Toyota has been keeping people waiting for their new plug-in Prius for a long time now. Consumesearch drove a prototype of the Prius V set to enter the market in 2012 and made a list of the enhancements it will feature compared to a present-day non-plug-in Prius.
First, there’s this software EV-only and gasoline-only mode differentiation that past Prius versions lacked. All sorts of modders and hackers anticipated this need and modified their cars to feature them, but it took a while until Toyota put it into their regular, mainstream product. So, in other words, in the new Prius V you’ll be able to switch to gasoline-only mode and preserve the battery’s charge, something you couldn’t do in a classic Prius.
If you hit the highway right after you left home and then needed in-town efficiency (in a classic Prius), you’d be left with only a running gasoline engine, since the battery would be empty by then. That won’t happen in a 2012 Prius V. Small software modification, bit impact.
Another feature the 2012 Prius V will have is it will allow you to regenerate the EV-only mode not only by connecting the car to the grid, but also from the gasoline engine. This feature is added to the standard regenerative system found in regular Priuses and used when braking or coasting.
These are the changes revealed so far by Toyota by letting people test their prototypes. They may have more enhancements, but they’ll be unveiled one by one, and they’ll surely reach the GM Volt’s capabilities. Toyota already has a name in this industry and niche, and even though its EV-only mode is only 13 miles, it will still help a lot of hypermilers reach records never heard of before. That creates a tight competition, which is only good for the consumer.