As a fleet car or family car, the Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid has a spacious cabin to accommodate large families and, due to its smooth drivetrain, provides a very comfortable drive. Our fleet car review of this car found fuel economy and emissions standards to be best in class and if you sell it in the future, it will command high resale value. The only drawbacks are poor rear visibility, lack of steering feel, and plastic interiors considering the high price.
As 2011 is going to be revolutionary as many establishments and businesses have planned to install electric vehicle charging points, this Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid vehicle fleet review is designed to help you make the right decision. Some electric vehicles will be released this year and next year will have a fair choice.
The Toyota Prius is already quite common on the roads, especially in urban areas, where hybrids have become popular. Toyota has sold more than two million hybrid models and is therefore the only manufacturer that has the most experience in the development and implementation of hybrid technology.
The latest model Prius is capable of going 2 miles on battery power alone, and for 2012 it will also have the option of a plug-in version. The Prius PHV will use lithium-ion batteries and will travel 12.5 miles on battery power alone. This distance is enough to cover short trips, and to get a full charge when the battery is empty, it would take about an hour and a half from the usual 240v sockets.
The vehicle is also equipped with regenerative technology that will use energy while decelerating and charge the battery, thus giving it optimal range. When battery power is low, Prius relies on its 1.8-liter gasoline engine for most of its power needs, using the battery for occasional help.
If you think this technology comes at a high price, you should be aware that the vehicle is eligible for a £5,000 grant, provided the government has extended the cash allocation in its scheme. If you compare the regular model of the Prius, the plug-in has less trunk space, since the battery pack is larger and there is an electrical outlet by the front passenger door.
We tested the Prius for a few days to test its practicality and also to see if fears of short EV battery range were well founded. The vehicle was driven for approximately 150 miles and most of this distance is covered by highway. Hybrids or electric vehicles generally do not perform as well at constant high speeds.
The battery of an electric vehicle will deplete quickly. In a hybrid, when the engine is constantly running at high speed, it negates the fuel economy benefit, since the engine has to support its own weight and that of the battery. But we found that the Prius was able to sustain its drive in EV mode from Epsom to just past the M25.
The trip computer reading was found to be 75 mpg after the trip was completed. This wasn’t far from the 74.3 mpg reading we got from the standard Prius combined cycle. But you have to keep in mind that the standard Prius traveling at 70 mph wouldn’t have 70 mpg economy.
Over a seven-day course, the vehicle was capable of running in EV mode on my approximately 22-mile route, assuming half the trip was spent without tailpipe emissions. This would have been ideal, but the actual distance in EV mode was only about eight miles after starting the trip. This could be because the heating and ventilation system draws power due to cold weather and also because speeds of 50-70 mph are maintained.
The Prius seems to be ideal where the vehicle is used for shorter trips and the charging opportunity presents itself throughout the day. In the event of longer journeys, a backup powertrain economy hybrid would serve the purpose.
By 2012 there will be plenty of choice between part-electric and part-gasoline vehicles like the Vauxhall Ampera and the Chevrolet Volt. Peugeot is also launching some diesel hybrids. Even with these models, Toyota should be able to maintain a stronger position, given its expertise in hybrid technology and a vehicle that has already proven its worth.
The verdict of our fleet vehicle review is that an EV with a 12-mile range on battery is attractive for certain travel requirements and if the plug-in vehicle subsidy scheme is extended, then the Toyota Prius Plug In Hybrid will be quite popular. , either as a fleet car or family car.