The fully redesigned model can travel 68.2km per charge in electric-vehicle mode, up from 26.4km, thanks to higher capacity lithium-ion battery packs. “For daily use, the car functions mostly as an electric vehicle,” Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada said at the unveiling in Japan.
More important for the true car-guy: The rear door frame with its characteristic downward bulge is made from carbon fiber, produced, as I learned today, at Toyota’s Motomachi plant on the same equipment that made the all carbon-fiber Lexus LFA supercar. Its spirit lives on in a Prius plug-in.
Since pioneering hybrid technology, Toyota developed about 40 hybrid models. The automaker currently sells eight Toyota hybrid models and five Lexus hybrid models in the U.S. Those numbers include four variants of the Prius, three hybrid and one plug-in hybrid.
Toyota has opened up to endorsing lithium ion batteries, which are being placed the in Prius Prime. The company had avoided that battery technology, which has been widely adopted for competitor’s electric vehicles, for years. Nickel metal hydride batteries have been used in recent Toyota hybrid models.