January 21st, 2008 at 6:16pm
Toyota probably didn’t realize the cultural phenomenon they’d start when the Prius was launched in 1997. No other car, before or since, has come to symbolize the modern environmental movement the way the eco-friendly Prius has. The curiously-styled sedan has become as much a political statement as it is a fashion statement; it’s no doubt the car every modern-day hippie aspires to drive.
Taking the green persona one step further, Toyota is experimenting with a plug-in Prius hybrid. By doubling its battery pack, Toyota has given this souped up Prius an electric-only range of seven miles and an electric-only top speed of 62 miles per hour. The biggest advantage of drawing power off the electric grid is that as commodity electricity is a lot cheaper than gasoline. Besides reduced ‘fuel’ costs, plug-in technology can also eliminate tailpipe emissions, an important consideration for densely populated urban areas.