Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

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Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Prius phv 01.jpg
Manufacturer Toyota
Production 2012–2015 (first generation)
Late 2016 (second generation)
Body and chassis
Class Mid-size car
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid (or Prius PHV) is a mid-size plug-in hybrid manufactured by Toyota. The first generation Prius PHV was based on a third generation Toyota Prius (model ZVW30) outfitted with 4.4 kWh lithium-ion batteries co-developed with Panasonic,[1][2] which enable all-electric operation at higher speeds and longer distances than the conventional Prius hybrid.[2] Production of the first generation Prius Plug-in ended in June 2015.[3] The second generation plug-in, called the Toyota Prius Prime in the United States and Prius PHV in Japan, is based on the fourth generation Toyota Prius (model XW50) outfitted with a drive system powered by lithium-ion battery twice the capacity of first generation (8.8 kWh). Deliveries of the Prime are scheduled to begin in both the American and Japanese markets by late 2016.[4]

The first generation Prius plug-in total all-electric range in blended mode is 11 mi (18 km) as rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).[5] The EPA fuel economy rating is 95 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPG-e) (2.5 L/100 km; 114 mpg-imp) in charge-depleting (all-electric or EV mode) and a combined city/highway rating of 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) in hybrid mode, the same as the conventional Prius liftback.[5] The Prius Prime has an EPA-rated fuel economy of 133 mpg-e (25.9 kW·h/100 mi) in all-electric mode, a 40% enhancement over the first generation model, and the highest mpg-e rating in EV mode of any EPA-rated vehicle. The EPA-rated all-electric range is 25 mi (40 km), over twice the range of the first generation model.[6]

A global demonstration program involving 600 pre-production test cars began in late 2009 and took place in Japan, Europe, Canada, China, Australia, New Zealand and the United States.[7][8][9] Deliveries of the production model began in Japan in January 2012,[10][11] and in late February in the United States,[12] where initially the car is available only in 14 states.[13] Deliveries in Europe began in late June 2012.[14]

As of April 2016, a total of 75,400 Prius PHVs have been sold worldwide since 2012,[15] with the United States as the market leader with over 42,300 units delivered.[16][17] The Prius Plug-in Hybrid ranked as the second most sold plug-in electric car during 2012,[18] and ranked as the world's all-time third best selling plug-in car by the end of December 2014.[19] As of April 2016, the Prius plug-in fell to fifth place after being surpassed by the Tesla Model S and the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV.[20]


Concept car[edit]

The Prius Plug-In Concept was exhibited at the September 2009 Frankfurt Motor Show,[21] the October 2009 Tokyo Motor Show,[22] and the December 2009 LA Auto Show.[2] After displaying the concept version in these three shows, in December 2009 Toyota officially announced the introduction of the production model in Japan during the following six months.[23]

Demonstration program[edit]

Toyota's plug-in hybrid electric vehicle project began in 2007, with road trials of a prototype vehicle in France and the UK in 2008. Toyota made available a total of 600 Prius plug-in demonstration vehicles for lease to fleet and government customers, 230 were delivered in Japan beginning in late December 2009, 125 models released in the U.S. by early 2010, and 200 units in Europe in 2010.[8][24][25] All program vehicles were sent to limited geographical areas and equipped with special data tracking devices designed to allow Toyota to monitor the car's usage for further development of the plug-in hybrid system.[26][27]

Programs by country[edit]

Toyota Prius Plug-In operating for GoGet CarShare

The demonstration program in Australia included five Prius Plug-ins allocated to government agencies.[28]


In March 2010 Toyota launched its demonstration program in Canada with five Prius Plug-ins in partnership with academic institutions, hydro-electric producers, and governmental agencies in each of the four provinces participating in the program:British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Québec. Canada is home to Toyota's global cold weather research center in Northern Ontario, and the country's cold weather will serve to evaluate its adverse effect on battery performance and range.[29][30]

In July 2010 the first demonstration Prius PHV was delivered in Manitoba. The unit will be shared and tested by four partners:Manitoba Hydro, Manitoba Innovation, Energy and Mines, and the University of Manitoba. There are 15 trial partners in the four provinces that are part of the first phase of the Canadian demonstration trial.[31]


On October 28, 2010, Toyota signed an agreement with China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) on jointly carrying out field trials of the Prius PHV in China.[32]


Toyota leased 200 units in Europe to selected partners and customers in 18 European countries. A total of 150 demonstrator plug-in went to France, the United Kingdom and Germany. The largest fleet was deployed in Strasbourg, France, with 70 units.[24]

Prius Plug-in Hybrid charging port

The demonstration program in Strasbourg was launched in April 2010.[33] The 3-year program involves 70 Prius Plug-ins and the deployment of dedicated charging infrastructure. The program will set up more than 150 charging points at private parking lots of firms participating in the program, user homes, public parking lots and on public roads. The program is run by Électricité de France (EDF) in partnership with Toyota and the City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg, and is financially supported through a research fund managed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency (ADEME).[33]

The City and the Urban Community of Strasbourg will lease five Prius Plug-ins and also provide a subsidy to the local carsharing company to lease three Prius PHVs. The remaining vehicles will be leased to other public institutions and private companies.[33]


The demonstration program in Germany was conducted in Baden-Württemberg with ten Prius Plug-ins and the corresponding dedicated charging infrastructure. The program was run by German energy provider EnBW.[33]

United Kingdom

The demonstration trial in the U.K. began in late June 2010 with a fleet of 20 Prius Plug-in Hybrids.[34][35] Toyota Motor Company partnered with Électricité de France to carry out a three-year trial, and as part of the program a number of charging bays will be deployed in London. The trial Prius Plug-in Hybrids will be available through leasing to public sector organizations and business users.[34] Among the organizations that received the first Prius Plug-ins are Transport for London, the Government Car and Despatch Agency, the Metropolitan Police Service, News International and Sky.[36][37]

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid demonstration vehicles recharging at a solar-powered charging station in Toyota, Aichi, Japan.

In Japan, TMC leased 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.[38] As part of the demonstration program and beginning in July 2010, two Prius PHV were made available for short-term rental in the city of Gotō, Nagasaki. The rental fees are ¥8,400 (US$96) for up to six hours,¥9,450 (US$108) for up to 12 hours, ¥11,550 (US$131) for up to 24 hours, and ¥9,450 (US$108) for each additional day.[39]

United States

A total of 125 demonstrator plug-ins were deployed in the US since 2010.[13] In October 2009, Toyota announced its first regional program partnership in the U.S. with Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity program in Boulder, Colorado. The research project was coordinated by the University of Colorado at Boulder Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute (RASEI). Boulder offered the opportunity of monitoring the performance of Toyota’s first generation lithium-ion battery at high altitude and under cold climate.[2][40] Other partnerships were made with Qualcomm, Silicon Valley Leadership Group, Southern California Air Quality Management District, the University of California at Berkeley and Portland State University.[40] Other regional programs considered wereNorthern and Southern California, Washington, D.C., New York City, Portland and Pittsburgh, which offered different conditions for vehicle performance and customer needs.[2][40]

A Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid operating for Zipcar in Boston.

In June 2010 the first demonstration Prius PHVs were delivered to Portland State University[41] and the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.[42] An additional 30 demonstration program vehicles were assigned to Silicon Valley groups and companies, including the University of California, Berkeley in the following weeks.[42] Also in June 2010 the first three Prius PHVs were delivered in Southern California to San Diego Gas & Electric and the nonprofit California Center for Sustainable Energy.[43] In August 2010 two Prius plug-in hybrids were delivered to be tested in San Francisco's municipal fleet as part of the demonstration program.[44] Georgetown University was the first partner in Washington, D.C to participate in the program under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Energy's Clean Cities Program. Two Prius Plug-ins were loaned in December 2010 and sixteen Georgetown employees are testing the vehicles in three-month rotations.[45][46] Five Prius PHVs were delivered in New York City, two units to be tested by New York City Department of Transportation and three by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.[47]

As part of the demonstration program, Toyota delivered eight Prius plug-in hybrids to Zipcar in January 2011. The car sharing firm selected three markets to make the plug-in hybrids available to its members, three cars in Boston and Cambridge, Massachusetts, three in San Francisco, California, and two in Portland, Oregon. Similar to all hybrids in Zipcar’s fleet, the Prius plug-in can only be reserved by the hour at an hourly rate of US$7.[48]

Field test results[edit]

Prius Plug-in demonstrator recharging from a mobile fast charging unit
Production version of the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota reported the following findings for the European demonstration fleet after nearly a year into the project, representing the driving experience acquired by the participants after 497,100 miles driven:[24]

  • Two thirds of commute trips traveled a distance of less than 12.5 mi (20.1 km), the expected all-electric range in EV mode.
  • More than a third of the participants made long distance trips of more than 62 mi (100 km) at least once a week.
  • Fuel consumption data shows that the Prius PHV consumed 36% less fuel than the comparable, best-in-class diesel vehicle, and almost 50% less than the best-in-class petrol vehicle.
  • The maximum average fuel consumption figure observed was more than 141 mpg-imp (2.00 L/100 km; 117 mpg-US).
United Kingdom

Based on the results from less than one year of real-world use for the 20 Prius Plug-in demonstrators leased to EDF Energy, Toyota reported the following findings:[49]

  • Driving in electric-only (EV) mode has accounted for one third of the distance driven in the demonstration.
  • The average trip distance has been 7.3 miles (11.7 km), with 59% of all journeys covering between 3.1 to 12.4 mi (5.0 to 20.0 km).
  • Twenty-two percent of drivers have even been able to drive further than the official 12.5 miles (20.1 km) range in EV mode.
  • Fuel consumption data indicates performance is 27% better than an equivalent diesel-powered vehicle.
United States

Consumer Reports field tested the Prius PHV for two weeks and reported an all-electric range between 14 to 17 miles (23 to 27 km) spent upfront at the beginning of each trip. On a 78-mile (126 km) commute trip the Prius Plug-in averaged 63.5 miles per US gallon (3.70 L/100 km; 76.3 mpg-imp) while on commute trips between 20 to 30 miles (32 to 48 km) the PHV averaged 81 miles per US gallon (2.9 L/100 km; 97 mpg-imp) to 86 miles per US gallon (2.7 L/100 km; 103 mpg-imp) with an EV ratio varying from 40 to 56 percent during those trips.[50]

The California Center for Sustainable Energy tested two Prius Plug-in with 13 different drivers during seven weeks and reported an average combined fuel economy of 83 miles per US gallon (2.8 L/100 km; 100 mpg-imp) on an average round trip commute of 22 miles (35 km). The best average attained was 97.9 miles per US gallon (2.40 L/100 km; 117.6 mpg-imp) on an average round trip commute of 48 miles (77 km).[51]

Motor Trend field tested the Prius PHV for 32 days and reported average CO2 emissions of 80 g/km (0.28 lb/mile), an average all-electric range of 11.7 miles (18.8 km), and an average combined fuel economy of 70.4 miles per US gallon (3.34 L/100 km; 84.5 mpg-imp) over the 1,880 miles (3,030 km) accumulated during their trial.[52]

Based on the testing with 160 consumers across the United States, Toyota reported that users are charging the Prius Plug-in more frequently than the carmaker anticipated, with about 10 charges per week, but the electricity cost was lower than they thought, at about US$150 for the entire six-week trial.[53]

Inductive charging[edit]

Toyota will test wireless charging for a future Prius PHV in 2014. Shown a wireless charging demonstration at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show.

Toyota is developing a wireless inductive charging system that uses resonance between an on-floor coil and an onboard coil to transmit power to the battery. The company plans to begin testing and verification work of the wireless battery charging system in Japan, the U.S. and Europe in 2014 for a future plug-in Prius. Toyota is also considering requests from Prius PHV owners for additional all-electric range.[54][55]

Development of the second generation[edit]

In August 2013, Toyota Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso, who was chief engineer for the Prius line, announced some of the improvements and key features of the next generation Prius. The next-generation Prius plug-in hybrid vehicle was developed in parallel with the standard Prius model.[54][56][57] Production of the first generation Prius Plug-in ended in June 2015.[3] The second generation model, the Toyota Prius Prime, was unveiled at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. Sales are scheduled to begin in the U.S. by late 2016.[58]

The next-generation Prius was designed to deliver significantly improved fuel economy in a more compact package that is lighter in weight and lower in cost. These objectives were achieved through the development of a new generation of powertrains with significant advances in battery, electric motor and gasoline engine technologies. The next Prius features improved batteries with higher energy density; smaller electric motors, with higher power density than the current Prius motors; and the gasoline engine features a thermal efficiency greater than 40% (in the current Prius is 38.5%). The Prius fuel economy has improved on average by about 10% each generation, and Toyota has set the challenge to continue to improve at this rate.[54][55]

In September 2016, Shoichi Kaneko, assistant chief engineer for the Prius Prime, said in an interview with the website AutoblogGreen that creating the next-generation Prius will be a tremendously difficult challenge due to the physical limitations to improve the Prius' fuel economy. And considering that Toyota "wants to lead the way in reducing (and eventually eliminating) fossil fuels from its vehicles, simply making a better standard hybrid powertrain might not be enough," the carmaker is considering making every future Prius a plug-in hybrid beginning with with the fifth-generation models.[59]

First generation[edit]

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid (ZVW35)
2012 Toyota Prius plug-in hyrid -- 07-14-2012.JPG
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Manufacturer Toyota
Production January 2012 – June 2015
Assembly Tsutsumi, Japan
Body and chassis
Class plug-in hybrid mid-size car
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout FF layout
Engine 1.8 L gasoline 4-cylinder port-injected inline-4 Atkinson cycle[60]
Electric motor 60 kW (80 hp) electric motor
Transmission planetary gear e-CVT
Hybrid drivetrain Power-split hybrid (Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive)
Battery 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery[1]
Range 870 kilometres (540 mi)[5]
Electric range 18 km (11 mi) (EPA - blended mode)[5]
23 km (14 mi) (NEDC/Toyota)[24]
26.4 km (16.4 mi) (Japanese cycle)[10]
Wheelbase 2,700 mm (106.3 in)
Length 4,460 mm (175.6 in)
Width 1,745 mm (68.7 in)
Height 1,490 mm (58.7 in)
Curb weight 1,420 kg (3,130 lb)[24]

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid total all-electric range in blended mode is 11 mi (18 km) as rated by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has an expected total range of 540 miles (870 km), and a maximum electric-only speed of 62 mph (100 km/h).[5] According to Toyota the Prius plug-in is expected to be rated in Europe at 112 mpg-US (2.10 L/100 km; 135 mpg-imp) equivalent, with CO2 emissions of 49 g/km.[60][61] The EPA fuel economy rating is 95 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPG-e) (2.5 L/100 km; 114 mpg-imp) in charge-depleting (all-electric) mode and a combined city/highway rating of 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) in hybrid mode, the same as the conventional Prius liftback.[5] The production version was unveiled at the September 2011 International Motor Show Germany.[24] Production of the first generation Prius Plug-in ended in June 2015.[3] A cumulative total of 75,400 first generation Prius PHVs were sold worldwide between December 2012 and April 2016.[15]


Demonstration vehicle[edit]

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid demonstration program vehicle.

The pre-production test cars are based on a third generation Toyota Prius (model ZVW30) outfitted with 5.2 kWh lithium-ion batteries.[2][62] The selected battery capacity is the minimum required for the Prius Plug-in to be eligible for the U.S. federal tax credit of US$2,500, which is applicable to the first 200,000 plug-ins sold by Toyota according to the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009.[63]

The pre-production Prius Plug-in uses three different batteries, two to provide all-electric drive and a third battery engages when the first two are depleted, allowing the car to operate in hybrid mode, like a regular 50-mpg Prius.[64][65] According to Toyota, when the vehicle starts, the plug-in operates in all-electric mode, drawing electrical power directly from the first battery pack. When its charge is depleted, it disconnects from the circuit and the second pack engages and supplies electrical energy to the motor. When the second pack is depleted again it disconnects from the circuit and the system defaults to conventional hybrid mode, using the main battery as the sole electrical power source. Pack one and pack two will not reengage in tandem with the main battery pack until the vehicle is plugged in and charged.[65]

According to Toyota the Prius plug-in demonstrator is rated at 134 mpg-US (1.76 L/100 km; 161 mpg-imp) on the Japanese JC08 cycle with a combined efficiency based on 43.6% of driving in EV mode,[25][62] and CO2 emissions of 41 g/km.[38] Fuel efficiency operating as a gasoline-electric hybrid, like the regular Prius, is 72 mpg-US (3.3 L/100 km; 86 mpg-imp) with CO2 emissions of 76 g/km.[25]

Production version[edit]


The production Prius Plug-in has a number of key changes from the demonstration units that were deployed in the field for testing based on that experience and customer feedback.[13] The production version has two key modifications from the demonstration vehicle to improve efficiency. First, Toyota decided to include a selectable electric driving mode (EV mode), allowing drivers to conserve energy for use in those places where EV mode is more efficient, such as city driving. The production Prius PHV also has the ability to direct the regenerative braking energy to the electric-vehicle battery, rather than the regular hybrid system battery, thus providing additional range in EV mode.[66][67]

The charging port in the production version is located on the right-rear fender.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid uses the Hybrid Synergy Drive of the standard Prius model, with enhanced capabilities that incorporates a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery that significantly expands the all-electric range as compared to the regular Prius, and fully rechargeable from a domestic source. The hybrid system includes a 1.8-liter DOHC 16-valve VVT-i gasoline engine that develops 98 horsepower (73 kW) @ 5200 rpm, and 105 lb-ft (142 N·m) @ 4000 rpm, a third-generation hybrid transaxle, a power control unit (PCU), and an on-board charging system. The system uses two high-output electric motors, one 60 kW (80 hp) unit (MG2) that mainly works to power the compact, lightweight transaxle, and another smaller motor (MG1) rated at 42 kW (56 hp) that works as the electric power source for battery regeneration and as a starter for the gasoline engine. Maximum motor-drive voltage is 650 volts DC. After the electric driving range is exhausted, the plug-in switches into hybrid operation at a pre-determined state of battery charge (SOC) and operates as a conventional full hybrid with a similar efficiency of a standard Prius. Net hybrid system output is 134 bhp, allowing the Prius Plug-in to accelerate from 0 to 62 mph (0 to 100 km/h) in 10.7 seconds and reach a top speed of 112 mph (180 km/h). The maximum speed in EV mode is 62 mph (100 km/h), or 85 km/h (53 mph) on European models. With a weight of approximately 1,420 kg (3,130 lb), the plug-in version is only 50 kg (110 lb) heavier than the regular Prius.[13][24][68]

The Prius Plug-in has three drive modes, all-electric (EV), and two hybrid modes: Eco and Power. The EV mode is user-selectable and when running in this mode the hybrid engine control unit (ECU) operates the vehicle using only the larger motor-generator (MG2) if pre-determined parameters are satisfied, such as sufficient battery state of charge (SOC) and vehicle speed within EV mode range. The Eco mode is designed to maximize fuel savings for any driving conditions, and modifies or smoothes out the electronic throttle control program to reduce throttle response, reducing the throttle opening to a maximum of 11.6%, and also modifies the operation of the air conditioning system. As an additional benefit, the Eco mode improves performance in low-traction conditions because the reduced output helps to minimize wheel skidding such as those caused by ice and snow. Power mode increases throttle response in the middle range more than normal.[13][68]

Battery and range[edit]
EPA/DOT Monroney sticker for the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The production version was unveiled at the September 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show with a lithium-ion battery pack that stores 4.4 kWh. Toyota estimates that the all-electric range varies between 10 to 15 miles (16 to 24 km) on a full charge depending on quick acceleration and braking, road and vehicle conditions, or climate control use.[68][69] The lithium-ion battery pack can be charged in 180 minutes at 120 volts or in 90 minutes at 240 volts.[70]

Under the JC08 Japanese test cycle the Prius PHV range is 26.4 km (16.4 mi), 3 km (1.9 mi) more than the 23.4 km (14.5 mi) achieved by the demonstrator.[10] The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued two EV range ratings to the Prius Plug-in. A driving range for blended operation electric-gasoline of 11 mi (18 km) until the battery is depleted. The second rating is for all-electric operation with a range of 6 mi (10 km). EPA estimated a total range of 540 miles (870 km) until both sources of power are depleted. The regular gasoline-only Prius has a total range of 536 miles (863 km).[5][71]

The 4.4kWh lithium-ion battery developed for the Prius Plug-in fits under the rear cargo floor and weighs 80 kg (180 lb). As a comparison, the nickel-metal hydride battery of the third generation Prius, which has a capacity of only 1.3kWh, weighs 42 kg (93 lb). A full charge using an external AC outlet takes approximately 2.5 to 3.0 hours from a standard North American 120V 15A household outlet, or 1.5 hours using a standard European 230V household outlet.[13][24][68] The battery requires approximately 3.2 kWh of electricity plus 0.3 US gal (1.1 l; 0.25 imp gal) of gasoline to provide 40 km (25 mi) of range.[72] A fully charged battery state of charge reads 85% and the all-electric mode disengages at 23%, and the usable energy after charging loss is 2.73 kWh.[citation needed] The included charging cable connects to the charging port inlet located on the right-rear fender. The charge port location was moved from the front driver-side fender in the demonstration model based on input from the program participants. The battery charger cable weighs just 3.75 lb (1.70 kg), is 24 ft (7.3 m) in length, and fits in its own compartment in the trunk area. The charge port provides LED (Light Emitting Diode) illumination for convenient night-time charging. A timer allows charging to take place during off-peak hours and can be set for either a start or end time.[13][24][68]

Fuel economy[edit]

According to Toyota the Prius plug-in was expected to be rated at 112 mpg-US (2.10 L/100 km; 135 mpg-imp) and CO2 emissions of 49 g/km under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC).[24][61] EPA's official fuel economy rating is 95 miles per gallon gasoline equivalent (MPG-e) (2.5 L/100 km; 114 mpg-imp) in all-electric mode and a combined city/highway rating of 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) in hybrid mode, the same as the third generation Prius liftback.[5]

The EPA's overall combined city/highway EV mode/hybrid fuel economy rating is 58 mpg-US (4.1 L/100 km; 70 mpg-imp) equivalent (MPG-e), with 59 mpg-US (4.0 L/100 km; 71 mpg-imp) equivalent in the city and 56 mpg-US (4.2 L/100 km; 67 mpg-imp) equivalent on the highway.[73] The Prius PHEV overall EV mode/hybrid fuel economy is higher than the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid (57 MPG-e) and both Ford Energi models (51 MPG-e), but lower than the BMW i3 REx (88 MPG-e), Chevrolet Volt (62 MPG-e) and the Cadillac ELR (65 MPG-e).[74]

Based on the JC08 Japanese test cycle, the Prius PHV fuel efficiency is 61.0 km/L (143 mpg-US, 1.64 L/100 km), calculated from combined all-electric (EV) and hybrid (HV) driving modes, with only 38 g/km of CO2 emissions. The electric power consumption rate is 8.74 km/kWh. After the battery has been depleted, the HV mode fuel efficiency is 31.6 km/L (74.3 mpg-US, 3.16 L/100 km).[10]

The EPA's 2014 edition of the "Light-Duty Automotive Technology, Carbon Dioxide Emissions, and Fuel Economy Trends" introduced utility factors for plug-in hybrids to represent the percentage of miles that will be driven using electricity by an average driver, in electric only or blended modes. The Prius PHV has a factor of 29%, compared with 83% for the BMW i3 REx, 66% for the Chevrolet Volt, 45% for the Ford Energi models, and 33% for the Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid.[74]

In July 2014 Toyota GB set a record breaking lap around the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in Germany. This was made using a purely cosmetically modified Prius Plug-in. The 'Prius Plug-in TRD' achieved an impressive fuel consumption figure of 698mpg over the course of one lap.[75]

Tailpipe emissions[edit]

The EPA rating for the model year 2012 through 2015 Prius PHEV tailpipe emissions is 133 grams of CO2 per mile, (83 CO2 g/km).[76] The EPA also accounted for the upstream CO2 emissions associated with the production and distribution of electricity required to charge the vehicle. Since electricity production in the United States varies significantly from region to region, the EPA considered three scenarios/ranges with the low end of the range corresponding to the California powerplant emissions factor, the middle of the range represented by the national average powerplant emissions factor, and the upper end of the range corresponding to the powerplant emissions factor for the Rockies.[74] The following table shows the Prius PHEV tailpipe emission plus total upstream CO2 emissions for the three scenarios, compared with other six popular plug-in hybrids and the average gasoline-powered car:

Comparison of tailpipe and upstream CO2 emissions(1) estimated by EPA
for popular MY 2014 plug-in hybrids available in the U.S. market as compared with the Prius Plug-in Hybrid[74]
Vehicle EPA rating
(share EV
Tailpipe CO2
Tailpipe + Total Upstream CO2
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid 58 0.29 133 195 221 249
BMW i3 REx(3) 88 0.83 40 134 207 288
Chevrolet Volt 62 0.66 81 180 249 326
Cadillac ELR 54 0.65 91 206 286 377
Ford Fusion Energi/Ford C-Max Energi 51 0.45 129 219 269 326
Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid 57 0.33 130 196 225 257
Average MY 2014 gasoline car 24.2 0 367 400 400 400
Notes: (1) Based on 45% highway and 55% city driving. (2) The utility factor represents, on average, the percentage of miles that will be driven
using electricity (in electric only and blended modes) by an average driver. (3) The EPA classifies the i3 REx as a series plug-in hybrid[74]

In the United States the Prius Plug-in includes Toyota's Vehicle Proximity Notification System (VPNS), which is designed to alert pedestrians, the blind, and others of the vehicle's presence due to significant noise reduction typical of a hybrid vehicle traveling at low speeds in EV mode. This type of warning device is mandated by the Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010. The warning sound is generated by externally mounted speakers and it activates automatically only at speeds below about 15 mph (24 km/h). The pitch varies with the vehicle's speed to give pedestrians a sense of whether the approaching Prius is accelerating or decelerating.[77][78]

Fire incident

In separate incidents during the storm and flooding caused by Hurricane Sandy on the night of October 29, 2012, one Toyota Prius PHV and 16 Fisker Karmas caught fire while being parked at Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal. The vehicles were partially submerged by flash floods caused by the hurricane. In the case of the Toyota's incident, a Prius PHV burned and two other Priuses, a conventional hybrid and a plug-in, just smoldered. A Toyota spokeswoman said the fire “likely started because saltwater got into the electrical system.” She also clarified that the incident affected only three cars out of the 4,000 Toyotas that were at the terminal during the storm, including more than 2,128 plug-in or hybrid models.[79][80]

Other features[edit]
Prius Plug-in Hybrid production version unveiled at the 2011 Frankfurt Motor Show.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid shares many of the same exterior and interior design elements as the standard 2012 Prius, keeping the coefficient of drag at Cd=0.25. Among the design features exclusive to the plug-in are: unique chrome grille and bumper trim, chrome door handles, unique 15-inch alloy wheels, blue-accented headlamps, a distinct tail lamp design, and a new Hybrid Synergy Drive Plug-in badge.[1][68]

In the United States the Prius Plug-in Hybrid is available in two models, the standard Prius Plug-in and the Prius Plug-in Advanced, and offered in five exterior colors. The standard trim level includes all the features of the 2012 Prius Two Liftback grade, plus some features from the Prius Three and Prius Four grades. Standard features include heated front seats, remote air conditioning system (which can run either off the grid while the vehicle is plugged in or off the battery like the third-generation Prius), a charger timer, EV/ECO/POWER modes, three-door smart key with push-button start, new touch-screen display audio with navigation and an integrated backup camera, Toyota Entune, and LED daytime running lights. Additional features of the Prius Plug-in Advanced include head-up display, LED headlamps, softex interior seat trim, eight-way adjustable power driver seat, JBL premium audio and HDD navigation system and exclusive Entune Plug-in Hybrid Applications for smartphones. Additional safety features in the Advanced model include the Pre-Collision System with Dynamic Radar Cruise Control and Safety Connect system.[13][68]

Second generation (Prius Prime)[edit]

Toyota Prius Prime
Manufacturer Toyota
Production Schedule for late 2016
Assembly Japan
Body and chassis
Class Plug-in hybrid mid-size car
Body style 5-door hatchback
Layout FF layout
Engine 2ZR-FXE 1.8 L gasoline 4-cylinder port-injected inline-4 Atkinson cycle
Electric motor Dual motor generator drive system, same as Prius 4 (XW50; 2015–present): MG1 (model 1SM) up to 23kW, 40N⋅m; MG2 (model 1NM) up to 53kW, 163N⋅m
Transmission planetary gear e-CVT
Hybrid drivetrain Power-split hybrid (Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive)
Battery 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery[58]
Range 1,030 km (640 mi)[6]
Electric range 40 km (25 mi) (EPA)[6]
Curb weight 3,365 lb (1,526 kg)[81]
Predecessor Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

The second generation Prius plug-in hybrid, the Toyota Prius Prime, was unveiled at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. The model is expected to be released in the U.S. by the end of 2016, and, unlike the first generation model, it will be available in all 50 states.[82] Toyota sales target for the U.S. is about 20,000 Prius Prime models annually.[83]

The Prime's all-electric range is expected to reach 22 mi (35 km), twice the range of the first generation model. Toyota expects the Prime to achieve an EPA rating of 120 mpg-e (29 kW·h/100 mi; 18 kW·h/100 km), a 26% enhancement over the first generation model, and the highest mpg-e rating in all-electric mode of any plug-in hybrid available in the market. Toyota is targeting the fuel economy in hybrid mode to be equal to or better than regular fourth generation Prius liftback.[58][82] Unlike its predecessor, the Prime runs entirely on electricity in all-electric mode (EV mode).[83]

The 2017 model year Prius Prime has a different exterior design than the fourth generation Prius. The interior design is also different.[58] The Prime has a four-seat cabin layout, as Toyota decided to improve the car's efficiency to achieve its design goals.[82]



The Prius Prime is powered by Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) powertrain, combining a 1.8 L gasoline 4-cylinder port-injected inline-4 Atkinson cycle engine coupled with a dual motor generator drive system powered by an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery.[58] The second generator motor is allowed to play the role of a supplemental traction motor while in all-electric mode.[83]

Unlike its predecessor, the Prime is capable of running entirely on electricity in charge-depleting mode (EV mode) in more situations. The improved technology allows the Prius Prime to achieve a maximum of 68 kW (91 hp) from the electric motor system in EV mode.[84] It also allowed Toyota to raise the maximum all-electric speed from 62 mph (100 km/h) to 84 mph (135 km/h), achieving a performance that is nearly as strong in electric mode, and quell concerns with the previous generation car that wouldn’t have enough torque for safety if the gasoline engine were entirely kept out of the power flow.[83]

Battery and range[edit]

The Prius Prime has an 8.8 kWh lithium-ion battery that delivers an EPA-rated all-electric range of 25 mi (40 km). On one full tank of regular-grade gasoline and a full electric charge, total range is 640 mi (1,030 km)[6] Toyota's initial expectation was a range of 22 mi (35 km) on a full charge, doubling the first generation model range.[82] Nevertheless, its range lags behind the Hyundai Ioniq Plug-in, Hyundai Sonata PHEV and the Chevrolet Volt.[82] The battery pack is located just under and slightly aft of the back seat. The battery remains entirely ambient-air-cooled. There’s no liquid cooling of any sort, and no forced-air system either.[83]

To keep up with the demands of charging the larger pack, the onboard charger was upgraded to a 3.3 kW, up from 2.2 kW in the Prius Plug-in.[83] The lithium-ion battery pack can be charged in 5.5 hours with a standard plug at 120 volts, or a dedicated 240 volts outlet can cut the charging time by more than half.[82]

Fuel economy[edit]

Toyota expected the Prime to achieve an EPA rating of 120 mpg-e (29 kW·h/100 mi; 18 kW·h/100 km), a 26% enhancement over the first generation model, and the highest mpg-e rating in all-electric mode of any plug-in hybrid available in the market.[58][82] Toyota targeted the fuel economy in hybrid mode to be equal or better than regular fourth generation Prius liftback.[82] To reduce weight, Toyota used aluminum for the hood, and high-tensile strength steel. The Prius Prime features Toyota’s first carbon fiber rear hatch, which saves weight, while a dual-wave rear glass design helps cut drag.[58][83]

The 2017 model year Prius Prime has an EPA fuel economy rating of 133 mpg-e (25.9 kW·h/100 mi) in all-electric mode (EV mode), making the Prime the most energy-efficient plug-in hybrid when operating in EV mode. However, the combined gasoline/electricity rating is not available yet. When operating in hybrid mode, the Prius Prime has an EPA-rated combined fuel economy of 54 mpg-US (4.4 L/100 km; 65 mpg-imp), 55 mpg-US (4.3 L/100 km; 66 mpg-imp) in city driving, and 53 mpg-US (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg-imp) in highway. Only the Prius Eco has a higher EPA-rated fuel economy rating in hybrid mode.[6][85]

Other features[edit]

The 2017 model year Prius Prime has a different exterior design than the fourth generation Prius. The interior design is also different.[58] The Prime has a four-seat cabin layout, as Toyota tested efficiency against their own internal benchmarks, and seating five people reduced the Prime's efficiency too much to achieve Toyota's design goals.[82]

Markets and sales[edit]

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid sales
by top national markets between 2012 and April 2016
Country Total
2015 2014 2013 2012
 US[17][86][87][88] 42,320 27 4,191 13,264 12,088 12,750
 Japan[89] 22,100[15] 148 1,344 5,187 4,452 10,970
 Netherlands[90][91][92][93][94] 4,056 4 81 87 2,699 1,184
 UK[95][96][97] 1,651(2) 71 256 345 509 470
 Sweden[98][99][100][101] 1,227 10 132 210 376 499
 France[102][103][104][105][106] 945 33 68 38 393 413
 Norway[107][108][109][110][111] 390 3 23 37 156 171
 Canada[112][113] 394 0 43 76 212 63
 Finland[114][115][116][116][117] 152(3) 2(3) 11 21 45 73
 Spain[118][119][120][121][122] 137 2 11 15 51 58
Global sales[89] 75,400[15] 334 6,507 19,879 21,381 27,279
Notes: (1) CYTD: current year-to-date sales through April 2016.
(2) Total registered in the UK at the end of March 2016. (3) Sales in Finland through March 2016.

Toyota's initial global sales goal was to sell more than 60,000 Prius PHV a year, with Japan as the main market and aiming for 40,000 units, two-thirds of the carmaker's global sales goal.[123] During its first year in the market, a total of 27,279 Prius PHVs were sold worldwide,[124] allowing the Prius PHV to rank as the second most sold plug-in electric car for 2012.[18] Sales in 2012 were led by the United States with 12,750 units delivered,[86] followed by Japan with 10,970 units.[124] In 2012, the Prius PHV was the best selling plug-in electric car in Sweden (499 units)[125] and the top selling plug-in hybrid in the UK (470 units),[95] France (413 units),[102] and Norway (171 units).[107] The top selling European market was the Netherlands, with 1,184 units sold during 2012.[90]

Accounting for cumulative sales since its inception, the Prius PHV ranked as the world's third best selling PEV by December 2014.[19] By May 2015, the Prius plug-in fell to fourth place after the Tesla Model S,[126] and by November 2015 it was surpassed in the global ranking by the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV, as the Prius sales declined after the end of its production in June 2015.[127]

As of April 2016, global Prius PHVs sales totaled 75,400 units since 2012, with the North American market accounting for 56.6% of all sales.[15] The United States is the leading country market with 42,320 units delivered through April 2016.[16][17] Japan is the second largest market with 22,100 units sold, followed by the European market with cumulative sales of 10,500 units, both through April 2016.[15] The European market is led by the Netherlands with 4,134 units registered by the end of November 2015,[128] followed by the UK with 1,580 units registered at the end of December 2015,[129] and Sweden with 1,227 registrations up until April 2016.[98][99][100][101]


The Toyota Prius Plug-in was released in the Canadian market in September 2012 at a starting price of CA$35,700.[130] During its first month in the market sold 21 units.[131] The Prius Plug-in is eligible in several provinces for purchase rebates. According to its battery size, the Prius PHV will be eligible in British Columbia for a CA$2,500 rebate starting on December 1, 2011.[132] In Quebec the plug-in will be eligible for a CA$5,000 rebate beginning on January 1, 2012,[133] and it is also eligible for a CA$5,000 rebate in Ontario.[134] A total of 63 units were sold during 2012, and 212 in 2013. Cumulative sales totaled 394 units through December 2015.[112][113]


Deliveries of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid began in France in September 2012. Pricing starts at €37,000 (~ US$48,275) including VAT and before any applicable government incentives. Excluding the environmental bonus, the plug in version is €9,000 (~ US$11,740) more expensive than the conventional hybrid model.[135] The Prius PHV was the top selling plug-in hybrid in France for 2012 with 413 units registered, more than doubling Ampera sales (190).[102] Sales were down to 393 units in 2013,[103] and fell to 38 units in 2014.[104] As of December 2015, registrations totaled 912 units since 2012.[102][103][104][105]


Prius PHV frontal view
Prius PHV rear view (Japanese version)

Toyota began taking orders on late November 2011 and the Prius PHV was released on 30 January 2012.[123] The price of the plug-in, including consumption tax, starts at ¥3,200,000 (US$32,930) for the entry-level S trim and goes up to ¥4,200,000 (US$43,223) for the G trim with leather option. Toyota's sales target for the Japanese market was set between 35,000 and 40,000 units per year.[10][123] A total of 15,400 units had been sold between 2012 and December 2013.[136] An additional 5,187 units were sold in 2014.[89] Cumulative sales totaled about 22,100 units through April 2016.[15]

In October 2013 Toyota announced upgrades and reduced pricing for the 2014 Prius PHV in the Japanese market. The model will be offered in a new two-tone paint scheme, newly designed aluminium alloy wheels, LED illumination for the "PHV" and "Hybrid Synergy Drive" badges. Interior changes include a padded compartment box in the center of the dashboard for keeping the smartphone, and some dark wood grain inserts in the center console and the armrests. In addition, Toyota explained that the 2014 Prius Plug-In Hybrid will be manufactured using an improved spot-welding process that results in increased structural rigidity, which will reduce noise and vibration, and improve ride quality and steering feel.[137] The Japanese-market 2014 Prius PHV will be offered in four trim levels: L, S, G and G Leather Package. The base price was reduced to ¥2,850,000 (US$29,330), and the advanced model will start at ¥3,990,000 (US$41,060).[137]


Deliveries began in August 2012. The Prius PHV pricing starts at €38,990 (~ US$52,100) and lease prices start at €599 (~ US$668) per month. The price includes installation of a charging station at home, and owners also benefit from several tax exemptions and enjoy free parking due to car's low emissions.[138][139]

A total of 1,184 units were sold during 2012, making the Prius PHV the second best selling plug-in electric vehicle in the country after the Opel Ampera (2,693 units), and also making the Netherlands the top selling European market for the Prius PHV during 2012.[90] Sales totaled 2,707 units during 2013,[90][140] ranking third in the Dutch plug-in electric car segment after the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV (8,038) and the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid (6,238).[140] Prius PHV registrations totaled 4,134 units at the end of November 2015.[128]


The Prius PHEV was the top selling plug-in electric car in the country during 2012, with 499 units sold. An additional 376 units were sold in 2013, and ranked as the second most sold PEV that year.[98] A total of 1,085 Prius PHEVs had been registered in Sweden through December 2014, ranking as the third top selling plug-in electric vehicle in the country after the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV (2,385) and the Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid (1,388).[99] A total of 132 units were registered in 2015,[100] and cumulative registrations totaled 1,217 units through December 2015.[98][99][100]

United Kingdom[edit]

The Prius Plug-in pricing starts at GB£32,895 (~ US$52,161) before taking into account the government's GB£5,000 Plug-in Car Grant.[141] After the subsidy is applied, the Prius Plug-in ends up on par with the Nissan Leaf electric car.[142] Deliveries to fleet customers began in August 2012.[143] As of 31 December 2012, a total of 470 units were sold since its introduction to the market in July 2012, allowing the Prius PHV to surpass the Vauxhall Ampera and ranking as the top selling plug-in hybrid in the country.[95] In 2013 the Prius PHV ranked again as the top selling plug-in hybrid with 509 units sold, up 8.5% from 2012. Cumulative sales through December 2013 reached 979 units.[95][96] As of March 2014, the Prius plug-in ranked second after the Nissan Leaf, then the British market leader,[144] but by December 2014 it fell to fifth place among plug-in electric cars, and second place among plug-in hybrids after the Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV.[129][145] A total of 1,580 Prius PHVs were registered in the UK by the end of December 2015.[129]

United States[edit]

The production Prius Plug-in Hybrid was introduced in the U.S. on September 16, 2011, at the Green Drive Expo in Richmond, California.[13][68] For the 2012 and 2013 model year the sales price in the U.S. started at US$32,000 for the base model and US$39,525 for the advanced trim before any applicable government incentives. All trims are subject to a US$760 delivery fee.[1] Due to its battery size, the Prius Plug-in qualifies for a federal tax credit of US$2,500, and it is eligible for additional incentives at the state and local level, such as California's US$1,500 rebate.[5][146] The Prius Plug-in also qualifies for California's Enhanced Advanced Technology-Partial Zero-Emissions Vehicle (EAT-PZEV) status, which will allow plug-in owners to have free access to use carpool lanes even when traveling solo.[147]

Prius Plug-in Hybrid in San Francisco with California's clean air green sticker for HOV access.

On April 22, 2011 Toyota introduced its priority registration website for customers interested in ordering the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, even though the purchase price had not been announced at that time. Registration guaranteed first access to Toyota’s Online Order System, which began sales in October 2011, but limited to the 14 launch states.[13][148] Toyota reported that during its first month since the process began, more than 17,000 potential buyers signed up through its reservation website,[149] by mid July 2011, 29,000 potential buyers had registered,[146] and deposits were taken by dealers beginning in November 2011. The plug-in hybrid is available in two trims and five colors.[150]

Production began in January 2012, and retail deliveries began in late February 2012.[12][150] Initial availability was limited, and, as of October 2013, the Prius PHV was offered only in 15 states: Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.[151][152] According to Toyota these are the states where nearly 60% of all Prius models are currently sold in the country. The Prius Plug-in was originally advertised to become available in all remaining states in 2013;[153] however, nationwide availability never materialized and the car was only sold in the original 15 states until its discontinuation in 2015. Toyota announced it expects to sell in the U.S. market around 15,000 units a year initially.[1] Toyota delivered seven plug-ins in February, sold 891 units in March 2012, its first full month on the market, and in April 2012 the Prius PHV was the top selling plug-in electric car for that month.[12][154] As of April 2016, the Prius PHV cumulative sales totaled 42,320 units since its introduction, ranking as the all-time second top selling plug-in hybrid car in the U.S. after the Chevrolet Volt.[16][17][155] Only 27 units were sold during the first four months of 2016, as Toyota dealerships are running out of stock due to the end of production.[17]

In October 2013 Toyota announced a price reduction for the 2014 model year Prius Plug-in, cutting US$2,000 off the base price, and US$4,620 for the advanced version, in order to boost flagging sales.[156] There will be no changes in the vehicle content as compared to the 2013 model, and the price reduction will take effect in November 2013, when deliveries of the new model is scheduled to begin.[152]


The Toyota Prius Plug-in was a finalist for the 2010 Green Car Vision Award.[157] The Prius Plug-in won the 2012 Urban Green Vehicle of the Year Award.[158] Shared with the Toyota Prius v, the Prius plug-in was awarded Green Car Report's Best Car to Buy 2012.[159]

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]