Throughout the past several weeks the economy of the United States and other large importers of oil have struggled to maintain positive amidst the turmoil in the middle-east. Civil unrest and pressure have led to a decrease in oil production and increase in the price for a single barrel. We have seen prices reach the $100 mark and beyond, and there are no signs of a ceiling.
These two year highs for the price of crude oil have led to OPEC releasing more supplies from our reserves, but it has not quelled the price hike. California is currently suffering from the highest prices nationwide and they have reached within a cent of $4.00 per gallon for regular unleaded. This has put added strain on a struggling economic environment for many people and, if this continues, it will drag our economy further down. With cars like the Toyota Prius and other hybrids hitting the market every week, it is good to see that the manufacturers are realizing that gasoline will not be the answer to our future problems.
The major auto shows and car introductions across the world, including the biggest in the United States, Detroit, are where auto manufacturers try to sell the public hot-air. Most of the amazing and futuristic concept cars are so far on the other side of being a production possibility they might as well be alien. The recent economic climate across the world has shifted the car companies in a new direction and the consumer continues to pull them even further. People are eager for cars that are economical and exciting – most people enjoy driving, just not having to pay $4.00 per gallon to do it.
Toyota has brought out the big electric guns to the Detroit Auto Show with the new Prius family, including the new Prius c Concept. With the "c" standing for "city"-centric vehicle, the new concept is a preview version of a future Prius model that aims to young singles and couples who want an eco-sensitive, high-mileage, fun-to-drive car.
Toyota hasn’t exactly offered many details on this concept, but they did confirm that it offers outstanding fuel efficiency and a surprisingly spacious interior. It will include many advanced technology features, including some offered on the current Prius. Like with all the other Prius models in the line-up, the c Concept will share the current generation Prius’ platform and Hybrid Synergy Drive technology.
The Prius c Concept is the inspiration for an additional Prius family member that will come to market in the first half of 2012 as the most value-oriented hybrid in the U.S. market with the highest mileage of any "cordless" hybrid.
We are not exactly as thrilled about the new Prius line as Toyota is, especially with so many up and coming hybrids on the market, but it’s nice to know that Toyota isn’t going to go down easy.
That being said, head on over after the jump to catch some details on the Prius c Concept.
The second production version added to the Toyota Prius family is the new "v" version revealed at the Detroit Auto Show. With "v" expressing the vehicle’s versatility, the new Prius v will combine the practicability of a minivan with the hybrid drivetrain of a Prius hatchback model.
The new "v" version is built on the same platform as the first Prius, but promises a 50% space increase inside its cabin. The car also has a low 0.29 coefficient of drag, all while being produced in an evolutionaryPrius design.
The car is identical to its hatchback brother: the same exterior design language, the same hybrid drive train under the hood that delivers a total of 40 mpg, and the same technology for the interior that includes an Entune multimedia system which supports mobile apps such as Bing, OpenTable, and movietickets.com.
Hit the jump to read more about the 2012 Toyota Prius v.
Automakers from all over showed up to the 2010 SEMA Show with a slew of accessories to slap on to their existing models. Jaguar has their Black Pack , Chevrolet has their Z-Spec , and now we get Toyota with their Plus Performance Package. The future Plus brand of accessories will be available in limited production beginning in April 2011. Showcasing their future line of accessories in the hybrid Prius.
The Prius Plus Performance Package features a seven-piece aerodynamic body kit that includes a uniquely styled rear diffuser, which enhances its already sleek appearance and maintains its 0.25 coefficient of drag. The aero kit also includes front and rear bumper spoilers and side skirts. The whole package is finished by race-inspired 17-inch forged wheels.
The package also includes sport-tuned lowering springs that provide a lower center of gravity, enhancing the vehicles on-road performance through quicker turn-in, enhanced steering response, and improved cornering ability. A rear sway bar is added to reduce body roll for flatter, more stable cornering and maneuverability. And of course lets not forget the "Plus" logo on both the exterior and interior.
It seems that this year’s SEMA Show is all about customizing hybrid models. Toyota , for example, has brought quite an impressive number of tuned Prius models to dazzle the crowds at one of the biggest tuning shows in the world. One of them is the work of the Conversions and Accessories group at Toyota Motor Corporation in Japan.
The Prius C&A Custom Concept features light-weight carbon fiber all the way from the front of the hybrid to the rear, including aero side skirts with vertical spoilers, front bumper and fender flares with radically large air intakes, the engine hood, roof, rear hatch, rear spoiler, rear bumper with vertical spoiler, and rear garnish. Forged wheels with aluminum aero rings set at 18-inches finishes off the exterior package.
For the interior of the Prius, the new concept offers black Alcantara simulated suede fabric on the ceiling, “A” and “B” pillars, door trim, rear seat, and console box. As for the technologies, Conversions and Accessories has placed a navigation system by DENSO that features an eco function that displays total electric motor and engine kilowatt output.
We know that Toyota is planning on creating a larger version of the Prius, the most popular hybrid in the world. We’ve seen some spy spots and some billboard photos of the hybrid MPV before, but this is the first time that we’ve gotten a good look at the new Toyota.
The good people over at autoblog.it have managed to get their hands on a photo of the Prius MPV and it appears to be a seven-passenger, three-row vehicle, or basically a minivan. It will be shown in the flesh for the first time at the Detroit Motor Show .
The website says that the new Prius MPV will get a 1.8-liter hybrid, the same as in the normal Prius. The power output might be pumped up to 138 horsepower, as it needs to cope with the larger size and weight of the much larger MPV body.
To mark the Prius’ ten year anniversary in the UK, Toyota GB are offering a 1000-unit, limited production run Prius that is sure to turn some heads. Hybrids are known for being notoriously uncool and bland, but Toyota is out to change mindsets in a big way. The new Prius, dubbed “Generation X” is aimed at a more style conscious buyer, who still has the environment and epic fuel consumption on their minds. The cool factor comes in the form of a sporty bodykit, comprising of new front and rear bumpers, and side skirts.
Complimenting the look are 17” multi-spoke alloys with an anthracite finish and tinted windows for more privacy. Inside, you’ll find new leather seats, complete with embossed 10th Anniversary logo, along with all the usual creature comforts of the T Spirit model (Navigation with integrated sound library, Bluetooth, rear parking monitor, Intelligent Park Assist, cruise control, smart entry and start, rain-sensing wipers and head-up display). The limited edition Generation X is available only in two colours, Pearl White and Astral black, making them easily identifiable and the most exclusive Prius models yet.
Toyota claims that even after the makeover, the fuel consumption and tax friendly features of the Prius are 100% maintained – 70.6mpg and 92g/km combined cycle consumption and CO2 emissions. So, basically there’s no downside to this special edition.
A Generation X can be yours for £26,150 ($41,500 at current exchange rates) and orders are now open, with deliveries starting in winter. We think it’s safe to say we really like the approach to making Hybrid technology more appealing, and hope to see other manufacturers follow suit.
One of the debates that have been sparked by the Toyota Prius is the way it’s manufactured. Hybrid haters have long pushed on us the fact that during its total life cycle, the Prius is actually fairly damaging to the environment, according to a report in Automotive News.
Although the Prius may lead the pack in terms of fuel efficiency, the Prius actually ranked below average in all five categories related to the materials manufacturing aspect of the cycle. Most notably, the electric motors, inverters, and nickel-metal hydride batteries are the most at fault. According to Automotive News, these three components increase the emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons and particulate matter.
Toyota is aware of this and they say that they have begun working in reevaluating eight different vehicles in the Japanese market, including the Prius. The Japanese automaker hopes to put the Prius at the top of life cycle list.
Like it or not, the Prius is one of the most successful cars ever launched by Toyota . Looking to capitalize on this, the Japanese automaker might bring two new models to market that will carry the Prius name for 2012.
Sources at Toyota told the Wall Street Journal that the company would bring two all-new models to the United States that carry the Prius name, one smaller than the current version and one larger.
The smaller model will be around the size of the Yaris and will boast outstanding fuel economy thanks to a smaller gasoline motor. The larger variant might be a sport-utility-type vehicle, according to the sources. We aren’t sure what it will be based off of or the size of it, but we will keep you informed when we get more information.
We are expecting the new plug-in Prius to arrive in 2012. It will be able to travel 13 miles on its batteries alone, before the hybrid drivetrain fires up.
Gas prices might not be high here in the Untied States currently, but they sure are in other countries and Toyota is reaping the benefits. The Prius hybrid is selling so well, that Toyota is looking to extend production of the car to Thailand.
According to Japan’s Nikkei, Toyota would use Thailand as an export base for all of Southeast Asia. That might even include Japan, where the Prius has been the best-selling car for 15 straight months.
Thailand is currently building the Camry Hybrid, which should make it easy to expand Prius production. It will be so easy in fact, that production could begin by the end of this year. The car’s batteries and other various components will still come from Japan.
Currently, the hybrid is built in China and Japan. Toyota was going to bring production to the United States, but a slumping economy last year threw that plan into the grave.