Toyota describes the plug-in hybrid as the “greenest, most technically advanced Prius yet,” and with an electric-only driving range of 14.3 miles, fuel consumption targeted at 112 miles per gallon equivalent and CO2 emissions listed at 49 grams per kilometer, we’re inclined to agree with the Japanese automaker’s bluster.
Unlike currently available Prius hatchbacks, the plug-in version is rechargeable using an electrical connection, rather than only from electricity generated while the vehicle is in motion. Toyota says that after the Prius Plug-in’s 4.4-kWh lithium-ion battery pack is depleted, the vehicle seamlessly switches to hybrid mode. The Prius Plug-in can be fully recharged in less than 1.5 hours.
On the performance front, the plug-in Prius cranks out 134 horsepower, which Toyota says is sufficient to propel the hybrid hatch from nought to 62 miles per hour in a leisurely 10.7 seconds and onward to a top speed of 112 mph.
Toyota says sales of the Prius Plug-in will start in early 2012 – mainly in Japan, the U.S and Europe – and anticipates annual volume of 50,000 units. The Japanese automaker has yet to announce pricing for the 2012 plug-in, but some reports claim the automaker is targeting a sub-$30,000 price tag.
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