The EV drive range of the next-generation Prius PHV is up to 60km (approx 37.3 miles) per charge under the JC08 test mode. When running on electricity, its maximum speed is 135km/h (approx 83.9mph).
The increase in drive range was realized by (1) replacing an output density-focused lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery with an energy density-focused battery and (2) increasing battery capacity to 8.8kWh, which is more than 10 times larger than the battery capacity of the fourth-generation Prius equipped with a Li-ion battery.
Moreover, unlike the four-generation Prius, the next-generation Prius PHV uses its generator as a driving force at the time of running on electricity, adding more power at the time of acceleration. The reporter also felt the difference in acceleration, and the difference is caused mainly by the usage of the generator.
By the way, the generator can be used as a driving force at the time of EV driving because a one-way clutch is added between the output axis of the engine and the power dividing mechanism. According to a Toyota engineer, with the previous mechanism, if a driving force is generated by using the generator, the engine rotates in the opposite direction. Therefore, the company added the one-way clutch to prevent it.
The exterior of the next-generation Prius PHV was designed so that the design difference from the fourth-generation Prius can be recognized at a glance. For example, the impression of the front side was greatly changed by adopting a four-eye LED head lamp and a grille using transparent acrylic resin. The head lamp was employed for Toyota's Mirai fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) in the past.
For the rear side, the company employed a rear glass/backdoor whose central part is recessed and a thin, long combination lamp for differentiation.
Toyota considers PHEVs as the main next-generation environmentally-conscious vehicles following HEVs and has high hopes for the next-generation Prius PHV. But we are interested in whether the company will earnestly sell them and set "strategic" prices.