Toyota has announced the official details of the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which was introduced at the 2011 Frankfurt Auto Show. Observers remarked that the Prius PHEV doesn’t quite measure up to the Chevrolet Volt but while no figures were released, Toyota claims that the Prius PHEV is priced more affordably than pure electric or range-extender type vehicles. The Prius PHEV has a 15 mile electric only range, which is inferior to the Volt.
The PHEV’s MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) rating of 87 MPGe also falls short of the Volt’s 96 MPGe. But the Prius PHEV is actually more efficient since it reverts to a conventional hybrid mode with a 49-mpg rating while the Volt offers 37-mpg.
Another advantage is that the PHEV uses conventional 87 octane gas, while the Volt uses premium. The Prius PHEV is fully charged after only 2.5 to 3 hours using a conventional 120v household outlet. It only takes 1.5 hours to charge when using a more powerful 240v household outlet.
The Prius PHEV is heavier by 123 lbs due to its use of a lithium-ion battery pack but it doesn’t compromise on space in the passenger or cargo departments.
It also comes with Toyota’s new Entune system, which was first installed on the Prius v. The PHEV also gets the following added systems: Charge Management, Remote Air Conditioning System, Charging Station Map, Vehicle Finder and an Eco Dashboard.
It comes as no surprise why Toyota will be releasing its new Plug-in Hybrid with European consumers in mind. And as bonus, the eco-friendly vehicle is also designed for growing families looking for 2 extra seats at the rear.
The Prius+ is Toyota’s first full-hybrid family vehicle that can comfortably seat 7 passengers. Obviously, the new Prius’ 25km EV range will also catch the attention of environment-conscious buyers. Each of the three models comes with combined CO2 emissions of 49g/km, 89g/km and 96g/km.
The impressive driving range of the new hybrid took about five years of comprehensive testing and research. The first phase took place in July 2007; a decade after the first generation of Prius was introduced. As a matter of fact, the 2-phased PHEV leasing project began shortly after Toyota’s Plug-in hybrid started to sell globally.
Toyota tested four vehicles in Europe out of the 20 units during the initial phase. It involved an extensive product development using the roads in the UK and also in France. Good thing, all the hard work paid off with the latest results. The new Prius met 80% of Europe’s day-to-day commuting needs.
At any rate, Toyota built another world-class car that is highly economical and lightweight without compromising performance.