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Toyota’s PHEV Prototype Makes Its Public Debut

Toyota brought one of their plug-in hybrid Prius prototypes (earlier post) to the Ride and Drive at EVS-23, which opened yesterday at the Anaheim Convention Center.

The plug-in Prius in Anaheim.

Clad in an iridescent finish, the vehicle is one of six in the United States. Four are being tested by Toyota, while UC Berkeley and UC Irvine each have one as part of the Clean Mobility Partnership. A Toyota representative estimated that an additional “dozen or so” PHEV Prius vehicles are being tested by the company in Japan.

The electric drive of the vehicle is powered by two conventional Prius NiMH battery packs in tandem, with custom control software. The configuration simulates the approximate performance and energy capacity of the battery pack that Toyota expects to achieve in the future, according to the company.

—Jack Rosebro



One small step at a time. The fact it is a PHEV is just another evolutionary small step. Isn't it interesting that UC Berkeley was chosen instead of UC Davis where the idea for PHEVs is really big. Something we don't know? Perhaps there's a story here.


The alternative fuel folks at UC Davis might be too busy with the Challenge X project to bother with the plug-in.

With regards to TOY's official PHEV, I'm curious if they've done anything to rectify problems with the catalytic converters on converted Priuses not warming up properly due to the frequent, preferential use of the electric motor over the ICE - and hence an actual increase in emissions.


I doubt Toyota cares about catalytic converter warmup. They have no plans to commercialize these PHEV conversions, they're mostly for PR and to "collect feedback".


They have no plans to commercialize these PHEV conversions, they're mostly for PR and to "collect feedback".
Are you reading their minds? Or is that your crystal ball showing you the future?

Toyota may not expect this technology to work. Who knows. There are probably people on the board who expect it to work AND some who expect it won't. Happens in the real world.

Time will tell how this works out. If the tests are successful, and Toyota senses an opportunity for more profit, you can be sure that such trivial things as a manager's expectations won't stand in their way...


Good to see. But energy density of NiMH won't make this a useful all-electric range vehicle. Still, the company that set the standard for HEVs is to be congratulated for keeping the pressure on the rest to meet or exceed their lead.


Engineer, I'm just going by what Toyota execs say. The HSD design isn't well-suited to PHEV duty cycle, anyway. Toyota (and Ford, who has a similar program) understand the Prius and Escape Hybrid are great platforms for cheaply exploring PHEV sentiment but not for actual productization.

Look at it this way. For the next 2+ years every mainstream article about the Chevy Volt will mention these plugin conversions. Toyota and Ford will get the same PR benefit for $1 million as Chevy gets for $1 billion.

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