After displaying a concept version of the Prius Plug-In Hybrid (PHV) at the Frankfurt, Tokyo and LA Auto Shows, today Toyota officially announced the introduction of the production model in Japan. Starting immediately and carrying over the next six months, Toyota will build and ship 600 Prius PHVs to different markets around the world with 230 in Japan, 150 in the U.S. and 200 in Europe. The models will be leased to fleets and studied by Toyota.
The vehicle itself is in many ways identical to the current Prius, except with a 5.2 kWh lithium ion battery pack in place of the nickel metal hydride unit. In addition, the car gets the necessary charging hardware. Toyota claims the Prius PHV will be able to recharge fully in just 100 minutes from a 200 V outlet or in three hours from a 100 V outlet.
Toyota claims the Prius PHV will be capable of 134 mpg, although that assumes almost 50 percent of the driving is done in pure electric mode. The car is capable of traveling 14.3 miles on pure electric power and can reach speeds of 62 mph in pure electric mode.
Inside the Prius PHV will get a new PHV screens in the Navigation and Eco-Drive Monitor areas, including the range possible in EV mode.
Retail sales are set of late in 2011 and Toyota has said the car will be a "reasonable" price.
More: Report: Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Officially Launched With Retail Sales Starting in Late 2011