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Toyota�s latest Prius spin-off is the Plug-in Hybrid
shoppers who are looking for a fuel-efficient car for frequent short trips and local driving gained a strong new option last week when Toyota released its latest gasoline-electric model, the 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid.
Using its battery alone, it arrives on car leasing
lots with an overall "fuel" economy rating of 87 miles per gallon-equivalent, while it is expected to get 49 miles per actual gallon in hybrid mode.
The new Prius uses similar technology to stable-mates like the third-generation Prius Liftback and the larger Prius v, but extends its basic hybrid driving performance with extended electric vehicle (EV) operation.
After charging its battery with a standard household AC outlet attached to a 15-amp dedicated circuit, the auto allows true EV operation for up to 15 miles at speeds as high as 62 miles per hour. The plug-in approach is also cost-effective, with more affordable pricing than rival cars with pure electric or range- extender motors, Toyota says.
Toyota engineers based the Plug-in Hybrid on the same Hybrid Synergy Drive of the standard Prius model, and also retained the original car's five-passenger seating and generous luggage space.
They made one significant change in the battery, replacing the standard nickel metal hydride (NiMH) cell with a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack. A full charge takes about three hours using a 120-volt outlet, and about half that time with a 240-volt source.
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