Toyota’s gas-electric hybrid dominance is impressive and the automaker intends to keep it that way with the all-new Prime that replaces the previous Prius plug-in. The Prime’s major accomplishment is that it can stay in electric-only mode regardless of how hard you push the accelerator. The previous plug-in model required babying the throttle to avoid activating the gas engine. The secret is in the lithium-ion battery pack that has a 12-times greater capacity than the Prius Eco’s batteries. In fact it you’re careful, you can reach 84 mph on pure electric propulsion. Toyota claims the Prime’s maximum distance on electric power is 25 miles (less than half the Chevrolet Volt’s distance), with a maximum 600-mile range. Although the batteries understandably weigh more than the standard Prius’ unit, greater use of lighter materials in the Prime’s construction has resulted in only a 77-pound weight penalty. Although both hybrids share the same architecture engines and motors, there are plenty of obvious design differences between the two. On the inside, though a completely different dashboard is dominated by an optional 11.6-inch Tesla Model S-like vertical info-/system display screen.
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