2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in eligible under California’s rebate, carpool lanes

Article by Christian A., on February 28, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp.'s 2012 Prius plug-in hybrid has been approved for the Clean Vehicle Rebate Program of California. It has also been approved for use in the carpool lanes of the state. The program is California's zero-emission vehicle subsidy for customers. It is a scheme that provides a rebate of $2,500 to buyers of eligible plug-in hybrid, electric or fuel-cell automobiles in California.

 Toyota has revealed that buyers of the Prius plug-in hybrid can qualify for an additional rebate of $1,500 on a first-come basis. Prius plug-in owners can also use the state's high occupancy automobile carpool lane sticker.

Last week, General Motors' Chevrolet Volt also obtained approval for California carpool lanes. The Toyota Prius plug-in was offered for sale beginning this month. It comes in two models -- the Prius Plug-in with a starting price of $32,760, and the Prius Plug-in Advanced with a price that begins at $40,285.

The prices include shipping costs. The two models are eligible for HOV sticker and CVRP incentives, according to Toyota. They are initially available in California, Washington, Oregon, Maine, Arizona, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, New York, Connecticut, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. A national debut is planned for next year.

Toyota’s newly launched Prius Plug-in Hybrid represents a further Hybrid Synergy Drive application and is the carmaker’s future core technology platform.

Hybrid Synergy Drive was designed specifically to be modular and it may readily be used in Electric Vehicles, in Fuel Cell Vehicles, and Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles as it was also made adaptable to various energy sources.

In the PHEV’s case, its full hybrid system architecture, as well as its long-range capability, basically remains the same but with a more powerful and externally charged battery that extends its all-electric driving range significantly.

On the other hand, when designed as an electric vehicle or EV powertrain, it utilizes a simplified HSD architecture that has no petrol engine, thereby compensating through an electric motor that is more powerful and through a sufficient battery power that can drive the vehicle for hours before it needs external recharging.

The FCV, also run by powerful electric motor, utilizes hydrogen fuel cell technology instead of the HSD’s petrol engine. The fuel cells generate electricity to charge the battery, so the FCV does not require external charging. Instead, it merely needs to be refueled with liquid hydrogen, in a similar way the Prius HSD system needs petrol.

Toyota's EVs and PHEVs are going to play a significant important role in the realization of a low-carbon society. However, it is also important to note that if many vehicles simultaneously charge their batteries at certain hours of the day, this will also boost the peak power demand. Therefore, it is very crucial that this specific charging time be optimally controlled.

To address this, the company is working on its Smart Grid concept. Smart Grid is an electricity network where supply and demand of power are efficiently controlled using information technology in order to ensure optimum energy saving and a stable power supply.

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