The new Prius Plug-in will cost less than £31,000 when sales start in the first half of 2012. This headline figure does not take into account Government funding through the Ultra-Low Carbon Vehicle grant scheme that could reduce the price to customer by up to £5,000: the Toyota has qualified for grant support by meeting the criteria for plug-in vehicles.
The pricing is competitive compared to the latest EV models on the market, but Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers more flexible performance, thanks to its powertrain which combines an electric motor, a lithium-ion battery and a petrol engine. This will allow drivers to cover more than 14 miles in EV mode, using power from its hybrid battery, after which the vehicle will seamlessly switch to power from its full hybrid system, including the 1.8-litre VVT-i petrol engine. This means the driver need suffer no “range anxiety” about the distance the car can cover.
The convenience and efficiency of Prius Plug-in Hybrid extends to the system for recharging the lithium-ion battery. Simple connection to workplace or domestic electricity supply, or a roadside charging point, can enable a full recharge in an hour and a half.
Prior to official homologation, Toyota predicts Prius Plug-in Hybrid will emit 49g/km of carbon dioxide and achieve 134.5mpg combined cycle fuel economy. This strengthens its position as a strong prospect for corporate fleet operators, as it will qualify for a Benefit-in-Kind company car tax rating of just five per cent for drivers, and consequently a monthly tax burden of less than £52 (for a 40 per cent tax payer, based on the guideline vehicle price). Furthermore, businesses will save on fleet costs thanks to a 100 per cent write-down allowance and lower National Insurance contributions.
Ewan Shepherd, General Manager Toyota/Lexus Fleet Services said: “Prius Plug-in Hybrid will be an exciting and valuable addition to what is already an industry-leading Toyota range that delivers significant financial benefits to companies and company car drivers with advanced and highly efficient models such as Prius and the British-built Auris Hybrid.”
The advantages of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid are being measured in real-world demonstration programmes with 200 prototype Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEV) in Europe – 20 of them in London. Initial data are showing how the car can achieve significantly better urban driving performance than the best-in-class diesel and petrol models of comparable size. The London demonstration, in partnership with EDF Energy, is also monitoring battery recharging patterns and how motorists can time recharging periods to make best use of the power supply in terms of cost and emissions.
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