The Prius Plug-in is our first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, equipped with a rechargeable battery that lets you drive further on zero-emissions electric power.

Achieving more with hybrid

Our plug-in electric technology lets you achieve even more with our full hybrid electric system, making it possible to drive further and at higher speeds using just the car’s electric power. The Prius Plug-in uses a rechargeable lithium-ion hybrid battery which lets the car to be driven for more than 50km and at up to about 135km/h with no emissions and zero fuel consumption.

Once battery power is used up, the hybrid electric engine automatically takes over, so there is none of the “range anxiety” drivers can experience with battery electric vehicles, which have to be recharged as soon as their energy is exhausted. Plug-in electric technology also allows you to further reduce overall fuel consumption: the more frequently you recharge, the greater the economy gains.

Main advantages
How plug-in hybrid electric works

The Prius Plug-in’s lithium-ion battery is smaller than the nickel-metal hydride one used in the standard Prius, but it can produce more power. As the “plug-in” name suggests, it can be easily and quickly recharged by being connected to an ordinary power supply at home or at work, or at a roadside charging point. A full recharge takes a little over two hours and we are researching how we can make it even easier with wireless charging technology, so you don’t even have to use connector cables.

Most typical commuting journeys can be covered using the car’s electric power alone (BEV mode). After recharging the battery in the evening, the car is ready for the next day’s commute. On longer trips, the electric motor and hybrid gasoline engine work together in the same smooth and efficient way as in our other full hybrid electric vehicles (HEV mode). As a result, the Prius Plug-in has extremely low CO2 emissions of just 22g/km.


"During the week I use my Prius Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle as an electric car, recharging at home in the evening. On weekends for longer trips, I drive it as a hybrid electric. It’s the best of both worlds!"

a Prius Plug-in user in Germany

The future of plug-in hybrid electrics

The Prius Plug-in Hybrid electric vehicle was the world’s first mass-market plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

In the future we expect this technology to be featured in an increasing number of cars, as the recharging infrastructure develops and different car makers work to meet increasingly stringent national and international emissions regulations.

We believe plug-in hybrid electric is a natural evolution of our hybrid electric technology and an important means to help further reduce emissions in the future.

We are researching how we can make it even easier with wireless charging technology, so you don’t even have to use connector cables.
Technology put to the test in the real world

Before we brought our Plug-in Prius to the marketplace, we carried out a three-year research trial with 200 motorists in Europe, including 70 in Strasbourg, France.

Technology tested in the real world

We wanted to be sure our plug-in hybrid electric technology could deliver the kind of easy, efficient performance we required, so our development programme included a three-year pilot study in the French city of Strasbourg. Seventy cars were used by different project partners, each fitted with data-logging equipment so we could analyse the kind of journeys drivers made, how far they travelled and how often and where they recharged the battery.

The information we gathered after four million kilometres of driving helped us fine-tune the Prius Plug-in to make it as efficient and effective as possible, including adjusting its electric-powered range to be sure it could cover the great majority of typical urban journeys.

Saving fuel with frequent recharging

We found that the people who recharged their vehicle most frequently were able to spend more time driving in all-electric mode and so use less fuel. A driver recharging an average 1.6 times a day was able to spend 60% of their driving time in electric vehicle mode. Fuel (gasoline) consumption was 69% lower.

Reducing CO2 emissions

More driving in electric vehicle mode also significantly reduced the amount of CO2 produced. Thus the motorist recharging 1.6 times a day could reduce their carbon emissions by 61%. And compared to an equivalent diesel-powered vehicle, our plug-in hybrid electric produces between 20 and 54% less CO2.

Lower running costs

The more often the vehicle is recharged, the lower the overall running costs. Our data showed that a driver recharging 1.6 times a day could save up to €1,400 a year, compared to driving a comparable gasoline car an average 20,000km a year.


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