The new version will feature Toyota's new Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle technology (PHEV) which will be matched to the company's Hybrid Synergy Drive system it has been using on the normal Toyota Prius.
The new PHEV system will allow the Prius to be driven further in electric mode than the standard Prius, with a potential range stepped up from just a few kilometres to more like 21km. Speeds of up to 100km/h can also be achieved while in electric vehicle (EV) mode.
Part of this extended range capability is down to a new lithium-ion battery pack, which can be recharged in about 90 minutes using a 240-volt outlet, or around three hours using a 110-volt outlet. Toyota says the new plug-in hybrid will offer a combined overall range of about 764km, using both the EV mode and normal hybrid mode.
These figures provide vast improvements in fuel economy compared with the current conventional Prius, which comes with a fuel consumption rating of 3.9L/100km. A Toyota spokesman previewed the new model in a recent statement, saying,
"While some debate the relative merits of electric cars, the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid offers drivers the best of both worlds; extended EV driving range for shorter journeys in towns and cities, while the efficient hybrid petrol engine gives the car uncompromised long range capability and the very low fuel consumption of the standard Prius."
The 2012 Toyota Prius PHEV will go on sale in international markets during the first half of next year.