November 23, 2017

New 2012 Plug-In Prius impresses with its green credentials

The new Prius Plug-in will cost less than £31,000 when sales start in the first half of 2012. This headline figure does not take into account Government funding through the Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle grant scheme that could reduce the price to customer by up to £5,000: the Toyota has qualified for grant support by meeting the criteria for plug-in vehicles.

The pricing is competitive compared to the latest EV models on the market, but Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers more flexible performance, thanks to its powertrain which combines an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery and a 1.8 litre VVTI petrol engine, giving a total power figure of  134 bhp. The dual powertrains can be used together for maximum performance:  0-60 in 13.7 seconds and a top speed of 112 mph.

Yet the higher capacity Lithium-ion battery combines this useable performance with much greater fuel efficiency, due to the ability for the Plug-in Prius to cover 12.5 miles in full electric mode up to speeds of 62 mph (according to the level of battery charge and road conditions).

Thanks to its ability to run further in EV mode, it achieves a combined cycle fuel efficiency of 108.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 59g/km – figures that are a 30 per cent improvement on the standard, third-generation Prius. The other key advantage of the Plug-in’s full hybrid system is that the driver need suffer no “range anxiety” about the distance the car can cover.

To fully charge Prius’s lithium-ion battery, a connection to a workplace, domestic, electricity supply, or a roadside charging point is required. A full recharge takes an hour and a half.

Prior to official homologation, Toyota predicts Prius Plug-in Hybrid will emit 49g/km of carbon dioxide and achieve 134.5mpg combined cycle fuel economy. This strengthens its position as a strong prospect for corporate fleet operators, as it will qualify for a Benefit-in-Kind company car tax rating of just five per cent for drivers, and consequently a monthly tax burden of less than £52 (for a 40 per cent tax payer, based on the guideline vehicle price). Furthermore, businesses will save on fleet costs thanks to a 100 per cent write-down allowance and lower National Insurance contributions.

Ewan Shepherd, General Manager Toyota/Lexus Fleet Services said: “Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be an exciting and valuable addition to what is already an industry-leading Toyota range that delivers significant financial benefits to companies and company car drivers with advanced and highly efficient models such as Prius and the British-built Auris Hybrid.”

The advantages of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid are being measured in real-world demonstration programmes with 200 prototype Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) in Europe – 20 of them in London. Initial data are showing how the car can achieve significantly better urban driving performance than the best-in-class diesel and petrol models of comparable size. The London demonstration, in partnership with EDF Energy, is also monitoring battery recharging patterns and how motorists can time recharging periods to make best use of the power supply in terms of cost and emissions.

EDF Energy has provided up to 30 charging points for the leasing programme, primarily in workplace locations, but with domestic installations and on-street ‘Elektrobay’ facilities also included.

The programme has collected valuable intelligence about the benefits gained in energy savings and reduced emissions, public perceptions and recharging patterns. User preferences have been taken into account and have been used to improve the final 2012 Plug-in Prius.

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