• 73
2010 Plug-in Prius Prototypes – Click above for high-res image gallery

It's been two-and-a-half years since we last got behind the wheel of a plug-in Prius. The name is the same, but today's plug-in Prius is a totally different vehicle, and it was high time to see what changes Toyota has made to the plug-in hybrid (PHEV) in the ongoing effort to slowly (slowly) get the car ready for the U.S. market. Back in late 2007, for example, the prototype had a NiMH battery pack and the converted vehicle was based on the second-generation Prius. The new fleet of PHEV Priuses that are in San Diego as part of Toyota's Sustainable Mobility Seminar this week are converted 2010 third-gen models and feature upgraded lithium-ion packs.

Toyota has brought the PHEV Prius fleet to the U.S. to begin a two-year test and monitoring period. The vehicles are equipped with transmitters from Qualcomm that record not only driver behavior while in the driver seat but also how often the car is plugged in. We'll have more information soon with technical detail about these cars and an explanation of Toyota's plans to test – and finally release, in 2012 – the plug-in Prius over the next two years. Right now, we want to share what it's like to pilot one of these cars.

The short version is that driving a plug-in Prius is almost exactly like driving a standard Prius, except that the car stays quieter longer thanks to the engine being off more (during short distances). The reason for this is a bigger battery pack and improved all-electric performance. Acceleration, handling, braking – everything feels awfully familiar. Read on after the jump to find out more, including how you can now go up to 64 miles per hour without turning on the gas engine.



Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

Sixty-four mph was the highest speed we managed to achieve while staying in pure EV mode, and it turns out that most of our two 10-mile loops were completed using battery power (we managed 70 percent on the highway loop, then 83 percent on the city loop when we started with a full pack). The newest PHEV Priuses have a maximum all-electric range of around 13-14 miles, compared to the seven miles in the plug-in version of the second-gen Prius.

In the new models, driving on all-electric power is indicated by a green car image that says "EV" in the driver information screen (see below). If the gas engine kicks in, then this picture turns to a simple, empty outline. This is useful, because when you're traveling at highway speeds, you can't always tell when the engine turns on. When you're driving in quiet locations, then the engine is noticeable, but other than that, the EV light is your only signal that you've moved from electrons to petroleum.


This all reinforces the impression that the new plug-in Prius is just a more advanced version of the regular Prius you can drive today. You start the car the same way (but now the button is a nice blue color) and shift and steer just like always. The car even has three driver-selectable modes – Eco, Power and standard – that are similar to the options in the third-gen Prius (there, though, the choices are Eco, Power and EV).

The main feature of Eco mode in the new PHEV Prius is that the pedal becomes physically more difficult to depress, and so the throttle is opened at a smoother rate during acceleration. In practice this makes the go pedal less responsive, which will annoy anyone who wants to speed away from a red light. But does anyone who wants to do that also want to drive a plug-in Prius? We didn't think so. In any case, when you really step down, then the charge/power bar moves all the way into the red on the right side of the screen. This is a visual that should be quite familiar to anyone who drives a standard 2010 Prius. Noticing a trend?



Except for the few seconds it takes to plug and unplug the car each day, the current version of the PHEV Prius is the regular Prius, just with better fuel economy. How much fuel does it use? Like with all plug-ins, the answer depends on how far you drive each day. For us, on our short routes, the info screens in our test cars read 99.9 mpg. If we'd driven much further, we'd have seen a serious decrease in this number because we exceeded the car's EV range, but we imagine drivers can expect to get mpg numbers in the upper 50s, easy, on most days. Thanks, batteries. By the way, those batteries take around three hours to charge from a standard 110 outlet and each vehicle comes with a charge unit that plugs into a standard outlet and feeds the car juice through a J1772 connector.

What else is different about these cars and the regular 2010 Prius? Well, these models have the PHEV-specific blue mica metallic paint color, for one. Also, the trunk floor is slightly raised up about two inches (see here) to make room for an extra 220 pounds of batteries and there are some cooling vents under the back seat. The batteries are in one pack, but are divided into three modules. One module is for the standard hybrid system while two are dedicated to the EV drive. We don't quite get why Toyota felt the need to separate the pack into three parts, but asking some questions about this set-up is one of many things at the top of our list once we get to spend some time with an engineer. Stay tuned for that, and more.



Photos by Sebastian Blanco / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

Our travel and lodging for this media event were provided by the manufacturer.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 73 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Wake me when they get to 40+ miles of EV range.
        • 5 Years Ago
        GM is notorious for being pessimistic about their own EV products. They claimed they did not have the demand for the EV1.... which was BS. Actually, it was true only because they were measuring demand at the quoted price of $80,000.

        They need to trim the fat... and drive down the cost. Nissan just gave them a slap in the face with the Leaf price of $32k (before federal credit) in the U.S.

        They over engineered to Volt so they can appease the "range anxiety". And they made it expensive with 2 drive trains. All the expense of an EV PLUS all the expense of a gas engine. But then again, people SHOULD pay more for their reduced anxiety.

        ---------------------------------------

        It will cost me about $1000 per year to rent cars from Avis for all my travel needs above 100 miles per day. Too bad not enough people do math anymore. If they did, range anxiety would never be a problem.
        • 5 Years Ago
        If you want 40 miles of EV range, just buy the Volt. The whole point of the smaller EV range is to reduce the overall price of the vehicle, and yet still have some EV only range. IMO, the whole attempt for a 40 mile range in the Volt is what is going to make it flop... its just going to cost too much to be a success, and GM says they will lose money the whole way. As batteries come down in cost, I think Toyota will continue to increase the EV only range on the Prius.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Future generations of Volt will have lower EV range. This indicates that 40 miles is too large to be economical. Research after research confirmed this. GM has no choice but delivered as promised in their first gen.

        PHV Prius is going to displace more than 70% of the trips with electricity.
        • 5 Years Ago
        And those 40+ miles can't just be at 25 mph & slower.

        The vehicle needs to be able to do freeway speeds on EV only. Perhaps not a full 40 miles at freeways speeds but a good portion of it.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Wake me when the Volt is actually available for sale to the general public...
        • 5 Years Ago
        @usbseawolf

        "Future generations of Volt will have lower EV range. This indicates that 40 miles is too large to be economical""

        Where are you hearing that? Link please.

        I hope this is just another of your gross exaggerations and misunderstood quotes.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Volt is meeting its 40-mile range expectancy:

        "Real-world tests show that General Motors Co.'s rechargeable electric car can travel 40 miles on battery power as promised, company engineers said Monday.

        Engineers are testing six Volts that recently were made on a Detroit assembly line, driving them at the company's proving ground and on roads around Detroit.

        The automaker still has a "few things to tweak" with the car, including computer software and controls, but the Volt is on schedule for full production in November, said Andrew Farah, the car's chief engineer."

        http://finance.yahoo.com/news/GM-Electric-Chevrolet-Volt-apf-3221760220.html?x=0&.v=4
      • 5 Years Ago
      Its good to see Toyota is moving forward some, they've really been dragging their feet with this program and not as a result of their recent issues (when you own 80% of hybrid marketshare its not hard to see why you wouldn't want to plow money into this nascent market). But its good news to see some of these vehicles getting out.

      Neil, supposedly Toyota will be sending out ~200 of these vehicles in 2011, if my memory serves, to tester's (don't know if that is all in the states or not) - ala the e-mini - so I don't think you'd actually own one. Toyota originally called that releasing the car to the public (so I suppose that could mean that was pushed back to 2012 and that's what their talking about "release in 2012" - hopefully not). Probably have to have some connections to get on that list. ;-) You'd have a much better shot at a Leaf (50k in 2011) or Volt (10k in 2011) since they're going to be building so many more next year.

      The more EV / EREV vehicles out there, the better for everyone - demand will far outstrip supply for years (unless oil goes back to $30/barrel which isn't gonna happen).

      The Volt and the Leaf will be for sale by the end of this year, hopefully Toyota will produce more than token amounts of the Prius-Plugin when they release in 2012. Great times if you're an EV / EREV enthusiast.
        • 5 Years Ago
        This isn't an EREV.

        'turns out that most of our two ten-mile loops were completed using battery power (we managed 70 percent on the highway loop, then 83 percent on the city loop when we started with a full pack).'

        When you can do 100% of the ten mile loop on the pack, then it's an EREV. This is a PHEV, it cannot reasonably be used on electricity alone.
        • 5 Years Ago
        PHV Prius can be EREV if you accelerate mildly and speed less than 65 MPH.

        In another word, this is an EV for City traffic. 13-4 miles is more than enough to go around your neighborhood. If you go "out of town", this will have longer range at high speed. Gas engine is ideal for long range so the ability to blend gas and electric on the highway is smart.

        You don't want to drain the Volt's battery pack in 20 mins @70 MPH only to have to recharge it 8 long hours. That's a foolish way to displace gasoline.

        In summary, PHV Prius is an EV in the city and hybrid on the highway.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You live in your own world, don't you.
        • 5 Years Ago
        PHEV is a label only. So is "hybrid".
        • 5 Years Ago
        If the Volt start up the gas engine to warm up the cabin and battery pack, is it still EREV?
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yes, but again, if it requires you put up with reduced performance to stay in EV mode, it's not an EREV. Read this article, is the performance reduced in EV mode? Yes. It's not an EREV.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Joeviocoe: It is not EREV every 60 days as well. Therefore, it is not EREV. It is simply a plugin hybrid that use both gas and electric.
        • 5 Years Ago
        They were only able to do 83% of their "city loop" on battery only. It's not an EREV until you can do 100%, fully functional usage on battery only. If you have to put up with reduced performance in EV mode, it's not an EREV.
        • 5 Years Ago
        That depends on the terrain and how you drive it right?
        • 5 Years Ago
        @usbwolf

        So the Volt is NOT an EREV whenever a driver leaves the Volt out in cold weather for several days without plugging it in once?? Because that is what it takes for the gas engine to start and warm the pack. It is a contingency mode that recovers the battery if ever left out in the cold for long periods of time.

        It is not likely to happen unless you treat the Volt like crap
        • 5 Years Ago
        The plug-in Prius is NOT an EREV... but not for the reasons given by Why Not.

        To be an Extended Range - Electric Vehicle... the vehicle wheels NEED to be driven solely by electricity and not a combination of gas/electric which is what Toyota's Synergy Drive is all about.

        Even if the Prius could drive its 14 miles on electricity with full acceleration and top speed... it would still be a parallel hybrid and thus not an EREV. Likewise, if the Volt's performance was horrible during the electric only 40 miles, but was better during range extended mode, it would still be an EREV (just a sucky one).

        EREV is the name given and used solely by GM to define and distinguish the Volt from the Prius. And it is meant to describe a serial hybrid. But since people only understood the term "hybrid" to mean what the Prius was, they changed it to make it clear that the Volt was an EV... just range extended.

        The lines are blurry, I know. But just like Pepsi will never be Coke, no matter how you label it, the EREV is a label only.



        • 5 Years Ago
        Volt is a plugin series hybrid.

        PHV Prius is a plugin series-parallel hybrid. Prius has a power splitter so it can behave like either series or parallel hybrid. It is more advanced than a pure series hybrid.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It's not that motors become less efficient at higher speeds Joe, it's that engines become more efficient. At just 60mph a Prius uses ~350-400Wh/mile, probably closer to ~450+Wh/mile from the plug, which translates to ~4.5c/mile at the U.S. average for electricity (~10c/kWh). At the same speed on gas it gets ~50mpg, which is ~5+c/mile at the U.S. average price for gasoline. Drop down to city speeds and the all electric energy consumption drops drastically, while gas mileage remains pretty much the same, so there's a few cents/mile advantage in that case, but that isn't the case at higher speeds as engine efficiency increases.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfkvygFJZDk
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know where you got your numbers... and that video you linked is terrible ( a guy with a handheld camcorder trying to focus on a display, shaking, blurry, and it was of a modified Prius that had aftermarket hacks to let it stay in EV mode for higher speeds) the video only showed instant power consumption based on whether the driver was acceleration, decelerating, uphill, downhill... you cannot assume 450wh/mile!

        -----------------------------------

        Now for some real numbers:

        Assuming you're right about a Prius gas engine getting 50 mpg @60 mph (Which the EPA gives the 2010 Prius a hwy rating of 48 mpg)

        http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/specs.html

        Any car with the weight (3042 lbs) and Cd (0.25) of the Prius can expect to cruise at 60 mph using 11.23 horsepower on a flat road. And at according to http://ecomodder.com/forum/tool-aero-rolling-resistance.php
        that car would do almost EXACTLY 50 mpg @ 60 mph (50.26)

        So you were right about that. Gas engines ARE very efficient at 60 mph.

        But guess what... 11.23 hp = 8.3741 Kilowatts of power
        http://www.americanmachinist.com/Calculators/HorseToKilo.aspx

        The equation is 8.3741 Kilowatts = 60 miles / hour
        So carry over the hour to the other side... that's 8.3741 Kilowatts-hours = 60 miles
        divide both sides by 60...
        0.1395684 kwh per mile
        or
        140 wh / mile

        NOT 450!!!

        It makes sense when you think about it. Since EVs generally get less than 200 wh / mile or more than 5 miles per kwh when cruising.

        -----

        Now lets do your cost analysis over again.

        @ 10 cents / kwh.. that is only 1.4 cents per mile when running in EV mode (if the EV is capable of that speed) compared to your 5 cents per mile using gasoline.

        Gasoline engines may be Most efficient at highway speeds.. but that "most" is still only about 22% efficient. While electric motors are typically 4 times more efficient.. and 4 times cheaper.

        That's why I called your first statement "grossly inaccurate"... cause it was.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure I can assume ~450Wh/mile. All the video does is corroborate what Toyota has already said. When they released initial specs they stated that it needed ~250Wh/mile from the plug on the JC08, which is at an average speed of ~15mph.

        http://priuschat.com/news/toyota-officially-introduces-prius-plug-in-phv-hybrid
        http://www.dieselnet.com/standards/cycles/jp_jc08.html

        The stock 2010 Prius pulls ~70mpg on the unadjusted (Adjusted is ~50mpg due to higher speeds, AC use, and so on) HWFET with an average speed of ~48mph, and according to the ecomodder calculator a Prius (A=~2.2m^2, Cd=.25, Crr=.008, W=3100lbs) gets that mileage at ~50mph so that checks out. Using those figures for the Prius in the ecomodder calculator results in it needing more than twice as much energy at ~50mph (HWFET) than it does at ~15mph (JC08). Granted, there are several stops in the JC08, so those need to be factored in (4 ~18mph and 4 ~36mph stops, both tests have the higher speed stop from ~50+mph), but once all is said and done ~450Wh/mile from the plug is consistent w/ the info from Toyota as well as other parties (Video I linked earlier).

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/epadata/10data.zip
        www.dieselnet.com/standards/cycles/hwfet.html
        • 5 Years Ago
        (This was the same as my other reply to your two identical comments, but included it if it was easier to read/remember here.)

        Sure I can assume ~450Wh/mile. All the video does is corroborate what
        Toyota has already said. When they released initial specs they stated
        that it needed ~250Wh/mile from the plug on the JC08, which is at an
        average speed of ~15mph.

        http://priuschat.com/news/toyota-officially-introduces-prius-plug-in-phv-hybrid
        http://www.dieselnet.com/standards/cycles/jp_jc08.html

        The stock 2010 Prius pulls ~70mpg on the unadjusted (Adjusted is
        ~50mpg due to higher speeds, AC use, and so on) HWFET with an average
        speed of ~48mph, and according to the ecomodder calculator a Prius
        (A=~2.2m^2, Cd=.25, Crr=.008, W=3100lbs) gets that mileage at ~50mph
        so that checks out. Using those figures for the Prius in the
        ecomodder calculator results in it needing more than twice as much
        energy at ~50mph (HWFET) than it does at ~15mph (JC08). Granted,
        there are several stops in the JC08, so those need to be factored in
        (4 ~18mph and 4 ~36mph stops, both tests have the higher speed stop
        from ~50+mph), but once all is said and done ~450Wh/mile from the
        plug is consistent w/ the info from Toyota as well as other parties
        (Video I linked earlier).

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/epadata/10data.zip
        www.dieselnet.com/standards/cycles/hwfet.html
      • 2 Years Ago
      how far can you go on a charge?
      • 5 Years Ago
      it all depends specifically on the miles per trip before you can recharge.
      For my situation, converting my 2004 to a 6kw pack is going to be better (for me) than a Volt (*** if the Volt gets less than 40 mpg after the intial 40mile EV range). I have several + 500mile days where the Volt over the course of the year wouldnt be as good for me as a converted Prius. Plus not only is it better for me than the Volt, it is better for me than Toyota's 13mi range plugin Prius.
      I love both the Volt and Prius. but it all depends on your miles per trip before you can recharge.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I don't understand why people are throwing fits about lower range and EV only mode at lower speeds, it's pretty much the only cost effective method of plug-in hybridization given gas at current prices. Using electricity at higher speeds is pretty much the same cost per mile as gasoline due to higher engine efficiency at higher loads, so the advantage is mostly using it in the city instead of starting the engine, letting it warm up and light off the emissions system, and so on. Since 75% of trips are less than 15 miles, it's also suitable for most people. Chevy should be able to carve out a chunk of the market for themselves, primarily one car families w/ ~30-40 miles commutes who want to go mostly electric and are willing to pay a premium, however Toyota will probably gain a larger chunk of the market w/ their PHEV because it'll probably be a lot cheaper, get better gas mileage, and still displace a lot of gasoline.

      http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/images/facts/fotw612.gif
        • 5 Years Ago
        (This was the same as my other reply to your two identical comments, but included it if it was easier to read/remember here.)

        Sure I can assume ~450Wh/mile. All the video does is corroborate what
        Toyota has already said. When they released initial specs they stated
        that it needed ~250Wh/mile from the plug on the JC08, which is at an
        average speed of ~15mph.

        http://priuschat.com/news/toyota-officially-introduces-prius-plug-in-phv-hybrid

        http://www.dieselnet.com/standards/cycles/jp_jc08.html

        The stock 2010 Prius pulls ~70mpg on the unadjusted (Adjusted is
        ~50mpg due to higher speeds, AC use, and so on) HWFET with an average
        speed of ~48mph, and according to the ecomodder calculator a Prius
        (A=~2.2m^2, Cd=.25, Crr=.008, W=3100lbs) gets that mileage at ~50mph
        so that checks out. Using those figures for the Prius in the
        ecomodder calculator results in it needing more than twice as much
        energy at ~50mph (HWFET) than it does at ~15mph (JC08). Granted,
        there are several stops in the JC08, so those need to be factored in
        (4 ~18mph and 4 ~36mph stops, both tests have the higher speed stop
        from ~50+mph), but once all is said and done ~450Wh/mile from the
        plug is consistent w/ the info from Toyota as well as other parties
        (Video I linked earlier).

        http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/epadata/10data.zip

        www.dieselnet.com/standards/cycles/hwfet.html

        P.S. I also DP'ed one of these. ;)
        • 5 Years Ago
        You hit the nail on the head!

        Battery is expensive and it has limited energy so use it in City short trips. Gasoline has a lot of energy so use it for long trips at high speed. Battery can be used on the highway to assist as well.

        This is synergy.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "Using electricity at higher speeds is pretty much the same cost per mile as gasoline due to higher engine efficiency at higher loads"

        That was grossly inaccurate!

        Electricity efficiency in an EV motor is pretty linear... as in always pretty high (85% - 95%). AC Induction motors do NOT become significantly less efficient at highway speeds.

        Gas/diesel engines increase in efficiency greatly depending on load, true. But it ranges from 20% - 35%, maybe up to 47% which approaches the thermodynamic limit of heat engines.

        *all this ignores the exponentially increasing drag of air because it affects both EVs and gas cars equally.

        -----------------------

        Your mistake (and many others) is comparing the RATIO of inefficiency of higher speeds compared to overall inefficiency. For an EV, the car is so damn efficient that it only SEEMS like high speed losses are huge because high speed (air drag) makes up nearly all of the energy lost.

        It is an illusion.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know where you got your numbers... and that video you linked is terrible ( a guy with a handheld camcorder trying to focus on a display, shaking, blurry, and it was of a modified Prius that had aftermarket hacks to let it stay in EV mode for higher speeds) the video only showed instant power consumption based on whether the driver was acceleration, decelerating, uphill, downhill... you cannot assume 450wh/mile!

        -----------------------------------

        Now for some real numbers:

        Assuming you're right about a Prius gas engine getting 50 mpg @60 mph (Which the EPA gives the 2010 Prius a hwy rating of 48 mpg)

        http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/specs.html

        Any car with the weight (3042 lbs) and Cd (0.25) of the Prius can expect to cruise at 60 mph using 11.23 horsepower on a flat road. And at according to http://ecomodder.com/forum/tool-aero-rolling-resistance.php
        that car would do almost EXACTLY 50 mpg @ 60 mph (50.26)

        So you were right about that. Gas engines ARE very efficient at 60 mph.

        But guess what... 11.23 hp = 8.3741 Kilowatts of power
        http://www.americanmachinist.com/Calculators/HorseToKilo.aspx

        The equation is 8.3741 Kilowatts = 60 miles / hour
        So carry over the hour to the other side... that's 8.3741 Kilowatts-hours = 60 miles
        divide both sides by 60...
        0.1395684 kwh per mile
        or
        140 wh / mile

        NOT 450!!!

        It makes sense when you think about it. Since EVs generally get less than 200 wh / mile or more than 5 miles per kwh when cruising.

        -----

        Now lets do your cost analysis over again.

        @ 10 cents / kwh.. that is only 1.4 cents per mile when running in EV mode (if the EV is capable of that speed) compared to your 5 cents per mile using gasoline.

        Gasoline engines may be Most efficient at highway speeds.. but that "most" is still only about 22% efficient. While electric motors are typically 4 times more efficient.. and 4 times cheaper.

        That's why I called your first statement "grossly inaccurate"... cause it was.
      • 5 Years Ago
      It is so exciting to see development in the plug in hybrid market. Similarly, Mississippi State University engineering students are working on a plug-in hybrid SUV. I think you would find it quite interesting. For more information, you can go to http://ecocar.msstate.edu
      • 5 Years Ago
      3 hours of charging on a 110V outlet means it has less than 5kWh of battery capacity. The EV-only range will not be spectacular.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I'm just not interested in what figures Toyota marketing feels they should throw at me. I'm more trying to get a handle from real, un-spun data.

        Marketing tells me the "maximum", I want to know the real. Marketing tells me this can be used in EV mode up to 64mph, I want to know how long it takes to get there, because I strongly suspect it's too slow for many uses.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @Why not

        The data is plain to see.

        http://green.autoblog.com/2009/12/14/toyota-officially-launches-plug-in-prius-program-retail-sales-i/

        Look at the specs! I will convert metric for you.

        1,490 kg = 3,285 lbs

        6.57 km/kWh = 4.08 miles/kwh

        5.2 kWh battery from panasonic
        assuming 70% cycle depth of discharge... 3.64 kwh usable

        3,200 pound EVs has been known and tested to get well above 4 miles/kwh... so 4.08 is reasonable.

        4.08 x 3.64 = 14.85 miles per charge

        The only assumption, or "unknown" factor is the "usable kwh". Hopefully, ABG will ask the engineers that question too.
        • 5 Years Ago
        "The newest PHEV Priuses have a maximum all-electric range of around 13-14 miles..."
        • 5 Years Ago
        mapoftazifosho:
        No, I'm not just swallowing GM's line. But the construction of the Volt means it should be able to be a fully-functional EV (since it is a series hybrid). It also will reduce gas-mode mpg.

        But if I can go 40 miles a day on electricity only, I'm interested. Too bad about the stupid touch panel center stack.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Yet you would simply listen to what GM is doing with the VOLT like it's total fact. 230mpg...OMG REALLYZ?

        GM has the engineering expertise, but they clearly don't have the volume hybrid expertise of Toyota. Nor do they have the quality thing buttoned up, despite what they may claim...

        With they way people talk about the VOLT, you'd think GM has been building reliable hybrids for years...

        Oh yeah, GM was too busy building the Hummer brand ten years ago...


        • 5 Years Ago
        "Yet you would simply listen to what GM is doing with the VOLT like it's total fact. 230mpg...OMG REALLYZ?"

        Show me any post on ABG, by anyone, that bought that claim hook line and sinker. You're looking for an argument where one doesn't exist.
      • 5 Years Ago
      While I'm a little disappointed in the performance numbers purported by Toyota, I do get a warm and fuzzy feeling just by seeing a MAJOR player (Toyota) with a formal "plug-in hybrid" logo on its automobile.

      It reinforces that, while we have a ways to go, we are on our way to ridding ourselves of oil industry vermin.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sure.. but it's kinda like Ferrari releasing a new F430 but it comes with skinny 13 inch wheels that you can't replace. A half-baked car from a company that you KNOW can do better... know what i'm saying?

      • 5 Years Ago
      This is good news, and this car is a direct competitor to the Chevy Volt. I would hope that Toyota could build this car for general retail sooner, but they have been bitten, so I'm sure they will be cautious and conservative...

      BTW, any word on *how* one would get to own one of these prototypes?

      Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        Also, the battery pack is all recyclable -- and since it allows the car to be more efficient (the electric drive motor is ~90% efficient vs ~10-20% of a gasoline engine) and you can regain some of the energy using regenerative braking, a battery pack is "better" weight to have, IMO.

        The battery packs in full BEV's now weigh 300-400 pounds. How much do the Hummer's tires weigh? How about it's larger fuel tank? What is half of the engine weight?

        Sincerely, Neil
        • 5 Years Ago
        No, Ivanrad, the funny thing is how you and others keep quoting a completely discredited report. Fact is, it consumes resources to produce any vehicle and the larger the vehicle the more resources are consumed. Since the typical Hummer is larger and nearly twice the weight of the Prius, it takes more resources to make a Hummer, then it compounds that by consuming 5x more fuel per mile driven.

        What is this "1 ton lithium battery" that you are referring to? The LiIon battery in the Prius is just 220 pounds, which is quite a bit less than two thousand pounds.
        • 5 Years Ago
        The funniest part about how excited both of you are is the fact that building this prius consumes for "ecological" resources to build the thing... than driving a hummer for 10 years.. I mean i would just buy a petrol lexus for all i care it would be more eco friendly than this 1 ton lithium battery.
        http://gadgetopia.com/post/6396
      • 5 Years Ago
      Electricity displacing gasoline 70-80% is a really big deal. Remember, it doesn't have to be black and white (displace all or nothing).
      • 5 Years Ago
      I think it might also depend on the market. In the UK I'd *probably* be happy with a real world electric range of 20 miles in a plug-in, if it saved a decent amount of money on the cost of the car. At this point though it looks like Nissan might have the whole thing wrapped up, maybe I'll just get a Leaf as I only want a commuter car anyway.
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