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: Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Now Available in Nevada

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Now Available in Nevada

23 Nov

The Toyota Prius and its revolutionary “Synergy” gasoline-electric hybrid system were just a novelty when they were first introduced into the U.S. car market during 2000. most of the early sales were in California. Since then, the company has sold over 2.8 million of these vehicles around the world as of October 2012. During 2011, the company expanded the Prius family to also include the Prius v, an extended hatchback wagon, and the Prius c, a subcompact hatchback version.

During 2012, the first Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHV) was added to the Prius family, with a distinctive logo, an additional J1772 recharging port to supplement the gasoline fueling port, and a portable SAE J1772 AC Level 1 electric vehicle supply equipment cable assembly. Over 6,000 units have been sold in the U.S. during the first six months since its introduction.

The combined worldwide sales of these new versions of the Prius family have achieved an additional 500,000 units since the time of their introductions through October 2012.

Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Logo

EVSE Port for Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The AC Level 1 EVSE is capable of supplying power to the Prius battery pack from any 110-volt AC outlet with 15 amperes of current available. The onboard charging system inside the Prius Plug-in Hybrid can recharge its lithium-ion battery pack in about three hours because of its relatively small capacity of 4.4 kilowatt-hours. A J1772 AC Level 2 EVSE can recharge the Prius Plug-in Hybrid battery pack in about 1.5 hours.

J1772-2009 connector for Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid lithium-ion battery pack with a 4.4 kilowatt-hour capacity has more than four times the capacity of the standard Nickel Metal-Hydride battery packs rated at 1.3 kilowatt-hours that are still used in the other versions of the Toyota Prius family. This enables the plug-in version to travel from six to 11 miles in electric-only mode up to 62 miles per hour, before reverting back to the traditional gasoline-electric hybrid mode of operation.

By using the electric-only mode frequently for local driving while plugging in to recharge the battery pack when an EVSE source is available, the gas mileage of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid model can achieve up to 90 miles per gallon equivalent. Combined highway and city driving normally exceeds 50 miles per gallon.

Some local Nevada Toyota dealerships began receiving their first demonstration vehicles of the Plug-in Prius Hybrid during September 2012. Findlay Toyota in the Henderson Valley Auto Mall actually had five of the vehicles available on their dealership lot for test drives and sales at that time. Other local Toyota dealerships can get the Prius Plug-in for interested customers by negotiating with related dealerships in other states.

As a result, there were ten Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid cars already registered with the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles as of October 2012.

Nationwide monthly sales of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid are just behind the Chevrolet Volt while already selling more units per month than the all-electric Nissan LEAF. Initial target sales goals for Toyota are to sell 15,000 units of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid in the U.S. during each of the next two years.

One other nice feature of the Toyota Prius Plug-in is that it has two 12-volt DC ports inside the vehicle that tap into its auxiliary battery pack to provide power that can recharge personal electronic devices like mobile phones, tablets, laptops, etc. An inverter that converts the 12-volt DC supply into a 110 Volt AC supply can also be connected to one of the 12-volt ports.

The 12-volt auxiliary battery receives a steady supply of power from the larger traction battery pack through a DC-to-DC converter that makes a good backup power supply system, as well as from the gasoline engine operating as a generator to maintain minimum power once the main traction battery pack is discharged to its minimum level.

This additional auxiliary power in the cabin is needed to handle all the extra telematic features that are available to the driver and passengers of the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid for wireless connectivity of personal electronics devices through the vehicle to the outer world.

The Manufacturers’ Suggested Retail Price for the 2013 Toyota Plug-in Prius is $33,000 less a federal tax credit of $2,500 for the 4.4 kilowatt-hour traction battery pack for a net price of $30,500. A standard Toyota Prius without the plug is priced at about $25,000.

By comparison, a 2013 Chevrolet Volt has an MSRP of $42,500 less a federal tax credit of $7,500 for its larger 16 kilowatt-hour battery pack that allows it to travel 40 miles in electric-only mode. Net price is about $35,000. The Chevrolet Volt is a series hybrid, where the electric motor drives the wheels of the car about 95 percent of the time. The onboard gasoline engine is primarily used to fuel a generator that produces electricity, allowing the engine to run at a steady pace, unaffected by the changing motion of the wheels of the vehicle. The only exception is when the Volt exceeds 70 miles per hour. At that speed, the gasoline engine can then engage the drive train to provide an extra 15 horsepower in support of the electric motor. The fuel efficiency rating is about 100 miles per gallon equivalent for this dual fuel vehicle. Combined highway and city driving normally exceeds 60 miles per gallon.

By contrast, the Toyota Prius Plug-in hybrid is a parallel hybrid where the electric motor, gasoline engine, or both can drive the wheels of the car. However, the gasoline engine is still moving the wheels of the car the majority of the time while driving. Overall gas mileage efficiency from the engine is susceptible to terrain and type of driving due to the changing speeds of the wheels of the car.

For Nevada, the increasing amount of choices available to local consumers for both plug-in hybrid vehicles and all-electric battery-powered vehicles can improve the local economy, personal family pocketbooks, and the quality of the air we breathe.

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