Plug-in hybrids aren't new at Toyota. They don't have any on the street yet - at least for retail customers - but they are prepping test fleets of plug-in Priuses all over the world, including the U.S., Europe and Japan. Even before those cars get to the field, however, Toyota will bring a plug-in version of the new third-gen Prius to the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show.
The car looks like a typical 2010 Toyota Prius--with the addition of a charge port just below the driver's side mirror--but in reality, it holds much more green driving capability. Extended EV mode lets the car drive under electric power only for up to 12.5 miles and at speeds up to 62 mph, for example. It also cuts average CO2 emissions to less than 60 grams per kilometer, or around 60% of the current standard Prius hybrid. The more plug-in electricity is used, the lower than figure can go.
Maximum power output of the combustion engine is a relatively meager 97 horsepower and 142 pound-feet of torque, but it's aided by a 94-horsepower electric motor that's rated for 207 pound-feet of torque. The battery pack's kilowatt-hour rating hasn't yet been released, but Toyota says it has a target recharge time of 180 minutes on a 110-Volt line and and 100 minutes on a 220-Volt line.
Several groups of the Prius plug-in will hit government and commercial fleets by late 2009 - 200 in Japan, 150 in the U.S. and another 150 for Europe. Fuel economy figure for the test vehicles are already said to tip past 65 mpg on average - a 30% improvement over the official rating for the 2010 Prius.
Real-world testing here at TheCarConnection and also at Motor Authority saw common reports of fuel consumption figures in excess of 70 mpg in the standard 2010 Prius, however, leaving the door open for near-100-mpg figures under the right conditions for a plug-in variant.
Expect even more details and photos with the start of the 2009 Frankfurt Auto Show, now just five days away.