When the Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid goes on sale about this time next year, it will be the first mass-production vehicle from Toyota that plugs in. Yet, despite that, the Plug-In feels more like a value-added version of the Prius than a model that will be itself iconic or radically new.
It's value-added, because owners will have some of the benefits of an electric vehicle, without the worry that they won't make it back on a charge. After a relatively short three-hour charge on standard 110V household power, you can drive approximately 12 to 15 miles without the gasoline engine contributing to propulsion. After that, it's just a standard Prius and gets about the same mileage as the standard-issue model (which has an EPA-rated 51 mpg city, 48 highway).
A Prius...just one with an added charge
And it looks virtually identical to a standard Prius. The little charging door just ahead of the driver's door is about the only difference you'll see from the outside compared to a normal 2011 Prius.
To simplify a bit, the Plug-In drives much like a regular Prius—just one that's a bit heavier.