New plug-in car has arrived in Mid-Michigan - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

New plug-in car has arrived in Mid-Michigan

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GRAND BLANC TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -

(08/27/12) - With gas prices going up and down like a yo-yo, we're all looking for ways spend less at the pump. A new car has arrived in Mid-Michigan that gets very good gas mileage, but the sticker price may be a little steep for some.

Move over Chevy Volt, there's a new plug-in in town. The Toyota Prius Plug In is beginning to arrive in the U.S.  It can travel about 15 miles on battery power alone. Dave Isbell of Grand Blanc Motor cars test drove one for four days.

"I never burned a drop of gas," he said.

After you've the reached maximum range of the battery, the engine comes on and the car operates like the typical hybrid, getting about 50 miles per gallon. The Prius Plug In is being sold on both coasts on the U.S.

"We went to a dealer on the east coast and bought five from them," Isbell said.

The secret to the Prius Plug In is in the lithium ion batteries.

"You're going to get a lot better range just off the nature of the battery and actually it's going to hold the charge better," said Dr. Craig Hoff, Kettering University engineering professor.

You can recharge the Prius Plug In using normal house current. It will take about three hours to top off a fully discharged battery.

"You don't have to have a special 220 volt plug in. You don't have to have a charging station," Isbell said.

The sticker on the Prius Plug In begins at about $5,000 more than the conventional Prius hybrid.

"Ours start in the low $30s and you can get a completely loaded one for around $40,000," Isbell said.

Mechanical engineering majors at Kettering University think Toyota did a great job with the technology.

"It's definitely a step in the right direction. If you're very environmentally conscious, it's the right move," said Bryce Koizumi, a Kettering University senior.

"You don't buy a car like this because of the money it's going to save you. You buy it for the feeling you're going to get for trying to help the environment," Dr. Hoff said.

There are four Prius hybrid models now in the Toyota line up.     

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