Toyota celebrated 10 years in the U.S. for the Prius at the Detroit Auto Show 2011 this week, introducing three new additions to the eco-friendly range. In addition to the announcement of the Prius v which will be available in 2011 and Prius c Concept which is expected to go into production in 2012, the company also unveiled plans for Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) technology which will allow the next-gen hybrid vehicles from Toyota to be recharged using grid power. While the new Prius v offers a midsize hybrid-electric vehicle aimed at young families the Prius c Concept vehicle will fill the city compact niche when released.

The Prius hybrid vehicle has clocked up 955,000 sales in the U.S since its release in 2000. While the third-generation Prius liftback has become Toyota's third-best selling passenger car in the U.S since hitting the showrooms in 2009, the motor company has realized a need to offer hybrid-electric vehicles in more shapes and sizes. In response 2011 will see the Prius family welcome the Prius v, a midsize vehicle said to deliver estimated EPA fuel economy ratings of 42 mpg city, 38 mpg highway and 40 mpg combined. It will also emit 66 percent fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle according to Toyota.

Prius v

Toyota says the interior space Prius v offers good visibility assisted by a high seating position and ample head room. A low, wide-opening rear hatch houses 34.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats, while a sliding second row seats allow for easier ingress and egress and rear-storage flexibility, with a 45-degree recline for greater comfort. The 60/40 split, folding rear seats present four different seat arrangements and a fold-flat front-passenger seat allows for extremely long cargo.

Like the current generation Prius, the Prius v includes four driving modes (Normal, Power, Eco and EV), Smart Key System with Push Button Start, an electronic shift lever, Hill Start Assist Control (HAC) and a rear -view camera as standard.

Available options include energy-efficient LED headlamps, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with a Pre-Collision System (PCS), and Advanced Parking Guidance System. Many of these new features will be applied to the entire Toyota brand such as Touch Tracer Display, Solar Powered ventilation, Smart Key System with Push Button Start, Lane Keep Assist, Advanced Parking Guidance System and LED headlamps.

the Prius v will also feature Toyota's new Entune multimedia system which integrates mobile phone functionality into the navigation, entertainment and information systems. Entune supports mobile apps such as Bing, OpenTable and, plus live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), news and internet radio.

Entune also supports voice control and audio read-back for text messages.

2012 Prius v preliminary specifications:

  • Powertrain:1.8-liter four-cylinder engine with VVT-i
  • Engine horsepower: 98 hp @ 5,200 rpm
  • Engine torque: 105 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm
  • Electric motor:Permanent magnet synchronous motor
  • Electric motor power output: 80 hp/153 lb-ft torque
  • Hybrid system net horsepower: 134 hp
  • Emission rating: SULEV/Tier 2 Bin 3
  • Electronically controlled continuously variable transmission
  • Drive System: Front-wheel-drive
  • Hybrid battery pack: Nickel-metal hydride
  • Estimated fuel economy: 42 mpg city/38 mpg hwy/ 40 mpg comb.
  • Overall Length: 181.7 inches
  • Overall Width: 69.9 inches
  • Overall Height: 62.0 inches
  • Wheelbase: 109.4 inches
  • Ground clearance: 5.7 inches
  • Coefficient of Drag: 0.29
  • Wheels: 16-inch alloy wheels (optional 17-inch alloy wheels)
  • Tire Size: 16-inch: 205/60R16, 17-inch: 215/50R17 (optional)
  • Seating Capacity: 5

Prius c and Plug-in Hybrid

The range will be further expanded in 2012 with the addition of the Prius c – a compact hybrid-electric which has been designed specifically for city conditions. Also arriving in 2012 will be the Prius Plug-In Vehicle.

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid will offer the fuel economy of the Prius with added EV driving capability.

Depending on driving conditions, Prius Plug-in can be driven approximately 13 miles on battery power at speeds up to 60 mph. Its lithium-ion battery provides less weight and a quicker recharging time, taking three hours on 110 volts and 1.7 hours on 220 volts.   After the EV power is depleted, the Plug-in performs like a third-generation Prius hybrid. The only difference from a regular Prius is that it can be plugged in to top up the onboard Lithium-ion battery.   The Plug-in will be initially offered in 14 West and East Coast states (Arizona, California, Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, Virginia and New Hampshire) where nearly 60 percent of all Prius models are currently sold. Availability in all remaining States will be a year later.

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