Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) began taking orders through Toyota dealers in Japan for the Prius plug-in hybrid, a gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle that can be charged using a household electric outlet.
Toyota is targeting Prius PHV (plug-in hybrid) sales of 35,000 to 40,000 a year in Japan, and 60,000 globally. The car is set for delivery in Japan on January 30, 2012. With subsidies the cost comes down to 2.75 million yen ($35,200).
The Prius PHV starts at $32,000 in the U.S. and 37,000 euros in Europe.
With its new high-capacity lithium-ion battery fully charged, the Prius PHV’s EV-mode cruising range is 26.4 km (16.4 miles), and PHV fuel efficiency is 61.0 km/L (143 mpg US, 1.64 L/100km), calculated from combined EV and HV driving modes.
The vehicle’s electric power consumption rate is 8.74 km/kWh. All cruising range and fuel efficiency figures here are based on the JC08 Japanese test cycle and verified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan (MLIT).
To help provide more enjoyable and eco-conscious use of the Prius PHV, the vehicle comes standard with a new service called PHV Drive Support, which is centered on a function that connects the vehicle and owner via the Internet. Five types of services are packaged and provided free of charge to Prius PHV owners for three years. These include a service that enables remote checking through smartphones of remaining battery power and charging station locations, and allows free use of chargers (G-Station) installed at Toyota dealers and other locations.
The Prius PHV features the Toyota Hybrid System II (1.8-liter gasoline engine, electric motor and reduction gear) coupled with a high capacity, new 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery to significantly improve EV driving performance (cruising range, power and maximum speed). Furthermore, high-efficiency energy recovery has been achieved through an increase in the amount of regenerated electricity, resulting in longer EV range and better fuel efficiency. The vehicle is also equipped with a high-efficiency on-board charger capable of charging to full in approximately 90 minutes at AC 200 V (180 minutes at AC 100 V).
Improvements in system efficiency, a reduction in body weight, and the adoption of low rolling-resistance tires have resulted in an electric power consumption rate of 8.74 km/kWh. When fully charged, the Prius PHV’s EV range is 3 km longer (approximately 13% better) than the 23.4 km achieved by its forebear.
Prius PHV fuel efficiency is 61.0 km/L, calculated from combined EV and HV driving modes, with only 38 g/km of CO2 emissions. The HV mode fuel efficiency, after the battery has been depleted, still maintains an efficiency of 31.6 km/L (74.3 mpg US, 3.16 L/100km).
The power generated by the new high-capacity lithium-ion battery enables a highly responsive and nimble drive that shows no effect of the approximately 50 kg weight increase from the base Prius.
The EV mode can be maintained up to 100 km/h (62 mph). When battery power depletes beyond a certain level, the vehicle transitions to HV mode.
Sound-absorbing and soundproofing materials for reducing road and engine noise have been optimally positioned, and measures have also been implemented to reduce wind noise, achieving superbly quiet operation.
In addition to the standard drive mode, the driver is able to select a number of other modes including Eco Drive Mode, Power Mode. This, in addition to the EV and HV modes, give the driver the freedom to choose the most appropriate driving style for any given situation
To support enjoyable and eco-conscious use of the Prius PHV, the Prius PHV comes standard with PHV Drive Support, which packages the following five services and is provided free of charge to all Prius PHV owners for three years:
– Owner’s navigator: A service used through a smartphone, tablet PC or personal computer, to support learning of how to effectively use the vehicle.
– eConnect: Allows the user to check, with a smartphone, vehicle status (battery power and EV range) and locations of nearby charging stations via the Toyota Smart Center (TSC). This service also provides ESPO, an eco-drive support system that displays user fuel-efficiency records and comparisons to other Prius PHVs in Japan. Additionally, a maker-optional navigation system enables remote operation through smartphones of the vehicle’s air conditioner and charging system.
– Toyota Friend: A proprietary social networking service that provides charging and service reminders via “tweet”-like alerts. It also enables communication amongst Prius PHV users.
– Battery care and checking: Based on battery usage information sent to the Toyota Smart Center, dealers can provide Prius PHV users with advice on how to better use the vehicle’s battery.
– Charging service: Prius PHV users can use charging stations (G-Station) installed at Toyota dealers in Japan free of charge for an hour.
TMC is aware that managing household supply and demand of electricity will be important to help electric vehicles, including the Prius PHV, gain widespread use. To this end, TMC has been developing products for safe and efficient charging. Toyota Housing Corporation, a group company, will start sales of charging outlets, wall-mounted chargers and pole-type chargers for home use in January 2012. It will also launch the “H2V Manager” next January, a tool to support home-based charging that optimally controls the charging of vehicles based on the home’s electricity consumption.