Toyota has revealed details of the second generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid for Europe with increased EV range and the maximum EV speed increased from 53 to 84mph. Featuring numerous sophisticated technological breakthroughs, including two Toyota firsts – a Battery Warming System and a Dual Motor EV drive system, and two world firsts – an EV range-extending solar roof and gas injection heat pump air-conditioning.
At the heart of the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid is the latest generation of Toyota’s advanced PHV technology now with double the electric driving range, increased from 15 miles to over 30 miles. Located under the rear load space, a large capacity lithium-ion battery is fundamental to the new Toyota PHV’s increased EV range. The battery capacity has equally doubled from 4.4 to 8.8 kWh. Yet, the battery volume has only increased by 66% yet it is only 50% heavier than its predecessor. The luggage area has been raised by 160 mm to accommodate the larger plug-in hybrid system battery, with maximum bootspace of 360 litres.
EV power has also been increased by some 83% thanks to the development of Toyota’s first hybrid powertrain to feature a Dual Motor Drive System. A new, highly-compact one-way gear within the transaxle allows the hybrid system generator to act as a second electric motor. This boosts EV driving power for better acceleration whilst greatly reducing engine start up frequency through various efficiency measures.
All areas of the car have been precisely improved to increase efficiency. The air-conditioning is now powered by a gas-injection heat pump – world first technology – which will heat the cabin in outside temperatures as low as -10 degrees C, without starting the engine, hence minimising the impact which heating the interior has on both fuel consumption and EV driving range.The heat pump can efficiently warm the interior using heat absorbed from the outside air.
Moreover, during charging, a new battery warming system will warm the cells to an efficient working temperature to minimise the impact of cold weather on EV driving range. The battery itself can be fully charged in 2 hours using the Type II connector or 3 hours and 10 minutes using a standard household plug socket.
As part of the unique, stand-alone aerodynamic styling, with a drag coefficient of only Cd 0.25 are specific front and rear LED light clusters and alloy wheel design, plus a shutter built into the lower front grille, which is automatically opened or closed to optimise the flow of cooling air into the engine bay, reducing air resistance.
The new Toyota PHV builds on the already highly efficient aerodynamics of the latest Prius with a lower roof and rear spoiler height, an enlarged area of underbody covers, airflow rectifying front and rear bumper corners and a CFRP (Carbon Fibre Reinforced Plastic) tailgate to reduce weight.
A more EV experience
Increased range aside, the Toyota engineers’ goal was for a substantial improvement in EV driving experience, by enhancing the characteristics which only electric car can offer – the direct feeling of drive, a broad spread of torque with the feeling of endless acceleration.
With a total power output of 90 kW, the new PHV’s full hybrid powertrain combines improved EV and Hybrid driving performance to accelerate the Prius Plug-in Hybrid from 0-62mph in 11.1 seconds, and on to a top speed of 100mph with C02 emissions of just 22g/km.
A choice of four, switchable powertrain modes is available to control how the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid’s system delivers power when driving: HV Mode, EV Mode, EV City and a new Battery Charge Mode.
HV Mode efficiently combines the power delivery of the engine and electric motors, allowing the Prius-Plug-in Hybrid to operate as a full hybrid. EV Mode primarily uses electric power from the HV battery to drive the vehicle, only starting the engine when the throttle is wide open or at high vehicle speeds. It incorporates a switchable EV City Mode, which reduces maximum power output and only starts the engine when the throttle kick-down is engaged, allowing the new Toyota PHV to run on electric power alone for as long as possible.
Available whilst the new Toyota PHV is operating in any of the three powertrain modes, three ‘on-demand’ Drive Modes –NORMAL, POWER and ECO- may be also selected to further increase driving efficiency, performance and fuel economy.
These drive modes also incorporate comprehensive Eco driving support for those who wish to adopt more environmentally-friendly driving techniques.
The new Plug-in shares the dashboard design of the latest Prius. However, the PHV benefits from a large, 8” infotainment screen with updated graphics. The dual 4.2” TFT screen also feature PHV-specific graphics. Sharing the same new front seat design as the Prius with rear seating for only two separated by a central console.