At the annual Green Drive Expo last month, Toyota peeled back the sheets to unveil the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid, as the newest member of the Prius lineup of vehicles. It joins the popular third-generation Prius Liftback and the new Prius V, bringing together the benefits of the standard Prius model’s hybrid vehicle operation with extended electric vehicle (EV) driving and more affordable pricing than pure electric or range-extender type vehicles. True EV operation and performance will be available for up to 15 miles at speeds up to 62 mph. Quick home charging is achieved using a standard AC outlet and 15-amp dedicated circuit.
The 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid retains the Hybrid Synergy Drive of the standard Prius model and will seamlessly switch into hybrid operation at a pre-determined state of battery charge. A newly developed 4.4 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack replaces the standard Prius model’s nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery and fits under the rear cargo floor. A full charge takes approximately 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a 120V household outlet or 1.5 hours using a 240V outlet. The included 120V charging cable connects to the charging port inlet on the right-rear fender.
Leviton, an approved provider of Level 2 (240V) home charging stations, has developed a residential program exclusively tailored for Prius Plug-in customers. The program will include a one-stop solution for home charging stations, installation services for 120V and 240V applications, and dedicated support for Toyota customers. The program will also offer Level 2 (240V) 16-amp and 30-amp home charging stations designed exclusively for the Prius Plug-in (UL-certified, compact design, easy-to-use, and made in USA), industry-leading pricing for Level 2 (240V) with basic packages and a Toyota-dedicated e-commerce web portal with product information, order tracking, and other features. Customers can take advantage of Leviton’s special pricing starting this month.
The Hybrid Synergy Drive system in the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is essentially the same as the current third-generation Prius and new Prius v models. Using two high-output electric motors, one 60kW (80 hp) unit that mainly works to power the compact, lightweight transaxle, and another smaller motor that works as the electric power source for battery regeneration and as a starter for the gas engine. Hybrid Syndergy Drive is a series-parallel hybrid system that can provide power either from the engine alone, or the electric motor/generator alone, or any mix of both. Hybrid Synergy drive is built around a specially adapted, efficient 98-horsepower 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine that runs on the Atkinson cycle and contributes to a maximum of 134 total system horsepower.
The 2012 Prius Plug-in is among a number of Toyota models that offer the new Entune multimedia system. This innovative new system leverages mobile smartphones to provide a richer in-vehicle experience with fully integrated access to navigation, entertainment and information services.
Toyota Entune debuts the first-ever support of engaging mobile apps, such as Bing™, OpenTable®, and MovieTickets.com, along with accessing useful travel-related services, such as live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price,) stocks, and sports. Toyota Entune brings the largest selection of music options available to a vehicle, including iHeartRadio’s 750+ stations, and the Pandora® personalized music service.