When the totally redesigned Toyota Prius made its debut, it was missing one mainstay in its lineup: a plug-in version. Today, Toyota has finally unveiled the first details of this pluggable Prius, known as the Prius Prime, and things are looking pretty dang good on the surface.
On the outside, the Prius continues with the same body as its standard hybrid siblings. This includes a 2.4-inch longer and 0.6-inch wider body combined with weight-saving measures and sleek curves that keep drag to a minimum. The latter is even better in the Prime model, thanks to its grille shutters that close when the engine doesn’t need cooling.
On the inside, the Prius Prime is nearly identical to the standard Prius, save for a few extra features. These include standard heated front seats, an available 11.5-inch HD touchscreen with navigation in the center console, and a suite of Prius Prime Apps. The latter includes the ability to remotely manage the Prius’ charging, locate charging stations, compare your eco-driving abilities to other Prime drivers, remotely control the climate system, and more.
Under the skin lays what buyers have been clamoring for since the new Prius arrived: a plug-in powertrain. This system makes use of the same 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine as the base Prius mated to a dual-motor generator drive (a first for Toyota). Delivering the juice to the electric motors is an 8.8 kWh battery for added EV range. Toyota estimates this rig’s EV range at 22 miles, its fuel economy at 120 mpg-e, and its total driving range at up to 600 miles.
Owners can charge the battery one of two ways. The slowest way is using a 110-volt household plug, which takes about 5.5 hours. This time is cut in half when the Prius Prime is plugged into a 240-volt charger.
Look for the 2017 Prius Prime to hit showrooms in the fall of this year.