Toyota's new 47km/l Prius Plug-in

2012-04-10 14:54

Toyota's latest addition to the Prius family will see a range-extending Plug-in model launched in 2012.
The Prius Plug-in mates a full hybrid power train to a rechargeable 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery to cover greater distances and reach higher speeds on battery power. Unlike other all-electric vehicles, once the charge in the battery is depleted the car switches to its hybrid system, so drivers won't have to worry too much about long distances.

A full charge using an external alternating current outlet takes 2.5 to three hours from a standard North American 120V 15A household outlet or 1.5 hours using a standard European 230V household outlet. According to Toyota, the all-electric range varies from 16-24km on a full charge depending on acceleration, braking, road and vehicle conditions.


The hybrid system includes a 1.8 petrol engine capable of  73kW at 5200rpm and 142Nm at 4000 rpm. The petrol unit is mated to two electric motors; 60kW and 42kW.

The Plug-in accelerates to 100km/h in 10.7sec and reaches a top speed of 180km/h while the maximum speed in electric mode is 100km/h.
Fuel consumption is rated at 2.1 litres/100 km and its has CO2 emissions rating of 49g/km.

Drivers can recharge the battery using a power point linked to a standard domestic or workplace supply. The new model comes with a charging cable set as standard, including five metres of cable stowed in the boot.

Standard kit includes diode headlights, touchscreen with satnav and voice recognition, rearview camera, Bluetooth and rain-sensing wipers as well as cruise control.

Passengers will have heatable front seats and leather steering wheel trim.

Optional extras include black leather upholstery and rear privacy glass, a "protection pack" (rear parking sensors and boot liner) and a "style pack" (exterior chromed elements).

Four exterior colours make up the palette for Prius Plug-in, led by Sky Blue (metallic), a new shade exclusive to the model.

Will the new model arrive in South Africa? We've asked Toyota SA for comment but they have yet to respond...

  • Philip - 2012-04-10 15:13

    16 - 24 km ?? what's the point .... can't even get to work on a full charge !!

      christo.stone - 2012-04-10 15:28

      I'll get to work, but won't get back on battery only. Still 2.1l/100km is damn awesome!

      francois.faber - 2012-04-10 15:29

      yea, is that maybe a typo ?

      Ernst - 2012-04-10 16:05

      @Phillip: Phillip, this is a plugin hybrid, not a fully electric car. This car has a petrol engine when long distances are to be travelled. For short distances, the car can use electricity without engaging the petrol engine.

      Sharon - 2012-04-11 08:34

      Philip, it makes great sense. The most inefficient usage of a car's fuel is during stop start traffic, i.e. distance travelled versus fuel used. It makes sense to have the main gas guzzling engine off and electric motor takes over during traffic jams, this is a far better solution than having only a petrol engine which can be switched off when in traffic, problem with this singular approach is that the air-conditioner also stops, this isn't a problem in countries where climates are temperate, but in the tropics ?....

  • phathuchicos - 2012-04-10 15:52

    2.1 litres of gasoline...wow. that beats VW passat bluemotion's 3.4 litres record on a production car. can't wait.

      raath - 2012-04-13 11:34

      The Passat isn't a hybrid... The VW XL1 concept does 0.9l/100km. But I must admit, both the Prius and the XL1 have ugly rear-ends.

  • martin.coetzee - 2012-04-10 19:05

    It's awesome! I'm taking the leap, I've ordered a new Auris HSD (Hybrid) from toyota, and expected delivery is end of month. Petrol prices is getting to expensive, and I have to look for alternatives.

      Thando - 2012-04-11 07:59

      Please let us know after a few months what your experience is with the HSD

      Sharon - 2012-04-11 08:41

      I too will jump on that wagon. My concern is that if tax revenues decrease from fuel due to electric cars, will the government then impose a green tax on fuel efficient cars to make up the deficit ?. Greed is a insatiable vice which knows no bounds. Corrupticians and Banksters anyone....

  • Rob - 2012-04-10 22:07

    I wonder how green it really is - batteries with heavy metals, high CO2 from coal fired electricity in SA... Let's ask Toyota SA and see if they reply - what is the CO2 per km in SA including production figures and how does this compare to other cars?

      Ebon - 2012-04-11 09:37

      @Rob: Good question! It is a common misconception that hybrids are environmentally unfriendly due to the batteries and production costs. The initial "reports" that created this misperception were created with malicious intent by unscrupulous business opponents and have subsequently being debunked as utter garbage. Sadly though, as with any urban legend, dispelling those myths is a lot harder than it is to create them in the first place, and those myths tend to stay alive for a lot longer than they should because people keep perpetuating them because they don't know any better. To put your mind at ease: Lithium is not a heavy metal. It is a rare earth metal. It has an atomic number of 3 making it the third least dense (heavy) element (in solid form) on the planet and 30 times less dense than lead (which is a heavy metal and found in most conventional car batteries). Of the total "lifetime" CO2 created by any vehicle, including production and disposal, typically 85-90% comes from operating the vehicle. Even if a Prius requires an extra 25% CO2 to produce and recycle than a conventional car (and I think a more realistic estimate is around 2-3%) saving 30% on fuel would result in a nett saving of 25%. Lastly, CO2 per KW/h from a coal power plant is approximately half of that from a car. So, overall the Prius is significantly greener than a regular car. Don't believe the pseudo intellectuals with zero scientific background who would try convince you otherwise.

      Koos - 2012-04-11 18:13

      I have a 2006 Prius, and my everage consumption to date is 4.8l/100km - more than 20 km to a litre. All city / suburban driving. This is just stunning for a super smooth comfortable automatic car that is actually quite powerful.

  • Afrikanerbul - 2012-04-11 09:08

    Who wants an expensive car like this? Petrol is much cheaper than Eskom rates. Lastly, how can it be "green" if you use coal to generate electricity to charge the car?

      Ebon - 2012-04-11 09:52

      You are making some pretty ridiculous and unsubstantiated claims here Afrikanerbul You pay about R1 per KWh from eskom. The Prius can be charged to 4.4 KWh (lets say using 5KWh of electricity to take into account losses). So that is R5 to get 16-24km. I think that even in a fairly efficient car of similar size to a prius, that would require about 1.5 liters of petrol. Petrol costs about R11.77 per liter, so that is about R18 of petrol. The reason it is considered "green" is that the electricity used to charge it creates a lot less (about half) of the CO2 than a conventional alternative would. While it is great to moan about the fact that a plug-in hybrid still produces CO2, the fact is that there is no better alternative (aside from walking or riding a bicycle) at present. Until a more sustainable, "greener" alternative comes along, I say it's better to stick with the lesser evil.

      Ernst - 2012-04-11 10:29

      @Afrkanerbul: You forget that refining oil, extracting and transpoting it to filling stations produces alot of greenhouse gas emissions. So "charging" your petrol/diesel car by filling it up is a dirty process.

      Ebon - 2012-04-11 13:58

      Another point to remember about charging cars from the electricity grid is that, if done correctly, it can be done at practically zero environmental cost whatsoever. One of the problems with a grid powered by coal power stations is that it has environmental cost associated with peak demand rather than average demand. You can't just switch a coal station on or off. It takes 8 hours just to move it from low to high power output. So whenever the electricity grid is not being used, that electricity simply goes to waste. If car chargers have intelligence built into them such that Eskom can switch them on to charge cars at times when the grid has a low power demand (for example late at night, early hours of the morning), Eskom can charge cars with electricity that would otherwise have gone to waste, meaning that the car creates no additional CO2 output. On it's own a plug-in hybrid might not seem to make that big an environmental difference but as part of a larger demand side management programme it can contribute significantly towards a more efficient total energy solution.

  • Phoenix - 2012-04-11 16:56

    Who cares? This is not for people who enjoy drivers cars or have a passion for driving. Boring, boring , boring.

      Ernst - 2012-04-11 17:51

      @Phoenix: What makes you think electric cars arent fun to drive? Have you driven one?

      Ernst - 2012-04-11 18:06

      @Phoenix: Who cares? Well people with money will always buy the same cars i.e. ferrari, porche, merc etc. For me, that is predictable and boring.

      Koos - 2012-04-11 18:18

      You should actually drive one. A super smooth auto (CVT) and quite powerful due to low rev torque of the electric engine. Not to mention my 4.8l/100 average to date... If you still find this boring, then I suppose you will find 90% of the cars on our roads also boring...

      wesleywt - 2012-04-12 06:08

      This car is for people who don't want to waste R12 a litre rushing from one red light to the other. If you enjoy driving, get on the open road on the weekend and go to small interesting town.

  • Shaun - 2012-04-11 21:34

    When we get to the stage of feeding into the grid you can have zero CO2 electricity. Here is a homebrew example from the US. http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.aprs.org%2FAPRS-SPHEV.html&h=RAQE-rx5j

      Ebon - 2012-04-12 17:23

      There are many paths to achieving zero CO2 electricity. The one thing they all have in common is that they are expensive. Sadly, as a collective, humanity is too stupid to consider the long term impact of converting our fossil fuel supply into CO2. We are far more concerned about the short term costs and saving a bit of money now. I am doubtful that we will really curb our CO2 emissions, which requires stopping the use of fossil fuels, until those fuels either run out or become extremely expensive to mine. At that point using renewable CO2 neutral energy sources will become an economic viability and everyone will start to use it, even if by today's standards they are expensive. Necessity is, as they say, the mother of invention. Most people simply do not acknowledge the necessity of cutting down on CO2 emissions. But energy will remain a necessity long after we have expended the earth's fossil fuel supply.

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