2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Drive Report: The Invisible Plug-In?

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prototype 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, April 2010

prototype 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid, April 2010

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One of the nice things about being part of a larger network is access to other sites' content.

In this case, we're pleased to be able to point ACE readers toward a drive report of a prototype 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid from our sister site GreenCarReports.com.

The 2012 Prius Plug-In will be the first Toyota that uses grid power to recharge since the late, lamented electric Toyota RAV4 model, of which several hundred are still on the road and highly prized by their owners.

The plug-in hybrid model of the Prius uses a lithium-ion battery pack of about 5 kilowatt-hours. That's less than a third the size of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt's 16 kWh, but of course the two vehicles take very different approaches to blending gasoline and electric power.

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid is really just a Prius with a larger pack that happens to plug into the wall for recharging.

It uses the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system as a standard 2010 Toyota Prius, and drives just like that car--only slightly heavier, and with perhaps a tad less aggressive acceleration.

In fact, it appears the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid may be most remarkable for NOT being particularly different from the Prius we know and love.

So what do you think: Is that a good thing (a plug-in that's a known quantity otherwise) or should Toyota make the Prius Plug-In more visually distinct?

Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

[Green Car Reports]

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Comments (11)
  1. It could be a good thing if it doesn't raise the price much and qualifies the prius for the big tax credits. estimating.. 25,000 - 7,500 = 17,500 = not too bad.

  2. @ECosimini: With a 5-kilowatt-hour battery pack, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid will NOT qualify for the full $7,500 Federal tax credit, which applies to packs of 16 kWh or larger. Its credit will be something around $3,000.

  3. ah, Thanks for clearing that up John. In that case I'd personally opt for a Volt or a Leaf over the 2012 plug-in Prius since it doesn't offer enough of a price advantage. The Volt would have to be considered in a different class since the price is so much higher. After credits I think the Leaf would only be a few thousand more then the Prius and in my opinion gas free beats the hell out of gas friendly even if you do have to put up with a lmited range. I think that most environmental type people at that price point (around 25k) would agree and choose a Leaf unless Prius' good reputation and or the Leaf's limited functionality are big concerns for them.

  4. No Toyotas or Nissans for me, thank you very much.

  5. Why doesn't Toyota add 11KWH capacity to the batterypack to get A: a decent all electric range and, B: qualify for the tax credit and C: proof to the world that it is serious about plug-in technology. Nissan Leaf pricing proofs that the KWH price of batteries isn't nearly as high as many pundits including Toyota suggested until very recently so the extra cost would probably be completely absorbed by the extra tax credit. Clearly Toyota still isn't too keen on plug-in technology if it can't be bothered to install a decent size batterypack even if it could be done at little extra cost to the consumer.

  6. If by adding 11 kw think how big the battery would be.The entire car would need redesigning and become a four seater probably a segment Toyota is not interested in or we would already have a four seater.

  7. @ECosimini: I'd point out that Toyota has not released a price for the 2012 Prius Plug-In, so we have no real idea how it will compare with the Leaf.

  8. Why don't Toyota resell the RAV4 EV, in this current climate it would sell like hotcakes.

  9. This, to me, has the appearance of Toyota jumping on the plug-in bandwagon rather than putting any real effort into innovation and progression of the concept. They seem content with being able to say that they have one on the market without paying much attention to the quality of the product.
    The benefits offered by the series hybrid configuration (i.e. the system in the Chevy Volt) seem to render the parallel and HSD configurations redundant really and I'm a little surprised that there hasn't been an industry-wide shift to the series layout.
    My bottom line: Toyota are getting lazy!

  10. Considering the Prius is not a series or a parallel but rather a series parallel I don't think you can call Toyota lazy! Not only that, how long has Toyota been running the PHV through testing on road and on track? The answer is much longer than GM did with the Volt.

  11. Don't look for a $25,000 price tag. Toyota had said earlier that the plug-in would add $5,000 to $7,000 more to the price of the Prius. Expect an average of around $30,000 - $32,000. Not worth the extra cost in my thinking.

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