Prius Going Plug-In In Two Years
There has been a lot of excitement over the recent news that the Toyota Prius will be available as a "plug in" come 2011. With the Chevy Volt expected to make plenty of headlines next year, Toyota felt it had to make a stand rather than sit idly by. The Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) reportedly will also be offered at a lower base price than the Volt, which could make for an interesting second full year for the Chevy vehicle. Neither model is even on the road yet and the competition is already fierce. The "plug in" Prius will include an external charging function and more batteries to allow for a longer distance on electricity. The popularity of plug-in hybrids has grown to the point where converting a regular hybrid into being "plug-in capable" has seen a lot of activity, especially on the aftermarket, where conversion kits can be found for a wide range of vehicles. Toyota Executive VP and designer of the Prius, made it a point to acknowledge that was a factor in determining the asking price for the PHV when it arrives. "Nowadays in the United States, they sell aftermarket kits for about one million yen ($11,260) to convert a hybrid car into a plug-in, he said. "Of course, we would have to do much better than that as a mass producer." The Toyota Prius PHEV is certain to be a huge seller for the Japanese auto giant. It runs on lithium-ion batteries, which are more expensive than the typical nickel-metal hydride batteries used in most gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles but store more energy. It can reach a top speed of 62 miles per hour on the electric motor and gets about 134 miles per gallon using both EV and hybrid power. It will also take a full charge in 100 minutes at 200 volts or around three hours at 100 volts. This is sure to be a news item as we get closer and closer to the spring. Toyota is going to begin leasing out PHEV Prius models to various businesses in the US, Japan, France, and other parts of Europe. More sneak peeks, test drives, and rumors will start flying. But it is abundantly clear that we are entering an age where people will be dangling extension cords out their windows in order to have their cars ready to hit the road.