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Funky Prius Prime boasts a charging port, 25 miles electric range

Toyota's new plug-in version of the Prius goes by the name of Prime, including a big enough battery for a modicum of pure electric driving.

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Wayne Cunningham
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Toyota launched the new generation of its Prius hybrid last year, coming out with the Prius Liftback model. Now, the company adds a plug-in version called the Prius Prime.

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While the Prius Prime retains the Prius Liftback's efficient gasoline-electric hybrid drive system, it adds more battery capacity and a charging port, letting it drive as an electric vehicle for up to 25 miles.

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Once its electric range is depleted, the Prius Prime automatically switches to hybrid mode, making use of its gasoline engine. Owners can recharge it from a 110-volt wall outlet or from a dedicated electric vehicle charging station.

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The front end shows some different styling than the Prius Liftback, such as an acrylic black nose plate.

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Quad LED headlights are another distinction for the Prius Prime.

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The Prius Prime has a total output of 121 horsepower, all put to the front wheels.

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The Prius Prime boasts a coefficient of drag, an aerodynamic calculation, of .25, very impressive for a four-door vehicle.

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The hybrid system is comprised of a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and a electric motors powered by an 8.8 kilowatt-hour lithium ion battery pack. Toyota says it takes five and a half hours to recharge the battery pack from a standard 110-volt wall outlet.

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The Prius Prime drives comfortably and shows reasonably responsive handling, similar to many passenger cars.

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To help save weight, Toyota eliminates the middle seating position in the rear, limiting the Prius Prime to four passengers.

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The left-rear fender holds a standard fuel filler, while the right-rear fender has this electric vehicle charging port.

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Toyota offers the Prius Prime in three trim levels: base, Premium and Advanced.

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The rear cargo floor of the Prius Prime is lifted slightly compared to the standard Prius, losing a little cargo space.

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Toyota's designers refer to the rear of the Prius Prime as a "dual wave design."

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The rear hatch is made of carbon fiber, shaving 8 pounds of weight compared to a steel hatch.

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