Toyota Prius Prime Options/Specs: Solar Panels, Fast Charging (regionally), Heat Pump And More

MAR 26 2016 BY JAY COLE 101

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Arrives This Fall

The 2017 Toyota Prius Prime Arrives This Fall

This week in New York Toyota debuted its 2nd generation  Prius plug-in – the Prius Prime.

Toyota Prius Prime At New York Auto Show Debut (InsideEVs/Tom M)

Toyota Prius Prime At New York Auto Show Debut (InsideEVs/Tom M)

And while not a lot of specifics were given, a few of the main talking points were disclosed; specifically a 22 mile range, and a ~120 combined MPGe score.

The model will come in a couple trim options, likely starting from around ~$30,000, but as to the specific packages, options, and incidental specs…not so much additional information was given at launch.

(full details/debut coverage of the Prius Prime can be found here)

Via Toyota Japan, we now have your hook-up!

Here are a few options of note for the new Prius PHV (it doesn’t get the fancy “Prime” sub-name domestically), some of which will be available worldwide.  We also uncovered some other ‘first looks’ and interesting tidbits about the new Prius Prime plug-in.

The Solar Roof - No Longer For Just The Like Of The Fisker Karma

The Solar Roof – No Longer For Just The Likes Of The Fisker Karma

Rooftop Solar

No longer limited to just the Fisker Karma, and the token system found on the Nissan LEAF SL (for 12V charging only), the 2017 Prius Prime adds a full solar roof option, to charge both the 12V and drive battery (8.8 kWh).

2017 Prius Prime Solar Roof

2017 Prius Prime Solar Roof

“With large solar panels mounted on the vehicle roof (solar roof), you can supply power to the driving battery and 12V battery system.   When parking charges the drive battery, consumption of the drive battery is reduced, and it will contribute to the improvement of the EV mileage and fuel consumption in motion (when the sun is out). 

In case of a power outage at a charging station, if there is no parking or an outage, (the solar roof) enables charging of the drive battery if there is sunlight.

There are no specs specific yet to the unit that we have been able to uncover, but given conventional efficiency to square footage ratios, we assume a power output rating of something no more than around 150W seems reasonable.   Of which on a “decent” solar day, mounted as it is (flat plane/horizontal position), could net upwards of 600 Wh – good for a couple extra miles of range each day.  This option rolls out in Japan in the Fall, possibly worldwide shortly thereafter in 2017 (US tech package details have yet been released).

Hey Great It Has A CHAdeMO Outlet...Oh Wait, Not For You Rest Of World

Hey Great, It Has A CHAdeMO Outlet…Oh Wait, Not For You Rest Of World

Not In Japan? Enjoy This Handy/Dummy Side Slot To Park Your L2 Cap When Charging

Not In Japan? Enjoy This Dummy Side Slot To Park Your L2 Cap When Charging

Fast Charging CHAdeMO

Despite just a 8.8 kWh battery, Toyota has made available three charging options:  L1, L2 and DC fast charging –  that is if you live in Japan, where an optional CHAdeMO outlet enables the Prius Prime to get a 80% charging just 20 minutes.

The supplied L1 in Japan operates at 100V/6A and take some 15 hours to fully recharge the car, while the L2 operates at 200C/16A and takes 2.5 hours.

For the US, a 3.3 kW onboard charger does the L2 duties (in 2 hours and 20 minutes), and finds a home in the rear center seating area, thanks to the non-5th seat which was deleted from the Prime to avoid the need for heavy structural additions that would have threatened overall efficiency.

Toyota notes that at this time only the Japanese market is intended for this option.

Now Your Can Fearlessly Camp And Use Your Laptop

Now Your Can Fearlessly Camp And Use Your Laptop

External Power Supply System

What can you say about this?  It has one…actually two* – an internal and a optional extender adapter (in Japan) for emergency use/outdoor activities, etc.  It is rated at ~1,500 watts.

2017 Toyota Prius Cutaway - Heat Pump With "Gas Injection" To Maximize Range

2017 Toyota Prius Cutaway – Heat Pump With “Gas Injection” To Maximize Range

Heat Pump with Gas Injection Function

Everyone knows conventional heating systems can suck the range out of your drive battery in no time flat when it is cold, especially if your car is a Prius Prime and only has 8.8kWh worth of battery capacity.

As a solution to maximize the battery and range, Toyota has equipped the Prius Prime with an energy conserving heat pump and the “world’s first” gas-injection function.

“Use of heating (in an EV) is accompanied by large power consumption, it so will lead to a reduction of the EV travel distance. The new Prius (Prime) PHV has adopted a good heat pump type of heating function with air conditioning efficiency,  as equipped with an electric inverter compressor with the world’s first gas-injection function.  While warming in the car or in the air conditioning, it is possible to enjoy a longer, quieter running of EV travel without operating the engine.

We hope to have all the US and Euro specs soon-ish, but until then here is some of bits of random interest in gallery form:

2017 Toyora Prius Prime Battery Location (Purple) And Rear Cargo Capacity (Green)

2017 Toyora Prius Prime Battery Location (Purple) And Rear Cargo Capacity (Green)

A "Real World" Look At How That Translates To Rear Cargo With 8.8 kWh Battery Tucked Away

A “Real World” Look At How That Translates To Rear Cargo With 8.8 kWh Battery Tucked Away

And A Good Look At That Rear 4 Seat Configuration (L2 charging equipment tucked nicely away)

And A Good Look At That Rear 4 Seat Configuration (L2 charging equipment tucked nicely away)

And finally, just because Japanese range ratings always make us smile.  Here is a Toyota Japan graphic comparing the ranges of the 1st and second generation Prius PHV.

It's The Happy Fun Ranges Of Toyota Prius PHV New And Old (60km/37 miles vs 24km/15mile)

It’s The Happy Fun Ranges Of Toyota Prius PHV New And Old (60km/37 miles vs 26.4km/16.4miles)

Some specs on the 2017 Toyota Prius PHV/Prime Vs The Standard Prius Hybrid and Older Prius PHV Model from Japan:

Ye Olde Spec Dump (2017 Prius PHV, 2016 Prius Hybrid, 1st Gen Prius PHV)

Ye Olde Spec Dump (2017 Prius PHV, 2016 Prius Hybrid, 1st Gen Prius PHV) – Via Toyota Japan

Hat tip to Adrian!


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101 Comments on "Toyota Prius Prime Options/Specs: Solar Panels, Fast Charging (regionally), Heat Pump And More"

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I wonder how the visibility is out that back window with the glass all stylistically warped, not to mention structurally useful in a roll-over situation. I could go all day picking apart this design. Both front and rear crumple zones occupied by rigid, metal block shapes.
What this tells me is that hybrid car designs are like TV-VCR Combo systems: everything is a compromise.
Has anyone taken a PHEV Prius, gutted the engine and ICE components, and replaced it with extra batteries?

Vexar , you are so rite on!

I believe that weird back is a result of trying to make the Prime aerodynamic.

About those rollover scenarios, I am not sure if tech is to the point to avoid most of them (esp, lane assist etc) obviously not all…

Thanks to Jay we now have a rough estimate of all solar range. Something in the 1-2 miles a day (sunny).

And thanks to Toyota the others have no excuse not to offer such an option for their cars (model 3, bolt, etc). To me this is the best news about the Prius prime.

It will be the first mass produced car with free miles included.

BTW I remembered your story with that kid and the wind turbine on the roof. My son is telling me to put one on my motorhome (we just built one for the garden 12V, app 50W, 20 euro). I’ll have to find a way to fold it down during driving… (I am aware of why a perpetuum mobile does not work)

I really like Toyota, and was somehow disappointed when it seemed like they dropped the ball on plug in in favor of h2. Glad that they are back in the game!

While I don’t know the price of the solar option, unless it’s wildly subsidized, no way it’ll ever cover the price. Being flat means it’ll never have optimal insolation, and of course if parked in a parking garage, under trees etc., ditto. I’m not sure it’ll even recover enough energy during its life (~10 years, vs. 25-30 years for rooftop panels…) to cover the energy it took to manufacture. A clear case of greenwashing.

What might be justified is a tiny solar panel, just enough to operate a forced-exhaust fan to keep the inside of the car cool during a hot day. Besides making the interior materials last longer, it saves the energy on 10min of aircon and discomfort when entering the vehicle after it was parked for several hours. Such gadgets were sold here for ICE cars, and cost ~$25 .

For me, the nicest thing about rooftop solar on a car isn’t any range improvement, which would be extremely minimal. It does work famously to keep the 12V battery topped up and fun cooling fans inside the cabin on those hot days when you are parked in the sun. Ever buy one of those sunshades and try to stow it someplace? Or those solar window fans that were a fad six years ago? – I bought one of those, and of course, it was a joke…I’m a sucker for solar anything…Prius owners who opted for the solar roof available on the 2010 gen 3 Prius raved about returning to a cool car without frying your butt on the leather seats.

I would like to see GM add a solar roof option to Volt. Now Volt has that NACA-style indent on it’s roof, so it would be difficult.

BTW – The Volt still makes this Prius Prime look bad – sorry.

I stow my sunshade in the pocket on the back of my driver’s seat.

And to be perfectly honest, remote start makes solar fans obsolete. While I suppose it is preferable to get into a car that’s 95F instead of 120F, I’d rather use remote start and get into a car that’s 75F. Remote start singlehandedly changed my opinion on black leather interiors.

I agree with wavelet; this is just greenwashing. The amount of energy and materials that go into making this option will outweigh any environmental benefits from using it… particularly when you consider the frequency of its usage.

I really hope that Toyota will provide data on “miles driven on solar panels” this would really help in the discussion with the naysayers… If Jay is not completely off with his estimation (I think he is quite close…) it would be close to 9% of additional range on sunny days. What would be the price for additional 9% battery? About that energy return… You must realize that energy input to cell production decreased hugely over the last decades. There are still claims that it takes 10 years, but that is completely outdated… And while I agree that solar cells will degrade faster when mounted on a car I strongly doubt that your 10 year guess is right. I know people who carry early generation solar modules on their motor homes for 15 years and more which still work fine. To my best knowledge newest solar cells have far superior specs regarding micro cracks etc. Plus I have huge respect for Toyota engineers. I am sure they chose the right technology. About the price. It really depends on what you want. If you want you can spend 1000s on sound systems, fancy rims, fancy paint, huge exhaust tubes, leather seats… Read more »

9% additional range would be cheaper to achieve with extra battery capacity versus the solar roof. And unlike the solar panel the extra battery capacity would always work.

HeisenberghtNUTS said:
“You must realize that energy input to cell production decreased hugely over the last decades. There are still claims that it takes 10 years, but that is completely outdated…”

Also, you also shouldn’t look at the total energy input to make a solar cell roof, but the additional (incremental) energy input required to make a solar cell roof over making a regular Prius Prime roof.


Thanks for pointing that out.

I’m not sure that’s a meaningful distinction; there still needs to be a roof under the solar panels. Outside of the paint that they (probably?) no longer use, I don’t think there’s any real savings.

I feel, with the Prius, it’s too little too late. Toyota dropped the ball when they FINALLY released a Plug-in Prius with All Electric range that was, disappointing. Now, they finally caught up to where the Chevy Volt was, 4 years ago. 4 YEARS AGO. Even 4 years ago, you could get additional aftermarket battery packs for your Regular Prius and turn it into a Plugin Prius with 60+ All Electric Range. (Check out ) I feel disappointed and frustrated to see the Prius, Toyota’s flagship car, who’s glory they been riding the coat tails on for year, is not WAY behind the times. Yet, we are supposed to find this acceptable. I feel sad for the Prius, because it was something amazing at the time that Toyota could have made it even more amazing but yet didn’t. First, we are at the age now we ALL HYBRIDS should be Plug-Ins, not select models. Battery technology and the consumer demands have evolved to a point to where this is the new norm and to NOT offer this as a Standard Feature is discouraging. Second, with the Prius being redesigned, they should have taken in account for the batteries, but… Read more »

Interesting. Sounds like a pretty nice engineering job but questions:

What’s gas injection of the heat pump?

in the last table on the “grade” line what is 2WD “S and” E four “S”.

another question:
where is the exterior plug or is it an extension cord.

from the photo’s and diagrams above — I would say the rear passenger side (US)

My guess is that it does not have a built in inverter and any power export will be through the Chademo port using something like Mitsubishi’s power export box:

nobody cares about E 0r S…Smart people won’t touch this with a 10 ft pole!

“What’s gas injection of the heat pump?”
I’m curious about this as well. Is this a heat pump that can directly burn gasoline to generate heat? Sounds like a more efficient way to generate heat when operating in electric only mode instead of forcing the ICE on to generate the heat.
People have been talking about doing something similar in BEVs to generate heat in winter conditions.

I doubt it’s gasoline. More likely it’s something similar to mini-split heat pump for the house. They use a refrigerant gas.

Gas/vapor injection is apparently a technique used to raise efficiency of heat pump operation at low temperatures. Just a different way of using the coolant.

Apparently can improve very low temperature heat pump efficiency (-20C/-4F) by 19%. (

I’m very happy to see that they included what should be a good heat pump. Andrew Farah (GM) was asked in an interview after the Volt 2 reveal whether there would be a heat pump in the Volt 2 and said it needed some more development. Maybe this signals that GM will be able to add one to the Volt within a couple of years. I certainly hope so.

Thanks. Good info!

Good find thanks. Might be worth an article. I’ll get in touch with HVACman.

Thanks for the insight and article.

From PriusChat:

“There’s a secondary heater that can maintain cabin temperature until about -10°C [+14°F]. Below that, they said it’s better to burn fuel.”

Sounds like the same heating limitation as the Volt. 🙁

It might be more efficient on average, but when you’re doing a few miles round trip in cold temperatures the engine doesn’t get a chance to warm up.

The 2016 standard Prius is available with four-wheel drive (E-Four) in the Japanese market. I suspect the decision not to offer it stateside is largely influenced by the RAV4 hybrid.

Bingo Steven thx. That makes sense.

Seriously? I did not know it had 4 wheel drive. Why does Japan get all of the cool stuff?

This is another sign that Toyota is taking this car seriously. Well – the solar, Chademo and power export are kind of gimmicky, but they wouldn’t be offering any of this if it was a compliance car. These features will capture a LOT of attention, and it’s a real indication that Toyota is committed to selling plug-in cars, even if the EV-mode specs are decidedly mid-pack amongst PHEVs (or maybe even behind the pack).

With Daimler (CEO says EVs have won against FCEVs), Hyundai (Ioniq) and Honda (PHEV development with GM) all having seemingly embraced plug-in vehicles, Toyota was the only remaining automaker that seemed to be taking H2 fuel cell vehicles more seriously than anything with a plug. I’d say that has now flipped – Toyota will easily sell 10 to 50 times as many Prius Primes as Mirais, and that’s going to guide their future lineups.

Now, how long before a competitive BEV from Toyota?

To that last point, check out this quote from a Toyota brand manager captured by Autoblog:

Oh, so a lot of people are telling Toyota they want an all-electric experience, are they? We had to ask Kokes if this meant that there might be some sort of future all-electric vehicle from Toyota? He said, “Can’t comment on future plans, but yeah. Absolutely.”

Toyota, the last significant hold-out on plug-in cars, is finally coming on board!

That’s ambiguous. What exactly is the word “Absolutely” in response to, the first question or the second question? It can be read either way.

First question: “Oh, so a lot of people are telling Toyota they want an all-electric experience, are they?”

Second question: “We had to ask Kokes if this meant that there might be some sort of future all-electric vehicle from Toyota?”

Does his answer mean: I can’t comment on future plans. But yeah, you’re absolutely correct, a lot of people are telling Toyota they want an all-electric experience.

Putting solar cells on the roof of a car is gimmicky, too. Solar cells are delicate and subject to damage from pebbles and other road debris hitting the car. Also, the appearance deteriorates far faster than a paint job. In the past, people who owned EVs with solar cells on the roof did not like the appearance after a few years.

Has Toyota been able to resolve the downside of putting solar cells on the roof of your car? I guess we’ll have to wait a few years to find out.

Wouldn’t you think that Toyota thought of this too? And encapsulated the solar cells in protective glass? Did you ever inspect a solar panel (you know the ones that go on your roof)? They have that protective layer of glass too.

Glass is one of the hardest materials around and doesn’t scratch easily. A windscreen has much more to suffer from road debris than the roof which is positioned in parallel to the direction of movement.

It’s actually really impressive to me that they can actually charge the main battery with 150W. In my experience, plug-in cars have a number of hotel loads running while charging (12V converter and 12V circuits, cooling circuit for the charger) but I guess they figured out how to optimize everything and allow a real slow trickle charge. A bit of a gimmick, but great for long term parking and zombie apocalypse.

All the talk of the solar panels maybe being able to deliver 150W peak and maybe .6 KWh a day. The solar panels on the roof of my home are rated 327 Watts each from SunPower – and they have even more efficient panels too. If Toyota were to use more modern cells, they could easily fit 500W of rated capacity, and could probably deliver about 3 KWh during the Spring/Summer months.

Now, this car is still a borderline joke in my book these days. Let me know when it has at least 50 mile EV range and 6+ KW L2 charging capabilities, then I might be interested in taking a look, but by the time they get to that Tesla will probably have models A-Z all available, so Toyota can go away completely.

“If Toyota were to use more modern cells, they could easily fit 500W of rated capacity”

How did you arrive at that conclusion? I count 48 solar cells and your 327 W SunPower panels have 96. How would Toyota generate 1.5x as much power from half as many cells?

The only car that I am aware of that has any significant ‘hotel loads’ is the Model S.

My Zoe loses exactly nothing when parked unplugged. My guess is that it is at most a few watt. I never heard of anything else for the LEAF.

He wasn’t talking vampire, he was talking background charging. The leaf uses 300 watts for background.

That Should work real good in a PARKING GARAGE!!!!!……..l m a o

Any news on the 0-60 time in hybrid and also EV mode?

my BYD F3DM has an full top solar roof, even bigger then the one of Prius Prime. It works well and i wonder why other automakers dont make it standardfor their plug -in vehicles.

How many years have you had the car?

In the past, solar cells on a car’s roof have deteriorated far faster than a paint job. Car owners don’t like the appearance of solar cells after a few years, when they get cracks, discoloration, and peeling film.

But perhaps the durability has recently been improved.

If your solar cells have crack, peeling film or discoloration, then there is something seriously wrong and you’re entitled to warranty.

I have solar panels on my house that still look exactly the same as 6 years ago when I put them up there.

solar roof are inexpensive and easy to install on the roof of any plug in vehicle. Large portable and foldable solar roof could generate up to 2000 Wh and give free and green energy for more then 60 miles for day. Moreover a portable and foldable solar roof could reduce the problem of the charging spot on the roads as well reduce the pressure on the grid in the peak time.

Any structure which folds out from the very restricted space inside the roof of a normal car would be much too delicate to withstand much use, and would be wrecked by a strong wind.

A larger vehicle, such as an RV or a bus, could carry a fold-out solar array which could be built robustly enough for long-term use. But not a normal passenger car.

“generate up to 2000 Wh and give free and green energy for more then 60 miles for day”

2kWh doesn’t give you 60miles… LOL. No freaking way.

Not even with 8.8kWh combined onboard…

Maybe if you drive downhill the entire way. Even that is pushing it.

There are thin, flat stick-on solar cells that some put on RV roofs. I’ve wondered what the durability and stickability of them is. Nice that they don’t stick up and dirty up the aero like framed panels do… It’s tough to make something durable that takes that kind of exposure to the elements.

4,645 mm translates to 182.8 inches. That means this car is much bigger than the regular Prius Hybrid at 4,540 mm (178.7 inches).

So its a totally different model. We can see that few inches of trunk space is taken by battery, but the extra 105 mm (4 inches) in length will provide the extra interior space that may be equal to the Prius Hybrid.

Prius Prime may be much bigger than Volt in interior space and may even equal the C-Max Energi at 119 cu. ft.

Toyoa has put lot of effort in making this a very functional vehicle and giving it a distinct llok and also a name like Prime.

good catch. Same wheel though….yes?

Not a Prius fan…but I really want a solar panel roof on my car.

Solar panels on roof is a cool thing.
Fisker said that the solar panels on the roof of Karma will give a 2% extra range.
That was a very big heavy car.

For a small car like Prius Prime, the solar panels may even give 4% extra range.

Super clean green power direct from the Sun.

22 miles x 4% = 0.88 miles…

Okay, I would agree with that.

Let us say it is 1 mile per day.

How much is that option? LOL.

I’m impressed with all of these features.. I was blown away by the Chademo option. Pity that isn’t available in the USA. It still baffles me today that the Volt doesn’t offer an option for CCS. Also I’m baffled why none of the manufacturers have offered a built-in 120V inverter for off-site or backup power. A vehicle like the Prius Prime or Volt would be perfect for such an application since they could fall back to the gasoline generator when the battery runs out.

“I was blown away by the Chademo option”

Yeah, me too. By the stupidity of that reason.
Yes, 80% in 20 minutes.. 80% of 22 miles is 17.6 miles in 20 minutes.

Why bother? Will you want 17 miles of range so you can get cussed out by every BEV owners who is waiting for you to get out of the DCFC station? For how much? $5?

Yes, Toyota will work with chargepoint network so their Prime can become the most hated PEV due to “hogging”…

Japan has over 5,000 CHAdeMO chargers available. If you want people to be able to use public charging and get extra miles, the best way to do it is as fast as possible.

I have a Nissan Leaf and the Model 3 is my next vehicle. But the Solar roof on the Prius plugin is quite tempting. I’m actually torn by this “gimmick”

.6kWh of energy captured per day on solar is awesome and innovative. That might be about 2.5 miles worth of energy.

Exactly! I only drive about 10 miles per day. So that would be 25% of my driving on solar. The only trouble is I’d find myself wanting to move my car out of my garage on the weekends so it could soak up the sun! 🙂

Such a cool option..I hope the next gen LEAF and the model 3 has it.

Just put a simple and cheap 200 W panel on the roof of your garage and you’ll get more than 25% of driving from the sun. Although it isn’t even half as sexy as solar cells in the roof of your car.

0.6kWh for the cost and weight added?

Geez. Why don’t you add 2 panels on your roof?

People already want large panoramic glass roofing in their car, which is not much lighter then solar panels, but still significantly heavier over a plain steel roof.

As others pointed out, it is a great method for making sure the 12V battery never dies. People in 2016 kind of expect their car to be always on and connected so they can switch on the A/C or the heating before they arrive. It’s great to offset that load.

I’ve added a OVMS module to my i-Miev so I can monitor the SoC from a app on my phone and I get notifications when it’s done or stops charging. That is however, a small 12 load that will drain the battery very slowly if you left it for a week. A panel would be wonderful for that alone.

“That is however, a small 12 load that will drain the battery very slowly if you left it for a week. A panel would be wonderful for that alone.”

Okay, if you park it under the sun.

So, you can’t park in a parking deck anymore…

Folks from PriusChat who attended the NY reveal say the solar roof will NOT be available in the USA. Here’s part of the transcript talking about vehicle options and charging from the Toyota VP who spoke at the event. In fact, the words “solar roof” are never spoken during the entire presentation. You don’t leave something as big as this out of the a show reveal. “Prius Prime will also offer great features like blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert, intelligent clearance sonar and park assist. To top it all off, we expect the Prius Prime to offer the best value in its class…making it more attractive to customers who may not have ever considered a hybrid, let alone one with a plug. I’m also happy to announce today that Prius Prime will be available in all 50 states when it launches later this year, broadening the market even further. It’s Prime time all across the nation! To enhance the ownership experience, we have partnered with Chargepoint, the leader in public vehicle charging. Our partnership will give owners access to over 20,000 U.S. charging stations…over 60% of which are free to users. Add to that an updated suite… Read more »

Max DC charging rate is ~20 kW, adding ~25 miles in 20 minutes.

80% of 8.8 kWh battery is ~7 kWh of working capacity. At ~3.6 miles/kWh mean ~25 miles range. Adding 7 kW in ~20 minutes implies average charging power of 21 kW (7 kWh / 0.33.h).

For reference a 30 kWh LEAF can charge 24 kWh in ~30 minutes, or ~48 kW. A similar 3.6 miles/kWh will net ~96 miles of range.

Not so priceless as both a Prius and LEAF cost about the same. 😉

My 2011 Prius has a solar roof too, and it looks exactly the same as the day I bought it. It was an option that used the solar panel to drive a ventilation van that would draw the air out of the car while it was parked, and suck in outside air.

It is among my wife’s favorite features of the car and I’m really disappointed the Prime’s solar panel will be charging the battery instead of driving the ventilation fan. Can it be an option to pick one or the other? if you want to read more about it. Looks like it was a 50 watt solar panel, so if the new one is 200 watts that is a big increase.

I agree the solar panel is cool. Then I want to know how much this option costs. I doubt it will ever pay back the initial cost and how much does it add to the weight of the car which may negate a significant amount of savings.

Solar panel option is just stupid.

To add what? 0.6kWh per day? That is almost useless in terms of energy. Plus, you would have to carry that weigh of the panels around. It is better just to add 2 panels to your roof where it doesn’t move.

Now, every Prime owner with solar roof option is going to try to park under the sun for that stupid 0.6kWh and then their trunk and hood paint will fade early down the road.. LOL.

That’s exactly what everyone told me when I bought a car that only goes 84 miles. They said it was stupid. But a lot of us voted with our dollars and the industry took notice and now there is advancement. Same thing with solar roofs. maybe they double or triple capacity. Maybe light weight printed, stacked, folded cells could increase power 10 fold what is available today. We won’t know unless they start somewhere.

Few Prius Prime won’t make a dent in solar prices…

It is “green washing”.

The solar roof option on the gen 3 Prius was used to top off the 12V battery and operate cooling fans that came on automatically when the interior temperature rose above 75degrees. Very nice feature to have.

The durability issue – not sure.

As someone who lives in CA, I’m pretty sure that whatever you might gain from the solar panel will be more than eaten up by the AC when you try to cool the sun-soaked car back down to a tolerable temperature. It would be much more useful to build more “solar canopies” in parking lots to help keep the cars cool and perhaps help charge buffer batteries for EV chargers.

Toyota said Prius Prime’s rear hatch is made of carbon fiber. That curved glass on the hatch would be one uber-expensive piece of glass. You think it’s acrylic?

Big question: price. This is manifestly inferior to the Volt, the Bolt, and the Model 3. And I’m guessing it won’t be much cheaper. If it’s a lot cheaper it’ll probably sell pretty well.

“For the US, a 3.3 kW onboard charger does the L2 duties (in 2 hours and 20 minutes), and finds a home in the rear center seating area, thanks to the non-5th seat which was deleted from the Prime to avoid the need for heavy structural additions that would have threatened overall efficiency.”

So, let me get this straight. Where the 5th person would sit, the charger is there. They couldn’t manage to put it within the inverter under the hood? I bet the DC-DC converter for the lead acid battery is there.
That is dumb, they should have miniaturized the charger. It’s probably air cooled. If it was up front it would be more compact because they could liquid cool it.

What are these heavy structural additions?

Jay covered this in a previous article. The car was border line 49 mpg with the 5th seat and the support for it. By removing the 5th seat, they reduced the weight of the car by a couple hundred pounds and the car now gets 51 mpg (probably city but maybe combined).
The mpg was a big marketing feature, so big they sacrificed the 5th seat to keep the mpg over 50.

They lost me as a buyer without a 5th seat. I mean how hard is it to have 5 real seats with 20+ EV range? Now I need to look at a Chrysler? I’m not sure I can do that. Tesla CPO maybe

I hear you. The big car companies have to build the cars to appeal to the most people they can, and sometimes that means they make choices that make the car fall short for a lot of us. You need a 5th seat, I never put 5 in my car. What I need is probably something you couldn’t care less about, leg room in the back seats for adult passengers. My Volt is a real pain in the back for me because when I have friends or clients in the back of my car, I have to move the seat up a lot to make them comfortable.
Toyota wanted to be able to boast about 50+ mpg and Chevy wanted to have comfortable front seats in a compact car. So the new PiP has just 4 seats and the Volt has tiny back seats.

Backseat head and leg room is the biggest complaint I get about my Volt.

It was said many times that electric motor will be MORE powerful than in the outgoing Prius. I think there’s some mistakes in specs (also with curb weight).

I was also under the impression that the electric motor was larger in the Prime. Only one motor is listed in the specs in this article but the Prius has 2 motors. ….but I’m not sure that’s the answer. Still seems to be an open question.

I believe that on the Prius Prime for the first time a clutch hooks up both electric motors to power the wheels. Previously, the second motor was only used to recharge the battery.

Not sure why they thought it was a good idea to go with a 4 seater, when it looks like they have room to make it have 5 seats (and for the record I don’t buy the engineer’s claim it would add 250 lbs to support that 5th seat).

Volt went the other direction: even though it is more like a 4.1 seater, but at least a child seat can fit there.


Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall a case in the US market when a 4-seat version of a midmarket, family car, sold well when the same car had 5-seat options too.

Anyone with kids or plans for kids, will think thrice before buying it. Regardless how many kids you have, you might need to drive their friends, and grandparents have a habit of visiting more when you’ve got kids, etc. etc.

I have been over this solar panel on cars before on here, even if you parked your car outside in the sun everyday for 3 years before changing it, you would be lucky to see an extra mile per day so let’s see if that’s worth the extra option cost.

365 x 3 = 1095 x (8c per mile approx electricity cost) = $87.60c best case scenario.

Enough said !

Cost? Cars and Ev’s make little sense in terms of cost. If you want solar on the roof of your car go for it. An extra panel on the roof or one on the car? Really what’s the fuss about? Yes it will cost more and give less power on the car but why not? People pay silly money for some pretty pointless extras. I’d rather have a solar panel than metallic paint or a “sports” pack that consists of little more than a few strips of plastic.


“People pay silly money for some pretty pointless extras. I’d rather have a solar panel than metallic paint or a “sports” pack that consists of little more than a few strips of plastic.”

Yes, so it is designed for Green people to “waste money” just like those optioned racing stripes on gear head’s sport cars…

Thus it is nothing more than “green washing”.

The most junky looking car inside and out. Some one needs to wake up Toyota.

Interesting, 1500W power export option is exactly what the EVExtend kit provides as an aftermarket solution for the Volt.

Would be great if more OEMs offered this feature, and with higher power output.

agreed. and with an exterior plug, not the DC inverter cable that is used here. (see jay’s comment up front)

I saw a new gen Prius on the road for the first time today. Very striking.

Can’t say I love it, but it is a bold design and stands out on the road.

Very striking == extremely ugly.

Why are the specs for the new PHEV and new Hybrid the same on Toyota’s Japanese webpage?

Rear is the dumbest design yet, LED lip looks like a lip or old Batmobile, repair cost would be through the roof. Glass dip would be exactly the same, not only does it look bad, but a replacement glass would be hard to get, extremely expensive and both the glass and LED lip would raise insurance rates.