Posts Tagged ‘prius’

Toyota Prius Gets Roof Mounted Solar Panel

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Toyota is looking to offer a roof mounted solar panel system which can help boost the vehicle’s fuel economy to as much as 10%. This is great news for those who buy a Prius who often have fuel economy as the number one deciding factor for their purchase. Toyota is looking to sell this as an option through their Japanese and European markets. However, the solar panel roof is not likely going to make it onto North American cars just yet.

The issue in the US specifically is around safety issues with a solar panel roof. Problem is there isn’t a way to manufacture the roof in such a way that prevents the glass roof and its photovoltaic cells from shattering in the case of an accident. Engineers are hard at work to develop a solution in hopes that one day the solar panel roof will see the light of day on a US destined vehicle.


All New Toyota Prius Prime Debuts in New York

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Sometimes taking a break, re-evaluating what you are doing, and coming back refreshed is a good thing. This is what Toyota did with the Prius after stopping production last June. Now, the Prius is back better than ever. Toyota took to the New York Auto Show to showcase their latest iteration of the Prius which is now called the Prius Prime.

The plug-in hybrid now packs an 8.8-kwh battery and can get an estimated range of 22 miles on full electric power. Toyota clearly took the break time with the Prius seriously and re-evaluated the cars capabilities as the last generation Prius was only capable of 6 miles on all electric power. This was mission critical for the Japanese automaker as consumers who purchase plug-in hybrids are seeking cars that give the most range from the electrical output. No doubt when combined with the onboard gas motor range isn’t an issue, but the comparison point will always be “how far can I get on just electric power?” The redesigned Prius Prime puts it right in the middle of the pact when it comes to EV range with Ford’s Fusion on the low end at 19 miles and Chevy’s Volt on the top end at 53 miles. As is, the Prius Prime offers a total range from the 11.3-gallon tank and electric power at more than 600 miles.

The Prius Prime gets one big change on the inside for 2017 which is the deletion of the rear middle seat. This was done to house the larger 8.8kwh battery. Infotainment is available via an 11.6-inch HD display with its top Entune multimedia system. A head-up display function is built in for driver aid and wireless phone charging capabilities provide a nice feature for passengers. Always striving for more energy savings, the Prius Prime senses when passengers are in the vehicle and by specific seat and direct airflow only to those occupants. When less passengers are in the car, the Prius Prime will require less power to run the onboard climate control system.

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U.S. says no explanation yet for Prius Calif. claim

Safety investigators have found no evidence so far to support or disprove a California motorist’s claim his Toyota Motor Corp. Prius sped out of control on its own, and cautioned the case may never be explained, U.S. regulators said on Monday.


Police stop runaway Toyota Prius in California

A Toyota Prius accelerated out of control on a busy California freeway on Monday before police intervened to bring the vehicle to a standstill, police said.
James Sikes, 61, was driving on the busy Interstate 8 freeway outside San Diego when he noticed his car was starting to accelerate of its own accord, the California Highway Patrol said.
The terrified motorist was helpless as the car hurtled out of control along the road at speeds more than 90 miles per hour.


Toyota to beef up braking in all new car models

Toyota Motor Corp. said on Wednesday it would install a system to ensure braking trumped acceleration in all new car models as it seeks to limit the damage from its vast recall woes.


Can the US catch up with Toyota’s Prius?

Can America Build Their Toyota Prius?

Can America Build Their "Toyota Prius"?

As the global recession bites and local economies in the industrialized and advanced nations are slowly crumbling; shouldn’t we be buy ‘local’ goods to benefit our own domestic economy? Perhaps we should, but that hasn’t stopped the sales of the Japanese manufactured Toyota Prius from jumping by 30% from this time last year and an astonishing 50% from last month alone. While we are being told to support our local economies, especially in the case of the declining American car industry, it seems that more and more people are turning to foreign imports. Foreign manufacturers such as Toyota are enjoy a sales growth because Americans are increasingly looking for vehicles with better fuel economy. It is certainly a major factor in the buying decision.

“I don’t want to have to import a hybrid car,” said President Obama “I want to build a hybrid car here.”

With a new President in the White House there seems to be a desire now from Washington to halt the monopolization of Toyota on hybrid vehicles and create an American rival. However is it possible to create a similar alternative? Many would argue that you cannot. It is basic economics they say; if you are producing the best product then you will accumulate the most sales. So to create an almost identical version would fall short of denting Toyota’s profits in the United States.

However there is another side to this issue; Toyota aren’t producing the hybrid batteries crucial to the Prius fast enough and this is where President Obama’s $2.4 billion investment comes in. It is earmarked to provide both research and production of United States made nickel metal hydride batteries to use in hybrid cars and is hoped to go some way to faltering Toyota’s domination. Indeed even the Ford Escape Hybrid uses foreign batteries at the moment.

The consensus seems to be that hybrid cars will be essential and the norm in the long term if we are to combat the problems facing our environment; namely, each individuals carbon footprint. While the hybrid cars today might not be perfect they are going a long way to developing a carbon neutral form of private transport, the question is; is $2.4 billion going to be enough to ensure that America gains a firm foothold in the hybrid automotive market?


Mileage Shootout: M3 vs Prius

Looking through the car photo and video galleries today, I stumbled onto this video of the M3 vs Prius battle on Top Gear. They had the Prius in front going for the fastest lap with the M3 trailing behind it. They then measured the average mileage over 10 laps.



The result is not surprising at all, but the video does spark some interesting discussions over hybrid cars such as the Prius. Join in on the discussion: M3 more efficient than a Prius


Make Way Everyone, Prius Coming Through!

They were the birthplace of Google, and now to one up themselves Stanford University researchers are showing off a new state of the art safety system for Toyota Prius owners. The invention? Four speakers mounted to the bottom of a Prius to emit fake engine noises to alert pedestrians.

Is there really an epidemic of pedestrians being creamed by silent hybrid and electric cars because they couldn’t hear them approaching? If there really was a market for this, why not utilize something like a bell on a bicycle to alert people of your approach instead of a bunch of speakers emitting a crackling noise?

With gas prices heading up the way they are, and more and more people jumping on cars with better fuel efficiency there is a good chance that this invention could be the jackpot for the Stanford students.


Combat High Fuel Prices With Hypermiling

Fuel prices have soared to record levels, with announcements every week telling us that they will continue to climb. Local prices here have hit about CAD $1.24/L which works out to about US $4.60/Gallon at today’s exchange rate.

If you think the only way to shield yourself from soaring gas prices is to go out and by a hybrid vehicle, Wayne Gerdes would love to prove you wrong. You see, Gerdes routinely gets over 30mpg on his wife’s SUV, an Acura MDX. On his own Honda Accord, he can easily get about 60 mpg.

Gerdes accomplishes this by driving while being super attentive to fuel efficiency, a completely obsessive driving technique he calls hypermiling. He’ll never floor the gas pedal to accelerate, in fact he barely touches it when accelerating. Other tips include inflating the tires to maximum pressure listed on the tire itself, using a lower weight engine oil, driving outside of the grooves on busy roads, coasting in neutral down hills, avoid use of the brake during turns and tailgating large semis on highway to cut down on wind resistance. Extreme? Definitely. Effective? Yup!

The most helpful tool for a hypermiler like Gerdes is a fuel consumption display (FCD). Many new cars come equipped with one that displays a real time fuel consumption figure. Step on the gas and it’ll start to climb, or coast down a hill and watch it drop. If people could see how much fuel they guzzled while driving, Wayne believes they’d quickly learn to drive more efficiently.

“If the epa would mandate FCDs in every car, this country would save 20 percent on fuel overnight,” he says. “They’re not expensive for the manufacturers to put in—10 to 20 bucks—and it would save more fuel than all the laws passed in the last 25 years. All from a simple display.”

I would test this out to see how far a tank of gas can take me, but I really don’t have the patience to try for that long. Have you tried it? Share your results in the comments or discuss in our forums!