Toyota Unleashes 'Super Prius' Plug-in Hybrid

Prius Plug-In is expected to sticker at $28,000 -- about $5,000 more than the base model.

Published: 21-Feb-2011

When General Motors set out to build the Chevrolet Volt, it had one goal in mind above all else: give Toyota nightmares.

Fed up with watching the Prius cruising along as the vehicular darling of the environmental set, GM launched the automotive equivalent of a moonshot program, hoping to steal the spotlight with a next-gen hybrid that could be plugged-in to the electrical grid, increasing fuel efficiency to unheard of levels via the ability to run as an electric car part of the time. To complete this mission, its engineers developed a complex, all-new powertrain that is truly like nothing else on the road today.

But if they wanted to make a semi-electric car, why go to all the trouble? Wouldn’t it have been easier just to put a larger battery on an existing hybrid and call it a day? Well, aside from hoping to impress everyone with its new creation, GM didn’t really have one of those at the time. At least not one with an electric motor that was both small enough and robust enough to be used as the primary propulsion system for a compact car, like the one in the Prius.


2010 Plug-in Prius similar to that driven by the author.

Admittedly 'lazy' test driver in Ireland finds excuses not to plug in the Prius.

Toyota and Tesla are collaborating on an all-electric version of the RAV4 sport utility vehicle.

Electric version of RAV4 is being jointly developed by Toyota and Tesla, picking up where original RAV4 EV left off nearly a decade ago.

Toyota sponsored billboard shows two future models in the Prius family

Cars will be shown at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show.


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