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New Prius Maximises Efficiencies Without Compromising Its Performance

The new engine and innovative technologies in Toyota's new generation Prius ups the ante for the greenest car on New Zealand's roads.

The 1.8 litre four cylinder petrol engine replaces the 1.5 litre engine in the outgoing Prius, producing increased power with 73kW up from 57kW and more torque, 142Nm, up from 115Nm, an increase of 24 per cent.

The new, more compact, HV battery in the Prius provides additional luggage space and increased performance and range in EV (Electric Vehicle) mode. EV mode allows you to drive for a certain distance without the petrol engine running.

An Atkinson engine cycle, also known as the high expansion cycle, for the Prius, a process which has a higher expansion ratio than a conventional Otto cycle engine with improved fuel economy benefits.

The Atkinson Cycle engine features direct ignition, twin camshafts, a multi-valve cylinder head and Variable Valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i), all of which improve efficiency.

Prius' 2ZR-FXE engine also has a new exhaust heat recirculation system providing quicker warm up time for the engine and also for the cabin heating system.

The system captures exhaust heat that would otherwise be lost using it to warm the engine coolant, reducing the time needed for the engine to reach operating temperatures, thereby reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions.

The petrol engine has no drive belts, a first for Toyota, as the power steering and the water pump are electrically operated improving fuel economy as drag on the crankshaft is reduced.

Toyota's patented Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) system has been 90 per cent redeveloped delivering significant improvements in performance, fuel economy and package efficiency over the outgoing model.

Hybrid Synergy Drive in new Prius allows it to operate on petrol alone, electric power alone, or a combination of both, and can also charge the hybrid battery while the car is running.

A new 60kW electric motor works in tandem with the petrol engine to improve acceleration, reduce emissions and improve fuel economy.

The hybrid system in new Prius offers three driver controlled modes: Electric Vehicle (EV), Eco and power.

In the EV mode, the vehicle stays in 'electric only' mode when travelling at lower speeds. The vehicle can operate up to about 50 kilometres per hour for approximately 1-2 kilometres depending on the state of charge of the hybrid battery.

In 'Eco' mode, the system reduces throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs and adjusts the power split between the petrol engine and electric motor. It also controls functions like air conditioning to improve fuel economy performance.

In 'power' mode, maximum acceleration response is delivered.

New Prius is also fitted with an Eco drive monitor, which displays information about the operation of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system in real time, assisting the driver to understand the basic energy flow through the system. It also gives an indication to the driver of how drive in a manner to obtain the best fuel economy and emissions.

In addition to the efficiencies achieved with new suspension, the new alloy wheels on the Prius have aerodynamic wheel caps and low rolling resistance tyres and have been designed to save weight and therefore fuel.