Toyota has been out testing it's new plug-in version of the 2010 Prius. The new car has a larger battery pack and the ability to charge via the electric grid in order to boost MPG. In preliminary testing, the car is getting about 65 miles per gallon, which is 15 MPG better than the non-plug-in version.
To be honest, I'm a little bit disappointed. I've been waiting for ten years for the next step in the evolution of electric vehicles and Toyota is leaving something to be desired. Yes, their hybrid drivetrains blow everyone else out of the water, and yes, they have been more successful with it than anyone.
But 65 MPG is 153 gallons per 10,000 miles, while the current Prius will burn about 200 gallons in those same 10,000 miles. It's better, but it's not the kind of leap forward that the Prius originally produced.
Upgrading from a similar sized vehicle at 30 MPG to a 50 MPG Prius will save you almost 150 gallons of gas per 10,000 miles driven. That's the kind of leap that we need again. The real trick is to get some miles without gasoline at all, which is why everyone (except, seemingly, Toyota) is working on extended-range electric vehicles that can handle daily commutes without burning gasoline at all.
We'll have to wait until Toyota brings the car to market (and the EPA figures out a way to test it) before we'll know the real mileage numbers. Unfortunately, Toyota hasn't committed to a release date for the Plug-in Prius yet. But at 65 MPG, I'll be happy to see them on the road, technological leap or not.
written by Grant, February 03, 2009
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written by GPM, February 09, 2009
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