Development of Plug-In Hybrid System for Midsize Car 2012-01-1014
In recent years, many various energy sources have been investigated as replacements for traditional automotive fossil fuels to help reduce CO₂ emissions, respond to instabilities in the supply of fossil fuels, and reduce emissions of air pollutants in urban areas. Toyota Motor Corporation considers the plug-in hybrid vehicle, which can use electricity efficiently, to be the most practical current solution to these issues. For this reason, Toyota began sales of the Prius plug-in hybrid in early 2012 in both the U.S. and Japan. This is the first plug-in hybrid vehicle to be mass-produced by Toyota Motor Corporation. Prior to this, in December 2009, Toyota sold 650 plug-in hybrid vehicles through lease programs for verification testing in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. The system of the recently launched mass-produced vehicle underwent major improvements in response to the results of this verification testing. As a result, EV range was increased with a smaller battery. This development also succeeded in drastically reducing the weight of the system. Additionally, the vehicle clears the most stringent emissions regulations in different regions, and it was granted Enhanced AT-PZEV credit in California. This paper discusses the development of the plug-in hybrid system for this mass-produced vehicle.