Plug-in hybrid Prius gets a battery change

The Toyota plug-in hybrid Prius has made quite a breakthrough with their new efficient lithium battery cells that have replaced the regular nickel-metal hybrid batteries. Lithium ion cells are recharged quicker from a socket and have superior energy density. The batteries, per Toyota’s claim, can be recharged in just 90 minutes from UK mains.

On a full charge the Prius can drive just on electric power for about 12.5 miles that is twice as far as the range for the hybrid Prius nickel metal and with a top out of 62mph almost twice the maximum speed before the petrol run engine will kick in.

Toyota estimates that over 80% of UK trips are less than six miles which in theory means a complete round trip could be completed without the petrol engine needed. The plug-in Prius can operate as both a parallel or series hybrid. While in the series mode the wheels are turned by the electric motor and when there is more power necessary the motor works in parallel fashion with the petrol engine.

The difference for the plug-in is that it can work for a longer period of time in the series mode. What is nice is that there is always the built in safety net – the petrol engine to rely on if needed thus eliminating the worry of the range of the electric engine.