After showing it in concept form almost as many times as the FT-86, Toyota has finally unveiled the production version of its Prius Plug-in Hybrid at the Frankfurt Auto Show. Called “the world’s most sophisticated hybrid electric powertrain” by Toyota Europe boss Didier Leroy, the company is claiming an incredible 112-mpg rating for the car. Believable? Not really, and for good reason. The actual rating provided is 2.1 l/100 km in Europe and while that does translate to 112-mpg, the European test cycle is far more forgiving the in the U.S. Still, that number could reach as high as 70-mpg (or higher) on the U.S. EPA system.
On a full charge the Prius PHEV is capable of 23 km (14 miles) of emissions free driving, after which is operates like a conventional Prius hybrid, eliminating any range anxiety. During this post-emissions free stage, Toyota claims the Prius is still, “much more efficient than the backup powertrains in competitors,” says Leroy – a shot a the Volt (sold as the Opel Ampera in Europe).
On sale in the first half of 2012 in Europe, look for it to arrive in North America about the same time. European pricing is set at 37,000 Euros, or about $11,500 more than a conventional Prius. If that increase holds true, look for the Prius PHEV to be priced between $35,000 and $40,000 in North America.