Everybody’s favorite hybrid, the Toyota Prius goes on sale later this month, but the Japanese automaker is already facing strong demand for their compact gas/electric vehicle. Toyota has already received 75,000 orders for the 2010 Prius, making it the clear favorite over Honda’s more affordably priced Insight that received only 20,000 orders.
The 2010 Prius is powered by an all-new 1.8 Liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine that delivers 98 hp and a peak torque of 105 lbs-ft. The new Prius features more aggressive styling and a trick remote air conditioning/solar panel sunroof combination and starts at around $21,000.
By the way, those 75,000 orders, are only for the Japanese Market.
The third generation Toyota Prius is a sleeker and more aggressive machine than its predecessor. The hybrid electric vehicle gets 50 MPG with an affordable price south of around $25K , bringing the fuel-efficient drive train closer to the reach of the masses. The hybrid is packed with futuristic technology like microwave radar transmitters hidden behind the new for 2010 Toyota badges. This forward thinking five seater also won’t make any sacrifices when it comes to creature comforts either.
The vehicle we were introduced to is officially a 2010 Prius prototype, however the vehicle did have a VIN, so maybe after the dealership changes out the wheels for a set of the slick 17’s being offered, this car could see some street action.
Toyota today announced the official prices for the second generation Prius . Sales will begin in late May and prices will start from $21,000. The Prius will be offered with five levels of popular standard equipment combinations.
The Prius is equipped with Toyota’s industry-leading Hybrid Synergy Drive and certified as an Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV), emitting over 70% fewer smog-forming emissions than the average new vehicle. A larger and more powerful yet more efficient 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine produces 98 hp at 5,200 rpm. Together with its electric motor the hybrid system in the new Prius will generate a combined net horsepower of 134, an increase of 24 horsepower over the previous generation.
All Prius models offer Toyota’s Star Safety System(TM) as standard equipment, which includes enhanced Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) Systems, Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist (BA). Other standard features include electric power steering and four-wheel disc brakes.
Keeping up with the Joneses may be finally taking its toll. Andy Richter and James Adomain are comparing cars in this mock commercial put together by the comedy troupe The Upright Citizens Brigade.
Andy Richter is rejoining Conan O’Brian when he takes over the Tonight Show, so hopefully by then Richter will be able to afford a Prius of his own... that is if he’s not in jail (watch the video and you’ll understand.)
There is a new kind of green racing going on in Japan. The Prius Cup was started in 2007 to familiarize dealership staff with Toyota ’s hybrid. The goal of the series is to promote conservation and teamwork. “Through this race, our teammates will understand exactly how these cars work, and I think this will benefit all my associates," said Kazuo Oguri, executive vice president of Nagoya Toyopet Corp, one of Japans largest Toyota dealers.
The Prius Cup is a 20 lap race comprised of both a service and a race portion. For service, the teams are clocked on how fast and how accurately they are able to service their car. This consists of everything from checking the oil to rotating the tires. During the race portion, three different drivers take turns behind the wheel. Teams are penalized for going too fast or even going too slow. Drivers strive to keep the car running as efficient as possible. A key strategy is accelerating slowly at the green flag and after pit stops, letting the hybrid vehicle’s electric motor do most of the work. Both the service and race scores are then combined to determine the winner of the day.
There is newfound enthusiasm for the Prius Cup in Japan due to the upcoming release of the third model. This is a perfect forum for dealers to show the manufacturer that they are ready and capable to sell the new Prius.
Not many people missed the original Honda Insight . But for those few who just have to have their hybrid car look like a bug, AutoLabo, a Japanese tuner, will transform a Toyota Prius into an insect.
The kit consist in a front bumper, a new set of side sills, a new set of wheel covers for better aerodynamics, a carbon fiber rear roof spoiler, a redesigned rear bumper with integrated air diffuser and a new exhaust system.
With all these modifications, the car may be more fuel efficient. More importantly, it should be faster, which is good because who would want to be seen it this?
PriusChat seemed to have gotten the scoop on everyone else and possibly posted the first studio images of the 2010 Toyota Prius . They say its not part of Toyota’s new teaser campaign, so there’s even a little room for doubt about the picture’s authenticity.
If this is a photoshop job, then whoever made it has a future in car design. The images are in line with the spy shots we’ve seen. The door line has new creases and follows a new pattern. The front is in line with Toyota’s new family face. The interior has a nice smooth finish to it. So with all these elements, if this isn’t the car that Toyota has actually made, it is probably now wishing it had.
We’ll know for sure in January when the car debuts at the Detroit Auto Show. We do know that the third generation Prius will be larger and more fuel efficient when it takes on Honda’s new Insight . It will go on sale shortly after the world debut in January.
Lotus has decided to tackle the recently voiced concerns over hybrid vehicle safety concerns. Since the hybrid cars produce very little noise at slow speeds, there is an increased chance that the cars can catch a person by surprise. This is especially true for visually impaired pedestrians who rely heavily on audio inputs to judge what is occurring around them.
Lotus has created a working prototype, using a Toyota Prius, of an external sound systems that would make engine-type noises. The Prius was fit with a waterproof speaker next to the radiator that works only when the car is being electrically driven. The speaker will emit engine sounds with the appropriate pitch and frequency to match the speed of the car. This will enable pedestrians to judge how far and fast the approaching car is moving. When the hybrid’s gasoline engine starts up, the system stops emitting sound and restarts seamlessly when the electric motor takes back over.
Toyota will unveil the new Prius next year at the Detroit Auto Show, with sales to begin in USA in April 2009. The latest spy shots revealed that the differences between the current and the future generation will be minimal.
Toyota will unveil a whole family for the Prius: a station wagon and a convertible are also set to be released.
Under the hood Toyota will place a new 1.6 liter engine, while the Hybrid Synergy Drive system will be carried over. The fuel consumption will be improved despite the new engine. The 2010 Prius will be built in both Japan and USA, at the Toyota’s Mississippi plant.
A new Prius is on the way, and as it turns out, a lot of them are on the way. For 2009, Toyota will increase Prius production by 70%, meaning around 480,000 units a year. Toyota now builds most of the hot-selling gasoline-electric cars at its Tsutsumi factory in central Japan and another plant belonging to affiliate Toyota Auto Body. It also assembled 320 Priuses in China last year.
In 2007 Toyota sold 281,300 Prius cars worldwide and now there are thousands of client waiting months for delivery, especially on the US market. The world’s biggest automaker also recently announced a plan to start building the Prius at a new facility in Mississippi by 2010.
Toyota has already sold over one million hybrid vehicles worldwide. Now its new goal is after 2010 to sell at least one million hybrid vehicles annually. Considering that the Prius can get it halfway to the goal alone, the hybrid versions of the Highlander and Camry won’t have to sell too much to finish the job.