Tag: Toyota Hybrid

The Differences Between the Prius and Prius Prime

April 21, 2017 lacarguy Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , ,

If you’re like many people shopping around for a hybrid car, you have to decide whether the Prius Prime or the standard Prius is the right vehicle for you. Both options offer some benefits and have some downsides. Ultimately, the one that’s best for you depends on what your priorities are and what you want out of a vehicle. That’s why we’re going to break down the differences between the two vehicles so you can make the decision for yourself.

Prius on the left Prius Prime on the right
Prius – Prius Prime pictured

Storage Space

If you value storage space and you frequently fill up the trunk of your vehicle currently, you probably won’t want to go for the Prius Prime, that is unless you can use the back seat of the vehicle for your storage needs. That’s because the Prius Prime has little trunk space. Toyota shoved all the batteries necessary for the extended full-electric driving range into the trunk of the vehicle, so it’s very shallow.

Fuel Efficiency

If you value fuel efficiency above all else, the Prius Prime is likely the vehicle for you. It comes equipped with battery packs that allow you to get up to 25 miles on a single charge before you start burning up gas at all. That means that you can charge up your car, head out on the trip and kick in the full-electric driving power whenever you hit a city portion of your trip. You can get over 100 MPG when using the full-electric mode to drive, and you’ll likely get over 70 or 80 MPG combined by the end of your trip if you aren’t travelling too far away. That’s a pretty big increase over the 50 to 60 MPG that you could expect from the standard Prius.

Sporty Handling

Neither Prius is known for very sporty handling, but the Prius Prime is even worse when it comes to driving mechanics. That’s because the batteries add around 300 pounds to the back of the vehicle and give it a heavy weighted feeling. This is especially obvious when going around corners and you’ll have a somewhat uninspired driving experience when taking the Prius Prime out for a spin. If driving mechanics are most important to you, the Prime is likely not the option for you, and the standard Prius is going to offer a slightly more satisfying experience overall.

Streamlined Media System

If you want a nice streamlined tech setup, the Prius is ahead of the Prius Prime. That’s because the new system used in the Prime is a bit overcomplicated and it can be difficult to learn to use. That doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get the hang of things, it just means you’ll have to spend some extra time mastering the features than you would have to if you were learning on the standard Prius. If you don’t mind taking the time, the media system works well, you’ll just be a bit more overwhelmed when starting out.

Tech and Features

If tech and features are important to you, the standard Prius Prime comes packed with quite a bit more than the standard Prius. You’ll enjoy a powerful adaptive cruise setup that works all the way down to start and stop traffic. The car also comes with parallel parking assist making it a bit easier to get into those tight spaces will parking in the city.

Overall both vehicles have a lot to offer. The Prius Prime offers more efficiency and more tech. The standard Prius offers more storage space, slightly better performance and a simpler tech experience. Both are highly efficient, but it’s up to you which one is the right fit for your needs.

Comparing the Prius Prime with the Nissan Leaf

January 17, 2017 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

Buyers trying to figure out which fuel-efficient vehicle to pick up have a few different options to consider. They will have quite a few small car options to consider, but when going for a hybrid or electric option there are a few budget options that stand out more than the rest. The two major players are the Toyota Prius Prime and the Nissan Leaf when considering value and overall fuel efficiency. Both are capable vehicles but they are very different machines that serve different purposes. Below is an overview of the differences between the two to help you figure out which is right for you.

2017 toyota prius prime

Long Distance Driving Winner

If you plan on traveling for long distances often, the Prius Prime is the obvious winner of the two. That’s mainly because the Nissan Leaf doesn’t have a gas engine at all. It can’t travel more than the 100 mile or so range that it offers. That means you will have to find a charging station and wait for the battery to charge up again before being able to continue on your trip if you want to go farther. The Prius Prime offers excellent efficiency, and can handle the long-distance trips that most people like to take in the US at one point or another.

Battery Power Champ

The Nissan Leaf is the clear winner if you want to rely on only battery power. It has a considerably farther range when on battery power alone. That means that you can probably take on your work commute every day with the leaf, while it might be a stretch with the Prius Prime if you want to use electric only power. The Prime has a range of about 25 miles, which is good for many people, but not enough for longer commutes.

Affordability

While the Nissan Leaf looks like a really strong contender when you look at its range and power, it also comes at a considerably higher cost than the Prius Prime. The car will set you back about 9,000 more than the Prius Prime. For shoppers looking for an affordable driving solution, it’s hard to justify the added cost of the Nissan Leaf without a strong need or desire to only use the battery for driving. Instead many drivers will opt for the more affordable Prius when comparing vehicles. It’s important to look at local pricing though, as well as tax credits before deciding on the vehicle that you want to buy.

Improved Acceleration

If you opt for one of the more powerful versions of the Prius Prime, it’s nearly a full second faster on acceleration from 0 to 60. That’s a pretty major difference and something worth considering if you merge onto highways often. The Prius Prime takes full advantage of that gasoline engine and uses it to boost highway merging speeds.

Both cars have a lot to offer but the option that’s right for you depends on what you are looking for. If you want the vehicle that’s going to offer the longest travel range on full-electric power, the Nissan Leaf is the clear winner. If you want something that’s going to travel more than 100 miles at a time, the Prius Prime is the winner. The Prime is also a lower cost vehicle and a bit faster at hitting highway speeds. The Leaf is a good solid option if you don’t need to travel more than 80 miles, and strong competitor if you don’t mind the increased cost.

Toyota Might Add a Plug to Every Future Prius

September 26, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

Recent comments from Toyota indicate that the automaker might decide to put a plug on every single Prius sold in the future. The automaker stated that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to create an improved Prius that offers higher levels of efficiency. Most of the obvious improvements have already been made, and it took a whole lot of work to push the Prius Eco up the the 58 MPG city and 53 MPG highway that it offers. It would be very difficult to create a model that offers around 60 MPG combined, which is what Toyota would want to offer on the next model. That’s why the most logical step might be to make every single Prius a plug-in hybrid instead.

2017-toyota-prius-prime

 

The Plug In Option

By going with plug-in models Toyota has a lot of room for future improvements. The automaker could expand the battery of the vehicle to offer progressively farther electric-only distances. Toyota could also improve the recharge speed of the vehicle until filling it up is as quick and easy as adding gas to your current vehicle, or maybe even faster with a potent enough recharge station.

While the standard gas-electric hybrid model is quite limited and already pretty maximized by the top Prius today, there is plenty that Toyota can do with the plug-in model. That’s why buyers shouldn’t be surprised if they hear Toyota announce that all future Prius vehicles are going to receive a plug and a larger battery. Toyota is already making it possible to drive around with just electric power using the current Prius, and future enhancements could be really exciting as long as they include a plug in the mix.

If you are interested in trying out a Prius with a plug in it, there is already a Prius model that offers just that. The Prius Prime is a pretty cool little hybrid that comes equipped with a plug. According to Toyota execs, the future of the company’s technology rests in hands of the Prime. If it does well, the chances of future plug-in hybrids is very good and it’s possible the whole lineup will take on the technology. If it doesn’t sell well, Toyota might decide to scrap plugs entirely. We’re on the verge of some major changes at Toyota and it will be interesting to see which way the automaker decides to go from here.

The 2016 Prius Two Eco is an Impressive Piece of Engineering

March 14, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

If you thought the 2016 Prius was an impressive piece of machinery you’ll be even more stunned to really sit down and look at the numbers for the Prius Two Eco, the most efficient variant of the 2016 Prius being sold. It takes efficiency a step further and offers city driving figures of nearly 60 MPG, something that most other automakers can only dream of accomplishing. It’s this high efficiency level that makes the Eco version of the Prius so exciting, but it has more to offer than just efficiency, it’s also spacious, stylish and pretty modern too.

2016 prius two eco

It’s Insanely Efficient

While other vehicles are bragging about hitting fuel efficiency levels in the 30’s or even low 40’s for some, the Prius Two Eco offers fuel efficiency figures up in the 50’s. Not just that but the vehicle actually delivers on those figures. In early tests for the Prius Two Eco drivers have been getting close to 50 MPG and over in some instances. That’s pretty impressive and it’s nice to see a vehicle that actually performs near the EPA rating. The Two Eco is rated to get around 58 MPG in the city and 53 on the highway for a combined fuel efficiency of 56 MPG.

It’s Spacious

When I say that the Prius Two Eco is spacious that’s a bit of an understatement. For a car as efficient as it is, the Prius manages to offer space for up to four adults and plenty of trunk space for a whole shopping trip of groceries, luggage for a road trip or your essential camping supplies. The trunk is close to twice the size of what you’d get from your typical Camry and that means you’ll find plenty of uses for the Prius Two Eco that you never even considered.

It’s Stylish

The original Prius was a bit bland, and Toyota has worked tirelessly to infuse style and a bit of edge into the hybrid car’s look over time. The latest Toyota Prius lineup features crisp lines and sharp details that really give it an edge. Deeply slanted lights, a grimacing grill and sharp angles abound at the front of the Prius giving it a more dynamic and exciting look overall. The car has come a long way over the years, and owners will be more excited than ever about the way their hybrid looks.

How Toyota Continues to Make the Prius More Efficient

It’s amazing that Toyota has come so far with the Prius in a relatively short period of time. The original Prius was launched back in 1999 and since then it’s come from about 35 MPG city and 37 MPG highway to close to 60 MPG highway with the Eco. The automaker continuously improves on its hybrid platform to squeeze out higher efficiency levels each and every year, and it does this through a careful detail-oriented approach.

Toyota has made a bunch of small modifications to the Atkinson cycle engine powering the Prius since its inception. Changes like redesigning intake ports for faster combustion, facilitating more exhaust-gas recirculation, creating a dedicated heat exchanger to cool the engine and adding in reduced friction components wherever they could make the biggest impact are just a few of the many improvements that have been made to the engine since the beginning.

After considering that Toyota has made those same incremental improvements to the battery pack, the hybrid powertrain and the actual frame and components of the vehicle since it was released back in 1999 and it’s easy to see how the automaker has taken hybrid vehicles so far.

The Toyota Prius Two Eco is just one of the many 2016 Prius variants being sold, but it’s arguably the most exciting of the bunch. It takes what makes the Prius so great and offers even more efficiency while still providing the comfort features, the space and the exciting new design that will draw in even more buyers to the model.

The 2016 RAV4 Hybrid is What You Should Be Looking at

January 18, 2016 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , ,

While everyone is salivating over the stock 2016 RAV4, I’m over here really considering picking up the RAV4 Hybrid. No I’m not a tree-hugger, or whatever other lingo you use for people that care about the environment, and the fuel efficiency improvements themselves don’t tell you the whole story of the new crossover hybrid. There is more to the upgrade than just less time spent at the pump, and it’s the extras, like improved power that get me really excited. If you haven’t even considered the hybrid yet, like most people according to Toyota who believes only 10 to 15 percent of the RAV4 models sold will be hybrids, you should seriously consider picking one up.

2016 rav 4

Fuel Efficiency for Days, Well Err Miles

The RAV4 hybrid is obviously more fuel efficient than the conventional variation of the SUV. After all, that’s what hybrid vehicles are all about. When you opt for the hybrid version of this mid-sized SUV, what you get is a vehicle with efficiency levels somewhere in the neighborhood of a new mid-sized sedan. You should expect to get about 34 MPG in the city, and 31 out on the highway. That amounts to about 33 MPG combined, a figure that’s really impressive when you consider that you’re looking at an SUV and not a little car. Sure fuel is cheap at the moment, but you’ll still save some cash, and many people overlook the other benefit of not having to refuel as often. With better efficiency ratings you’ll get to the pump less often which is nice, especially in the colder months up north when pumping gas isn’t very much fun.

It’s Not Just Better on Fuel

I could see how many car buyers could skip over the hybrid model for the standard RAV4 if it just improved on fuel economy and offered the same of everything else. I get it, fuel prices are down really low, they don’t look like they’re going to shoot up any time soon either. That doesn’t mean that fuel efficiency isn’t important though, and even if it isn’t that’s not the only thing that the RAV4 hybrid has to offer. The vehicle also happens to be quite a bit more powerful.

How Much More Powerful?

The RAV4 Hybrid gets a HP and torque boost that’s nothing to sneeze at. The vehicle has 194 HP, up 18 from the standard model. The torque and power improvements on the vehicle allow it to go from 0 to 60 in .09 seconds less than it takes the standard model to do it handling the task in just 8.1 seconds. Sure it’s not a race car, but for a mid-sized SUV that’s definitely respectable and the nearly 1 second saved on acceleration is something you’ll feel during daily driving.

The Price Difference Isn’t that Much

Well now that you know about the benefits you’re probably thinking about what they’re going to cost you. In all actuality you won’t spend much more for the hybrid benefits than you’d already be spending for the standard RAV4. That’s because when you get the same options inside the vehicle other than the improve power and efficiency, you end up spending just $700 less than what you would have paid for the hybrid. So all that efficiency and power comes at the very affordable price of $700. Of course if you were planning on buying the base model without any upgrades or option packages the hybrid would be significantly more expensive for you, but that’s not the case with many car shoppers today.

Why You Might See Rangers Roll By in a Prius at Yellowstone

June 12, 2014 lacarguy Toyota Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

Throughout the past ten years or so Toyota has improved their partnership with Yellowstone National Park by making regular vehicle donations to them to help improve park conditions. It isn’t uncommon to see a park ranger hop out of a Toyota Prius, and it turns out that the vehicles are pretty idea l for the park conditions.

248491_Toyota_Yellowstone_001

Dealing with Bear Jams

Traffic is often stopped up in Yellowstone due to bears blocking the road. When this happens visitors often become frightened and just sit still until they can begin driving again. With a Prius, a Ranger can drive up to visitors and help them out while leaving the vehicle idling. Not only does idling in a Prius not release harmful emissions that would be bad for the animals, but it also doesn’t burn gasoline, meaning that the Ranger can idle for a long period without worry.

A Variety of Donated Hybrids

Yellowstone now has a whole fleet of donated hybrid vehicles that they rely on. In 2004 they received four Prius to help out in the park, in 2007 they received a Camry hybrid, as well as a Highlander Hybrid. A year later the Toyota USA Foundation’s Leadership in Environmental Awareness for the Future (also known as LEAF) set aside a grant for Yellowstone providing a Highlander Hybrid, another two more Prius, two Tundra, as well as an additional $800,000 for child-based environmental programs. In 2014 Toyota added a Rav4 as well as a $50,000 donation to help with the Lamar Buffalo Ranch.

Lending a Helping Hand in Other Ways

Toyota didn’t just stop with vehicle donations or youth programs for the park though, their engineers also got their hands dirty by helping with the construction of the Old Faithful Visitor Education Center. They helped the center get LEED certified, and even donated 1$ million to help with the construction of the center that opened in 2010.

Toyota is clearly concerned about the environment, and their many donations are helping Yellowstone thrive as one of the most notable national parks in the country. The three million visitors that attend the park on an annual basis, will be able to get up close and personal with some of the most impressive marvels of nature, and they may even see a bear or two during their trek around the park. Either way, they are sure to see Toyota’s presence in one form or another during their visit.

 

Toyota Contemplates Performance Hybrid Engine to Boost FR-S

December 13, 2012 lacarguy Scion, Toyota Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

It was recently reported that Subaru is looking into turbocharging its next BRZ to extract a total of 280-hp from the 2.0-litre boxer engine. New reports suggest that Toyota may be going down a different road and is considering a gasoline-electric hybrid system that will increase the Scion FR-S′s output.

2013 Scion FR-S
According to sources, Toyota engineers are weighing the possibility of a hybrid engine to propel the Scion FR-S. Toyota Scion FR-S chief engineer Tetsuya Tada said the company is looking for a surprise, “something unique,” as the drivetrain to possibly power the next-generation FR-S. “For example a hybrid motor,” said Tada. In the quest to give the FR-S a serious boost in the engine room, Tada dismisses going the conventional route.

“I think 300 horsepower with a turbo would be tasteless in this day and age,” Tada said. “If we pursue power without regard to fuel consumption, the market won’t accept it. And a turbo would mean the loss of the FR-S’s uniqueness.”

Tada cites the performance-oriented nature of the FR-S as reasoning for pursuing a different hybrid platform, like the one found in the TS030 Le Mans Prototype, rather the more traditional Atkinson Cycle hybrid found in the Prius. The Atkinson engines typically sacrifice high-revving power for fuel-sipping fuel economy. The TS030 has a KERS system, with six-speed transmission and electric drive to the rear wheels in parallel with the gas engine.

It is also worth noting that Toyota has a joint venture in hybrid development with BMW, and the German automaker’s i8 uses a hybrid system with a KERS similar to that in the Porsche 918 Spyder.

So will there be a KERS hybrid FR-S? It’s too soon to tell whether the technology will be viable in a car that costs less than $30,000, but Toyota does have the capability to make the technology available. We will just have to wait and see.

How should Toyota increase the output of the FR-S? What are your thoughts on the KERS hybrid vs. a turbocharger?

Worldwide Sales of Toyota Hybrids Top 4 Million Units

May 29, 2012 lacarguy Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota of Hollywood, Toyota Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) recently announced that global cumulative sales of its hybrid vehicles have topped the 4 million mark as of April 30, 2012. Currently, Toyota sells 18 hybrid passenger vehicles in 80 countries and regions around the world. And this year, hybrid sales accounted for 15 percent of TMC’s global vehicle sales.

The first Prius went on sale in Japan in 1997 and in 2000, Prius hybrid technology was introduced to the U.S. Since then, the Toyota Division of Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A. has sold 1.5 million hybrid vehicles in the U.S., accounting for 65 percent of all hybrid vehicles sold in the region. Prius, the iconic hybrid brand, makes up half of all hybrids on the road in the U.S. with sales totaling 1.2 million units through April 2012.

The expansion of the Prius family line of vehicles has been successful in the U.S. since the Prius v was introduced to the market in November 2011 and the Prius c and Prius Plug-in during the first quarter 2012. In that time, Prius family sold 60,859 units in the U.S.

In addition to the Prius family, Toyota’s line of hybrid vehicles include versions in the Camry and Highlander, which feature larger displacement applications of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive.

“All of us at Toyota would like to sincerely thank our customers, who have made Prius the best-selling hybrid in the industry,” said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager, Toyota Division. “While we’re proud of this accomplishment, we are not stopping here as hybrids will continue to be a core technology for Toyota.”

As of April 30, 2012, TMC calculates that TMC hybrid vehicles, since 1997, have led to approximately 26 million fewer tons of CO2 emissions—considered to be a cause of climate change—than would have been emitted by gasoline-powered vehicles of similar size and driving performance.

Toyota Plans for Major Hybrid Growth in U.S.

December 9, 2011 lacarguy HybridCars.com, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , 2 Comments

by Zack McDonald – HybridCars.com

At last year’s Detroit Motor Show, Toyota vice president for U.S. sales, Bob Carter, offered a bold prediction for the direction his company plans to take in the United States over the next decade―and for the country’s vehicle market in general. “We will end the decade with Prius being the number one nameplate in the industry,” said Carter, predicting that the Prius would soon overtake the Camry as the company’s most popular model in the U.S.

Toyota plans to complete work with Ford on a brand new hybrid system for pickup trucks by the end of next year

Almost a year later, it has become increasingly clear that Toyota’s big talk about hybrids is no greenwash. After almost singlehandedly growing the hybrid market from obscurity in the United States, Toyota now sees hybrids primed to conquer the mainstream―and has no intention of ceding its dominance in the sector.

According to a report in Automotive News, Toyota plans to as much as double the number of hybrids it sells in North America by 2015, to 400,000 vehicles per year. Top executives at the company told the publication that Toyota will seek to greatly expand its manufacturing base here―particularly hybrid drivetrain components―in an effort to reduce its reliance on the Japanese supply chain. Growing the American hybrid market will do a great deal to make that shift possible, and Toyota is in the process of radically expanding its U.S. lineup to include more than a half-dozen hybrid models by the end of next year―with even more reportedly on their way.

“Hybrid technology is a trump card for fuel-economy improvement,” said Toyota global research and development head, Takeshi Uchiyamada, in the article.

Toyota also told Automotive News that it plans to complete work with Ford on a brand new hybrid system for pickup trucks by the end of next year. The first Toyota vehicle to be outfitted with the drivetrain will likely be a hybrid version of the Tundra, the carmaker’s largest and most fuel-thirsty pickup, with a combined rating of just 16 mpg.

Even a few miles-per-gallon improvement in a truck like the Tundra will pay big dividends in terms of its operating cost, which could make the car a hit among the fleets and private businesses that make up a substantial portion of the pickup market. Ford’s F-150 EcoBoost model has led all F-150 models in sales this year―accounting for 40 percent of purchases―thanks to its EPA-rated 22-mpg fuel economy.

By expanding its gas-electric offerings across more and more segments, Toyota will be able to grow production of hybrid components, allowing it to reach the economies of scale necessary to diversify its supply chain in the Americas. For hybrid buyers, the important takeaway is that Americans can expect more models and shorter waiting periods in the coming years, as the gas-electric leader seeks to broaden its hold on the market.