Stop-Go System

When a Prius has to stop at a traffic light or in a traffic jam, the petrol engine is automatically turned off in order to save energy. This also has a positive impact on fuel consumption. If prompt acceleration is needed when moving away from stationary, the petrol engine will automatically intervene to deliver maximum performance smoothly.

Long Heritage Of Toyota Hybrid Power

Toyota might have hit the headlines when it launched the original Prius to world acclaim in 1997, but its credentials in developing sustainable transport stretch back nearly 40 years to 1965 when it started investigating the feasibility of using gas turbines to power an electric drive system for cars.

In 1977, Toyota showcased its futuristic thinking than in the Sports 800 gas turbine hybrid. By using a performance-orientated sports car, Toyota demonstrated an imaginative approach to the question of environmentalism, creating a concept that would evolve into today’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

Twenty years later, Toyota unveiled a production hybrid bus, the Coaster, and the world-beating Prius, the first production hybrid car. Prius broke new ground in delivering ultra low emissions in urban conditions and an unlimited driving range and employing a regenerative braking system that recycled unwanted energy back into the car’s storage batteries. Since then Toyota has also launched the word’s first four-wheel drive hybrid – the Estima – and a mild hybrid version of its Crown saloon, as well as an experimental fuel cell vehicle.

Stylish And Efficient Design

The Prius takes full advantage of the latest lightweight materials technology. Everything from the bodyshell to the accelerator has been subjected to a weight-loss programme since less mass to haul around helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions as well as enhance vehicle performance.

And while the Prius is on the move its class-leading Cd figure of 0.26 ensures that it cleaves the air with minimum resistance, another weapon in the impressive Prius armoury against emissions and fuel consumption. The clean, aerodynamic design also cuts down wind noise, giving driver and passengers a quieter ride.

The new Prius is a full-size D-segment vehicle with ample space for driver and up to five passengers plus their luggage. While the new car is instantly recognisable as an evolution of the original Prius, at 4,450mm it is 135mm longer than its predecessor, and has a wheelbase longer by 150mm at 2,700mm.

The interior features rear seats that fold flat and have a 60:40 split. The front seats have a 575mm class-leading hip-point height, which not only makes getting in and out easier, but also provides the driver with a higher driving position for good all-round visibility. Toyota’s designers have paid special attention to the cabin’s interior ergonomics with the innovative use of design features and technologies such as Bluetooth telephone interface and the location of many controls on the steering wheel.

By adopting the new Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive and reducing vehicle weight, the new Prius has achieved a 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption, compared with the previous model.

continues... | Part Four

Published : 03/12/03 Author : Melanie Carter

Toyota Prius News

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