Toyota Prius+ to get plug-in power

* Plug-in engine range set to expand * Larger Toyotas more likely to get tech first * Prius+ expected to be first to benefit...

Toyota Prius+ to get plug-in power

Toyota is expected to offer a plug-in hybrid version of its new seven-seat Toyota Prius+.

We will expand our plug-in hybrid technology, said Satoshi Ogiso, Toyotas chief engineer for the Prius family.

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The most likely car to get the plug-in treatment first is the recently released Prius+ MPV, as Ogiso said:

A bigger car is easier and a more natural home for the technology because smaller cars have better fuel economy anyway and have less space to store the batteries'.

There is no definite timeframe for the arrival of such a Prius+, but Ogiso said the next plug-in hybrid would be likely to arrive within a couple of years.

Toyota will continue to offer a diverse selection of engine options, and Osigo said that cars powered solely by electric batteries, such as the electric iQ, will continue to improve until at least 2025. The overall range should be able to go as high as 500km (311 miles) by that stage, improving from the 120-mile maximum ranges of most of todays electric cars.

However, he said that hybrid was the main focal powertrain at the moment, regardless of what energy sources powered the engine.

Tom Webster