Toyota has introduced the Prius Plug-in Hybrid in Japan. As its name suggests, this is the plug-in version of the third-generation Prius. Other than the ability to recharge via an external source, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) uses lithium-ion batteries, a first for hybrid champ Toyota.
The 5.2 kWh Li-ion battery pack replaces the standard Prius’s nickel metal hydride unit. Battery capacity has been expanded and Toyota claims that the PHV can move in battery only EV mode for longer distances (23 km) compared to the current Prius. Max speed in EV mode is also up from about 45 km/h to 100 km/h. The official average fuel consumption is 57 km/l in the Japanese test cycle.
Other than the battery and charging system, the THS II system is as before, which means there’s a 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle engine with 98 bhp and 142 Nm of torque supplemented by a 81 bhp/207 Nm permanent magnet motor under the hood. Charging time is 180 minutes for 100V current and 100 minutes for 200V.
The PHVs will be leased to Japan’s governments, corporations, universities and research agencies while Toyota collects real-world driving data for the development of battery-charging infrastructure. About 600 units will be introduced in Japan, USA and Europe over the first half of 2010. Showroom sales will begin two years from now.
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