• Sep 10, 2009

Toyota Prius PHEV - Click above for high-res image gallery

Toyota's new generation plug-in hybrid Prius will be shown for the first time next week at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and now we've got some new images and details. As expected, the PHEV Prius will be equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack. The hybrid synergy drive system has been upgraded for the PHEV allowing the Prius to operate in EV mode at speeds up to 62 mph for up to 12.5 miles. The car can apparently accelerate all the way from a standing start in EV mode, although it's not clear how quick it will be. While doing this, the Prius apparently emits about 60 g/km of carbon dioxide. The range and emissions estimates are all based on the EU driving cycle, so the numbers should be a bit more realistic than the absurd Japanese 10/15 cycle.

The battery capacity has not been announced yet, but it can be fully charged from a 230 V supply in just over 1.5 hours. Toyota plans to build 500 of these lithium-batteried Priuses starting late this year for leasing to fleets in Japan, the United States and Europe. Retail customers won't get their turn until about 2012.



[Source: Toyota]



press release


10 September 2009

TOYOTA SWITCHES ON TO AN ELECTRIC FUTURE WITH NEW PRIUS PLUG-IN HYBRID
CO2 emissions cut to less than 60g/km

KEY POINTS

  • New Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept reinforces Toyota's progress towards the ultimate eco-car
  • Lithium-ion battery technology allows for compact packaging and quick recharging
  • Rechargeable from domestic power supply or public charging point in around an hour-and-a-half
  • Extended EV (electric) driving mode of up to 12.5 miles at speeds up to 62mph
  • Over longer distances, Prius Plug-in switches to conventional petrol-electric full hybrid operation
  • CO2 emissions cut to less than 60g/km
  • Toyota to launch global lease programme to evaluate Prius Plug-in in early 2010

Toyota is unveiling a new Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept at the Frankfurt motor show, signalling further progress towards its ambition of building the ultimate eco-car.

Presentation of the new concept comes ahead of a test programme that will see more than 500 cars leased to customers worldwide for real-world evaluation of performance and monitoring of driver attitudes and experiences.

Using lithium-ion batteries, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid provides clean, fuel-efficient electric-powered running in urban areas for longer distances and at higher speeds than the conventional, third generation full hybrid Prius. Over longer distances, or when the limit of battery power is reached, the system automatically shifts to conventional petrol power. Advanced battery technology allows for full recharging in around an hour and a half and the extended EV capability brings CO2 emissions down to around 60g/km.

The plug-in hybrid concept

Europe's population is increasingly urban-centred and Toyota research into commuting patterns shows that in the UK and France, more than 80 per cent of car journeys cover a distance of less than 25km; in the UK around 80 per cent are less than 10km long. These figures confirm the potential for electricity in providing short to mid-term sustainable mobility.

The environmental benefits of electric cars for urban commuting are well-documented, but vehicle development has been hampered by the drawbacks of the weight, size and cost of the large capacity batteries needed to provide even a modest driving range, and the lack of an adequate recharging infrastructure.

Toyota is addressing both these issues with the launch of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept. It believes that progress in battery technology makes plug-in hybrid architecture the most workable solution for an electrified powertrain. The system overcomes the issue of a limited cruising range by enabling an automatic switch to a traditional full hybrid petrol-electric system once the vehicle reaches the limit of its EV (electric vehicle) driving range.

The concept model is a development of the new, third generation Prius, and builds on the core technology of Hybrid Synergy Drive specifically to meet the needs of urban motorists. It is a full hybrid vehicle in which both the electric motor and petrol engine can drive the wheels: a fully electric EV mode is used for shorter distances, while the petrol engine provides a true long-range capability.

As well as avoiding the limited range traditionally associated with electric vehicles, Toyota has also achieved a compact and practical packaging design for the battery pack. Prius Plug-in can be also be quickly recharged, from a conventional household electricity point, or a public charging post.

More than 500 Prius Plug-in cars will be released around the world early next year for lease programme, with more than 150 of these on the road in Europe. This will let Toyota evaluate all the technical aspects of the new model in a real-world environment, an essential step in preparing the vehicle for a potential market launch. The lease programme will also yield valuable intelligence on market response and which characteristics drivers find appealing, and why.

Performance

The Prius Plug-in Concept's powertrain is similar in format to the Hybrid Synergy Drive used in the new Prius, but with the nickel-metal hydride battery pack replaced by a new, high-output lithium-ion battery – a first for a Toyota hybrid vehicle. The new battery is more compact and has a higher volumetric energy density, so it does not compromise vehicle weight and packaging. Perhaps more importantly, it can be recharged much more quickly than the nickel-metal hydride type: the battery in the Prius Plug-in can be fully recharged in one-and-a-half hours from a 230v power supply.

The battery allows strong, seamless acceleration up to a maximum 62mph (100km/h) in EV mode. On a full charge, it can cover approximately 12.5miles (20km) in EV mode, six miles further than the nickel-metal hydride battery in the latest Prius model. Over longer distances, the car operates as a regular full hybrid.

The car's extended EV performance has a significant impact on emissions, with CO2 output dropping to less than 60g/km and, as with other full hybrid models, reduced NOx and particulates (PM) levels. Even greater CO2 savings can also be gained if the electricity used to charge the battery is drawn from renewable sources, such as windmills and solar panels. Simply put, the lower the percentage of energy derived from fossil fuels, the better the car's well-to-wheel CO2 performance.

Convenience

The Prius Plug-in Concept is every bit as comfortable, convenient and practical as the latest generation Prius. As in its sister model, the air conditioning can be activated remotely, when the vehicle is plugged, enabling the cabin to be brought to the right temperature before setting off.

To help drivers maximise the benefits of driving in EV mode, it is equipped with a Hybrid System Indicator, which includes information on the EV driving range, based on the level of battery charge. An engine starting point display has also been added to emphasise the increase in EV driving range.

The Electro Multi-Vision screen on the dashboard also offers a display that highlights the plug-in hybrid's contribution to reducing CO2 emissions, showing a computer graphic image of single tree that gradually increases to whole forest as the battery charging process takes place.

As a significant development in environmentally responsible mobility, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept offers commuters and people who live in urban areas all the benefits of an electric vehicle, with none of the drawbacks.

Outline technical specifications

ENGINE

Displacement (cc)

1,798

Max. power (bhp @ rpm)

97 @ 4,000

Max. torque (Nm @ rpm)

142 @ 4,000

MOTOR

Type

Permanent magnet synchronous motor

Max. output (bhp)

79

Max. torque (Nm)

207

HV BATTERY

Type

Lithium-ion

EV cruising range (miles)

12.5

Recharging time (min)

100V

180 (target)

200V

100 (target)

EMISSIONS

CO2 (g/km)

<60

EXTERIOR DIMENSIONS

Overall length (mm)

4,460

Overall width (mm)

1,745

Overall height (mm)

1,490

Disclaimer

1. Fuel consumption and CO2 values are measured in a controlled environment, in accordance with the requirements of Directive 80/1268/EEC, including its amendments, on a basic production vehicle. For more information about the basic production vehicle, please contact the Toyota press office.

2. The fuel consumption and CO2 values of your vehicle may very from those measured. Driving behaviour, as well as other factors (such as road conditions, traffic, vehicle conditions, installed equipment, load, number of passenger, etc) play a role in determining a car's fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.




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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 10 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Retail customers won't get their turn until about 2012."

      Coming from the point of view of someone who had a Honda EV and had heard the same promises, I won't be holding my breath.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Why is everyone so pessimistic and quick to bash Toyota? At this point I don't care who brings us a viable fully-electric or plug-in hybrid vehicle (although I wish it would our own domestic industry). We need to unhook ourselves from our petroleum addiction that sees us sending hundreds of billions of dollars every year (a big part of our trade deficit) to some despotic places who hates us such as Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

      • 5 Years Ago
      Trading one polluter for another. Gas versus power plants. Stupid car for stupid people.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Power plants are much more efficient at converting fuel into electricity than an ICE and produce a lot less pollution. Also, it is possible to supplement the power from fossil fuel power plants with power from renewable sources such as solar and hydro. Much harder to do with an ICE. Does this solve the power and pollution problems? No but it is a step in the right direction.

        • 5 Years Ago
        Does anyone know how many power plants there actually are in the US?

        I know it has to be much lower than the number of GAS Stations.

        If they change 5 powerplants.. instead of having to change 500 gas stations to carry a new type of fuel. This would be great!

        I think the future will be restaurants with rechargers. Go to an Outback and add the "fuel" to your bill. In 1 hour could have a 50% recharge added to your check.

        Go to the mall, when you come out can be fully recharged. Hotel same thing.. overnight it will charge each night.

        The only thing this won't cover is over the road trucking / long road trips with little/no stops in between.

        I still think cleaning up a power plant is MUCH easier than cleaning up each and every car engine / gas station.
      • 5 Years Ago
      They've said that PHEV have a future, but the Li-on batteries are an order of magnitude too expensive for the mass-market. And until the prices of these batteries become a fraction of the price of what they cost now they are not a logical choice or will make any significant environmental impact. Toyota, mind you, have been working on PHEV vehicles and have Lithium-ion battery hybrid in their JDM Vitz for several years in limited numbers.

      This year, Mitsubishi launched their MiEV electric vehicle that has lithium-ion batteries. The car is essentially a EV version of their iCar. The electric version costs $40,000 more then their comparable gas version. Mitsubishi attributes the lithium-ion batteries to cost TENS of thousands of dollars.

      With the Chevy Volt also hovering around the ~$40k mark whenever its released, its obviously still not a technology that is ready for most consumers. Of course, developing the technology is whats important, and both Toyota and GM (as well as others) seem to be very focused on that.