We’ve already heard that the 2008 Toyota Prius might be capable of over 80 miles per gallon, but it looks like Toyota isn’t stopping there. Lithium Technology Corporation has just created a prototype plug-in Prius that demonstrably gets 125+ miles per gallon. The car uses a new kind of large-scale lithium ion battery that uses lithium iron phosphate as the cathode (wikipedia).
These batteries are well suited for cars. First, they don’t explode when punctured and second, they have a very high discharge current. The Prius’ battery stores 7 kWh of electricity in 63 Li-ion cells, and the vehicle relies exclusively on the batteries for the first 60 miles of travel. The prototype is, of course, a plug-in, so the mileage-boosting energy comes from the electric grid. And, no, grid energy isn’t emissions free, but it’s a heck of a lot more efficient than internal combustion.
This is a surprising leap from Lithium Technology Corporation. I’ve been expecting more news about Lithium Iron Phosphate batteries for a while, but to hear that they’ve boosted the mileage of a prototype vehicle so substantially is very exciting. Maybe Toyota will actually have something ready in 2010 to rival GMs ultra-efficient plug-in hybrid Volt.
Full press release after the jump.