Essentially, this is a petrol-electric Prius that has been modified to handle a Plug-in charge connection to top up the battery pack, when the charge is low or depleted.
CarAdvice was given the opportunity to drive the car, and came away impressed with several features about this technology.
For starters, this particular hybrid concept will allow you to accelerate up to 100km/h on electric power only, without the need for any assistance from the internal combustion engine and it’s quicker than most petrol only cars due to the explosion of torque from the moment the nudge the throttle.
Whenever you start a new trip in the Plug-in hybrid, you will be using electric power only until the charge is depleted.
The total range of this 600 strong concept fleet, using electric power only, is a not so far 20 km. You’re right, that just won’t cut it for most Australians but in Europe and Japan, you could get away with it each day, without ever needing petrol power.
If that range were extended to perhaps 40-50 kilometres, then this might be a starter for quite a few environmentally friendly Aussies.
The lithium-ion battery pack can be charged in 100 minutes using an external power outlet and once charged, the car will have a 20-kilometre range. Once that charge has been exhausted, then the system will revert back to normal hybrid set-up, whereby the petrol engine and electric motors work in concert with one another to provide optimum power delivery.
Victoria is the first cab off the rank for this trial, which will allow Toyota Australia and the Victorian Government to acquire sufficient data in order to provide the most cost effective and efficient vehicles for the not-so-distant future.