The Toyota Prius (/ˈpriːəs/) is a full hybrid electric mid-size hatchback, formerly a compact sedan, developed and manufactured by Toyota. The United States Environmental Protection Agency and California Air Resources Board (CARB) rate the Prius as among the cleanest vehicles sold in the United States based on smog-forming emissions. The 2016 model year Prius Eco ranks as the all-time most fuel efficient gasoline-powered car available in the US without plug-in capability.
The Prius first went on sale in Japan in 1997, and was available at all four Toyota Japan dealerships, making it the first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. It was subsequently introduced worldwide in 2000.The Prius is sold in over 90 markets, with Japan and the United States being its largest markets Global cumulative Prius liftback sales reached the milestone 1 million vehicle mark in May 2008, 2 million in September 2010, and passed the 3 million mark in June 2013. Cumulative sales of 1 million Priuses were achieved in the US by early April 2011,and Japan reached the 1 million mark in August 2011.
In 2011, Toyota expanded the Prius family to include the Prius v, an extended hatchback wagon, and the Prius c, a subcompact hatchback. The production version of the Prius plug-in hybrid was released in 2012. The second generation of the plug-in variant, the Prius Prime, is schedule to be released by the end of 2016. Toyota expects the Prime to achive the highest miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) rating in all-electric mode of any plug-in hybrid avialble in the market. Global sales of the Prius c variant passed the 1 million mark during the first half of 2015. The Prius family totaled global cumulative sales of 5.2 million units in July 2015, representing 65.4% of the 8 million hybrids sold worldwide by Toyota since 1997.
Etymology and terminology
Prius is a Latin word meaning “first”, “original”, or “superior”. According to Toyota, the name was chosen because the Prius was launched before environmental awareness became a mainstream social issue.
In February 2011, Toyota asked the public to decide on what the most proper plural form of Prius should be, with choices including Prien, Prii, Prium, Prius, or Priuses. The company said it would “use the most popular choice in its advertising”and on 20 February announced that “Prii” was the most popular choice, and the new official plural designation.In Latin prius is the neuter singular of the comparative form (prior, prior, prius) of an adjective with only comparative and superlative (the superlative being primus, prima, primum). Consequently, like all third declension words, the plural in Latin was priora (cf. Latin declension) which was used by the Lada Priora in 2007.
Despite the “official” plural form used by Toyota, “Priuses” remains good English, and is the more frequently used plural form.
Beginning in September 2011, Toyota USA began using the following names to differentiate the original Prius from some newer members of the Prius family: the standard Prius became the Prius Liftback, the Prius v (known as the Prius α in Japan, and Prius + in Europe), the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and the Prius c (called Toyota Aqua in Japan).
First generation (XW10; 1997–2003)
|Toyota Prius (XW10)|
|Assembly||Japan: Toyota, Aichi (Takaoka and Motomachi plants)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||4-door sedan|
|Engine||1.5 L 1NZ-FXE I4 (gasoline hybrid)|
In 1995, Toyota debuted a hybrid concept car at the Tokyo Motor Show, with testing following a year later. The first Prius, model NHW10, went on sale on 10 December 1997. It was available only in Japan, though it has been imported privately to at least the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand.
The first generation Prius, at its launch, became the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid car. At its introduction in 1997, it won the Car of the Year Japan Award, and in 1998, it won the Automotive Researchers’ and Journalists’ Conference Car of the Year award in Japan.
UK sales of the first generation Prius began on 19 October 2000.
Production commenced in December 1997 at the Takaoka plant in Toyota, Aichi, ending in February 2000 after cumulative production of 37,425 vehicles. Production recommenced in May 2000 at the Motomachi plant in the same area, before XW10 manufacture ended in June 2003 after a further 33,411 vehicles had been produced.
The NHW10 Prius styling originated from California designers, who were selected over competing designs from other Toyota design studios.
In the United States, the NHW11 was the first Prius to be sold. The Prius was marketed between the smaller Corolla and the larger Camry. The published retail price of the car was US$19,995. The NHW11 Prius became more powerful partly to satisfy the higher speeds and longer distances that Americans drive. Air conditioning and electric power steering were standard equipment. The vehicle was the second mass-produced hybrid on the American market, after the two-seat Honda Insight.While the larger Prius could seat five, its battery pack restricted cargo space.
The US EPA (CARB) classified the car with an air pollution score of 3 out of 10 as an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV).Prius owners were eligible for up to a US$2,000 federal tax deduction from their gross income. In contrast with the NW10, Toyota executives stated that the company broke even financially on sales of the NHW11 Prius.
European sales began in September 2000. The official launch of the Prius in Australia occurred at the October 2001 Sydney Motor Show, although sales were slow until the NHW20 (XW20) model arrived. Toyota sold about 123,000 first generation Priuses.
Fourth generation (XW50; 2015–present)
|Toyota Prius (fourth generation)|
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||5-door liftback|
|Engine||1.8 L 2ZR-FXE I4 (gasoline hybrid)|
The fourth generation Prius was first shown during September 2015 in Las Vegas,and was released for retail customers in Japan in December 2015. The launch in North American market is scheduled for January 2016, and February in Europe.Toyota expects to sell 12,000 fourth generation Prius cars a month in Japan, and to reach annual sales between 300,000 to 350,000 units.
In August 2013, Toyota Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso, who was chief engineer for the Prius line, announced some of the improvements and key features of the next generation Prius. The next Prius is the first vehicle to use the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) modular platform, which provides a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity. These features, along with other improvements allow for gains in ride-and-handling, agility and aerodynamics. The improved aerodynamics contribute to an all-new exterior design, which includes a roomier interior. Ogiso also explained that the next-generation Prius plug-in hybrid, the Prius Prime, was developed in parallel with the standard Prius model.
The next-generation Prius was designed to deliver significantly improved fuel economy in a more compact package that is lighter in weight and lower in cost. These objectives were achieved through the development of a new generation of powertrains with significant advances in battery, electric motor and gasoline engine technologies. The next Prius features improved batteries with higher energy density; smaller electric motors, with higher power density than the previous Prius motors; and the gasoline engine features a thermal efficiency greater than 40% (third-generation Prius is 38.5%). The Prius fuel economy has improved on average by about 10% each generation, and Toyota has set the challenge to continue to improve at this rate.
Under the Japanese test, Toyota expects the fourth generation Prius to achieve a fuel economy rating of 40.8 km/l (115 mpg-imp; 96 mpg-US). The 2016 model year Prius has an official EPA fuel economy rating of 54 mpg-US (4.4 L/100 km; 65 mpg-imp) for city, 50 mpg-US (4.7 L/100 km; 60 mpg-imp) for highway, and 52 mpg-US (4.5 L/100 km; 62 mpg-imp) for combined driving. The new Eco version available in mid-grade level two trim, which features lithium-ion batteries, has an official EPA rating of 58 mpg-US (4.1 L/100 km; 70 mpg-imp) city, 53 mpg-US (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg-imp) highway, and 53 mpg-US (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg-imp) combined. This improved efficiency is largely due to the reduced weight of the Eco, which has a lighter battery and does not carry a spare tire.
In terms of fuel economy, the 2016 Prius Eco with a combined city/highway fuel economy of 58 mpg-US (4.1 L/100 km; 70 mpg-imp), passed the 2000 first generation Honda Insight (53 mpg-US (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg-imp)) as the most fuel efficient car available in the US without plug-in capability. However the Honda Insight still achieves highway rating of 61 mpg-US (3.9 L/100 km; 73 mpg-imp) which is higher than the Prius highway rating of 53 mpg-US (4.4 L/100 km; 64 mpg-imp).As of March 2016, only three plug-in hybrid models available in the market have a higher combined fuel economy than the Prius Eco in terms of their combined EV mode/Hybrid fuel economy, the BMW i3 REx (88 MPG-e), the Chevrolet Volt (77 MPG-e), and first generation Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid (56 MPG-e).
The new Prius is 2.4 in (6.1 cm) longer, 0.6 in (1.5 cm) wider and 0.8 in (2.0 cm) lower, at the rear a double wishbone independent suspension replaces its predecessors torsion beam. The front uses standard LED headlamps. Toyota has claimed that the fourth-generation Prius would have a drag coefficient of Cd=0.24, better than the 0.25 claimed for the third-generation model.
A racing version of the car took class pole position and finished sixth at the 2012 Fuji GT 500km.
Government and corporate incentives
There have been a number of governments with incentives intended to encourage hybrid car sales. In some countries, including the US and Canada, some rebate incentives have been exhausted, while other countries such as the United Kingdom, Sweden, Belgium, and the Netherlands have various or alternative incentives to purchasing a hybrid vehicle.
Several US companies offer employees incentives. Bank of America will reimburse US$3,000 on the purchase of new hybrid vehicles to full- and part-time associates working more than 20 hours per week.Google, software company Hyperion Solutions,and organic food and drink producer Clif Bar & Co offer employees a US$5,000 credit toward their purchase of certain hybrid vehicles including the Prius. Integrated Archive Systems, a Palo Alto IT company, offers a US$10,000 subsidy toward the purchase of hybrid vehicles to full-time employees employed more than one year.
Travelers Companies, a large insurance company, offers hybrid owners a 10% discount on auto insurance in most US states. The Farmers Insurance Group offers a similar discount of up to 10% in most US states.
In June 2015, the Prius started use a general purpose patrol car of the National Police of Ukraine. 1,568 cars were supplied by Japan in return for Ukrainian emissions permits under the Kyoto Protocol.