2017 Toyota Prius PHV Unveiling – Video
Measuring 2.4 inches longer and 0.6 inch wider than its predecessor, the 2017 Prius Prime receives a frontal makeover to differentiate it from its non-plug-in sibling, with the fascia gaining deeper creases. Additionally, thin LED-headlamp enclosures bracket a blacked-out center section, which also eliminates the protruding lower “fish lip” of the regular Prius. Out back, a new wraparound LED taillamp design is integrated into a spoiler, adding a degree of contemporary style and some identity for the plug-in. To keep weight down and efficiency up, the Prius Prime uses plenty of high-strength steel, an aluminum hood, and a carbon-fiber liftgate. The Prime sits roughly one inch lower in overall height and, like the redesigned 2016 Prius, employs automatic grille shutters to aid aerodynamic efficiency. Toyota claims an 0.24 drag coefficient for the Prius family, making it one of the slipperiest cars on the market. One of the design goals was lowering the center of gravity to improve handling. Front occupants sit lower, and the battery pack has been moved from the trunk to beneath the rear seats. Toyota claims the cg is 0.8-inch lower than the previous Prius.
otivating the Prius Prime is Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which teams the familiar 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine with a planetary-gear continuously variable transmission (CVT) and Toyota’s first electric-drive system capable of using both motor/generators, known as MG1 and MG2, to drive the wheels in EV mode. This arrangement, achieved by adding a simple one-way clutch between the engine and the transmission, improves acceleration performance, according to Toyota. Arguably the most significant improvement to the system is the 8.8-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, which has twice the energy capacity of the 4.4-kWh battery in the old Prius plug-in hybrid.
So what do all the improvements mean for real-world drivers? Toyota is projecting a combined rating of 120 MPGe in EV mode (hybrid fuel economy hasn’t been released, but Toyota is targeting a figure equal to the current non-plug-in Prius), a doubling of maximum electric range to 22 miles, and a top speed of 84 mph. Toyota says the 2017 Prius Prime can be fully charged in approximately 5.5 hours from a standard household outlet; hooking to a 240-volt source cuts that time in half. Finally, the 2017 Prius plug-in hybrid is said to have a combined range of more than 600 miles with a full battery and the maximum 11.3 gallons of fuel onboard.