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USA: 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-In Hybrid Gets California Car Pool Lane Access

Today, Toyota announced that 2012 Prius Plug-in models have been approved for use in California High Occupant Vehicle (HOV) lane for solo drivers. The Prius Plug-in is also eligible for the State of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP) due to its Zero Emissions Vehicles (ZEV) status.

The CVRP program also offers those purchasing qualifying vehicles in California a $1500 rebate in addition to the $2500 Federal Tax credit. Consumers must purchase or lease plug-in hybrid vehicles or electric vehicles (EV) for at least 36 months to get the rebate. The money comes from a grant funded by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and is available on a first-come-first-serve basis.

Last week, General Motors announced the 2012 Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid met ZEV criteria making it eligible for CVRP benefits including the rebate and HOV lane access.

The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, adds a dedicated electric driving (EV) capability to the third-generation Prius Liftback’s Hybrid Synergy Drive to help it achieve ZEV status. Plug-in hybrid models also gain a new Lithium-ion battery. Toyota claims the new battery boosts overall fuel economy and reduces charging time. The automaker claims the battery can be charged in 2.5 to three hours from a 120 volt source or 1.5 hours from a 240 volt outlet.

The EPA rates the Prius Plug-in EV mode at 11 miles of range and up to a top speed of 62 mph without gasoline. It also earns a 95 mpge (miles per gallon equivalent) rating. In hybrid mode the Prius Plug-in is rated 50 mpg in combined driving. Total driving range is estimated as high as 540 miles on a single charge and single tank.



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