Toyota’s first-generation Prius plug-in was a bit of a dud. First launched for 2013, it was much pricier than a standard Prius but by the time production ended, the price had been slashed to within $2000 of the regular model. But even the price drop didn’t solve its biggest problem: a relatively low electric-only range of about 11 miles—that is, if you could keep the gas engine from firing up. Which you probably couldn’t, because it came on early and often. After all, what’s the point of a plug-in car if not to drive using energy siphoned from the power grid rather than a gas pump?
We’ve previously reported that for the next-generation Prius plug-in, likely due about a year after the redesigned 2016 Prius launches later this year, Toyota would likely increase the electric-driving range to at least 20 miles—possibly 30 if you believe a recent report in AutoNet from Taiwan. Now, a new piece in the Green Car Journal says the car’s range could be as high as 35 miles, a huge jump that would allow the Prius plug-in to travel farther on electrons than any other plug-in hybrid except the 2016 Chevrolet Volt, which is said to be able to go 50 miles in electric mode.
2016 Toyota Prius (spy photo)
The story’s author, John Voelker, takes great pains to qualify his use of an anonymous source for this information, and we in turn will have to take his word that his source is indeed trustworthy. For what it’s worth, our own intelligence (hey, we have anonymous sources, too) has suggested that the Prius plug-in’s range would be closer to 20 miles than 30. Either way, it appears that the Prius plug-in’s electric range is going up. Possibly way up.