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.

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