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Strikingly electric design paired with unparalleled technology, the Prius Prime is the must have efficiency expert.
“This is the $150 a year car,” says Neeraj Lala, Toyota New Zealand’s General Manager of Product and New Vehicle Sales.
"That’s the yearly running costs you’ll pay in New Zealand for the Prius Prime according to Energywise. It’s no wonder it was awarded the World Green Car in 2017.”
The Prime’s enviable environmental credentials include an electric vehicle range of up to 63 kms, a weighted combined fuel consumption of just 1 litre per 100 kms and CO2 emissions of just 22 g/km.
“The Prime won’t leave you on the side of the road without charge,” says Mr Lala. “It will automatically switch to our cutting edge hybrid technology and deliver just 1.0L/100kms of efficiency to get you there.”
“Given the results, it’s no surprise we decided to call the new Prius, Prime, which means ‘the best’.”
It also features a vehicle world-first with gas injection heat pump air conditioning. The heat pump can efficiently warm the interior using heat absorbed from the outside air.
It also has two Toyota firsts, a battery warming system and a dual motor EV drive system.
It is another step towards Toyota Motor Corporation’s world-wide goal of reducing its fleet CO2 emissions by 90 per cent by 2050 through the use of a variety of hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicle technology.
“The 2018 model is a huge leap forward in efficiency, driving performance, innovation and styling,” said Mr Lala.
At the heart of the Prime’s improved performance is a lithium-ion battery with double the capacity of the previous battery, at 8.8 kWh. The new battery can be charged in approximately four hours and thirty minutes with a standard household plug socket and a type 2 cable.
The dual motor drive system has a highly compact one-way gear within the transaxle which allows the hybrid system generator to act as a second electric drive motor. This increases EV power for better acceleration and a higher top speed, while reducing engine start up frequency – when most fuel is used – while driving.
During charging, a new battery warming system will warm cells to an efficient working temperature even if the outside temperature is -20 degrees.
Like the latest generation Prius, the new Prius Prime is based on the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform. This places the driver in a more engaging position ensuring a more dynamic driving experience.
The TNGA chassis has 60 per cent greater rigidity than its predecessor, a lower centre of gravity and more precise handling. The new Prius Prime has specific suspension settings combining quality ride comfort and handling stability augmented by a stiffer front stabiliser bar.
The new Prime has a choice of NORMAL, ECO and POWER drive modes with four additional powertrain modes HV, EV, EV City and Battery Charge mode.
EV City mode reduces maximum power output to maximise the electric vehicle driving range.
Unique aerodynamic styling has been used on the Prius Prime for a drag co-efficient of 0.25. Prime specific exterior features include compact 4-LED headlamps, which have variable beam width and length projection and low rolling resistance 195/65R15 tyres on alloy wheels.
The distinctive, edgier looking design includes an automatic grille shutter to lower air resistance when closed and shorten engine warm-up time, underbody covers to smooth the air flow, a ‘double bubble’ rear windscreen and aero stabiliser fins built into the rear light clusters.
The cabin has a seven-inch infotainment screen and dual 4.2-inch instrument screens with Prime specific graphics. Two rear seats are separated by a centre console for improved comfort.
The tailgate of the Prius Prime is made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic to reduce weight – a world first for a production car – and improve efficiency.
The Prime has pedestrian detection added to the Toyota Safety Sense package of electronic safety systems, which includes Pre Crash Safety system with Autonomous Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Alert with steering assist functions and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control. The new Prime also gains Adaptive High Beam system and Road Sign Assist; and also has a 5 star Euro NCAP safety rating.
The Prime comes standard with black fabric seats with an option for black leather accented seats.
Other standard Prius specification includes rain-sensing wipers, smart key entry and start as well as satellite navigation. The Prius Prime also gains intelligent park assist, intelligent clearance sonar (front and rear parking sensors), and tyre inflation warning.
It is available in six colours including the new Blue Magnetism as well as including an 8 year or 160,000km hybrid battery warranty, whichever comes first, giving the buyer further peace of mind.