Earth Day marked the first chance for consumers to sign up for the chance to pre-order the 2012 Prius Plug-In hybrid, a nod to the popularity of the car among environmentally conscious drivers. Toyota has sold more than one million Prius hybrids in North America, making it the best-selling hybrid in the U.S. market.
“New York drivers love the Toyota Prius,” said Mike Raucci, general manager of Albany-area Toyota dealership New Country Toyota of Clifton Park. “With fuel prices on the rise yet again, the Prius is already a popular choice at our dealership. The Prius Plug-In is the next evolutionary step, and I think it’s going to be a hit.”
The Prius Plug-In does more than just add a plug to the existing Prius. Gone is the old nickel metal-hydride battery, replaced by a state-of-the-art Lithium-ion pack. The new power pack allows the Prius Plug-In to cruise for up to 13 miles and reach speeds up to 62 miles per hour using nothing more than electrons. Charge times are suitably short, requiring just three hours to go from empty to full when plugged into a household 110-volt outlet. Using a 220-volt charging station cuts that time in half.
Once the battery runs dry, the car reverts to conventional hybrid function and drives like any other Prius, charging the battery while braking and boosting fuel economy by using the electric motor. The Prius Plug-In is powered by the same 98-horsepower, 1.8-liter engine and 80-horsepower permanent-magnet motor that are beneath the hood of the regular Prius.
None of this means that the original Prius hybrid is about to go on the endangered species list. Owners who want the newer battery system will need to choose a Prius Plug-In, but the current Toyota Prius will continue production with the nickel metal-hydride battery pack that has faithfully served Toyota owners for the past 12 years. Popularity of the original Prius continues to grow, with Toyota reporting a 52 percent increase in year-over-year sales during the first quarter of 2011.
“The Prius Plug-In will further improve the fuel economy that New York Prius drivers have come to love,” Raucci said. “More time running on electric power also means lower emissions and cleaner air, which benefits everyone on our increasingly crowded roads.”
Albany Toyota drivers have trusted New Country Toyota of Clifton Park for years for one reason: respect. Whether they’re looking for a refined new Camry or a tough, certified pre-owned Tundra, New Country Toyota of Clifton Park puts customers’ needs first. When it comes to maintaining Toyotas, their trained Toyota service technicians keep vehicles running like new for years to come. Part of the New Country Motor Car Group family of dealerships, New Country Toyota of Clifton Park is located at 202 Route 146 in Mechanicville, N.Y.