Toyota Prius 1997 ~ 2013 Motor Trader Car News

7 Апр 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Toyota Prius 1997 ~ 2013 Motor Trader Car News отключены
Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

Toyota Prius: 1997

on June 15, 2013 at 9:14 am

Yap recalls what it was like the first Toyota hybrid and the generation with plug-in 16 years later

To be honest, I drove a prototype of the first Prius, I did not really think of it as a development. It was certainly an interesting to add an electric motor to a conventional combustion engine to save and reduce toxic exhaust but during that period 1990s), I had also tested prototypes with alternative

Not only Toyota but other offered journalists opportunities to some of their new technologies but was in its infancy. The performance was ‘modest’ and it was stressed that ‘we are still the technology’, so it was hard to see which would make it to mass

Of course, I knew Toyota was to launch the Prius but I never that it would create a in the auto industry. I expected it to be sold on a limited scale, the first RAV4 EV which was launched at that time. So I regret that I never more pictures back of the event…

Actually, it was good that we were in Japan at time and that the Toyota PR finally managed to get the agreement of the RD team to offer test-drives of the (some using Corona bodies) to the media. A couple of earlier, the Public Affairs had tried to organise events to a preview of the new technology but this would interfere with the of the engineers who were already a lot of pressure because the launch had been changed to a year than they had planned. A engineer made a complaint about the ‘inconsiderate request’ and the affairs guys backed

But by the time of our event, it was nearing the (though we had not been told) and activities were being up as a prelude. The only request was that we delay publishing our for about a month as the Japanese had not been given the same yet and Toyota did not want to offend

I recall having mixed about the looks of the Prius. Its was described as ‘futuristic’ but the nose, a beak-like appearance, seemed out of with the short rear The suspension system had a newly-developed strut and H-shaped torsion rear axle with links.

An engineer hinted to me this would be the basis of the generation of platforms for Toyota and indeed, that has been the

The ‘dashboard of the future’ certainly like something from a car. The instrument panel was from the area ahead of the wheel, which gave an feeling. Instead, there was a screen showing the warning and speed recessed in the centre of the just below windscreen.

I this location right and obviously, I was not the first because the confidently said that I try driving the car first. Later on, I did that it wasn t as dangerous as I it would be, requiring the driver to away from the road Cleverly, the designers had enlarged the of the speed display and the location was not on the periphery of the driver s view

The legibility also has something to do the distance of the display; studies had that older drivers read the more distant 25% faster than when it was the steering wheel.

The screen had an Energy Monitor that how power flowed to and from the motor and engine. At that I felt it was a nice idea for a but wondered if it would distract the I guess there has been no issue as it is a common display in Toyota hybrids.

By the time I drove the Prius, I was familiar with the starting for cars with electric or rather, the absence of any start All that is needed is to turn the key to the ON position, release the brake and the pedal.  From the Energy I knew the engine was not running and the motor was providing the initial

Pressing harder, I felt vibrations and when I looked at the again, the power flow showed that the engine had in. But the electric motor had disengaged and I pushed the pedal right to the the tremors increased noticeably as the motor started to run again to additional power.

I got the Prius up to 100 easily but the acceleration was not particularly More impressive was the torque gave brisk acceleration on the but those driveline tremors occurring throughout my drive. I spoke to an engineer about it, he the problem and said that were fine-tuning the software so the would not be noticeable.

Engine bay of the Prius

I think the Prius was the car I drove which had a drive-by-wire The feel was okay and I was told the engineers worked very to have just the right of feel for the accelerator pedal as were aware that the of the usual pressure and feedback make the driver feel

Braking was another area had an unusual feel, I recall. the brakes were designed to energy to the battery (which is wasted as heat), the design of the had to be carefully done so that the would be similar to conventional Still, I felt that I had to a fair amount of pressure to the car braking although I think it needed adapting.


After that first the next occasion was in 2000 UMW Toyota Motor brought a in to show to government officials in the that a subsidy might be to reduce the price. Though had long-term plans to sell all over the world, the first was pretty much a ‘test’ and no were made to sell the car in certainly not at RM200,000, the estimated at that time!

During the drive, it occurred to me that would be a major issue in our Though the Prius had an air-conditioning it was a draw on the energy used and performance. The aerodynamically-optimised shape meant that a lot of sunshine would enter the cabin and it hot (although the glass did have special treatment to reduce heat).

After 2000, I get behind the wheel of a Prius for years and learnt more hybrid systems driving models. I drove the first part of the way from KL to Singapore and when the Civic Hybrid was launched in Malaysia, I tested it for days. Talking to other about hybrids, I realised people would buy such because they reduced costs, not necessarily because of the technology.

The people in Honda and however, stressed more on the of their cars but I felt given the high prices, few be willing to pay so much extra to ‘save the world’.

Second changed to a sleeker liftback with refinements in the dashboard

The next time I drove a was in 2009 and this was the second which was a big change from the generation. It was sleeker and had many that took into the more demanding motoring in America in particular. However, UMW Motor still didn’t the model and the units brought in for local testing.

Of note was the fact that the was pretty good in all driving

That same year, I attended the preview of the new third generation in Hokkaido and it was a big step in Toyota hybrids. Of significance was the in the engine, from 1.5 litres to 1.8 Increasing the displacement would to be bad for fuel economy but in the case of the system, it actually improves efficiency by allowing the engine to at lower revs at cruising while giving more

Needless to say, the transition electric motor and petrol is seamless and you will never which is in use unless you watch the Monitor.

Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

Third generation continues with liftback started with the second (right)

With the third Toyota has made an even push globally to popularise and it has helped that a number of (including the Malaysian one) subsidies or tax exemptions to lower purchase price. This saw a surge in sales in Malaysia as for the time, all Malaysians could buy duty-free (like diplomats and The main reason for the surge was the price since hybrid has already been reasonably accepted in spite of such not having been marketed a couple of years ago.

Honda Malaysia didn’t its hybrid models hard as price was high (before the tax

Toyota hybrid models in the Japanese market today

the first generation, Toyota’s line-up has expanded considerably. just one model, it now offers 12 passenger models as well as two vehicles (mostly in Japan). doesn’t include the hybrids in the range which go all the way up to the flagship

Engine bay of the latest Prius. The name changed from Hybrid System to Hybrid Drive

Though I have viewed hybrid powertrains as transitional, ie a bridge between engines and future powertrains different energy, Toyota say that is not really the case. continue to spend money on RD because the technology will be used in future powertrains will most likely run on motors.

The next big thing in technology is the plug-in system and is now a Prius variant with technology on sale in a few countries. looking like a standard the plug-in variant (PHV) the benefits of both a hybrid as as an electric vehicle. Where the Prius battery pack is by the generator and regenerative braking, the battery pack – which is the type instead of the nickel-metal type – can be recharged from an source like a home supply.

This means the energy stored can be maximised and a lithium-ion battery has a higher density so it is more powerful. means it has improved performance and in cases, as studies show, motorists might not even to run on the petrol engine on a typical The PHV variant can do about 20+ kms powered by the electric motor alone the standard Prius has a very range and a low maximum speed.

Prius plug-in hybrid like the standard Prius but has an lid on the right side for the recharging

I had a chance to try the Prius PHV briefly in last month and it was surprising to that the system did not switch to the engine even when hard. With the standard hard acceleration will start the petrol engine to get the torque but the PHV variant can go up to about 100 on electric power. That’s since no fuel is used as as the engine stays off.

And I really loved it when the car was in mode as it was smooth and quiet, like gliding along the

Given the slow pace of the internal combustion engine, I that hybrids will be for quite some time As battery and electric motor advances, increased performance be possible to the extent that the will be smaller again. In it may even become a back-up in case of electrical failure.

PRIUS MEAN ANYTHING? The manufacturers are usually quite in explaining what the names of cars mean. But for the Prius, was no footnote on this at the start. was a Toyota concept car in 1995 Prius but even back there was no explanation on the name. is, however, such a Latin and it means before or formerly perhaps evolved into in the English language).

Strange Or maybe Toyota was hinting its new model is really one which is something much more to come? Anyway, the name is unique and other than in parts of ancient texts, the other product that had the name (in the late 1990s) was a of computers from Hitachi.

To more about Toyota models, visit  www.toyota.com.my  |  For on Lexus hybrid models, www.lexus.com.my

Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

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