A report today from Green Car Reports states that the new 2016-ish Prius Plug In Hybrid will go 30-35 miles on a charge. That’s about 3x the current Prius Plug in for which I am a dissatisfied owner. It is also about 50% more than previous estimates on the range extension.

The current version of the Prius Plug-in contains a 4.4kWh battery and is said to go 11 miles on a charge. The charge is provided by a typical wall outlet in about 3 hours or a Level 2 charger in about an hour and a half.  Using our friend math and assuming no radical changes in efficiency (design prototypes above), we can estimate that the new battery will be somewhere between 12 and 15kWh and should be able to charge is around 3-5 hours from a level 2 charger.

The reality, however, is that you can’t go very far on electricity alone in  aPrius Plug-in. We bought ours for around the town driving which would theoretically let our family drive almost exclusively on electricity if we kept to the 11 miles per charge.

The reality is quite different. If you need to go up a steep hill, the ICE will turn on and will stay on for an indeterminate amount of time. If you go over 65 MPH on the highway, the same thing happens. Air conditioning or heat? ICE.

That actually would be fine (as long as the ICE turned off after – which it almost never does) but the ICE turns on at times for no particular reason. I can be driving down a hill regen-ing with no climate control or even windshield wipers going and bam! On comes the ICE.

Overall this has brought the mileage down to near our old, non-plug-in Prius.

And, the 11 miles range is more like 8 miles if you drive really softly. So figure the new Prius will reliably hit 25 miles if it says it can hit 30-35.

I’ve considered doing things like letting the gas run out so the motor could start. Or I’ve hear that the European Firmware for the Prius allows better control of the ICE.

As it stands now, this car shouldn’t be allowed to be called anything more than a normal hybrid. If Toyota doesn’t fix this problem in the 2016-7 model, it doesn’t matter how bit the battery is.



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About the Author

Seth Weintraub

Publisher and Editorial Director of the 9to5/Electrek sites. Tesla Model 3, X and Chevy Bolt owner…5 ebikes and counting