Prius now plugged up and in its prime
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Also new to Toyota showrooms is the $48,490 Prius Prime, an upgraded version of the second-hand, imported, plug-in hybrid versions of the Prius that Toyota NZ has been selling through its Signature Class operations.
New front and rear bodywork distinguishes the Prime from older plugged-up Prius models, and the car has a sleeker, racier look.
It’s the new dual-motor drive system that really separates the Prime from those second-hand imports, however.
Toyota says it’s more efficient to use the combustion engine and the electric motor to drive the car simultaneously, and Prime can now reach speeds of 135km/h without ever getting out of its EV mode.
Three buttons allow a choice of EV mode, Hybrid mode (best reserved for open-road use) and EV City. In the latter, the Prime can drive for 65km before engaging its combustion engine.
Recharging times for the new 8.8kWh lithium-ion battery are four hours and thirty minutes (8-amp plug) and 2 hours and 15 minutes (16-amp battery).
Fuel use is rated at just 1.0 litres/100km thanks to the aerodynamically-efficient body of the Prime (Cd: 0.25). Little wonder then that the latest Toyota hybrid was chosen Green Car of the Year in 2017.