Toyota was the first to bring a plug-in hybrid vehicle to the market with the original Prius Plug-in. Now it has moved the technology forward in a second generation model which can cover double the distance – more than 30 miles – and achieve much higher speeds in all-electric, emissions-free driving.
New Prius Plug-in is built on the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform as the standard, full hybrid Prius. Combined with specifically tuned suspension, this delivers much-improved handling dynamics and a more enjoyable and rewarding drive.
Prius Plug-in also benefits from a number of new technologies that increase efficiency, performance and practicality, significantly enhancing the model’s all-round appeal. Its 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 Toyota’s first hybrid powertrain to feature a Dual Motor Drive System, increasing EV power by around 83 per cent. 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 lithium-ion battery
The large-capacity lithium-ion battery, located under the rear load space, is fundamental to 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.
Faster battery charging
The increase in maximum power from 2.0 to 3.3kW means the battery can be fully charged up to 65 per cent 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 conditioning
A new gas-injection heat pump powers the air conditioning, a world-first technology that contributes to Prius Plug-in’s greater 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.
World-first EV range-extending solar panel 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.
Prius Plug-in’s striking, highly aerodynamic design builds on the classic Prius profile with dedicated styling elements that evoke the car’s advanced technologies. The daytime running lights and LED turn indicators are set vertically at the extreme edge of the front wings, while in profile Prius Plug-in is distinguished by its longer rear overhang, lower cowl and rear spoiler heights and model-specific, two-tone 15-inch alloy wheels, designed to provide extra brake cooling.
At the rear the cross-sectional shape of the “double-bubble” rear screen is carried into the curve of the rear spoiler. LED rear light clusters are integrated in the extremities of the spoiler and are another feature unique to Prius Plug-in.
In the cabin a revised layout provides two rear seats separated by a console unit, maximising space and comfort for passengers. The front seat design and clean, structural arrangement of the dashboard are shared with the standard Prius. The instrumentation includes a large, eight-inch infotainment screen with updated graphics and dual 4.2-inch TFT screens with PHV-specific displays.
Prius Plug-in: UK model range
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.
The Business Edition Plus specification includes the Toyota Touch 2 with Go touchscreen multimedia and navigation system, heated and auto-dimming door mirrors with an automatic retracting function, rear view camera, dusk-sensing LED headlights, colour head-up display, Bluetooth, six-speaker audio with DAB reception and heated front seats. The solar roof system can be specified as an option for the Business Edition Plus model.
Excel models extend the specification with rain-sensing wipers, Simple Intelligent Park Assist and front and rear parking sensors, a 10-speaker JBL premium audio system, voice recognition control for the Toyota Touch 2 multimedia and navigation system and leather upholstery.
Pricing and warranty
The new Prius Plug-in is on sale now, with the first customer deliveries scheduled from 1 March. On-the-road prices start at £34,895 for the Business Edition Plus model (£36,395 with the solar roof option) and rise to £37,095 for the Excel. Customers buying a new Prius Plug-in can take advantage of the UK Government’s plug-in car grant, which provides £2,500 towards the vehicle purchase cost.
In common with all new Toyota vehicles, Prius Plug-in is protected by a five-year/100,000-mile warranty.