Toyota introduces 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid

Toyota introduced 2012 Prius Plug-in hybrid car at the Green Drive Expo in Richmond, CA, as the newest member of the expanding Prius Family. Prius Plug-in features a 4.4 kWh Li-ion pack enabling an electric range of up to 24 km at speeds of up to 62 mph (100 km/h), according to Toyota. Engine with lower exhaust heat, heat efficiency enhanced, and fuel efficiency. Prius Plug-in designed for balanced performance, range, economy, packaging and affordable price. The new model delivers extended EV range without along with ample space for passengers or for luggage.

Some of the special features are

1. The 2012 Prius Plug-in Hybrid car retains the Hybrid Synergy Drive of the standard Prius model and can seamlessly switch into hybrid operation at a pre-determined state of battery charge.

2. The hybrid system- includes the 1.8-liter engine, third-generation hybrid transaxle, and power control unit (PCU), now supplemented by the new Li-ion battery and on-board charging system.

3. Engine- include the Atkinson combustion cycle; Electronic Throttle Control System with intelligence, exhaust heat recirculation to heat engine coolant to reduce time to reach operating temperature and cooled exhaust gas recirculation to reduce cooling loss and pumping loss. With lower exhaust heat, heat efficiency was enhanced, and consequently, fuel efficiency was enhanced as well. The engine also uses an electrically driven air conditioning compressor and water pump to reduce mechanical losses.

4. Multifunction gear- combines a power split planetary gear set ring with a speed reduction planetary gear set ring, and incorporates parking gear and counter drive gear.

5. Power Control Unit- The PCU features a compact inverter design with direct cooling of IGBT transistors, and converts DC to 3-phase AC to drive MG1 and MG2. Controlled by the hybrid ECU, the PCU boost converter raises 201.6 VDC up to 650 volts DC. (The MG ECU is packaged within the inverter assembly.)

6. Charger- The on-board charging system accommodates single pulse DC 110/220 volt input, and is compliant to SAE J1772 standards. Maximum input current is 12A, and maximum output is 2 kW. Charging time at 110V is about 3 hours; charging at 220V cuts that in half.

7. Driving modes- The Prius Plug-in offers a user-selectable EV mode and two hybrid modes: Eco and Power. In EV mode, the hybrid ECU operates the vehicle using only MG2 if required conditions-such as sufficient battery state of charge and vehicle speed within ECV mode range-are satisfied.

8. Eco mode maximizes fuel savings across all driving conditions. It modifies or smoothes out the electronic throttle control program to reduce throttle response and modifies air conditioning operation. As an ancillary benefit, it improves performance in low-traction conditions such as ice and snow.

9. New multi-information display- been included in the Prius Plug-in. A new EV Drive Ratio display records the ratio of driving distance covered by EV power, and the Hybrid System Indicator shows possible EV driving range when in EV mode. Pruis Smartphone applications developed for the Prius Plug-in Hybrid includes Charge Management, Remote Air Conditioning System, Charging Station Map, Vehicle Finder and Eco Dashboard.

10. Toyota’s warranty- for 36-month/36,000 mile applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the power train for 60,000 miles and against corrosion with no mileage limitation. The hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, and the battery-charging system and cable/connector, are covered for eight years/100,000 miles

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