After much prodding by enthusiasts, Toyota has finally come up with a plug-in version of its Prius hybrid. The advantage of a plug-in is that the battery pack can be charged from the grid, so the car can spend more time running on electricity.
Toyota swapped the Prius' standard nickel metal hydride battery pack for one composed of lithium ion cells. Although lithium ion has greater energy density, Toyota had to pack more batteries in to give the car 13 miles of electric range and the ability to go up to 62 mph under electric power.
The interior of the Prius PHEV is little changed from the standard Prius. There is an extra light on the dashboard to show when it is charging, along with a new screen in the eyebrow display.
All Prius models use an electric power-steering unit. There is not much road feel through the steering wheel, as there is in some other cars that have better tuned electric power steering.
The drive selector works the same as that in a normal Prius, and there are also buttons for Power and Eco modes. These modes only come into play when the Prius is driving under hybrid power.