Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No. 367: Toyota’s Prius PHV debuts on January 30, 2012 (December 1, 2011)

Toyota Motor started to take orders for Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle (PHV) on November 29. The Prius PHV is rechargeable using household power supply, and it can travel 61 km per one liter of gasoline, about two times longer than the distance achieved by Prius HV. It can travel 26.4 km on a full charge without gasoline. The driver does not have to worry about an engine stop due to battery exhaustion because it travels on a hybrid mode when gasoline runs out. This sense of security characterizes Prius PHV, and is helpful for the differentiation from Nissan’s Leaf. Although Nissan’s Leaf can travel 200 km on a full charge, the distance will be shorter if the driver runs the air-conditioner and turns on the lights. The current EV does not seem to an ideal means of transport for a distance longer than 100 km, according to a Toyota official.

It is possible to charge a Prius PHV in about 90 minutes using 200 V household power source. It costs only 30 yen to charge a Prius PHV if it is charged in the night when inexpensive power is available. A Prius PHV needs only one third of the cost required by a Prius HV to travel the same distance. The price of a Prius PHV starts from 3,200,000 yen, but it is possible to buy one starting 2,750,000 yen with the subsidy for clean energy vehicle. Toyota will put the Prius PHV on the U.S. market next spring and the European market next summer. Toyota plans to sell 35,000-40,000 units in the domestic market and 60,000 units worldwide per year. While increasing the popularity of the Prius PHV, Toyota wishes to introduce the PHV system to other models.

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