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Toyota Plug-in Prius

  • Future Car Challenge from Brighton to London
  • 64 cars showcase all the latest technology
  • What Car? drives every type of car on the 57-mile run
Words ByWhat Car? Staff

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Car: Toyota Plug-in Prius
Technology: petrol-electric plug-in hybrid
Range: 12.5 miles on electric power alone, 1075 miles total
On sale: 2012 (tbc)
Driven by: Ivan Aistrop
What Car? road tester

The Plug-in Prius works just the same as a normal one, but with one big difference. The Plug-in's more advanced Lithium-ion batteries can hold much more charge, so if you top-up the power levels by plugging it into a normal mains socket for 90 minutes (hence the name), you can travel up to 12.5 miles on electric power alone. That boosts the average fuel economy to 108.6mpg, and drops CO2 emissions down to 59g/km.

It's just a shame we had to use up the electric power on the relatively easy bit getting out of Brighton it would've been far more useful in the stop-start traffic in London later on.

Future Car Challange Gallery

Future Car Challenge: click to enlarge
Honda FCX Clarity: click to enlarge
Toyota Auris Hybrid: click to enlarge
Toyota Plug-in Prius : click to enlarge
Vauxhall Ampera: click to enlarge
VW Electric Golf : click to enlarge
VW Golf Bluemotion : click to enlarge
The winning car, electric Golf: click to enlarge
Jim Holder & Matt Sanger: click to enlarge
However, zooming along in eerie silence is strangely satisfying on any sort of road, even if the Prius doesn't quite have the zippy-feeling pickup that other electrically-driven cars do.

Still, the handling was tidy enough to cope with the twisty backroads between Brighton and London, and the ride was smooth enough to keep us comfortable along the entire route.

Highlight of the car The eerie silence as you drive along in full electric mode

Highlight of the day Meeting rallying legend Paddy Hopkirk and then overtaking him!