If you ask me, a plug-in Toyota Prius is way overdue, but as it turns out, may well be worth the wait. The 2012 Prius Plug-In will come with a selectable EV mode that gives drivers more flexibility for their drive.
The current Toyota Prius comes with three selectable driving modes; Eco, Power, and EV, and the non-selectable Normal mode. When the Prius first starts up, it automatically enters Normal mode, draining the battery before switching over to the gas engine. There’s nothing wrong with this, although if you’re planning to just hop on the highway before going downtown, you’re losing fuel efficiency as the EV mode is better suited to slow city driving than highway speeds. The 2012 Prius Plug-In will also offer a selectable EV mode.
What that does is allow you, the driver, to decide when to enter EV mode, and when to let the gas engine do the work. It’s a small but brilliant maneuver on Toyota’s part that puts control back in the hands of the driver, something sorely lacking in most modern cars. Now you can save EV mode for when you want it, allowing you to increase your efficiency, as long as you use it wisely.
This EV Mode goes along with another very nifty feature which will allow drivers to refill the EV battery via regenerative braking, no plugging in required (though an charger is still the fastest way to refill the battery. This feature means that, technically, you would be able to recharge your Prius Plug-In to its full 13 mile or so EV range without ever having to plug in, although you’ll need a long hill to do so. And that, my friends, is nothing short of amazing…if it works. Which I have a feeling it will.
Ford may be catching up to Toyota, but the Prius keeps moving the goal posts. Gotta give them props for that, and it looks like Toyota’s hearty hybrid may keep the MPG Crown for at least a few more years.
Source: Consumer Research
Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.