• Sep 21st 2009 at 8:58AM
  • 29

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept -- Click above for high-res image gallery

One day, children will be taken to a Museum of Momentous Moments, and there among artist's impressions of the missing link and the asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs will be an example of the first Toyota Prius. The placard next to it will declare that it is the car that turned green... green.

The standard bearer for all that makes Mother Nature smile has gone to the next level, adding a plug-in version to its bag of sticks and twigs. It isn't here yet, but when it does arrive, the Prius-with-a-cord will also be the first Toyota with a high-output, lithium-ion battery that can be charged in 90 minutes on a 230-volt circuit. It'll also go 20 km in EV mode and run up to 62 mph on electricity alone. And then it will do your laundry and teach your children how to be quiet on airplanes. Or something like that. You can read all about it in the press release after the jump and check it out in the gallery of high-res photos below.


Clean urban mobility
Prius and Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept

Reinforcing the company's environmental leadership in addressing the needs of tomorrow's customers today, Toyota is leading the drive towards sustainable mobility through the goal of the ultimate Eco Car.

In recognition of the importance of energy diversification, the latest development in Toyota's plug-in vehicle programme, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept, represents a significant expansion of the Hybrid Synergy Drive® system's capabilities and introduces a further development in environmentally-friendly mobility.

New Prius
The New Prius is the world's most advanced expression of mass mobility. A full hybrid, it delivers the best environmental performance of any mass-produced vehicle technology available today.

With performance and dynamic abilities comparable with any mid-sized competitor, the Prius delivers CO2 and NOx emission levels below far smaller cars, while its running costs are expected to be the lowest within the mid-sized segment.
Today, however, the Prius is no longer seen as a niche model to be evaluated only against specialised criteria. By significantly increasing its fundamental appeal, the new Prius offers the three key customer benefits of driving pleasure; space, style and technology; and low cost of ownership. It combines all the space and practicality expected of a high quality family car with numerous, entirely intuitive, technological innovations new to the mid-sized segment.

In 2007 and 2008, the Prius was ranked highest in JD Power's German and UK customer satisfaction surveys, and has topped the rankings in France for the last three years. It has also recently been awarded a maximum 5-star rating in the new, more stringent Euro NCAP crash test assessment.

In August 2009, Prius was ranked the most environmentally-friendly car, for the fourth time since 2004, by the German association for sustainable mobility, Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD).

Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept
Product concept and role
70 % of Europeans are expected to live in urban areas by 2015. And recent Toyota studies in urban commuting patterns in France and the UK reveal that over 80 % of car journeys are less than 25 km in length. In France, 55 % of journeys are less than 10 km, whilst in the UK that figure rises to approximately 80 %. In this context, the potential of electricity for providing short- to mid-term sustainable mobility is assured.

Although the environmental merits of electric cars as urban commuters is well proven, the further development of such vehicles is currently handicapped by the weight, size and cost of the large capacity batteries required to offer even barely satisfactory range, and the lack of an adequate recharging infrastructure.

In launching the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept, Toyota has addressed both of these issues. It has determined that, in light of current battery development progress, plug-in hybrid architecture is the most feasible technological solution for the electrification of powertrains.

A plug-in hybrid vehicle overcomes the issue of limited cruising range. Once the vehicle exceeds the driving range in EV mode, it automatically operates as a traditional full hybrid.

A derivative of the new Prius, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept builds on the core technology of Hybrid Synergy Drive® to address the specific needs of urban-based customers. 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 employed for shorter ranges, while the hybrid powertrain's petrol engine provides the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept with true long range capability.

Offering a significant expansion of the hybrid drive system's electric drive mode capabilities, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept avoids the traditional, limited range and challenging packaging issues of today's electric vehicles. Moreover, it can be quickly recharged from a conventional household electricity outlet or a public charging post.

In early 2010, over 500 units equipped with lithium-ion batteries, will participate in a limited lease programme worldwide. More than 150 units will be deployed to Europe alone. Before these vehicles can become a commercial reality, Toyota must evaluate each of these technology enhancements in a real-world environment. Through this programme, we aim to evaluate the market's response and understand which product characteristics are appealing and why.

Similar in format to the new Prius' Hybrid Synergy Drive® system, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept's powertrain replaces the nickel-metal hydride battery pack with a newly developed, high-output, lithium-ion battery.

Lithium-ion batteries are used for the first time in a Toyota hybrid vehicle because they have different characteristics to their nickel-metal hydride counterparts. They are also more compact, having superior volumetric energy density, meaning vehicle weight and packaging need not be adversely affected.

Moreover, and most important to retaining the intrinsic convenience of the vehicle, lithium-ion batteries may be recharged far more quickly that nickel-metal hydride alternatives. The battery pack of a Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept can be fully recharged in one and a half hours (at 230V).

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept's lithium-ion battery pack ensures strong, seamless acceleration and a maximum speed of 100 km/h when driven in EV mode. With a fully charged battery, it can travel approximately 20 km in EV mode – an increase of 10 km compared to its nickel metal hydride predecessor.

For longer distances, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept operates in the manner of a normal full hybrid.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid generates CO2 emissions below 60 g/km and, like other full hybrid models, realises a significant reduction in PM and NOx.

The reduction of CO2 emissions is a key benefit of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept, due to its expanded EV range. Even greater CO2 reductions are possible if the electricity is generated from renewable sources, such as windmills and solar panels. Simply put: the lower the percentage of energy derived from fossil fuels, the better the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept's well-to-wheel CO2 performance.

The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept shares all the comfort, convenience and practicality of the latest generation Prius.
The Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept's air conditioning may be activated remotely, when the vehicle is plugged in. Through heating or cooling, the Remote Climate Control System brings the cabin to the required temperature before occupancy.
An exclusive Hybrid System Indicator has also been incorporated to help drivers maximise the benefits of driving in EV mode. The EV driving range based on remaining battery charge has been incorporated within the battery indicator, and an engine starting point display has been added to emphasise the increase in EV driving range.

A display that specifically highlights the Plug-in Hybrid's contribution to CO2 emission reductions is also available on the Electro Multi-Vision screen. It features a computer graphic image of a single tree gradually transforming into an entire forest during the battery charging process.

A significant development in environmentally-friendly mobility, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Concept offers commuters and city dwellers all the benefits of an electric vehicle with none of the handicaps. Its enhanced Hybrid Synergy Drive® system combines an expanded, zero CO2 emission EV driving mode range with a true long range capability, and can be fully recharged from standard outlets in one and a half hours.

Displacement (cm3) 1798
Max. output (kW(hp)/rpm) 73 (98) / 5200
Max. torque (Nm/rpm) 142 / 4000
Motor type Permanent magnet synchronous motor
Max. output (hp/kW) 80 / 60
Max. torque (Nm) 207
HV battery
Battery type Lithium-ion
EV cruising range (km) 20*
Recharging time (min) 100V 180*
200V 100*
Exhaust emissions
CO2 (g/km) below 60*
Exterior dimensions
Overall length (mm) 4460
Overall width (mm) 1745
Overall height (mm) 1490

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      The follow-on will be the Prius Hybrid Plug-In "P" model. P is for the liberal dose of Pixie dust that will power that baby.
      JDM Life
      • 5 Years Ago
      The pruis just gets better an better...=)
        • 5 Years Ago
        @JDM Life
        I'll forgive your spelling errors. I would guess it's pretty hard to type with Toyota's privates in your mouth.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll wait for wireless charging version.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So why exactly is the plug-in Prius hailed as a king compared to the Volt even with its inferior range (of 12 miles), inferior speed (only 62 mph on battery?), and a price tag probably as much as the Volt?

      Oh wait, I forgot. GM is THE DEVIL!

      Sorry, I'm not a GM fanboi here, but Toyota doesn't really have a product any more appealing than a regular Prius here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still don't understand why gasoline-electric is "the only" way to build a hybrid car. If maximum efficiency and green-ness why not go all the way with that goal?

      I still do not endorse the green movement but getting good mileage is nice if you want it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Temple "$92k for a single component."

        That is a wild claim. Last I heard the Tesla battery packed costs around 30,000 USD. Not to mention that the battery industry is being subsidized big time and this will have an impact in bringing prices down, significantly!
        • 5 Years Ago
        The battery for the Tesla Model S is rated to cost around $30K. That is why they qualified for the government loan program. Only an idiot would think they would get $400million to build a $50K EV....that uses a $92K battery. Temple also messes up on the math. The Roadster is tuned to compete with other super-cars and has a longer range the Model S...yet somehow it will cost Tesla substantially more to build a car less range and weaker power train? Their ability to use a more powerful battery has everything to do with the cost of the battery going down. If it was the price you said, they would just slap the same packs used in the Roadster. Just shut up, its obvious you either have no idea what you're talking about or you're just trolling.

        Also the 16kWh cut-off is the requirement to qualify for the maximum $7,500K tax credit for EVs. It has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with government subsidies to the battery industry.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Currently we are looking at $1,000 per KwH."

        No, we're not. You pulled that number out your ass. Provide PROOF that Tesla looking at $1,000/kWh for the Model S based on *current* figures - not figures from years back when released the Roadster came out, not third-party industry gestimations - you can't. Logic doesn't back you up either. They had to open EVERYTHING to the government to show their business plan for the Model S was viable and worth a $400million loan. They had to do similar for the Mercedes investment. But you want us to believe they plan on losing at least $50K for each car sold. Thats beyond idiotic to suggest.
        • 5 Years Ago
        There are hybrid-diesel vehicles. Mitsubishi Fuso has a hybrid-diesel commercial truck. VW has also had diesel-hybrid vehicles as well.

        The problem is merely price. Diesel engines itself inheritly have a price premium over gasoline engines of the same size and power, combine this with price premium of the hybrid system and you have a pretty expensive unit.

        As far as going completely electric; Li-on batteries cost aroiund $1,000 per kWh. The upcoming Tesla S has a 92 kWh battery, doing that math you have a $92k for a single component. Even the Tesla roadster has a 52 kWh battery, which is still incredibly expensive. Until the price of Li-on batteries come down to a fraction of where they are now its very unlikely that EVs are cost effective for the general population.

        .... which is why gasoline-hybrids are so prevalent. Its a cost issue. The Prius only has a ~1.6 kWh NiMh battery. This plug-in hybrid likely only has a 4-6 kWh Li-ion battery (considering its range). Saving an extra 20 gallons of gas per mile can't cost an extra $20,000.
        • 5 Years Ago
        92 kWh is the Tesla S, which is currently unreleased. You are referring to the Tesla roadster, which has half the capacity. Currently we are looking at $1,000 per KwH. The Telsa Li-ion battery plus associated components should cost around ~$50k.

        Mind you, even the Tesla Roadster is a $110k car.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I bet this will be out before the Chevrolet Vaporw--er, Volt.
        • 5 Years Ago
        How is this not also "Vaporware?" Its not at a dealer yet and it is not even expected to drop (as a lease) until after the Volt's estimated delivery date.

        If you consider one vapor you must consider the other vapor as well. However, when comparing "vapor", the Volt is more impressive (on paper).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I still prefer a proper diesel.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It doesn't even mention when it might be a reality. That just makes me mad. Either give us a projection of when it'll be real.. like 2011 model year or 2012 or something .. or just don't show all this crap.. the specs they say are totally imaginary until they have something real in production.

      Only reason they're doing this is because the Volt has gotten a lot of press lately.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I can't tell if this post is joking or not. If it's not, it should be.

      If anyone honestly believes that a massive pile of resources and chemicals like this "makes mother nature smile", please go get your head checked. I'm not saying that I'm not into the environment; I spend all day working on clean energy projects. And I'm not saying that I'm better than y'all; I drive a non-hybrid Z (which I love).

      But none of these vehicles we're all so fond of are "green". You might be able to argue that it is "lower impact", even though the batteries are atrocious and people have been shown to drive more when they have a Prius.

      Anyway, plants are green. Forests are green. Prii are not, even when they're painted that way.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Also, where can you get a Prius for $23K out the door?
        • 5 Years Ago
        So by your own example you show it is not possible to get a Prius for 23K out the door. Out the door is ALL costs included. You never factored in tax.

        Why am I rated down for this? Its true.

        I agree that a Prius can be purchased for MSRP and that is ~23 at the low end. I disagree that it is possible to get one OUT THE DOOR for that price. When I hear out the door I infer that it means total cost, which includes tax, title , and other fees.

        You also claimed the Plug in Prius could be purchased for the around $23K which makes 0 rational sense when a Prius III can not even be purchased for that price.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can get one for sticker where I am, and for a 2010 Prius II that's around $22,800 including $750 for destination. The Prius III is another thousand.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Any info on pricing? If it's the same and you can get one for ~$23,000 out the door then it's not going to bode well for the Volt even if it does have more range.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I agree with everything Epyx and LS2 are saying.

        Everyone knows the Volt will inevitably be compared to every other form of hybrid out there (even GM knows this), but the truth is there really isn't a TRUE direct competitor to the Volt yet. That range extending ICE is what makes it so unique.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You can't buy it, it says they'll have a limited lease program.

        Also, there will be only 500 of them. This competes with the Volt like the BMW MINI-E and the hydrogen Equinoxes do.

        Also, the Volt runs on electricity in all modes, not just urban driving (as Toyota admits in their press release). Remember, the Prius is a parallel hybrid. When the gas engine doesn't turn on it has significant restrictions on its performance. That means lower top speed, worse acceleration and it might just kick that gas engine on you because the on-ramp to the expressway is steeper than it can manage without the extra push of the ICE.

        If you can live with these limitations (and because of these limitations), this vehicle will be much cheaper, well, er, it would be if you could buy it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also, where can you get a Prius for $23K out the door?
      • 5 Years Ago
      yeah... in the hippie museum maybe...
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