Toyota’s original Prius Plug-in was the first plug-in hybrid vehicle on the market. Now Toyota has moved the technology forward and its second generation model can cover double the distance – more than 30 miles – and achieve much higher speeds in all-electric, emissions-free driving.
A solar roof
Prius Plug-in also has a number of new technologies that increase efficiency, performance and practicality, helping to boost the model’s all-round appeal.
Technological breakthroughs include a Dual Motor EV drive system and a Battery Warming system, plus two world firsts: an EV range-extending solar roof and gas-injection heat pump air conditioning.
Dual Motor Drive System
Prius Plug-in is equipped with a Dual Motor Drive System, increasing EV power by around 83%.
A highly compact, one-way gear within the transaxle enables the hybrid system generator to act as a second electric motor. This boosts EV driving power, giving better acceleration, more engaging performance and a higher maximum EV speed of 84mph.
Improved battery and faster charging
The large-capacity lithium-ion battery, located under the rear load space, is largely responsible for the new Prius Plug-in’s increased EV driving range. Its capacity has been doubled from 4.4 to 8.8kW/h, yet its volume has only increased by two-thirds – from 87 to 145 litres.
During charging, a new battery warming system will bring the cells up to an efficient working temperature, even when external temperatures drop as low as -20°C. This ensures battery power and efficiency are maintained at a sufficient level to minimise the impact of cold weather on the EV driving range, with full power available from start-off.
The increase in maximum power from 2.0 to 3.3kW means the battery can be fully charged up to 65% more quickly – in two hours when using the Type II Mode III Mennekes connector, or three hours 10 minutes using a standard household plug socket.
Gas-injection heat pump air con
A new gas-injection heat pump powers the air conditioning, helping to improve Prius Plug-in’s efficiency. It can heat the cabin without starting the engine, even when outside temperatures are at -10°C, minimising the impact on fuel consumption and EV driving range.
Back to that solar roof…
Developing a technology first seen on the Toyota Auris HSD concept in 2010, the roof can be fitted with a large solar panel to generate electricity to charge the hybrid battery. When the vehicle is parked (but not plugged in to a charging socket), the solar roof charges an intermediate solar battery. When this is fully charged, it will deliver a pumping charge to the main hybrid battery.
UK model range and pricing
The new Prius Plug-in is available in the UK in two specifications – Business Edition Plus and Excel.
Toyota Safety Sense will be standard on both versions, including the Pre-Collision System with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Alert with steering control, Adaptive Cruise Control and Road Sign Assist. Additional safety features include a Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert.
Comfort and convenience items include dual-zone automatic air conditioning, rear passenger footwell heating and Smart Entry and Start.