Prius Plug-in Hybrid better than Volt and Leaf in the first six months of sales

Article by Christian A., on September 14, 2012

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid went on sale six months ago. Since then, it has sold 6,061 units, surpassing the sales achieved by the Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Leaf on their first six-month periods. Even before the Prius plug-in hybrid model was offered in the market, it already had attracted fans. It’s not surprising then that Toyota’s first six months of sales were considerably higher than the Volt with 2,745 units sold and the Leaf with 3,875 units sold.

These are their sales for the first six months that they were offered and not the same six-month period of the Prius sales. The Volt had made a recovery since then but the Leaf still struggles. Consumer data indicate that consumers pick the Prius Plug-in over the Volt and Leaf due to its fuel economy, which aids in reducing the range anxiety from driving pure electric vehicles. This theory actually applies more to the Leaf than the Volt.

Prius Plug-in can return 95 MPGe. It takes 2.5 to 3 hours to fully charge its battery when using a standard 120-volt household outlet. When a 240-volt charging station is used, it only takes 1.5 hours to get a full charge.

The new Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid features a more advanced use of the Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, which is considered as the carmaker’s core technology platform for the future. Toyota developed the Hybrid Synergy Drive to be modular, thus making it adaptable to a number of energy sources. This is the reason why Hybrid Synergy Drive is employed in Toyota’s Electric Vehicles (EV), Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV), and Fuel Cell Vehicles (FCV).

When the HSD is employed in a PHEV, its full hybrid system architecture is almost the same as before. However, it is now served by a more powerful battery that allows the unit to go travel farther when in all-electric mode. When employed in an EV powertrain, the HSD architecture employed is one that gets rid of the petrol engine. However, this system makes use of a more powerful electric motor and ample battery power to make up for the absence of engine power. With this configuration, the EV could be driven several hours before needing to be recharged once again.

In an FCV, the petrol engine of the HSD architecture is also removed, but is now replaced by hydrogen fuel cell unit. The beauty of fuel cell technology is that there is no need for the battery to be recharged from an external power source, since the hydrogen fuel cells take care of that function instead. All an owner has to do is to refuel the FCV with liquid hydrogen, which is as easy as refueling a petrol tank.

While the carmaker’s PHEVs and EVs are expected to play a significant role in achieving a low-carbon society, simultaneous charging of vehicle batteries during a certain period of the day would lead to a peak in power demand. This is why that there is a need to optimally control charging time.

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