Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid will allow true EV operation and performance for up to 15 miles at speeds up to 62 mph, along with quick home charging using a standard AC outlet and 15-amp dedicated circuit. Operating in EV mode, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid provides the quick, smooth quiet driving of a pure electric vehicle. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers the same five-passenger seating and luggage space as the standard Prius model.

The 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid retains the Hybrid Synergy Drive of the standard Prius model and will seamlessly switch into hybrid operation at a pre-determined state of battery charge. A newly developed 4.4 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack replaces the standard Prius model’s nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery and fits under the rear cargo floor, and the vehicle adds an easy-to-use external charging cable.

A full charge using an external AC outlet takes approximately 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a 120v household outlet or 1.5 hours using a 240v outlet. The included 120v charging cable connects to the charging port inlet located on the right-rear fender.

In addition to offering Entune™, Toyota’s new multimedia system, available smartphone applications developed for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid include Charge Management, Remote Air Conditioning System, Charging Station Map, Vehicle Finder and Eco Dashboard.

Introduction of the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid follows an extensive test-fleet program involving 125 early prototypes in the United States. Toyota applied experience from that test phase, along with input from participants, to finalize engineering and improve features for the production model.

Even with the addition of the new onboard battery charging system and larger 176-lb. Li-ion battery pack, the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid weighs just 123 lbs. more than the standard Prius Liftback, thanks to weight-savings techniques applied elsewhere. As a result, driving performance for the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be similar to the standard Prius.

Running in EV mode, the system switches to full hybrid mode under full acceleration, which splits engine power between the drive wheels and the generator, keeping the battery charged – just as in the standard Prius model.

Even when not running in the driver-selectable EV mode, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid will rely more on its electric-only capability in situations where it is more efficient than running the gasoline engine, especially in urban and suburban driving and during shorter trips when drivers will enjoy the smoothness and quiet of EV operation. The overall fuel economy rating for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid increases to a manufacturer-expected 87 MPGe, with the car achieving an estimated 49 MPG when operating in hybrid mode. Drivers who use the vehicle for frequent short trips and local driving will realize the biggest reduction in gasoline usage.

The external charging system is designed to be easy and safe to use. Approximately 24 feet in length, the battery charger cable weighs just 3.75 lbs. and conveniently fits its own compartment in the trunk area.

The port is located behind a spring-loaded push-open door on the right-rear fender. A full charge using an external AC outlet takes approximately 2.5-3.0 hours using a 120V household outlet with a dedicated 15-amp circuit, or 1.5 hours using a 240V outlet. The charge port provides LED (Light Emitting Diode) illumination for convenient nighttime charging. A timer allows charging to take place during off-peak hours and can be set for both start and end times.

In the event of a malfunction, the CCID (Charging Circuit Interrupter Device) in the cable will stop the flow of electricity for safety, and the indicator lamp will flash. There is also a self-test button, similar to that used on household kitchen and bathroom electrical outlets. A special rubber stopper prevents the charging port door from snapping shut when closing.

Source: Toyota press

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