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That has more to do with raw design philosophy than the mere fact they have LiIon batteries. If all you replaced in the Prius was the battery pack with equivalent size LiIon batteries, you would get slightly better mileage (or slightly more distance out of EV mode,) nothing else.

In fact, from what I understand, the batteries aren't the limiting factor in Prius performance; it's the power of the electric motor itself that's one limiter, and the biggest limiter is the electric cabling going from the battery to the motor. (The way I've understood it is that the batteries could provide more power than the motor can handle, but even worse, the motor can handle more than the power transmission wires from the battery to the motor is capable of.)
 

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The traction motor (MG2) can output 50 kW. The HV battery maximum power output is about the same as the 2001-03 model's 21 kW. (The 29 kW difference is made up from the control motor (MG1) acting as a generator off the engine). Cables are not a limiting factor.
 

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RSnyder said:
The traction motor (MG2) can output 50 kW. The HV battery maximum power output is about the same as the 2001-03 model's 21 kW. (The 29 kW difference is made up from the control motor (MG1) acting as a generator off the engine). Cables are not a limiting factor.
Hrm, I could have sworn the batteries were more powerful than the motors. Oh well. Either way, I knew (but neglected to mention,) that the max electric power can be had by combining battery power with gas-engine-to-electric-motor-one electric generation. I was just hasty/lazy.

So the Prius can already make the most out of its main traction motor, increasing the battery output would help in EV mode, and would provide a small boost to economy, but wouldn't make the Prius into a Corvette.
 
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