Any Model You Want as Long as It's PluggableThe Nikkei is reporting that Toyota will make the whole Prius family (by then, larger and smaller hybrids will join the current model) 'plug-in'. In other words, you'll be able to recharge the batteries using electricity from the grid. This should improve fuel economy substantially in city driving, since the gasoline engine might not be required at all for short trips.
Click to see our 2010 Toyota Prius slideshow. Photo: Toyota
Prius hybrid models debuting in 2014 will come with plug-in capabilities as a standard feature. Around 2015, Toyota aims to lift global hybrid sales to around 1 million units a year, bringing the total number traveling the world's roadways to 5 million. Since some 70% are expected to be Prius models, the automaker hopes to use the plug-in versions to tap replacement demand.
The future plug-ins will feature high-performance lithium ion batteries. Current models can travel a maximum 38km [24 miles] per liter. The fourth-generation offerings will be able to cover more than 60km [37 miles], including electricity-only mileage. (source)
The beauty of this move is that they're making it standard. If it was a more expensive option, many people would opt not to get it. But making it standard on the best-selling hybrid model in the world means that other automakers will have to make most or all of their hybrids plug-ins. This'll push mass-adoption of this technology forward, and will make a big difference for city driving CO2 emissions.
the larger Prius V. Photo: Toyota
As I always say, it's still better to walk, cycle, or take public transit. But if you're going to drive, get the most fuel-efficient vehicle that meets your needs and drive it as little as possible.