Toyota has released the 2022 Prius Prime with a 640-mile driving range, including an estimated 25 miles of EV driving range when fully charged. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime LE stands out with an estimated 55 city/53 highway/54 combined MPG. Prius Prime has an estimated 133 MPGe when fully charged.
Even with its super-high fuel efficiency estimates, the Prius Prime drives with unexpected verve in EV mode, including the ability to reach up to 84 mph on battery power alone, up to an estimated 25 miles. In addition, the Prius Prime features exclusive suspension tuning.
When the battery reaches a certain reduced state of charge in EV mode, the Prius Prime automatically and seamlessly switches to hybrid mode. Then, like other Prius models, it combines the output of the gasoline engine and electric motor through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission.
Using the supplied cable, Prius Prime plugs into a standard household outlet (Toyota recommends using a dedicated GFI 15A outlet). Fully recharging the battery using a standard 120v outlet takes less than five-and-a-half hours. A 240v source can reduce that time to approximately two hours.
The Prime wears exclusive front and rear fascias, bumpers and lighting systems. The vehicle features ultra-low profile LED headlights and a large acrylic grille that complements the presence of the air intakes. Exclusive to the Prius Prime, the “dual wave” rear window combines an exotic look with aerodynamic efficiency, the company says. Also unique to the Prius Prime, a full-width LED rear combination lamp panel leaves a nighttime signature, with a shape that follows the contour of the spoiler and the double-wave window. A full-width aero glass panel below the rear spoiler, plus a standard backup camera, aid rearward visibility.
Like many current-generation Toyota passenger vehicles, the Prius Prime is built around the company’s TNGA-K platform architecture. The structural strength and sophisticated double-wishbone style multi-link rear suspension imbue the Prius Prime with a premium level of handling responsiveness, steering feel and ride quality, the company says.
The rear suspension design allows an estimated 19.8 cu. ft. of luggage space with the rear seatbacks in use.
The Prius Prime was the first Toyota hybrid to use a dual-motor drive, which helps improve acceleration in EV Mode for spirited driving. The system engages both the generator (MG1) and electric drive motor (MG2) for drive torque via an innovative one-way clutch. This is the first deployment of MG1 for that purpose. In other Prius models, MG1 provides only battery charging while MG2 provides drive torque and charging.
Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking and stores it in the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption.
The Prius Prime can also help optimize range by memorizing the driver’s stopping patterns on frequently driven routes and suggesting when to let off the accelerator. The available Predictive Efficient Drive with Predictive Deceleration Support collects daily driving data to predict points of deceleration and stopping. From then on, when the driver passes through a location in the database, the system indicates when to let off the accelerator and can also apply assisted deceleration to help boost fuel efficiency.
The 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder engine, used in all current Prius liftback models, achieves a 40%-plus thermal efficiency compared to about 25-30% for most modern automobile engines. Like all Prius models, the Prius Prime runs on regular-grade gasoline. Other efficiency team players here include an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, a smaller, lighter, quieter hybrid system water pump and an exhaust heat recirculation system that helps speed engine warmup.
On cold days, a battery warmer activates at the end of a charge to keep the battery temperature above 32 degrees F, helping to ensure that it can deliver optimal EV performance and range when the vehicle is started again. On the top-line Prius Prime Limited, the driver can activate the remote air conditioning system with a key fob or smartphone app to cool the interior before entering the cabin.