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New Prius Lets Drivers Select Electric, ECO or Power Drive Modes

Tue, 02 Jun 2009
Fuel-efficient, low emissions driving does not have to confine the motorist to a one-size-fits-all driving style. Thanks to Toyota innovation, the new third-generation Prius comes equipped with three selectable “on-demand” driving modes that let the driver make the most of different driving conditions.

These include an EV (electric vehicle) mode that allows the car to run for certain distances purely on electric power, cutting fuel consumption and emissions to zero. Ideal for slow moving urban traffic, it’s a function that can only be enjoyed with a full hybrid system such as Prius’s Hybrid Synergy Drive; EV operation is not possible with the mild hybrid systems featured in some rival models.

And for those owners who want to keep a close eye on achieving consistently fuel-efficient performance, a multi-function Eco Drive Monitor keeps them informed of how the hybrid system is operating and the level of efficiency, moment by moment. Details can even be projected on to the windscreen using the new head-up display that’s a standard feature of all new Prius models.

These features form part of an extensive package of advanced equipment that reinforces new Prius’s position as the most technically advanced family car you can buy, a model that’s brimming with technology, but which is supremely user-friendly and easy to drive.

Three on-demand drive modes
Prius’s transmission is supplemented by three “on-demand” drive modes the driver can select to increase efficiency, performance and fuel economy.

From start-up and at speeds less than 44mph, Prius automatically operates in EV mode, using electric motor power alone. The petrol engine is only introduced under hard acceleration to boost system power.

The driver can also use a switch to activate EV mode manually. This is a function unique to the full hybrid technology of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive and is not available in mild hybrid vehicles.

In EV mode, Prius owners can drive around town with minimal noise, zero CO2 and NOx emissions, and at speeds of up to 31mph, for up to two kilometres, according to the level of battery charge. Because the petrol engine is switched off, EV mode contributes to a significant reduction in overall fuel consumption.

In ECO mode, throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal input is reduced and air conditioning control is adjusted to support better fuel economy. According to driving conditions and the ambient temperature, ECO mode can help the driver reduce fuel consumption by 10 to 15 per cent, when used in conjunction with the ECO Drive Monitor (see below).

POWER mode modifies response to throttle inputs by up to 25 per cent, boosting power to improve acceleration and increase driving pleasure. Under a 50 per cent throttle, Prius acceleration time from 31 to 50mph (50 to 80km/h) is improved by 1.7 seconds to 4.11 seconds.

Eco Drive Monitor

The Eco Drive Monitor is designed to help drivers make the most of Hybrid Synergy Drive’s fuel efficiency, using a range of four status displays on the dashboard.

The Energy Monitor shows the current operating conditions of the engine and the flow of electric power. Working in real time, it helps the driver understand the basic energy flow through the Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

The Hybrid System Indicator shows real-time accelerator use, helping the driver modify inputs and driving style to achieve the maximum fuel efficiency.

A new Consumption Monitor displays fuel consumption and energy recovery levels at one and five-minute intervals, so drivers have instant feedback on the fuel efficiency of their driving style.

A new Past Record Monitor presents trip computer mileage and average fuel consumption records.

Eco Drive Monitor data can also be projected on to the windscreen in the driver’s eye-line, using the new head-up display – a feature standard on all versions of new Prius. What’s more the driver can select the preferred data read-out without taking his or her hands off the steering wheel using another Prius innovation, the Touch Tracer switch.

New Prius will go on sale in the UK from 1 August.

More at www.toyota.co.uk and blog.toyota.co.uk

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