Toyota PHEV out of the closet

This story broke ages ago on Green Car Congress:

GCC, Toyota to Obtain Permission for Public Road Test for Plug-in Prius in Japan

But the news is worth echoing.  We’re talking a Toyota-made, plug-in version of the Gen 2 Prius with some interesting specs:

• Same transmission (50 kW motor for MG2)
• Expanded battery (Ron Gremban estimates a second stock pack running from 90% to 30% State of Charge (equating to roughly 60% of the 2.6kWh capacity of two OE Prius packs) to allow 8 miles All Electric Range (AER)
• Another Battery ECU for the second pack
• Updated HV ECU software to allow the vehicle to reach 62 mph in EV Mode (current models will not exceed 34 mph in EV Mode), request 50 kW from the battery (max output for MG2), and use greater range of the battery SOC
• Improved DC:DC converter (also according to Ron) to account for greater MG2 acceleration
• Onboard charger/inverter

Note that this list is not long.  We’re essentially talking about the PHEV conversion performed by Steve Woodruff of AutoBeYours, plus a few adjustments that only Toyota could reasonably make (i.e. software).

The technology is proven, accessible, highly useful, and cost effective.  Kudos to Toyota for getting it on the road in an OE package.  Very, very, very exciting development; let’s hope it reaches the US.

More info:

GCC, Toyota Announces Development of Plug-In Hybrid; First Manufacturer to Have PHEV Certified for Public Road Use in Japan

Reuters, Sweet video of PHEV Prius in action