Toyota’s exciting new Prius Plug-In will be hitting dealership floors soon, and a few more concrete official details have come in by way of a report from Bloomberg News. The Plug-In ditches the standard Toyota Prius‘s small nickel-metal hydride battery pack for a beefier, heavier lithium-ion unit, giving the ability to run for around 13 miles on electric power alone. Regenerative braking can recharge the batteries past the capacity necessary to power the car in hybrid form, meaning on some trips drivers should see more than 13 miles of EV-only cruising.
Let’s look at pricing. Toyota’s Jana Hartline confirmed to Bloomberg the new model will retail for $3,000 to $5,000 more than the standard Prius. But, a Federal tax credit of “at least $2,500” will apply, Hartline says, as will state incentives like $1,500 and carpool-lane access in California. Toyota expects to sell at least 16,000 units in 2012.
2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Quick Facts
Engine/Electic Motor: DOHC 16-valve 1.8-liter 4-cylinder/Permanent-magnet electric motor (Combined 134 horsepower) Transmission: CVT EV-Only Range: Approx. 13 miles Post-EV mpg: 51/48/50 city/highway/combined mpg Charge Time: 3 hours (Standard 110V), 1.5 Hours (240V) 0-60: 11.3 seconds (Standard Prius is 9.8 seconds. Plug-In approx. 330 lbs. heavier) Base Price: Est. $27,000 before Federal and state incentives Release Date (Nationwide): “Very early” 2012
The production version of Toyota’s exciting new 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid will release in just a few short months. Hybrid car buyers should consider waiting for the car’s release date in early 2012. The plug-in version’s chief advantage is its ability to run for around 13 miles, Toyota promises, before its gasoline motor kicks in at all.
Some new details are just in about a couple of new features not found on pre-production models, Consumer Search reports. First, the Plug-In offers a driver-selectable electric-only mode which drivers can utilize to achieve the best fuel economy for a given trip. The car’s batteries are, for example, discharged much faster when on the highway overcoming all that wind resistance.
Another feature is the car’s regenerative braking and engine braking with the ability to charge the lithium-ion battery pack past the point it needs to run the Hybrid Synergy Drive system while the car is in operation. For longer trips this can extend the electric-only range for past 13 miles.
After the EV range is exhausted Toyota promises fuel economy better than the standard Prius’s 51 mpg city/48 mpg highway. Though the Toyota’s EV range is less than half as long as the 2012 Chevrolet Volt’s 35 miles, the Chevy achieves around 35 mpg city/40 mpg highway on premium fuel once its EV range runs out. Toyota has confirmed the Plug-in Prius will run off regular unleaded.
Electric-only Range: 13 miles Post-EV Fuel Economy: Expected combined 55 mpg or greater Production Version Unveiling: Sept. 2011 On Sale: Early 2012 Expected Base Price: $29,000
Something a little lighter today by way of the fine folks at Jalopnik:
The spot, which shows two young hybrid enthusiasts gleefully playing with a slot car set like the ones we all remember from our youth, not only is good for a laugh but speaks volumes about the future of autos in the age of the high-efficiency craze.
The plug-in Prius and indeed all new models that have abandoned all sporting intentions in favor of high mpg numbers, are the butt of the joke. Our favorite part is where Toyota’s mighty hybrid must charge before completing the loop-de-loop… twice.
The Tesla Roadster stands alone in the electric sports car market.
While companies like Tesla Motors have proven that electric cars can be lots of fun, it may be a while before the green-minded and enthusiasts come together to produce fun cars at the mass-production level. Until then, we’ll take our good old fashioned petrol-powered sports cars.