Toyota is entering the plug-in market with a new 2012 Prius model that will allow for limited gas-free driving. 

The company launched a website detailing the new vehicle that also gives enthusiasts the opportunity to get “first dibs” on a car once it is made available.

Toyota’s approach is different from other plug-ins in that its all-electric range is limited to about 10-15 miles per charge.  The electric motor will drive the car unassisted for low speed, “around town” driving so long as it has charge.  After the charge is depleted, the car will function just as other Prius vehicles with an electric and gas powered motor work in tandem. 

Because it has less battery power than competing vehicles, Toyota says a full 15 mile charge will only take 3 hours using a standard wall outlet.  By comparison Chevy’s Volt requires 8-10 hours for a 40 mile charge, and the Nissan Leaf’s 100 mile range requires about 20 hours at 110.  240 Volt charging cuts charge times for each of the vehicles in half. 

Pricing information is not yet available, but expect it to be a premium option above the 2011 Prius’ base price of $23,520.