New Toyota Prius Prime with 44-mile electric range is out as a de facto US$32,000 EV for urban commuters
Last year, Toyota announced that it has sold 20 million "electrified" vehicles globally so far. While not purely electric, Toyota has been offering hybrids and plug-in hybrids for a good while now, complete with their own set of batteries. The new 2023 Prius Prime which Toyota just priced, ups the ante in that respect, as it can cover 44 miles on battery power alone.
This is slightly more than the 41 miles that analysts say the average American commutes with their car every day, making the new Prius Prime practically an EV for them. The efficient 4-cylinder gas-powered engine may then only be fired up for longer trips, but it would be nice to know it is there when needed.
Thanks to the combined 220 HP output of the ICE and electric motors, the 2023 can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 6.6 seconds, too. For comparison, the previous, 4th gen Prius Prime has 25-mile range on a charge and only 119 HP. All that jazz is powered by a 13 kWh Li-ion battery pack and a gas engine that together return 52 miles per gallon when the system works in tandem. From a 220V outlet, the battery can be topped up in four hours with the supplied 3.5kW charger.
Toyota has long advocated for more plug-in hybrids in the transition to electric vehicles, as it can build about 8 Prius Primes with the battery materials required for one long-range EV with 100 kWh battery. Its longtime chairman Toyoda recently stepped down in favor of a CEO that would pivot its electrification efforts better, as the company was caught by surprise with the regulatory push to produce purely electric vehicles. The new Prius Prime, however, which starts from US$32,350, may prove Toyota right, at least in the interim.