in the engine (tailpipe emissions) and do not include the production of the fuel or distribution to a fuel station. In practice this means that electric car emissions are over estimated relative to petrol and diesel. For instance if an electric car, a petrol car, and a diesel car are all reported to emit 100 g/km CO2, the electric car actually has lower emissions.