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Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

Plug-in Toyota will bolster the Prius brand

will sell a plug-in in 2012 that will go 13 (Steven Cole Smith, )


March 25, 2011 | By Steven Smith. AUTOMOTIVE

The most part of designing and building a new is not what you see — the body and the — but what’s underneath: The platform, consisting of the chassis, the and the transmission.

So it seems a little that considering the billions in developing the Toyota Prius Toyota has produced only one from that platform in the 10 years: The Prius sedan. At the and Chicago auto shows this year, Toyota a clever marketing campaign to off the concept by asking consumers the plural of Prius should be, soon, there will be models, not just one. The was Prii, by the way, but more is what those multiple will be: The regular, third-generation sedan we have now; the V, which is basically a Prius wagon; the Prius C, which is a hatchback, and the Prius PHV, or Hybrid Vehicle.

Since February, Toyota has had 84 prototype (that means Prius PHVs on the road, and we a week with one. It be very similar to what be able to buy in early 2012, that production isn’t by the damage caused by the earthquake and in Japan, where the Prius is Toyota announced a delay in the of the Prius V, but has already resumed of the regular Prius.

So what’s the difference in the regular and the Prius PHV? Like the new Volt, the PHV will operate a regular gas-electric hybrid, but you can it in to household current to add to vehicle range. Our PHV took about hours hooked up to a regular outlet to completely charge, and was good for about 13 miles of travel.

The Volt has a longer range, but takes much to recharge. The bottom line the Prius PHV: If your commute is less than 13 the Prius can make it without any gasoline.

Well, almost: In the economy which extends battery acceleration is very gradual. during the initial 13-mile drive, I had to punch the accelerator for more speed, both when I pulled out into traffic. The 1.8-liter gas engine ran for a of about 30 seconds.

Otherwise, the PHV can travel on just the electric up to about 60 mph, but it takes a time to get there.

The Prius PHV a more sophisticated 288-cell battery, as opposed to the nickel-metal battery back in the regular Lithium-ion doesn’t have a meaning you don’t have to the battery like nickel-metal to accept full charges. says the materials to make batteries costs less nickel-metal hydride, but production are greater.

Once the Prius PHV runs out of power, it operates like any Prius. Toyota hasn’t mileage figures, but even the 13-mile runs using the I averaged 53.7 mpg, very conservatively. With the expect to average 35 mpg after the are depleted.

This extra capacity adds weight, and up trunk space — a in the PHV said that if you get a flat call roadside assistance, as is no room for a spare. On the road, you the extra weight, especially in but the average Prius driver notice much difference. the only distinctin is an extra panel in front of the driver’s that pops open for the — it looks just the fuel-filler door at the rear of the

Toyota hasn’t released for the Prius PHV, and won’t for a but the best guess is it could add $3,500 to the price. If going 13 on pure electricity is meaningful to it’s worth it. But if you drive, 100 miles a day, it may not be.

Regardless, it that Toyota isn’t idle. Aside from the and the projected price, there is no to the Prius PHV.

2012 Toyota Prius PHV

Base price: $24,000

Price as tested: $31,000

EPA rating: Not yet rated.

Engine: four-cylinder gasoline engine electric motor.

Interesting

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