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Toyota are about to launch their third generation Prius in New Zealand and Toyota New Zealand are quick to dispel the myths surrounding hybrid vehicles.
General Manager of Sales and Operations, Steve Prangnell said there are many misconceptions that still surround hybrid vehicles, in this case the petrol-electric Prius, which is becoming increasingly popular both in New Zealand and globally.
"We are continually asked by customers whether you have to plug in hybrid vehicles," Mr Prangnell said.
"Toyota hybrid vehicles don't have to be plugged in. Hybrid systems automatically recharge their batteries using their petrol engines. The process of recapturing energy that is usually lost when a hybrid vehicle is slowing down or coasting is reclaimed and routed to the vehicle's rechargeable batteries. All the owner needs to do is fill the car with petrol like any other vehicle."
The battery in the new Prius has an eight year / 160,000 kilometre warranty. The hybrid system maintains the battery charge between 40 and 60 per cent, greatly extending the life of the hybrid battery."
Mr Prangnell said there is a programme in place for proper battery disposal and recovery of recyclable components at the end of the vehicle's lifecycle.
The new Prius is more efficient and better performing than the model it replaces, and Mr Prangnell dismissed the myth that diesel vehicles were more fuel efficient than hybrids.
He said that many people still believed that hybrids were underpowered, which is not the case for new Prius which is boasting its new bigger 1.8 litre engine and power output increases while still being more economical than the vehicle it replaces.
"The new petrol engine improves its output to 73kW versus 57kW from the outgoing model and the total system output, with the petrol engine and electric motors operating together, increases from 81kW to 100kW."
Finally, Mr Prangnell also dismissed the myth that hybrids are expensive to service and maintain stating that there were no major additional servicing requirements for hybrid vehicles.
Since the first Prius went on sale in Japan in 1997, global sales have topped 1.29 million with just over 1400 sold (as at June 09) to date in New Zealand.
Prius Sales - Worldwide
YearSalesCumulative1997 (Dec)323323199817,65317,976199915,24333,219200019,01152,230200129,45981,689200228,083109,772200343,162152,9342004125,742278,6762005175,157453,8332006185,589639,4222007281,265920,6872008285,6751,206,3622009 (May)85,5721,291,934
Prius Sales - New Zealand