Toyota hybrid drive technology does more than lower emissions and increase fuel consumption. It also makes driving an effortless pleasure in all sorts of ways.
From start-up the Prius can drive under electric power alone up to 31mph until the petrol engine kicks in. Using the high torque of an electric motor ensures a fast and smooth start. Furthermore, it is remarkably quiet compared with a petrol engine and neither consumes fuel nor produces any CO2 emissions.
When the battery is low the petrol engine powers the generator to recharge it.
When braking, and during deceleration, the electric motor acts as a high-output generator and charges the hybrid battery. In conventional cars this kinetic energy is wasted as heat when braking or decelerating.
When overtaking or during sudden acceleration, seamless power comes from both energy sources. The 1.8-litre petrol engine is supported by the 60kW electric motor for additional power.
Above 31mph, the Prius uses its 1.8-litre petrol engine and its two electric motors in synergy. The petrol engine is maximised for operating efficiency, emitting only 89g of CO2 at a combined fuel consumption of 72.4mpg.
The driver can activate Electric Vehicle mode (EV) to drive in pure electric mode for speeds up to 31mph for up to 1.2 miles. In this mode, the Prius is exceptionally quiet, no fuel is consumed and the car produces zero tailpipe emissions.
When stationery, the petrol engine switches off to optimise fuel consumption. All other systems, including the electric air conditioning, continue to function.
The high-performance battery is a key part of the Toyota hybrid system. It supplies power to the Prius but also stores it for later use. During deceleration and braking, the electric motor becomes a generator and sends the energy it collects to the battery.
The Toyota Prius is a full hybrid, which means you can drive at speeds of up to 31mph for 1.2 miles on near-silent, zero emissions electric power. This is useful, for instance, early in the morning when you don't want to disturb your neighbours.
The 1.8-litre engine and 65kW motor work together seamlessly, and behind the scenes, to optimise fuel consumption. In the combined cycle this means an extraordinary 72.4mph*.
Transport for London (TfL) has replaced the Alternative Fuel Discount (AFD) with the Greener Vehicle Discount (GVD) with effect from 4 January 2011. The AFD was a 100% discount on the congestion charge for certain vehicles powered by alternative fuels.
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