If you had to choose one or two electric vehicles which have changed the EV market, one of those would have to be the Toyota Prius which has become very popular with celebrities around the world. While there is no doubt that it does have significant ecological and efficiency advantages, what exactly do you get for your money? We will now take a look at the basic specifications of the Toyota Prius hybrid vehicle which offers the option to run on electric, traditional fuel, or a combination of the two. This is a vehicle which has certainly caught the attention of the public and has put Toyota on the map with regards to electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles. Those who follow the market closely will be well aware that Nissan has refused to enter the hybrid market, offering either a fully fuel-based system or a fully electric-based system.
Specifications of the Toyota Prius
The technology associated with the Toyota Prius is referred to as a combined hybrid, able to use gasoline, electric or a mixture of the two. The engine itself makes use of the Atkinson cycle and when not in use a vacuum flask stores the hot coolant for use later to reduce the warm-up time. If the vehicle is switched on with the "power button" this automatically activates the electric motor and there is a seven second delay while the engine is warmed up. The "EV" mode offers the opportunity to travel at less than 25 mph using electricity power alone, although this is only applicable for around 1 mile. Once the battery has hit a predetermined level, depending upon the terrain and type of driving, the car will automatically revert to normal mode which uses gasoline to recharge the electric batteries on an ongoing basis.
The batteries themselves are constantly charged by taking energy from the gasoline engine and kinetic energy captured through the regenerative braking system. This is an automatic process and the driver does not need to activate any switches or buttons. There is some debate as to the life of the Toyota Prius batteries, although some have continued with minimal impact on their performance for in excess of 200,000 miles. The hybrid nature of the vehicle is very important when looking at journey range which is anywhere between 400 - 500 miles depending on how you use the hybrid system in conjunction with the gasoline engine. The gasoline equivalent mpg of the Toyota Prius is quoted at just over 70 mpg at best but is probably nearer the high 40s for general use.
Interestingly the Toyota Prius EV/hybrid uses a sealed nickel metal hydride battery as opposed to the more traditional electric vehicle battery which is lithium ion. As you would expect, in order to gain maximum efficiency the vehicle not only uses the regenerative braking system but also has a highly sophisticated streamlined body (it is rumoured to have spent the most time of any Toyota vehicle in the wind tunnel) as well as electric steering. Any efficiency savings which can be made have been made while maintaining the favourable driving experience which has enhanced the cars reputation.
Toyota Prius News
The Toyota Prius was launched at the 2011 Frankfurt motor show after being unveiled some years earlier as something of a concept car. The company produced 600 vehicles in 2009, which were placed in Japan, Europe, Canada, China, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States to test feedback and the technology. The technology was well received by the general public the vehicle went on mass-market sale in January 2012 and indeed has already been rolled out across Europe and the rest of the world.
The ability to create something of a concept car some years earlier and mould this into a mass-market vehicle as we see today is very much a feather in the cap of Toyota. The company has been able to maintain the spacious interior and the sporty feel to the vehicle while incorporating the latest hybrid fuel and electric technology. It will be interesting to see where the company goes from here because the Toyota Prius is something which will take some beating in the future!
The name Toyota Prius is renowned amongst the electric vehicle market and many people may be surprised to learn it is actually a hybrid car. While Nissan took the decision some time ago to avoid the hybrid market, and has made great inroads in the electric vehicle market, there is no doubt that Toyota has also been successful in its own right. The feedback from the general public has on the whole been very positive, highlighting the company's ability to maintain the look and feel of its traditional style vehicles while incorporating the latest fuel efficient technology and aerodynamic design - something often discussed in the Toyota Prius forum.
The Toyota Prius is one of the few vehicles to be rolled out across the world and indeed it already has a significant number of fans. Whether or not this is the most high-profile hybrid/electric vehicle is debatable but there is no doubt it is up there with the best and we await future developments from Toyota with anticipation.