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Europe's Toyota Prius V Wagon: Better Battery, Two More Seats

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At last month’s 2011 Detroit Auto Show, the wraps came off the new 2012 Toyota Prius V, a bigger and more practical version of the Prius hatchback that treads the line between wagon and minivan.

Despite the extra height, weight, and girth, however, the vehicle is still limited to five seats--just like the hatchback.

Toyota Prius fans in Europe, however, will be offered a new ‘Prius +’ model that looks identical. It comes with not only a pair of third-row seats, but also a more advanced--and compact--lithium-ion battery pack. It won't be available until after the U.S. model goes on sale, however.

The U.S.-market Prius V, due in dealerships this summer, will ship with Toyota's current nickel-metal hydride battery pack, which it has used in all its Hybrid Synergy Drive models to date.

The information was revealed by Toyota Europe’s vice president of product planning and marketing, Guillaume Gerondeau, who spoke recently with Autocar.

Gerondeau explained that the upcoming Prius V required a larger battery pack because of its less advanced nickel-metal hydride cells. This meant they had to be located under the rear load floor.

The European version, however, uses more compact lithium-ion cells, which meant engineers could store the battery pack in the front of the vehicle, leaving space for a third row of seats.

Gerondeau went on to explain that demand in the U.S. for the Prius was so strong that Toyota wanted to provide the bigger Prius V as soon as possible. He also said that U.S. buyers looking for seven-seat vehicles don’t typically shop in the midsize segment in which the Prius V sits.

The world debut of the European-market Prius + will be at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, which kicks off on March 1. You can follow our full coverage of the event by clicking here.

[Autocar]

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  1. We first owned the 2004 Prius and were most impressed. We migrated to the 2006 Prius to get the leather interior and backup camera options and also bought the 2007 Camry Hybrid. We logged over 100,000 miles on our two Prius cars and another 40,000 on the Camry hybrid. BUT...I am disgusted with waiting for Toyota to evolve that next generation of battery and motive technology in their hybrid cars.
    I was excited several years ago when Toyota showed the "Volta concept." I thought a couple of years ago that the "FT-HS" was actually going into production, BUT...Toyota has lost my custom totally with it's delays and lack of new technology for the US market.
    This superior version of the PRIUS V for Europe is another example of Toyota simply missing the mark for its major US buyer base. I can't and won't wait any longer for vapor concepts like the Volta or FT-HS, and the Prius V with NIMH batteries as opposed to lithium. THAT is a dealbreaker for sure.
    I sold both of our Toyota hybrids in the last couple of months and we now have the Volt and the LEAF in our garage. Even the plug-in Prius is so under-engineered, IMHO, with only a 12-13 mile range....Where did the innovation that brought us the Prius originally actually go?
     
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