The Toyota Prius hybrid has been the most popular hybrid on the market for a long time. Much of the reason the Prius is so popular was that it was one of the first hybrids and the price is not out of reach for many buyers looking to save at the pumps. Toyota has long talked about a plug-in version for the Prius that would allow the driver to plug the car in at home and charge the batteries allowing the car to drive for at least a short distance on battery power alone.
Toyota has now officially announced the plug-in Prius and hopes to sell 50,000 of the fuel efficient vehicles globally once it hits the market. The Prius hybrids that are on the market today have used NiMh battery packs. Compares to the newer battery technology the NiMH battery doesn't have the range lithium-ion batteries offer. The new Prius will now use NiMH batteries. The new cells will give the plug-in Prius a driving range on the battery only of 14.3 miles at 53 mph.
Once those batteries run out of power the traditional hybrid system kicks in to propel the vehicle. The coolest thing about the battery pack in the Prius plug-in is that Toyota claims the packs can be charged fully in only an hour on a standard AC outlet. That means no expensive charger or associated costs. The car is far from performance oriented with a 0-60 mph time said to be 10.7-seconds and a top speed of 112 mph. The new plug-in tech and battery packs add 110 pounds to the old vehicle weight. Sales of the plug-in Prius will start early in 2012. There is no pricing information offered at this time.