2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in – The Most Popular Hybrid in the U.S.

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is an all-new model that combines the best hybrid technology and adds pure electric drive. 

Up until just recently, hybrid models were not moving off dealer lots and most buyers didn’t really understand the new technology. But as gas prices have risen to $4 per gallon, sales of hybrids have skyrocketed. Toyota has benefitted as they have a number of hybrid models for buyers to choose from like the 2012 Prius c and the 2012 Camry hybrid model.

And now Toyota has added another new hybrid model to the mix with the all-new 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid. And Toyota is happy with the reception it is receiving from buyers. The 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in Hybrid has only been on sale for two months, but it is the third fastest selling car in the U.S. in the month of April. What’s even more interesting is the fact that the Prius plug-in is only being sold in select states with nationwide availability beginning in 2013.

The 2012 Toyota Prius plug-in Hybrid combines the best of both worlds

Many people have been afraid of electric vehicles because of the lack of understanding on how the technology works. EV’s have been associated with “range anxiety” issues, and are struggling with gaining wide-spread acceptance among buyers. But the new 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is changing all that by combining the best of hybrid technology and adding a pure electric drive system.

It’s really the best of both worlds: full electric power to eliminate gasoline consumption when it’s in electric mode, and a small fuel-efficient internal combustion engine that kicks in when the electricity runs out. If the driver goes farther than his electric charge allows, there is the gasoline alternative to fall back on eliminating the worry of being stranded on the side of the road.

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid uses a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine combined with the 4.4 kWh lithium-ion batter for the electric power source. Together they send a total 134 horsepower to the front wheels through a specialized continuously variable transmission (CVT).

The Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid has strength’s and weaknesses

The big advantage for the Prius Plug-In Hybrid is a fast recharge time: about 3 hours on a standard 120-volt home outlet, says Toyota, or half that time on a larger 240-volt outlet. A 24-foot cable charger comes with the car, and there’s also an optional third-party home charging solution.

The biggest drawback is the Prius plug-in Hybrid has a limited electric range of 15 miles before the battery is depleted. For those commuters who live close to work, that wouldn’t be a problem. But if you live farther away, the back-up gasoline engine will need to be used. The similar plug-in Chevy Volt can travel 25-30 miles on a single charge.

The front-wheel-drive Prius Plug-in Hybrid has plenty of power and feels stable at highway speeds. But the small hatchback is really designed for city driving and that is where it feels most at home. It is great for zipping in and out of traffic and is easy to park because of its size.

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid is selling quickly because it gets an estimated 95 mpg electric/gasoline fuel mileage and 50 mpg gasoline only. The starting price of the new Plug-in Hybrid is $32,000, but don’t expect to find one easily. The car is only offered in certain states, but will be available nationwide beginning next year.

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About The Author

Denis Flierl has over twenty five years combined auto industry and automotive journalism experience that he brings to Automoblog readers. Over the thirteen years that he owned an automotive business, he worked directly with every major car brand in the auto industry and became familiar with all makes and models of cars. His passion for cars led him to spend the last twelve years in automotive journalism where he brings all that experience to his readers as he writes about the auto industry and the latest test cars he drives.

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