The waiting is almost over, as the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid will finally make its debut in production form next month in Frankfurt. The automaker's first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) features the latest take on the firm's pioneering Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system, including a smaller, lighter and more efficient advanced lithium-ion battery pack in place of the nickel-metal hydride unit in the current Prius Hybrid. It's set to go on sale in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington sometime next spring prior to a national rollout in 2013.
While Toyota provided few new technical details on this even-more-efficient plug-in version of the world's best-selling gas/electric vehicle, it did confirm that it will deliver "a significantly-extended EV driving range for shorter journeys," which is estimated at about 13 miles. Toyota also indicated this new addition to the family will return net fuel economy numbers of 2.2 liters/100km on the Euro cycle---which translates into a heady 106.9 mpg and would trim its CO2 emissions to an unprecedented 49g/km. If data for the earlier prototype version carries over into volume-build status, recharging times for the battery pack in the Prius PHEV should be about 90 minutes on a 240V line and double that using a standard U.S. 120V wall outlet.