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

Toyota has been showing off its plug-in hybrid Prius since it debuted in concept form at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show. The Japanese automaker is getting ready to deliver the 2012 production version, and we just found out that it will have some significant changes over the prototype versions we've seen so far.

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle boasts two unique features; a selectable EV driving mode, and the ability to apply recaptured energy to the electric-only driving range.

The selectable EV driving mode will be quite useful for trips requiring the use of a highway or that cover longer distances than simple in-town errand running. This will allow Prius PHEV drivers to conserve energy for electric-only jaunts. A button will allow you to turn the EV mode on or off.

Any run-of-the-mill Prius hybrid uses regeneration to replenish the battery. In the protoptye PHEVs, no more energy can be recaptured and stored for later use than the regular non-plug-in model. That means there was no way to extend EV-only range without plugging back in. On the production version of the Prius PHEV, the car will be able to take advantage of that regenerated energy, and extend the time the car can spend in EV mode.




[Source: ConsumerSearch]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 15 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Sadly, I'm not able to afford such a modern marvel. I just bought a Daihatsu Move here in Japan that's a small "K" sized car - which is perfect for most situations - and it has idle-stop technology. It has all-wheel-drive, a built-in navigation, auto-a/c, etc. and was only $15k all in versus around $30k all-in for a similarly outfitted 2012 Prius. If I ever move back to the US I will most likely not purchase a vehicle but instead opt to lease.
        savagemike
        • 3 Years Ago
        The common thought is that americans won't buy/drive such small cars. To prove it they bring one here about every ten years fitted with the worst/most-inefficient engine possible - which often does not better than a couple mpg than other vehicles much larger. Perhaps even saddle it with some horrible transmission or something. Then - when sales don't take off - assure themselves and everyone else that we still don't want small cars here.
          2 Wheeled Menace
          • 3 Years Ago
          @savagemike
          Yup. Very common with the European makes actually. Examples: SMART car with the worst engine + worst transmission.. VW Beetle / Golf with the lackluster 2.5 liter engines. BMWs with no 4 cylinder motors ( used to be commonplace until the 90's ) Toyota Yaris without the efficient and small 1.3L dual vvt-i.. I could go on.
      • 3 Years Ago
      It doesn't have to be downhill on one stretch, and also braking will recharge the battery: 'Part two of the story is that the production plug-in's battery regeneration capabilities will let you put charge back into the electric-only range. The current Prius PHV prototypes only allow battery regeneration to the same degree as a regular, non-plug-in Prius. Once you run your EV-mode range down to zero, braking, going downhill, etc. will regenerate power as in a standard Prius, but the system can't build your EV-only range back up. For that, you need to plug the car in (a full recharge takes three hours on a standard 110V household circuit and gives you 13 miles or so of EV range). Plugging in will still obviously be the fastest way to replenish the battery on the production Prius PHV, but its drivers will get a bonus: the car's regeneration capabilities will allow them to put range back into the EV mode. So, if you're driving along and get some nice downhill sections where you can coast and/or leverage the engine braking feature of the transmission, you'll actually be able to regenerate power to build up or extend your EV range beyond the nominal amount you get when the battery is discharged to the regular Prius level. The prototypes can't do that, so this is significant.' http://www.consumersearch.com/blog/2012-toyota-prius-phv-to-get-selectable-ev-mode-full-battery-regeneration
      • 3 Years Ago
      Misubishi is also coming in with a PHEV based on the ASX crossover next year rather than the larger Outlander which is now delayed to 2013: 'Mitsubishi said the concept had a range of 50km on battery power before a 1.6-litre petrol engine kicked in to generate electricity for longer journeys. Although powering the front wheels in normal driving, the PX-MiEV can switch to all-wheel drive by powering an electric motor on the rear axle when wheel slip is detected. ' http://www.nzherald.co.nz/motoring/news/article.cfm?c_id=9&objectid=10732003 If they can keep the price down that will be one heck of an alternative to the Prius PHEV, with more EV range to boot as well as the looks and build of a mini SUV
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 3 Years Ago
      Shoot, it better have EV driving mode. I'm glad they figured out how to regen to the main battery. Would be silly otherwise.
      Edge
      • 3 Years Ago
      When I heard the proto-type models did not have the regen, I was really concerned the production models would not have it. Nice to see that Toyota has added that back in. Range is expected to be 7 to 15km, but at only a cost of about $3,000 over the current Prius!
        usbseawolf2000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Edge
        The prototype could regen but only up to 1/3 of the total pack. That 1/3 is still 2x more than what the cordless model could store. This news said the production can recharge the PHV pack back to full if you have a 14 miles long downhill.
      • 3 Years Ago
      These seemingly minor mods will make the PHEV Prius 'good enough' for many, especially as the provision of charging stations at work gets more common.
      markkiernan
      • 3 Years Ago
      13 miles is not much but it could be enough (along with the price) to put me off buying a Leaf.
      Spec
      • 3 Years Ago
      Considering that the way the tax-credit law is written, (the tax-credit pays for most of the cost of the battery up to 16KWH), I don't understand why Toyota doesn't take advantage of it and increase the battery size. The tax credit pays something like $420/KWH up to 16KWH.
        savagemike
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Tax credits can come and go - sometimes at a whim. Engineering and tooling take a lot of planning, money and time.
        usbseawolf2000
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Because it wouldn't be practical otherwise. Everything needs to be considered, not just the battery capacity. It has to be easy for repairs, affordable, not compromise interior room, no MPG penalty due to the extra weight, no extra tailpipe emission, etc... The tax credit starts to fade after 200k vehicles. Perhaps Toyota plan to sell more than that?
      Marco Polo
      • 3 Years Ago
      Promising upgrades to the world most popular Hybrid. The Lexus CT 200 Hybrid is rumoured to upgrade in 2012 with the same technology.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        please cite your source...
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