Next gen Prius plug-in hybrid features all-new dual motor drive

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Toyota has unveiled the second generation Prius plug-in hybrid which the auto maker claims can cover double the distance – more than 30 miles – and achieve much higher speeds in all-electric driving mode.

The new model is built on the same Toyota New Global Architecture platform as the standard, full hybrid Prius. It houses a revolutionary dual motor EV drive system and a battery warming system as well as an EV range-extending solar roof, and gas injection heat pump air conditioning.

The innovative dual motor drive system is said to increase EV power by around 83%. A highly compact, one-way gear within the transaxle enables the hybrid system generator to act as a second electric motor. This boosts EV driving power, providing improved acceleration, more engaging performance and a higher maximum EV speed of 84mph.

The large-capacity lithium-ion battery, located under the rear load space, helps to increase the vehicle’s range; its capacity has been doubled from 4.4 to 8.8kW/h, yet its volume has only increased by two thirds – from 87 to 145 liters.

During charging, a new battery warming system will bring the cells up to an efficient working temperature, even when external temperatures drop as low as -20°C. This ensures battery power and efficiency are maintained at a sufficient level to minimize the impact of cold weather on driving range, with full power available from start-off.

The increase in maximum power from 2.0 to 3.3kW means the battery can be fully charged up to 65% more quickly – in two hours when using the Type II Mode III Mennekes connector, or 3 hours 10 minutes using a standard household plug socket.

The solar roof can be fitted with a large solar panel to generate electricity to charge the hybrid battery. When the vehicle is parked (but not plugged in to a charging socket), the solar roof charges an intermediate solar battery. When this is fully charged, it will deliver a pumping charge to the main hybrid battery.

February 8, 2017

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Dean has been with UKi Media & Events for over a decade, having previously cut his journalistic teeth writing and editing for various automotive and engineering titles. He combines extensive knowledge of all things automotive with a passion for driving, and experience testing countless new vehicles, engines and technologies around the world. As well as his role as editor-in-chief across a range of UKi's media titles, he is also co-chair of the judging panel of the International Engine of the Year Awards.

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