Just the other day we were talking about just how happy we were to see tuners paying a bit of special attention to alternatively powered hybrid automobiles. While these types of gas/electric vehicles tend to go towards efficiency minded hyper milers, there are still a few enthusiasts out there looking to make these cars, like the 50 MPG Toyota Prius, truly their own. When it comes to the art of automotive aftermarket styling, there are few tuning firms that can compete with Tommy Kaira and this is the latest kit to roll out of their design studio.
The kit includes a reworked aero package consisting of a more aggressive front bumper with built in carbon fiber splitter, lower hanging side skirts and a new rear apron complete with vents on either side and a diffuser in the middle to finish off the ground effects package that actually improves the Toyota’s coefficient of drag. Tommy Kaira is also offering a host of other upgrade options like HID headlamps, hatch mounted spoilers, high performance suspension components and a sporty exhaust to finish off the body mods available in either carbon fiber or more traditional FRP. The Japanese tuner also offers more wheels then you can shake a stick at in order to satisfy every one of their customer’s wishes for a fun next generation green vehicle that unites ecology and sports to create a truly unique mode of personal transportation.
The only thing better then getting 50 MPG from a Toyota Prius hybrid is tuning one. The Japanese aftermarket specialists at Wald International have made a name for themselves with their lineup of ultra aggressive Black Bison body kits for everything from the Nissan GT-R to the Toyota Land Cruiser. Another Toyota, a much smaller and much less thirsty, but equally as mean looking Prius has just joined the Black Bison ranks. Wald International has added a full front bumper with more sculpted lines, side vents, wide body fenders and the all important oversized driving lights. This is only the firs image of the modified hyper miler, so stay tuned for more details.
The third concept Toyota will have on display at the Tokyo Motor Show is the Prius Plug-in Hybrid - the first Toyota vehicle brand that uses a lithium-ion battery as the drive battery.
Thanks to the lithium-ion battery, the Prius Plug-in Hybrid has a fuel efficiency of at least 55km/l (target); that’s quite an improvement compared to the 38km/l of the model now on sale.
Charged from an external power source such as a household electrical outlet, it extends the cruising range in electric vehicle mode, maximizing the benefits as an environmentally-considerate vehicle. As the cruising distance as an electric vehicle increases, environmental benefits that surpass those even of the regular Prius can be expected including lower CO2 emissions and air pollution and reduced consumption of fossil fuels. Approximate charging times using ordinary household electricity are 180 minutes at 100V and 100 minutes at 200V.
The Toyota Prius is all new for 2010 as the Japanese automaker’s most popular gas electric hybrid goes into its third generation of production car status. Our Blue Ribbon metallic [Prius features an all new shape from the previous version that includes a few more aerodynamic touches to get the gas electric hybrid as close as possible to 50 MPG. Toyota’s engineers had a very unique approach to making the new Prius as fuel efficient as possible by adding larger power units. The 2010 Prius features a larger 1.8 Liter engine than its predecessor that by itself makes a maximum output of 98 HP and 105 lb-ft of torque and when combined with the larger 36 HP electric motor gives the 2010 Prius a combined gas/electric output of 134 HP, more than most economy cars.
Despite the larger displacement power plant the latest generation Toyota Prius is able to get an EPA estimated 51 MPG in the city and 48 MPG on the highway thanks to a very concentrated effort to aerodynamically reduce drag and eliminate unnecessary energy loss with a few new sophisticated driving modes, one of which turns the Prius into a true zero emission electric vehicle. Priced with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of just $22,000 the 2010 Toyota Prius is now well within the reach of the average new car buyer and proves to be a perfect solution to the future of personal transportation.
What we do know is that the coupe version of Toyota’s most profitable hybrid model will be approximately 4 inches shorter than the standard version and is expected to be very similar to the current Prius. We did know that a possible MR-2 would be powered by the same Hybrid Synergy Drive 1.8L 2ZR-FXE engine as the current Toyota Prius and should be tuned for a little more power as well as a sportier ride, but now we are not sure what to expect. Either way don’t expect anything before 2010, but at least we know that it will look good.
We have just received a brand new third generation Toyota Prius into the Top Speed test fleet. Wile we are usually about high horsepower rides that are in contention to set land speed records even we must bow out and admit that these little Hybrid commuter cars are only going to become more common as time goes on. Now this is not quite the prototype we saw back in May, our 2010 Prius didn’t come with the very trick sunroof mounted solar panel and we didn’t even get leather. But that’s OK, because we do have the same 1.8 Liter Hybrid Synergy Drive engine that was in the previous Prius we saw. In an effort to improve fuel economy Toyota has decided to increase the engine’s displacement giving it more torque across the rev band meaning that it won’t have to work as hard getting the Prius moving to the tune of 50 MPG.
It seems that everything about the Prius was made so that the car could cut through the air with the least amount of resistance. The bulges on the sides of the front bumper push air away from the turbulent rotating wheels at speed, which are covered with some pretty interesting plastic covers that were almost certainly included as a fuel-saving afterthought. The design team even incorporated finlets at the rear of the flat paneled under tray that are more functional that the majority of the diffusers bolted to the bottom of a rear bumper. Toyota engineers go to countless measures to squeeze every last ounce of efficiency from their flagship hybrid. A number that was being thrown around when we first spoke to a Toyota representative was one million, because that is how much the Japanese automaker spends every hour of every working day conducting drag reduction research which has led to the Prius’ .25 Cd.
But that’s what the guys from 4Car did, although there is a catch to the so-called ‘race’. The race isn’t so much as to determine which is faster – that’s not even up for debate – but to figure out which car can come closer to its official fuel consumption figures. For the record, the Prius does 74mpg while the 911 can run up to 28 mpg. So, the bet between 4C Editor Tim Bowdler and road test editor John Mahoney is to find out which car can come closer its advertised fuel consumption.
Bowdler takes the wheel of the Prius, claiming that – unlike the previous Prius model, which failed to live up to the fuel consumption hype it generated – the new Prius puts a stamp on that claim and beats it by a wide margin. On the other hand, Mahoney takes the wheel of the 911, which, as we all know, is in a class of its own as far as fuel efficiency is concerned.
To find out who won this unusual duel, click on the link to watch the video.
Honda is hard at work preparing the future CR-Z hybrid sports car, so today it was Toyota’s turn to step up to the plate, and they did! The future sombrero wearing Japanese compact will be a sports coupe hybrid model based on the Prius. The new sports car is supposed to be called MR-2 and will debut in the middle of 2012.
The Prius coupe will be shorter than the popular hybrid by about 10 cm and will be powered by the same 1.8L 2ZR-FXE engine and Hybrid Synergy Drive from the 2010 Toyota Prius five door hatchback. The only modification will be that the future MR-2 will be tuned to make a maximum output of 136 HP.
The new model will be a 2-door coupe model with a 2+2 layout accommodating a pair of back seat passengers. Even if the car looks a lot like the future Toyota “AE86” compact FR sports car being produced in conjunction with Subaru, the two models will appeal totally different buyers. Although it looks like the hybrid power plant will be located between the front fenders and send power to the front wheels, it would be nice to see a proper midship runabout return to Toyota’s lineup.
When Toyota decided to create a marketing campaign around the 2010 Toyota Prius, not a lot of people would have even thought that the Japanese automakers would use flower pots – enormous ones, at that – as its central marketing tool in promoting the Prius.
You can’t blame Toyota for not thinking out-of-the-box with this one. Apparently, nothing is safe from the clutches of technology these days, even garden ornaments.
If you happen to be in the Boston area, you might want to check out Prudential Plaza and see these strange yet eye-catching pots, which incidentally stands at an attention-seeking 18 feet. While you’re at it, bring your laptops with you because these pots really do have Wi-Fi connections, thanks to the solar panels attached to the petals and stems of these sculptures.