2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in: A modest route to the electric future — Boston…

30 Мар 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

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photos: Clifford Atiyeh/Boston.com

Plugging in an electric car by a city is an extended challenge.

The hybrid’s has arrived, except it’s stuck in one of New England’s more winters.

I don’t mean stuck, like when our Toyota Prius Plug-in itself in an inch of snow. the cold weather served a reminder that gas-electric and their brainy powertrain simply have to keep the running.

The Prius Plug-in is one of new Prii (Toyota’s taking for an official plural) set to go on sale this year and early The average Prius can’t go than a half-mile on electric but our decaled prototype claims a battery range and fuel of nearly 100 mpg on short trips. it’s January, and those aren’t going to happen.

A caused our jerry-rigged charging to short out.

Hybrid living here should their stupendous mileage to drop to more average in winter, since the coolant and converter have to be kept to maximize performance and minimize Low temperatures, inclines, and speeds 60 mph all work against the Prius The Chevrolet Volt also its engine to run in cold weather, with the batteries fully

Toyota, however, isn’t us a technological marvel. A123 of Watertown has been selling plug-in conversion kits for the Prius since 2008. dealers including Westboro have installed hundreds and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation is four of them.

Toyota’s are close to those of the converted Three lithium-ion battery including one in the spare tire (Toyota says it will a single pack on the production are rated at about 3 kWh and replace the 1.3-kWh nickel metal-hydride That adds about 200 to the already light 3,042-pound weight, and isn’t at all noticeable the electric motor provides power. Charging takes three hours on a 120-volt or half that on 240 volts.

has been lending 600 Prius models to journalists, companies, and organizations worldwide, including the Port Authority. and most for Zipcar customers in Boston and About 150 of the cars are being throughout the US, and all of them have boxes recording fuel data which Toyota share on its website in February.

In my log entry, Toyota should a short-circuit at 1:43 a.m. on 12, right as a heavy snowfall was Boston. Lacking a covered or an external outlet, I ran a medium-gauge cord out my kitchen window and it three stories off a balcony. nestled their way in between the and click! lights out.

electrical tape would helped, but I got lazy. Even charging the Prius is equivalent to a toaster for three hours, doesn’t recommend using cords at all. City-dwellers, only option is garage Because unless you’ve got a connection 10 feet away, hybrids won’t take to And if someone is bold enough to the light off my bike, they’ll hawk that Prius on eBay the next morning.

With temperatures hovering 25 degrees, I couldn’t nudge the Plug-in past an indicated 53 mpg 325 miles of mixed city and driving. Save for one day, the car was in every time at home and to the Globe loading docks. My to work is only nine but the engine always ran about the time, even after the car was warm.

Like the regular the electric motor has only kick for light acceleration. But on a charge one night, I tore up 24 for 10 dreamy, gas-free minutes. On days, I saw eight to 10 miles of operation at best. A 10-mile to Costco netted about 96 but dropped to 56 on the way back with the drained. The last time I a third-generation Prius, I averaged 51 mpg in the of July.

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Besides the battery on the front left fender and the Hybrid badges, there’s to distinguish this model the average Prius. A tiny LED on the lights up when the car is charging, and the LCD instrument panel shows an EV range next to the battery Among the geeky fuel bar graphs is a new display that how often the Prius runs on its alone. After a full I scored 22 percent.

Instead of building a dramatic hybrid or blowing everything on an car, Toyota has made improvements to an already impressive car expanding its hybrid lineup at cost. The minivan-like Prius V on sale this summer, a compact two-door Prius C and Plug-in model go on sale in the months of 2012. From on out, aggressive pricing and volume will do the real not the gallon or two of gas I might have

The Chevrolet Volt, despite three major Car of the Year is on sale in only six states, a whopping $41,000, and may not hit over units this year. At the Nissan Leaf is a similar and needs an expensive home unit or the rare public to keep it running. Toyota announced pricing, but said the over a standard Prius be less than $10,000. limited battery capacity it eligible for only a third of the $7,500 federal tax credit Volt and Leaf owners we estimate the Prius Plug-in undercut the Volt by a few thousand and go even with the Leaf.

Hopefully, Toyota’s not done There’s nowhere to store the charging cord, no way to tell the charging status when off, and the LCD display could do a job of showing when the gas engine is It’s an experiment, and for many living in cities, a stretch of the to work properly. But if Toyota can enough of them, the company’s conservative culture could see it yet another niche.

2012 Prius Plug-in

THE BASICS estimated: $30,000 Fuel EPA estimated: N/A. Fuel Globe observed: 53 mpg Drivetrain: I-4, 60 kW electric motor, lithium-ion battery, CVT, front-wheel-drive. Body: 5-passenger, hatchback. THE SPECIFICS Horsepower: Torque: N/A. Overall 175.6 in. Wheelbase: 106.3 in. 58.7 in. Width: 68.7 in. weight: 3,242 lbs.

THE GOOD: Quiet, smooth, and gas mileage

THE BAD: Difficult to electric mode, not beneficial to dwellers, still drives a Prius

THE BOTTOM LINE: improvements make a great better – at a cost

Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid


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