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At the New York International Auto Show this week, the 2017 Toyota Prius Prime made its big debut, and many are saying it’s a vast improvement over the variant it will be replacing, the Prius Plug-In.
With a record-setting mileage figure of 120 MPGe, the Prius Prime already has a crucial edge over other cars in its class, including the Chevrolet Volt. It is also capable of traveling twice as far when driven in all-electric mode, with a maximum range of 22 miles. That’s on account of the car’s larger 8.8 kWh battery pack, which is located slightly under its back seat. All-electric speed has been increased from 62 mph to 84 mph, while the electric motor can achieve a maximum 127 horsepower (95 kW),up from 68 kW on the Prius Plug-In.
Despite those improvements, the Prius Prime still won’t hold a candle to the Volt in terms of all-eelectric range. But on the plus side, the Prime will take only 5.5 hours to charge on a 110-volt outlet, and less than three hours to charge on a 240-volt outlet. According to Toyota, the Prius Prime would be able to travel more than 600 miles if both the battery and the 11.3-gallon tank are completely charged.
Talking about the Prime’s design, this new Prius variant is even more striking than the Prius Plug-In it would be replacing. The changes are subtle, but quite evident and/or useful – for example, the front headlights stand out, while the car also comes with a carbon fiber rear hatch, which saves weight. The use of dual-wave rear glass also improves drag on the Prime.
Inside the Prime,the car comes with a 11.6-inch touchscreen, a navigation system with a built-in map of ChargePoint stations, and touchscreen buttons for the user interface and other features.
There’s still no word on when exactly the Prime would be available at dealerships, but Toyota has been quoted as saying it plans to sell about 20,000 units per year in the U.S.