Written by: Jan Tuček
Environmental protection is taking on a new, practical dimension: The Toyota Prius, the first commonly available car with a hybrid fuel system combining gasoline and electricity is arriving on the Czech market.
TOYOTA HAS BEEN mass-producing hybrid cars since 1997, and over 130,000 of them have been sold so far. The new second-generation Prius, a 4.45-meter-long five-door hatchback with front-wheel drive, is equipped with a substantially refined HSD (Hybrid Synergy Drive) hybrid drive system. It has a four-cylinder, 1.5-l, 77 hp (57 kW) gasoline engine and a highly efficient, 50 kW, 500 V electric motor. The HSD system includes a generator that, among other things, converts kinetic energy to electricity during braking. The electricity is then stored in a battery, which is transversely mounted over the rear axle and does not limit the 408 l of luggage space. The intelligent control unit optimizes the use of the outputs of both power sources to minimally impact the environment while offering dynamic performance.
The Prius starts up on electricity, with zero emissions, and also uses electricity in reverse. At low speeds (especially in city driving) electricity predominates, while outside town the gasoline engine takes over. Otherwise, it turns the generator to charge the battery. For top acceleration, both motors contribute. The Prius’s top speed is 170 km/h and it accelerates from 0 to 100 km/h in 10.9 seconds. Its average consumption is 4.3 l of gasoline per 100 km. The basic model of the Toyota Prius sells for CZK 809,900, while the version featuring a JBL audio system, Smart Key self-unlocking, and a navigation system costs CZK 939,900.