What is it?
Toyota's all-new plug-in version of its Prius hybrid that has been unveiled at the Frankfurt motor show.
Unlike the standard hybrid, the plug-in version will be capable of running solely on electric power, with the petrol engine cutting in only when the battery power runs out.
The plug-in Prius can then be operated as a normal hybrid, where the battery can be recharged while on the move and work in tandem with the petrol engine.
Another advantage of the plug-in version of the Prius is that it can be charged directly from a domestic plug socket. The battery pack can be charged in around 90 minutes.
Carbon dioxide emissions of around 60g/km will also please the environmentally aware driver, as well as saving plenty of cash in tax.
How practical will it be?
The car's zero-emissions electric-only range – the distance it will travel just on battery power after a full mains charge – is around 12.5 miles, which is six miles more than the current Prius can manage.
Trials of the plug-in Prius suggest than on trips of up to 25km (about 15 miles), the car uses around 60% less petrol than the standard model.
When will it be on sale?
Toyota source told What Car? that 500 cars will be given to fleets in order to analyse the type of use that plug-in cars will be subjected to. This will help Toyota tweak the production cars that are expected to go on sale to the public from 2011.
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