Toyota’s second-generation plug-in hybrid Prius, unveiled at the New York International Auto Show, promises significant improvements in electric performance over its predecessor.

The new car has a quoted EV-only driving range of up to 31 miles, twice that of the Mk1 version, with maximum speeds of up to 84mph in EV mode. The full battery charge time has been cut significantly to two hours 20 minutes, despite the lithium-ion battery pack being larger.

Combined cycle fuel economy is said to be 202mpg – which Toyota claims as best in class compared to other plug-in hybrids currently on sale, while CO2 emissions are just 32g/km.

The new plug-in hybrid system is said to minimise use of the petrol engine in all possible situations. Even when not running in EV mode, Prius Plug-in will automatically favour its all-electric drive capability in situations where it can deliver higher efficiency than the petrol engine, most notably when driving around town and on shorter journeys.

This electric faovuring holds true even when accelerating quickly or using the cabin heater. The adoption of a new battery-powered heating system improves efficiency in cold weather, while among new technology on the car is the world’s first heat pump air conditioning system with gas injection.

Like its pure hybrid sister the new Prius plug-in is built on Toyota’s latest TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture) platform, which the brand says produces a better driving position and more precise and responsive handling.

It maintains the more planted and chiseled profile, with a lower centre of gravity, of its sister model, and compared to the outgoing plug-in measures up 165mm longer, 15mm wider and 20mm lower to ground.

The new Prius is also being used to highlight the brand’s latest technology, the show version boasting such innovations as the gas injection air conditioning and solar roof charging.

The Prius plug-in is due in UK showrooms at the end of 2016, at prices still to be revealed.

Andrew Charman
Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Executivecondominium. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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