Understanding Toyota Prius

There are very few cars splitting opinions down the line like the Toyota Prius does. On one hand, you have driving enthusiasts who wouldn't own one in a million years, and on the other you have those recognizing what it truly is. A great alternative to the not yet fully developed full-on electric cars primed the future. Electricity is the future, no question about that. But we're not there, not even close, and yet we're already having major global warming issues. Hybrids have proven to be a great choice in such a world.

You don’t even need to be doing it to save the planet. Many people are buying the Prius for its excellent fuel economy and the running savings it offers over a standard car. Whether it's just their daily driver or an all-rounder, we're seeing an increase in the popularity of hybrids and electric vehicles. You don’t even need to be doing it to save the planet. Many people are buying the Prius for its excellent fuel economy and the running savings it offers over a standard car. Whether it's just their daily driver or an all-rounder, we're seeing an increase in the popularity of hybrids and electric vehicles. Not just the Prius, but other models too.

​In reality, no one needs a sports car or a large luxury limo. They're all just luxuries. The simple concept of the city car is probably the best definition for what a car should be. Cheap and reliable means of transport for the masses. A way to deliver and get from one place to another. You throw performance out the window for efficiency and affordability. But you and I both know it doesn't work like that. We always want more of everything, of speed, of comfort and truth be told, we wouldn't have gotten to where we are today if it weren't for the constant striving for more and more. It's how new ideas are born and how existing ones are improved. We're living in a world where the prospect of hybrids and electric cars is genuinely exciting.

Before you continue reading, you should keep in mind that the Prius does not need to be charged. Yes, that’s true.

"The Prius charges itself using the gasoline engine while driving and braking"

The whole idea of hybrid vehicles is to substantially increase fuel efficiency through the use of an electric motor/combustion engine combo. Prius comes out on top when it comes to overall fuel savings.

The Toyota Prius is one of the least expensive cars to own. It is not only great for our environment but you will also save money from reduced fuel costs.

Now you might be saying that gasoline prices are cheap in the GCC, well the simple answer is that you are still saving money and on your long road trips, isn’t it much better to be spending your time seeing the sights instead of making stops at the petrol station?

Due to its exceptional reliability, the maintenance costs are very low as well.

Like nearly all other Toyota models, the Toyota Prius is very reliable. Some Prius owners have put upwards of 200,000 miles on their cars already, and in many cases, they are functioning as well as they did when it rolled off the dealer’s lot brand new.

Part electric, part petrol-engine, the new Prius is the most ecologically friendly car on the road today, and it's all down to its hybrid synergy drive. In plain English, this is a revolutionary type of engine that combines petrol and electrical power to maximize fuel economy and energy expenditure while minimizing harmful waste emissions.

At low speeds the Prius is able to run almost entirely off its electric motor, with identical performance to a regular, gasoline-guzzling engine. At higher speeds, the engine is driven by a combination of electrical and petrol power. Power allocation is controlled between the two energy sources, and constantly monitored and adjusted to ensure maximum energy and fuel efficiency. When the Prius is stopped in traffic, the petrol engine is automatically shut off.

In terms of low-emissions, the Prius demolishes any other car on the road. Particle matter emissions are non-existent. It has the lowest carbon dioxide emissions of any vehicle on the market - 32% less CO2 comes out of its exhaust than from a normal petrol-burning car. In fact, over the course of a year, the Prius produces more than a ton less CO2 than even the best D-segment diesels. It's is also the best-performing internal combustion production car in the world in terms of nitrous oxide and HC emissions. Inside and out, Toyota has made extensive use of high-recyclability materials, and huge efforts to reduce the use of any substances of concern in the car's construction.

The new Prius is equipped with an EV driving mode button. When pressed, the car is powered by the electric motor alone, allowing zero-emission performance and ultra-low noise and vibration motoring, as well as obviously saving on petrol costs. The car's engine is designed entirely around conserving energy, while ensuring optimum performance. In a conventional car, each time the brakes are applied, kinetic energy is wasted. Not so in the Prius - when braking the electric motor operates as a generator, converting the vehicle's kinetic energy into electricity, which is used to keep the battery fully charged. In fact, the electric motor is self-charging, creating energy from the car's motion, so you never have to plug the car into the mains, as with some older fully electric cars.

​Even the car's power steering system is designed to conserve energy, kicking in gradually as and when it's needed. This isn't the first time the world's third-largest car producer has displayed its green credentials. In 1997 Toyota launched the first model Prius, then the world's first mass production hybrid. Since then, the first Prius has won 20 international awards, including the Global 500 Award for Environmental Commitment from the United Nations. With the new Prius, Toyota has exceeded its previous award-winning standards and as we begin to understand the true impact harmful emissions are having on our environment, it seems the new Prius has arrived on time.

Technical Specs

Redesigned Engine 1.8-liter VVT-i equipped Atkinson cycle gasoline engine, which is perfect for highway driving needs. However, the engine has been completely re-engineered, with remarkable results in terms of performance, fuel economy, and reductions to size and weight. Here are the Prius’ hybrid engine specifications:

• Engine type: In-line 4 DOHC • Displacement (engine): 1,797 cc • Maximum output (engine): 72 kW [98 PS] / 5,200 rpm • Maximum torque (engine): 142 N・m [14.5 kgf・m] / 3,600 rpm • Maximum output (motor): 53 kW [72 PS] • Maximum torque (motor): 163 N・m [16.6 kgf・m] • Battery: Lithium-ion or nickel hydride Improved Thermal Efficiency for Better Fuel Economy The new engine achieves a ground-breaking maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent. This improvement was enabled in part through the use of a large-volume exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system and improvements in combustion efficiency. Additionally, a redesigned air intake port improves airflow inside the combustion chamber, while the coolant passages have been redesigned to optimize internal engine temperature. While official fuel economy ratings have not been released yet, the new hybrid powertrain is expected to get an incredible 55 mpg.

From Japan to Qatar (Part II) in Next Issue Toyota Motor Corporation, Innovation and Social Responsibility

We will take you to Japan and specifically to Toyota Motor Corporation to highlight the company’s environmental milestone achievements, contribution to traffic solutions, safety technology such as THUMS (Total Human Model System), Prius safety and of course we drove the car at the famous Fuji Speedway

By: Tarek Hawchar | Photos: Natali Leonova

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