2010 Plug-in Prius Prototypes – Click above to watch video after the jump

When Inside Line tested the Plug-in Prius in June, the team got around 62 miles per gallon over 500 or so miles. That's good, but not that much better than you can do with careful driving in a standard 2010 Toyota Prius. A better gauge of the Prius PHV's efficiency is now available thanks to the California Center for Sustainable Energy (CCSE), which has been testing one for seven weeks. Over 3,450 miles, the car returned around 83 mpg. That's more like it.

This week, CCSE officially starts the real Prius PHV tests of 150 units. The early results were from the getting ready phase of the test, and was made up of 13 drivers, each taking the car for between seven and 10 days. The drivers were selected because they use different driving styles and so can give an accurate mpg number for the CCSE to expect from the nationwide fleet. Mike Ferry, the Center's Manager of Transportation Programs, told Plugin Cars:
We had car enthusiasts and car agnostics, someone who normally drives a pick-up with a V8 and someone who drives a regular 2010 Prius. We had employees with long commutes and short commutes, people who could charge at home and people who could only charge the vehicle here at CCSE.
The best driver got 97.9 mpg over 379 miles. Over the 3,450 miles, the Prius used 42 gallons of gasoline and 300 kilowatt-hours of electricity. Given all this, we feel confident that 80+ mpg will be the marquee number for the plug-in Prius when it arrives in 2012, unless Toyota refines the car even further. Read all about Toyota's plug-in project here.


Related GalleryQuick Spin: 2010 Plug-in Prius

[Source: Plugin Cars]