Report: Orders for the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid open in Japan

The Prius PHV, Toyota’s first plug-in hybrid, will be available for order in Japan as of January 30, after its debut that hit just before this week’s Tokyo Motor Show.

Sales for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid are projected to reach 60,000 per year, with the bulk of these sales in Japan, anticipated around 35,000 – 40,000 units per year.

Toyota’s rechargeable ride is going for about $41,000 USD, which will be significantly reduced after incentives the Japanese government has in place. US prices will be much lower at $32,000.

The successful Prius, which has sold about 3.4 million models globally since its 1997 release, has the brand moving forward in the direction of electric cars. With EV’s targeted at city commuters, more models will be introduced next year, along with an expansion in the segment in Europe.

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Sales in the U.S. start later next month.

Refresher: The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is powered by the same Hybrid Synergy Drive system used in the regular Prius – a 98-hp 1.8 liter 4-cylinder that runs on the Atkinson cycle and contributes to a maximum 134 total system horsepower. The system uses two electric motors, one 80-hp unit that works to power the  transaxle, and another smaller motor that works as the electric power source for battery regeneration and as a starter for the gas engine. A newly 4.4 kWh lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack replaces the standard Prius’ nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery and fits under the rear cargo floor. Reaching full-charge takes 2.5 to 3.0 hours using a 120v household outlet or 1.5 hours using a 240v outlet. Full EV operation comes in at 15 miles at speeds up to 62 mph.

– By: Alexandra Koken

Source: Automotive News