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Toyota Formally Announces Introduction of Plug-in Prius Into Key Markets, Targeting “Tens of Thousands” in Public Sales in Two Years

14 December 2009

The all-electric range of the Prius Plug-In (23 km) will cover more than 50% of distances driven by single cars each day in Japan, according to Toyota. Click to enlarge.

In Tokyo, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) formally announced the introduction of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid—the plug-in version of the third-generation Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle—into key markets. Approximately 600 units will be introduced in Japan, the United States, and Europe over the first half of 2010, for use by governments and businesses. The plug-in made its North American debut at the recent Los Angeles Auto Show. (Earlier post.)

At the announcement, TMC called plug-in hybrid vehicles a highly suitable environmentally considerate option to diversify transportation energy sources. TMC said it is therefore actively encouraging market introduction and aiding understanding of the vehicle type. To promote the soonest widespread use of PHEVs, TMC will analyze feedback regarding the initial release of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, with an aim to begin sales in the tens of thousands of units to the general public in two years.

Prius Plug-In Performance Specs (Japan)
Gasoline-electric hybrid fuel efficiency 30.6 km/L (72 mpg US)
(76 g/km CO2)
Plug-in hybrid fuel efficiency 57.0 km/L (134 mpg US)
(41 g/km CO2)
Electricity efficiency 6.57 km/kWh (152 Wh/km)
EV mode cruising range 23.4 km (14.5 miles)
Battery charging power consumption 3.56 kWh
Emissions reduction level under 2005 standards 75% or greater

In Japan, TMC will lease approximately 230 units to government ministries; local governments selected for the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s EV & PHV Towns program; corporations such as electric power companies; and other entities. In the United States, approximately 150 units will be provided to government agencies, corporations, universities and research agencies for use in a demonstration program aimed at collecting driving data and spurring the development of battery-charging infrastructure.

In Europe, TMC will lease approximately 200 units, with approximately 100 going to the City of Strasbourg, France. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will also be introduced in the United Kingdom and Portugal, with the company also considering 10 other European countries, including Germany and the Netherlands, along with countries in other regions, such as Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid is the first vehicle produced by TMC to be propelled by a lithium-ion battery, a 345.6V, 5.2 kWh pack. Due to the battery’s expanded capacity, the vehicle has an extended electric-vehicle driving range of 23.4 km (14.5 miles) in the Japanese JC08 cycle. Maximum speed in EV mode is 100 km/h (62 mph).

Verifications and rules that gauge the performance of a PHV differ from region to region. In Japan, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid has an average fuel efficiency of 57 km/L (134 mpg US, 1.75 L/100km) and CO2 emissions of 41 g/km under specified driving conditions combining driving performance both as an EV and as a HV. (Results are based on the JC08 Japanese test cycle and verified by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism of Japan.)

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid features the Toyota Hybrid System (THS) II Plug-in, based on the THS II hybrid system used for the Prius, with a new, battery-charging system to facilitate efficient charging of the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery from an external power source.

Special selectable screens that display information for PHEV operation have been added to the Prius-base car navigation system and the Eco-Drive Monitor. The screens display information to assist EV-mode driving (using battery power only), as well as provide an enjoyable way to check battery-charge level and resulting fuel consumption.

  • Energy Monitor Screen displays possible in EV mode driving range.

  • EV-Drive Indicator on the Hybrid System Indicator Screen also indicates possible EV cruising range; driver notified of potential accelerator use with current battery charge level, thus supporting environmentally friendly driving through use of EV mode.

  • Electric Vehicle Cruising Ratio Screen—exclusive to Prius Plug-in Hybrid—displays difference between driving in EV mode (using battery power only) and driving in HV mode (using both gasoline engine and battery power).

Hybrid System Specifications
System THS II Plug-in (with motor speed reduction device)
Engine 1.8L gasoline 2ZR –FXE (high-expansion ratio)
  Maximum output 73 kW (98 hp)/5,200 rpm
  Maximum torque 142 N·m (105 lb-ft)/4,000 rpm
Motor 3JM (permanent magnet)
  Maximum output 60 kW (80 hp)
  Maximum torque 207 N·m (153 lb-ft)
Drive battery Lithium-ion
  Capacity 5.2 kWh
  Rated voltage 345.6 V
  Charging time Approx. 180 minutes (AC100 V)
  Approx. 100 minutes (AC200 V)
System maximum output 100 kW (134 hp)
System voltage Max. 650 V
EV mode maximum speed approx. 100 km/h (62 mph)


December 14, 2009 in Hybrids, Plug-ins, Vehicle Manufacturers | Permalink | Comments (21) | TrackBack (0)


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Been a long time coming, an average person can shift 30-60% of their driving onto overnight (off peak nuclear power and eventually wind) electricity.

Of course the other good thing from Japans POV is that they can add the battery packs to the many prius's (prii?) they already have on the roads.

So 68% of the battery's total capacity is available for use. That must mean that Toyota are more confident of the longevity of their chemistry than GM (who are using only 50%). That surprises me.

4.1 miles per kWh isn't too bad either.

This is a welcome change from what Toyota was saying about PHEVs several years ago. I guess they figured that if they can not beat them, join them. CalCars showed that it could be done, it was just a matter of time for the deliberative nature of Toyota's management to come to consensus.

Toyota was put into a panic when Nissan said they'd be putting the Leaf into production.

Another goods news for PHEVs.

This could become a very good first generation Prius PHEV-1. A 24 Km range is about enough for many people, specially for those who will have access to charging facilities at work.

As battery's performance increase, the first generation small capacity unit (5.2 Kwh) will certainly be replaced with 10.4 Kwh and 15.6 Kwh units etc. EV range would also go up to 48 Km and 72 Km with Prius PHEV-II and Prius PHEV-III respectively. That would be a normal evolution. Plug-in battery modules could be an interesting option.

Wonder how long it will take to get the Prius-BEV (with 300+ Km range) to the market place?

Did I miss something? It does not appear that Toyota is releasing these to the general public yet. :(

The HEV is of most benefit to those doing a lot of stop-start, ie urban, driving such as taxi drivers. They can drive a lot of miles per day taking advantage of the increased efficiency to get a quick pay back on the increased up front cost.

The situation for PHEV seems more complicated. The taxi driver would likely be worse off with the current infrastructure: the plug-on would only be of benefit for the first 20km of a say 500km day, with the extra weight of the larger battery being a disadvantage for the remaining 480km. The person who only drives 20km a day would gain most per mile driven, but they only have a slow payback because they don't use a car much.

This PHEV is best suited to those who drive 20km then park for 3 hours and repeat this cycle 24 hours a day. Does not seem like much of a market. I reckon there really needs to be charging infrastructure for the like of taxi drivers at taxi ranks for the PHEV to have an impact.

I welcome another PHEV to the marketplace from another vendor. The more the merrier in the race to electrify the automobile.

The Japanese test cycle is recognized not to be as severe as the US test cycle, but triple digit mileage is nothing to sneer at, nonetheless.

The Prius PHEV demonstrates the benefits and drawbacks of the Parallel-series hybridization, versus the Series electric extended range design. A US fleet of Prius PHEVs would reduce US oil imports to about ZERO. A fleet of Volts would do even better,and taken with Bio-fuels, eliminate the need for Petroleum for the auto portion of Ground Transport.

With a smaller battery, and lesser electrification, it does manage to obtain mileage slightly over 100 mpge, (US test cycle), in a somewhat lighter car than the GM Volt EREV approach.

The VOLT EREV approach using more battery and an inherently more efficient design can obtain double the mileage,over 200 mpge, (US test cycle), but at a higher cost to implement.

This only affirms the results of the work done by Dr. Frank and his students at UC Davis. These were the first actual builders of all these various auto hybridization designs.

The Prius PHEV has the benefit of several generations of experience in building the Prius. There is less gain to be wrought from the design. The VOLT is yet to be optimized. Right now the Prius suffers no extensive cost penalty, over a conventional drivetrain, but that remains to be seen in the Volt.

Since the Volt kowtows to the artificial, ridiculous CARB requirements for battery life, there is simply a great reduction in cost when extended battery life, allows the size, and cost, of the VOLT battery to be cut by a third, by utilizing a higher percentage of it, as the Prius PHEV already does.

Reduced battery costs will allow that cost to be sliced in half, yet again, as battery mass manufacture improves. I expect that will remove any price impediment as a consideration, in a few years.

Which design will triumph? Let the market decide. Or does it even matter? The important thing is a valid method to eliminating the Oil 'PRICE' crisis.

Now that AGW has been revealed to require a Climategate scandal of lies and deception to keep it going; as the scientific evidence comes in, that it isn't a problem.

Inspecting the chart supplied, it only underlines that the daily mileage driven, varies by country. US drivers drive more miles per day, based on our decentralized housing patterns.

The Japanese instead of requiring 40 miles per day, they require less than 40 km per day, or 62% of it, to satisfy the same 80% percentage of the drivers daily needs.

I guess they wanted it out during Copenhagen.

Still it is the right thing to do - get it out and see what people make of it.

Obviously people would like more range, but if you wait for a perfect battery, you will miss the market (and the kudos).

What they now need is my "Learned Route Optimization" system - as follows:

For the first week or so, you drive as normal, and the system learns your commute. If is is < the range, all is well.
If not, it uses route driving knowledge to optimise the use of the battery.
If you have a 10 mile stretch on motorway, it use the ICE for this. If you have a hill, it will use the ICE for this.
The objective would be to keep the battery for all stop/start/crawl driving, and only then use it for "clear" driving.
Ideally, the ICE would only be turned on once per day, or once per journey.

This way, you get the most out of a battery constrained PHEV system, and I think we will be constrained for the next 5 - 10 years.

Despite a continuous stream of announcements, LiOn batteries seem to be improving only slowly.


perhaps you should take into account battery's round-trip efficiency, of say 90% (conservatively), and you get 61-62% of total capacity is available.
The 3.56 kWh is "Battery charging power consumption", probably means what is taken from the grid, what user pays for.

In Japan, I see this type of vehicle very quickly gaining market acceptance (and the Volt as well).

Japan imports nearly all of thier liquid fuels (they also import nearly all their natural gas and coal as well).

I was going to say mostly what Stan said.

Thanks a lot.

Exciting move by Touota. I disagree that the limited range would be a big problem. Most car trips are short and urban. Since when did taxis become the biggest merket for PHEVs?

As for Stan and co.,I already realise you know better than the world's climate scientists, politicians etc. The opinions of a few right wing crackpots and retired grumpy old scientists hold far more weight.

"The opinions of a few right wing crackpots and retired grumpy old scientists hold far more weight." But of course. Without their guidance and approval there would be no progress :_>

It would be interesting to see how the "Plug-In Performance Specs" are calculated.

I'm impressed, and also pleased that the Prius will have a genuine EV mode up to 100 km/hr (I'm assuming there are multiple modes to pick from).

This will provide an excellent spread of choices for those considering this, the Volt, the iMiEV, Aptera, etc.

Stan's comment was pleasantly thoughtful, until the last sentence. Stan, see's analysis of "Climategate".


Toyota says it will be "affordable". I would say about $5000 more than the base Prius, which would put it about $27,500, but the government might reduce that for fuel savings and less pollution.

Various e-range could be accommodated with 2 to 8 smaller (2 1/2 KWh ea.) plug-in battery modules.

The number of battery modules initially purchased would depend on individual requirements and pocket book.

For many buyers, extra modules could be added at a latter date when battery performance has improved and cost has gone down.

CALCARS did very good work in this case to provide incentive to look at plug in hybrids. A Prius model that is equipped for a quick installation of extra battery pack is now what is needed from Toyota. What is needed for the rest of the car buyers is a plug in hybrid from TATA. Firefly has shown the beginning of the way to make cheap batteries that are suited for most plug in hybrids. Long distance batteries are an engineering mistake and a perversion of the concept of engineering. Titanium automobiles would also be fun but are not suitable for the mass markets. ..HG..

I calculate that about 4 of Firefly's Oasis battery are equivalent to the Toyota battery pack. I hope someone would look at using a portion of a pickup truck's bed for lead-acid batterys and make a phev truck. Throw in a few outlets and call it a contractor special--use your power tools plugged into your truck.

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