Back in June 2015, Toyota ended production of the Prius Plug-In, primarily due to the fact that it had a disappointingly low EV range of just 11 miles, which was far from enough for most commuters.
But, the Japanese automaker didn’t give up on plug-in hybrids entirely, and continued working on improving the technology in order to extend the range of its plug-in vehicles. Toyota has been hinting that it plans to introduce another plug-in car, and it finally unveiled it at the 2016 New York Auto Show.
Plug-In Prius Prime Among the Highlights of the Show
In addition to the new-generation Highlander SUV and the 2017 Toyota 86, Toyota also uncovered the second-generation of the Prius plug-in hybrid at the New York show. The new Prius PHEV is called “Prime”, which means “best”, reflecting the superior technology that the car employs and the fact that it is the “most technologically advanced” Prius ever.
The most distinctive quality of the 2017 Prius Prime will probably be the 22-mile all-electric range, which means that it will be able to cover twice the distance the first generation Prius plug-in could cover before having to use the gasoline-powered engine.
Toyota’s group vice president, Bill Fay, says the EV range of the new Prime is sufficient to meet the needs of most American commuters. According to Fay, with a range of 22 miles per charge, over 50% of commuters can go to work and get back home without ever activating the gasoline engine.
On top of the extended range, the new Prius plug-in is also faster than its predecessor, able to achieve a top speed of 84 mph in EV mode.
The Prime’s powertrain consists of a gasoline engine and an electric motor, for a total driving range of about 600 miles on one full tank of gasoline and a full electric charge, Toyota claims. Electricity is stored in an 8.8-kWh battery, significantly larger than the battery of the first generation plug-in, with regenerative braking technology helping to recapture some of the energy that is lost while braking and further improving gas mileage.
The battery can be fully recharged in 5.5 hours when using a 120-Volt outlet, with the recharge time dropping to just two hours if it is plugged into a 240-Volt outlet.
While the improved fuel economy was perhaps the most strongly underlined aspect of the new Prius at its world premiere in New York, the car’s interior and the abundance of high-tech features will also help set it apart from the competition.
Toyota says that the second-generation Prius plug-in is equipped with a centrally-mounted instrument panel that features dual 4.2-inch TFT information displays, that can be controlled via steering-wheel-mounted buttons.
What’s more, there is an available Entune multimedia system that features an 11.6-inch HD tablet display, providing navigation services and traffic information.
The 2017 Prius Prime is set to go on sale in late 2016, and Toyota states that it will be available in all 50 U.S. states.