New Toyota Prius PHV: Improved EV mode range up to 68.2km, starting at $29K in Japan

Toyota has completely overhauled their plug-in hybrid, the Prius PHV, and released the revamped car for sale in Japan on Feburary 15th.

The new Prius PHV, through improvements made to the high capacity lithium ion battery and plug-in hybrid system, is now more enviornmentally friendly than ever. Doubling the EV running range of the car compared with previous models to a whopping 68.2 km, it can now accellerate in EV mode up to 135km/h, improving the car’s electric-only operation range. Also, with a 1.8 liter high powered engine, the Prius PHV now gets 37.2km to the liter (JC08 mode), making it much more fuel efficient.

To fully charge the car at 100V/6A takes 14 hours, and only 2 hours 20 minutes at 200V/16A. Quick charging (to about 80%) takes about 20 minutes with 200V/16A. Utilizing solar panel charging technology, a first for mass production cars around the world, the Prius PHV also allows for a maximum of 6.1km running per day (average value is 2.9km per day) via solar power only. As with previous models, the vehicle allows for supplying electricity to external devices, and with the vehicle’s new EV mode charging feature, appliances can be run without turning on the vehicle’s engine, though in HV mode the car can provide up to 1500W of power on a full tank, providing power for 2 days.

As for the exterior, the large new transparent acrylic resin grill and 4 LED headlights make for an imposing impression from the front. The headlights can detect taillights and oncoming cars, precisely controlling the 16 LEDs in what is known as the car’s adaptive high beam system. The 2 double bubble window on the back along with the high mounted brake lights aligned in a single line make for a very unique design.

On the vehicle’s infotainment system, the car now comes standard (except for the S model) with Toyota’s largest screen ever with the 11.6 inch T-Connect SD navigation system and 3 years of connected service with the T-Connect DCM package for new registrants. If a warning light comes on, that data is sent to operators and dealerships, allowing them to provide advice via the e Care system. The car even has what has been dubbed Pocket PHV, which allows drivers to check on the status of battery charge, operate the AC, and search for nearby charge stations from his or her smartphone.

The Prius PHV also comes standard with the impact support package Toyota Safety Sense P on all models.

The Prius PHV ranges between ¥3,261,600 ($29,000 USD) and ¥4,222,800 ($37,000 USD). The company hopes to sell 2,500 units a month.

Toshiya Hanabusa@DAYS