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Toyota New Zealand has introduced a new member to its successful Prius range and there are more models to come by the middle of 2012.
The all-new Prius c is available in Toyota dealerships from the 1st of April and Toyota's popular Prius hatch has received a significant facelift for 2012. In June this year, Toyota will welcome the versatile seven seat Prius V to round out the line-up.
Toyota New Zealand General Manager of Product Planning, Neeraj Lala said "The Prius range now provides a genuine solution to attract new customers, with more choice and flexibility to suit their lifestyle and budget."
"Prius hatch has attracted fleet customers and private buyers who appreciate its environmental credentials, high technology and whole of life costs of ownership. We've improved Prius hatch for 2012 with a stylish facelift and new features, such as daytime running lights, upgraded audio units and, for the Prius i-Tech, 17 inch alloy wheels. We've also removed the solar roof and remote air conditioning features from the i-Tech, making it more accessible to new customers."
"The new facelift Prius hatch continues to provide a practical and intelligent solution for enthusiasts and fleet customers with high levels of technology and a whole of life ownership cost."
"Prius c is our hot new model. It's going to welcome new customers to Toyota, and hybrids in general. The pricing of this car makes hybrids affordable and accessible to new customers. The Prius c will be the best priced hybrid in New Zealand."
"The Prius V is all about versatility. It's larger and roomier than the Prius hatch so will meet the needs of growing families while retaining the Prius DNA of environmental performance and fuel economy. Customers will have the flexibility of using all seven seats or folding down the third row seats for maximum luggage space," said Mr Lala.
The Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system in all Toyota hybrid models delivers optimum fuel economy by seamlessly blending petrol and electric power according to driving conditions.
The petrol engine is switched off to save fuel when the vehicle is stationary, coasting or braking, and when it is reversing.
The vehicle uses electric power only for take-off, low-speed operation and reversing, and combines petrol and electric power for increased performance.
From start-up and when accelerating gently, all Prius models can operate in EV (electric vehicle) mode, driving under electric motor power alone.
The driver may also select EV mode manually, allowing for urban driving with minimal noise and zero emissions. EV only driving range is determined by the battery charge and also by throttle input.
The petrol engine may restart when the vehicle is stationary for a prolonged period to maintain battery charge.
When the driver brakes or slows down, the motor recovers the kinetic energy that is normally lost as heat and converts it into electricity to store in the hybrid battery - this feature is known as regenerative braking.
The Prius hatch combines a 1.8 litre petrol engine, hybrid transaxle and 201.6 Volt Nickel Metal-Hydride (Ni-MH) battery to deliver 100kW of combined power output.
The Prius c uses a compact and unique 1.5L petrol engine, hybrid transaxle and 144 Volt Ni-MH battery for a combined output of 74kW.
A first for any hybrid in New Zealand, the Prius V introduces Toyota's lithium ion battery technology and pairs it with a 1.8 litre petrol engine. Toyota's lithium ion battery is smaller and lighter than the nickel-metal hydride battery in Prius, but has similar storage capacity.
Toyota New Zealand continues to be part of Toyota's global trial of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle. Three vehicles are being trialled in New Zealand, two of which are being used by Massey University. The initial trial results have been very positive with test vehicles delivering around 600 kilometres without recharging or refuelling. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid remains under study for introduction in New Zealand.