2010 Toyota PlugIn Prius Review & Test Drive of 81 MPG …

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2012 Toyota Plug-in Pre-Production Test Drive

14, 2009 12:00 AM Text A. A. A

The Toyota Prius has become a known entity that hard to believe that only been with us for 12 (eight in the U.S.). The success of the has made this hybrid an the first generic name for technology. Early on, Toyota that it was losing money on one sold. But what an incredible RD that was.

This production was ramped up to 50,000 a month, or over 600,000 a globally. And now Toyota has invested in the of a plug-in version that start very limited deliveries next year and take on the Chevy Volt for supremacy. We had a chance to drive the prototype recently in Japan. How it motor?

Let’s find

The Specs

The plug-in Prius has rumored for over a decade. And a of small Californian firms been offering a retrofit a kit for previous generations of the car for years at risk of the customer’s factory Using electricity rather the vehicle’s engine to charge the plug-in battery should the overall fuel consumption and in exchange for a one-shot burst of driving.

But it also means a bigger, expensive and heavier lithium-ion And Toyota has been wedded to the cell in its existing Prius The Plug-In Prius model exactly the same hardware as the Prius currently on sale.

The difference is the battery, a 5kWh/345.6 Panasonic unit, with a cathode, a carbon anode and liquid electrolyte. It raises the floor a couple of inches and 242 pounds to the total curb of 3,130 pounds. The wheels and are upsized to 17-inch, which are on the standard Prius.

The rest of the is exactly the same. The 1.8-liter engine uses the high Atkinson cycle to increase efficiency and produce 98 hp and 105 lb-ft for The operating voltage is increased 500 to 650 volts, the 81 hp electric motor 153 lb-ft of torque is uprated to the extra battery power and the software has been completely Top speed is 106 mph with 0-60 mph in 10.9 seconds.

Toyota claims that the range is at least 12.5 and about 20 miles in average with a full battery taking 100 minutes using a supply.

So where do we stand on consumption? Does the Plug-In start with a full in the test, or not? As we have some fairly large numbers are being touted for after 51 miles driving the 11-mile Federal Test test cycle.

That mean that they get 230 With its much smaller pack and electric-only range, the isn’t going to approach the 230 mpg claim, but the numbers should be Toyota is claiming fuel gains in the latest Japanese tests in the order of 69 percent the standard Prius.

Apply this to the EPA Combined of 48 mpg and you are looking at a combined figure of 81 mpg, with commensurate in carbon-dioxide emissions.

In the cabin are a few changes. There’s a new energy showing the possible cruising in electric vehicle mode and a bar that expresses the changing power useage as a ratio less complicated than it There’s also an orange lamp, a cabin preheating/precooling for when the car is plugged in and the omission of the switch on the standard Prius come to this later.

In the there is a charge cable and an EV which converts main AC to DC when charging.

The Drive

was keen to maintain the touch-and-go of the standard Prius, and that is what the driving experience is here. You simply engage on the stubby gearlever and push the Like the standard Prius, the wafts away using power alone.

The difference here is that if you your right foot off the boards, stay under 62 mph and is enough juice in the battery, the stays on battery power. In this means in heavy the engine will stay The transition from battery to gas which has consumed Chevrolet engineers, is mercifully smooth too.

Other than the differences between this car and the at your local Toyota are minimal. The ride is soft and but not wallowing. There is slight to ride at the rear, but most hardly notice that. We to get the extra weight of this car by the larger battery pack) to the rear tires is quick


And yet, there was no real faux pas, with the control eventually calling

As with the standard car, the can either drive the Prius or generate electricity, which drives the car, or charge the Regenerative braking means the also generates current, extends the electric-only driving Unlike the current model, you chose electric-only driving.

is because the engineers felt the balance of electricity usage and should be best left to the rather than to inexpert They are probably right, but in engineers now believe that sort of EV-only switch have to be included in production to meet the sort of inner emissions regulations that are being considered.

The Bottom

While the rest of the industry over pure battery or hybrid, Toyota has seized the by launching a plug-in version of its selling five-door hatchback Or has it? Toyota is still distrustful of ion, and is only releasing Prius models for fleet next year.

If all goes well, then the car the showrooms by 2012, long the Chevy Volt will carved a niche in this With prices rumored to at around $48,000, the plug in is not cheap, but with oil headed of $80 a barrel and new legislation in the offing, that electric-only running be an edge to urban driving drivers can ill-afford to ignore.

Toyota Prius c Electric Cars

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