125 MPG+ Prius Prototype Unveiled

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.

Via TreeHugger and Business Week