Toyota have just announced via a press release that it has created a prototype ??plug-in? Prius and that a bunch of them have hit the streets in Japan to collect fuel efficiency and emissions data.
The ?plug-in? version of the Prius has increased battery capacity that allows it to cruise for longer in electric-motor-only mode and also allows the batteries to be recharged by plugging into the domestic electrical supply thus reducing the requirement for in-travel charging by running the wheezy little four-pot petrol engine.
?Although challenges still exist in the development of pure electric vehicles such as a limited cruising range and issues related to cost, TMC still views plug-in hybrid vehicles as a promising technology for allowing electricity to serve as a viable power source for automobiles and is committed to their continued development as a key environmental technology?, states Toyota?s press release.
In the near future, in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions and reduce our dependency on fossil fuels you may be able to buy a ?plug-in? hybrid. Perfect really - an engine that still uses petrol and a plug in feature that allows you to recharge the batteries via our coal-fired (mega polluting) power grid. The only challenge remaining will be staying awake when you drive it. We can?t wait?