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Toyota has reinvented the Prius petrol-electric hybrid car, releasing a third-generation model range that sets new standards for environmental and driving performance.

In almost every respect, Toyota has fine-tuned and refined new Prius to provide a substantial step-up and expand the gap over the competition.

Styling is fresh, but unmistakably Prius, while the interior is slightly larger and the car contains features and options commonly found in premium cars.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive system mates a bigger and more powerful petrol engine with a stronger electric motor.

As a result, Prius is quicker off the mark while delivering better fuel economy than its predecessor.

It is the cleanest production car sold in Australia with CO2 emissions of 89 grams/km - the only vehicle on the local market under 100g.

Fuel consumption has been improved by more than 11.3 per cent to 3.9 litres per 100km (official combined cycle). City cycle is also 3.9 and highway cycle is 3.7 litres/100km.

Maximum combined power from the hybrid system has been boosted more than 21 per cent to 100kW.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the larger petrol engine helps improve fuel economy with the added torque providing more efficient highway operation and improved uphill performance.

Every new Prius gains several new technologies that improve safety by providing "at-a-glance" information, reducing driver eye movement for better concentration on the road.

A Head-Up Display provides speed and other information on the windscreen in the driver's line of sight.

When the driver touches the audio or information controls on the steering-wheel hub, Toyota's world-first Touch Tracer system displays a duplicate read-out on the instrument panel.

A Multi-Information Display monitors fuel and energy consumption, providing feedback that helps the driver acquire economical driving habits.

All Prius models are fitted with seven airbags - two front, two side (front), two curtain-shield (full-length) and one protecting the driver's knee.

Stability and traction control, active front head restraints and anti-skid brakes are also standard.

Another innovation is ecological plastic - the world's first automotive use of injection-moulded material derived from plants. Used in several locations throughout new Prius including the driver's seat cushion, the plastic emits less CO2 during its lifecycle than materials derived from petroleum.

Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the new Prius will appeal to a wider group of owners by using even less fuel, while meeting customer expectations for better performance.

"It projects a style that is more mainstream while being unmistakably Prius," Mr Buttner said.

"It will satisfy the varied demands of many customers - whether their priority is a car with ultra-low emissions, excellent city and highway performance, economy of operation, or more space for their families and luggage."


A 1.8-litre four-cylinder petrol engine replaces the 1.5-litre engine on the previous model.

The bigger engine produces more power - 73kW, up from 56kW - and more torque - 142Nm, up from 110Nm.

This helps trim the 0-100km/h time from 10.8 to 10.4 seconds.

The petrol engine has no belts - a first for Toyota. Power steering and the water pump are electrically operated, which improves fuel economy because drag on the crankshaft is reduced.

A new exhaust-gas recirculation system provides quicker warm-up time for the engine and also for the cabin-heating system.

Toyota's patented Hybrid Synergy Drive system is 90 per cent newly developed with significant improvements over previous models.

A new 60kW electric motor works in tandem with the petrol engine to improve acceleration.

The new hybrid transaxle is smaller, lighter and capable of handling a higher torque load. A gear drive replaces the previous chain drive.

The electric motor runs as high as 13,500rpm, resulting in less reliance on the engine.

The inverter, which converts direct current to alternating current, has a new direct cooling system to reduce size and weight.

Using proven and reliable nickel-metal hydride technology, the Hybrid Synergy Drive battery output has been increased through improved cooling.


In addition to driving Prius like a normal car, the hybrid system offers three new driver-controlled modes: EV (electric vehicle), ECO and Power mode.

In ECO, the throttle is managed for fuel economy and the air-conditioning is strictly controlled.

In EV, the vehicle stays in electric-only mode longer at lower speeds. The vehicle can operate up to about 50km/h for approximately 1-2km, depending on the state of charge.

POWER provides maximum acceleration response.

Third-generation Prius is built on a new platform with significant improvements to the MacPherson strut front and torsion beam rear suspension systems.

Handling, stability and ride comfort have been improved to deliver better driving dynamics.


New Prius has been extensively redesigned, though the exterior look is instantly recognisable.

The overall shape is sleeker, with a drag coefficient of 0.25 - making Prius the most aerodynamically efficient car in the world.

The highest point of the roof has been moved backwards, emphasising the wedge shape while providing more rear-seat head room and improving air flow.

Front and rear corners are sharp, sporty and aerodynamic and are complemented by strong side character lines that rise from front to rear.

New Prius has the same wheelbase as its predecessor while overall length and width have been increased marginally.

Weight was saved through use of aluminum in the bonnet, hatch, front stabiliser bar and brake caliper as well as super high-tensile steel in the rocker inner, centre pillar and roof reinforcement.

The interior features a "flying buttress" design for the centre cluster that flows from the instrument panel to the console and houses the new gear-shift lever.

Handy storage space has been added under the gear lever by taking advantage of the shift-by-wire system

The driver's seat cushion is wider and longer with thicker padding that offers better bolster support.

Rear-seat legroom is enhanced by a new space-saving contoured front-seat design.

Cargo capacity has been expanded by 31 litres to 446 litres and now accommodates three golf bags.


Two equipment grades are offered - Prius and Prius i-Tech.

Prius starts at $39,900- an increase of $2,500 compared with added specification of more than $4,000.

There is no new-model premium for advances such as the sharper styling, improved Hybrid Synergy Drive system, increased space and modern cabin.

New Prius comes to the market at $90 less than the price of the first-generation Prius when it was introduced in 2001.

In the past six years, the price of second-generation Prius has risen a mere $410 or just 1.1 per cent - despite the pressures from inflation at around three per cent a year and the value of improved features.

Standard features in third-generation Prius - such as seven airbags, stability and traction control, Smart Entry and Start, multi-information display, Touch Tracer and Head-Up Display - are new or were previously offered only with the i-Tech.

The technology standard-bearer for Prius, the i-Tech model, features solar panels attached to the sunroof.

The panel generates 59W of electricity to run a fan that cools the interior when the car is parked.

Remote-control air-conditioning is available by pushing the "A/C" button on the key fob. In another world first, the remote air-conditioning system is powered by the hybrid battery for up to three minutes.

Prius i-Tech is fitted with a Pre-Crash safety system that uses advanced millimetre wave radar to scan the road ahead.

If there is a high possibility of a collision, the system will alert the driver and provide additional braking assistance to supplement the driver's own braking effort.

Even if the driver doesn't take any action, Prius will automatically apply the brakes to help reduce the severity of the collision. It will also activate the seatbelt pre-tensioners.

Dynamic Radar Cruise Control uses the radar to govern speed to keep a selected distance from the vehicle in front.

Once the road ahead is clear, Prius automatically returns to its original set cruising speed.

New-generation Intelligent Park Assist is available to help the driver enter parking spaces - for both parallel and 90-degree reverse parking.

A rear-view camera, which provides a view of obstacles when reversing, is available with the navigation system.

Other i-Tech features include LED headlamps, chromatic rear-view mirror and leather.

With additional features valued by Toyota at around $10,000, the list price of new i-Tech is $53,500 - an increase of just $6,600, that does not include a new-model premium.

Toyota is also offering an option pack on the standard Prius, with the satellite navigation system, rear-view camera and intelligent park assist, for $5,000.

"The combination of price and level of specification we are offering improves the competitive position of Prius," Mr Buttner said.

Since the first-generation Prius went on sale in Japan in 1997, global sales have topped 1.29 million with almost 13,000 sold in Australia.

Prius sales - worldwide




1997 (Dec)




































2009 (May)



Source: TMC

Prius sales - Australia




























2009 (June)



Source: VFacts

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Toyota will offer new Prius in two model grades, with an option pack for the entry level model.

The two grades are Prius and Prius i-Tech.

All Prius models have petrol-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive, which includes electronic constantly variable transmission and regenerative braking.

Standard features include: 15-inch alloy wheels (not including spare), seven airbags, Vehicle Stability Control with cooperative steering assist, Smart (wireless) entry and Smart start, auto power windows with anti-jamming protection, power driver-seat lumbar adjustment, steering wheel controls for air conditioning, audio and mobile telephone, multi-information display with in-meter VFD-type sub display (touch tracer system), Head-Up Display, eight-speaker audio system with two-channel amplifier, integrated Super Live Sound System, microphone, amplifier and audio mini jack, and space-saver spare wheel.

The optional Navigation pack adds seven-inch Audio Visual Navigation (AVN) screen, satellite navigation and Intelligent Park Assist (IPA) with back monitor and rear guide assist.

Prius i-Tech has the additional features over entry level Prius of: AVN screen, DVD-based satellite navigation, IPA, LED low-beam headlamps, auto headlamp levelling, pop-up headlamp cleaners, Dynamic radar cruise control, Pre-Crash safety System, sunroof with solar cells, leather-bound steering wheel, leather accented seat trim, leather door trim and leather rear console box trim, front seat heaters, electro-chromatic interior rearview mirror, steering wheel-mounted remote switches, and climate-controlled air conditioning with brushless motor and remote air conditioning feature.

Prius i-Tech has a tyre repair kit in lieu of the space-saver spare wheel.


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Akihiko Otsuka is chief engineer in the Toyota Passenger Vehicle Development Center at Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) in Aichi, Japan, and is responsible for the development of third-generation Toyota Prius.

Otsuka-san joined TMC in 1986, in the noise and vibration development division and worked on vehicles such as Supra and Celica.

In 1994, he was promoted to manager of the vehicle engineering division of Toyota Motor Europe Marketing and Engineering S.A. In this role, he was responsible for testing and tuning all vehicles introduced in Europe.

From 1998 to 2006, Otsuka returned to TMC in product planning as assistant chief engineer for Prius and Estima Hybrid.

In 2007, Otsuka was promoted to Prius chief engineer in the Product Planning Group at TMC.

Mr Otsuka earned his bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from Ehime University in Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan.

He resides in Nisshin City, Japan, with his wife, daughter, son and Irish Setter.

Otsuka enjoys fishing and cooking Italian food, especially pasta, pizza and meats.

He also spends his time as the drummer for his band Z-ZIP.


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The Prius production plant in Japan has grass growing on the roof, and uses solar panels to generate power and special paint to clean the air.

Known as Tsutsumi, the factory in Aichi has been designated a model plant by Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) for promoting sustainability initiatives.

By continuously implementing new measures, the plant's overall CO2 emissions have been cut by more than 50 per cent since 1990.

This has reduced annual emissions by more than 150,000 tonnes - roughly equivalent to the volume of CO2 absorbed each year by a 5,040-hectare tropical rainforest.

Last year, Toyota installed 50,000 square metres of photovoltaic solar panels at Tsutsumi, equivalent in size to more than 60 tennis courts.

The total output of the panels is 2000kW, which is equal to the average consumption of 500 households.

This reduces the plant's carbon dioxide emissions by 740 tonnes per year, effectively saving 2,500 drums of oil (one drum is 200 litres).

Half of the electricity from the assembly plant comes from the solar panels, while the remaining half is produced by gas co-generation.

This means both Prius and the Tsutsumi plant use hybrid power.

The assembly plant exterior - an area of 22,000 square metres - is now covered in photo-catalytic paint, which breaks down airborne nitrogen oxides (NOx) and sulfur oxides (SOx).

This has the same effect as planting 2000 trees, cleaning the air by producing oxygen in sunlight.

As part of the plan to offset CO2 emissions, 50,000 trees were planted at and around the factory in 2008.

TMC's goal was to create a production site that could serve as a lush and diverse habitat for various living creatures.

In addition to planting trees, TMC is applying its biotechnology and afforestation know-how through activities such as greening the Tsutsumi plant's rooftops with NOx-absorbing vegetation.

Since Prius production began in 1997, the plant has reduced the amount of waste going to landfill by 82 per cent and has instituted plans to achieve complete elimination of incinerated waste.

Comprehensive water recycling programs have led to a 50 per cent reduction in water discharge to the local river system.

The discharged water is five times cleaner than the river itself.

The plant uses energy-saving lights, and daylight coming through windows in the roof is channelled to provide more lighting.

Using sunlight in this way reduces electricity consumption by 2kWh per day and cuts CO2 by 220kg or 110,000 litres a year.

An "eco-point program" at the plant enables employees to earn rewards by voluntarily planning and holding environment-related events or by taking it upon themselves to come up with and adopt eco-minded practices.

Tsutsumi is also regarded as Toyota's "mother" plant, supporting plants in other countries in product quality, production, information, maintenance and cost reduction.


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Toyota's new-generation Prius combines leading-edge aerodynamics with increased functionality and interior space.

It has one of the world's best coefficients of drag (Cd) figures for a mainstream vehicle.

Prius' Cd has been reduced from 0.26 to 0.25 to maximise fuel economy and minimise noise.

The new Prius exterior design draws strongly on the ECO-ICON design concept.

Toyota has carried forward the "triangular silhouette" of the current model, maintaining the characteristic sweeping monobloc profile.

The front pillar has been brought forward and the visual peak of the roof moved rearward.

These design features create a more dynamic design while adding to practicality with a 15mm increase in rear seat headroom.

Moving the A-pillar forward has increased windscreen rake and increased the size of the front quarter windows, which has improved visibility.

New Prius has a distinct character line across the doors, as well as aerodynamic corners for the front and rear bumpers.

The character line contributes to improved air-flow and the aerodynamic corners reduce turbulence as well as giving the overall design architectural harmony.

The new design significantly improves Prius' proportions and packaging.

Overall length has been increased by 15mm to 4460mm.

Vehicle width has been increased by 20mm to 1745mm, to benefit stability and interior space.

Vehicle height has been kept at 1490mm and the wheelbase at 2700mm.


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Toyota's new Prius has optimised over-body and under-body aerodynamics to achieve its 0.25 coefficient of drag.

Toyota has reduced air turbulence around the front of the vehicle by creating a smooth change of form around the bonnet and windscreen, and enhancing the shape of the A-pillar.

Airflow to the engine compartment has been improved - through the front bumper and around the front bumper, radiator grille and ducts.

The upper grille's size has been reduced and the lower grille enlarged.

Toyota also paid strict attention to the lamp clusters and front intakes to enhance airflow and minimise wind turbulence.

Particular attention was paid to minimising panel gaps, the smooth profiling of the doors and glazing seals, as well as the aerodynamic efficiency of the door mirrors, door handles, rear spoiler and vehicle underbody.

The rear of the vehicle was designed to smooth airflow exiting the vehicle, with particular attention paid to the rear spoiler height, angle and shape.

In addition, the designers paid careful attention to the body sides, roof, mirrors and undertray.

Prius' underbody aerodynamics was subject to intense study to minimise the Cd.

Areas of attention include:

• front bumper height and side angles

• rear bumper height, shape and side angles

• engine under-cover

• floor covering height, angle and shape.

New Prius has spats in front of all four wheels to reduce turbulence around the tyres.

A flat underbody smooths airflow around the exhaust, fuel tank and other under-floor components.

The full list of underbody aerodynamics features is: front spoiler, front and rear spats, engine under-cover, front suspension member cover, right and left floor covers, side rocker moulding, fuel-tank side cover, rear floor cover and rear under-spoiler.


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Toyota designed new Prius with an ergonomic cockpit, featuring "display" and "command" zones.

The two zones are designed to intuitively anticipate occupant needs.

The "dual-zone" dashboard minimises the need for driver eye movement while viewing vehicle information.

It also ensures maximium ergonomics for the controls and switches.

The upper "display zone" has the new Head-Up Display and a rebated central meter cluster positioned at an ideal distance for at-a-glance status information reading.

The LED meter includes - from right to left - a driver information area, multi-display area and warning/indicator area.

The driver information area of the instrument cluster includes digital speedometer, fuel economy readout and a fuel gauge, as well as transmission gear indicator.

A distinctive "bridge" places the by-wire transmission lever close to the driver's left hand while creating an additional storage space below.

The lower "command zone" focuses on the full-colour multi-information screen that puts control of air conditioning, audio and satellite navigation within easy reach of the driver and front passenger.

ECO Drive Monitor:

The centre section of Prius' LED instrument cluster is a multi-display area with a 12.5-centimetre wide ECO drive support monitor that is designed to help the driver maximise fuel economy.

The ECO drive support monitor has a choice of four display modes:

- Energy monitor showing energy flow in real time. When the vehicle is in EV mode it displays the hybrid battery (HV) charge level and flow of electricity to the wheels;

- Hybrid system indicator, also known as ECO indicator, which assists the driver achieve the lowest fuel consumption;

- One minute/five minute consumption record, displaying average fuel consumption for the previous minute or five minutes; and

- Past trip fuel consumption record, displaying the calculated average fuel economy for previous trips. The best record for fuel economy between set points is displayed as best fuel consumption.

The Hybrid System Indicator acts as a visual guide for accelerator pedal operation.

It has an ECO drive indicator and four display areas, with the hybrid system's energy use status displayed by a bar.

The four display areas are: Charge area, ECO area, Hybrid ECO area and Power area.

The Hybrid ECO area is a sub set of the ECO area.

The ECO drive indicator symbol appears when the driver maintains the ECO bar display below the Power area.

The charge area illuminates when energy is recovered by regenerative braking.

The ECO area illuminates when energy consumption is low. When accelerating, it provides a guide to the throttle required for optimum economy.

The Hybrid ECO area indicates when energy consumption is extremely low, reflecting optimum fuel economy.

The Power area indicates when energy consumption is high and the hybrid system is under high load. The ECO drive symbol extinguishes when the bar display reaches this area.


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Toyota Prius has a new front-seat design with improved comfort and a greater range of adjustability.

The new front seats provide increased lumbar support, but are 30mm thinner to increase rear-passenger knee room.

The new front seats also incorporate Toyota's active head restraints for improved occupant protection in a rear-end collision.

Seat adjustment range has been improved in every dimension.

Seat-base slide distance has been increased by 20mm to 260mm.

Seat height adjustment has been increased by 15mm to 60mm, and the side adjustment lever for seat height has been redesigned for greater ease of use.

The 60:40 split retractable rear seat has been redesigned with saddle-type head restraints for increased rear visibility.

The rear seat has a folding centre armrest.

Rear legroom and head room have both been increased, the latter by 15mm.

Two seat trims are offered:

• Vive A/Vive, a new fabric that combines fine baby skin-like texture and a natural, warm pattern design, and

• Genuine leather accented trim with perforations.

The front seats in Prius i-Tech grade have the additional feature of seat heaters in the cushion and seat back.


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Toyota's new Prius has improved package efficiency and more storage space.

Third-generation Prius is 20mm wider than the previous model.

It has 35mm more rear seat leg room and 15mm more rear seat head room, while retaining the previous model's 1490mm overall height.

Storage space has been optimised in the new interior design, including a 3.0-litre upper glove box, a 6.0-litre lower glove box, a console tray under the dashboard 'bridge' and a 3.7-litre centre arm rest box containing a 12V power source and audio input mini-jack socket.

The revised torsion-beam rear suspension and more compact HV battery provide 31 litres of added luggage space (446 litres total).

There are five cup/bottle holders.


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Ninety per cent of Prius' Hybrid Synergy Drive series-parallel hybrid drivetrain has been redesigned to create a lighter, more compact and more efficient system.

The new driveline delivers increased power, better fuel economy, improved highway cruising ability and cold-weather performance.

Prius' driveline consists of a 1.8-litre petrol engine, a flywheel damper, a compound set of planetary gears and two electric motors/generators, with a counter gear to drive the differential.

The transmission damper has coil springs which absorb torque fluctuations from the petrol engine and a dry-type single-plate friction material to absorb vibration - including NVH from petrol-engine start.

The first electric motor acts primarily as the generator, so Prius can store surplus petrol engine power in its battery. It also acts as a starter motor for the petrol engine.

The second motor acts primarily as an electric drive motor, but it also acts as a generator during regenerative braking.

The compound planetary gear set consists of two sets of planetary gears, with a parking gear (also known as a "compound gear") that links the ring gears of the two planetary gear sets and the counter-drive gear (which acts as a reduction gear to the differential).

The first planetary gear set acts as a power-split device, dividing petrol engine power between the generator and the counter gear (and the front wheels).

The second planetary gear set is a reduction gear for the new 60kW electric drive motor, thereby allowing Prius designers to use a more efficient and compact electric motor while increasing the acceleration.

The compound planetary gear also acts as an electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT) that seamlessly changes the transmission ratio for optimum performance, driveability and economy.

It achieves this by controlling the generator's revolutions, dispensing with the need for a conventional transmission.

The use of planetary gears provides a significant saving in weight and space under the bonnet compared with either a traditional automatic transmission or a belt-and-pulley-type CVT.

The use of gears for the transmission means there is no slippage.

The electric motor/generators and the planetary gear sets are housed in one lightweight highly compact transmission casing - directly comparable in size with a conventional transmission.

However, the new transaxle is smaller and 20kg lighter than the previous Prius transaxle, and offers a reduction in drive-shaft energy losses of between 10 and 20 per cent.

In addition to new hardware, Toyota has developed new software to control the E-CVT by smoothly adjusting the speed of the petrol engine, generator and drive motor when the vehicle is accelerating or decelerating.

The new software creates three on-demand driving modes for the seamless e-CVT intelligent electronic transmission: EV (electric vehicle), ECO and POWER.

At start up and at speeds up to 50km/h, the new Prius can automatically operate in EV mode, driving on electric power alone - providing minimal noise and zero emissions for urban driving.

The vehicle uses electric power exclusively to reverse.

The level of battery charge dictates vehicle range in EV mode.

In ECO mode, the THS computer modulates any aggressive throttle pedal inputs and reduces air conditioner load to optimise fuel economy.

The POWER mode also modifies Prius' response to throttle inputs, boosting response to improve acceleration and driving enjoyment.

Prius' by-wire transmission lever has four positions - R, N, D and B - for Reverse, Neutral, Drive and Brake (additional regenerative braking effort).

Mechanical and Electric Connection:

Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive combines the energy saving benefits of series hybrid technology with the performance benefits of a parallel hybrid.

A parallel or 'mild' hybrid uses an electric motor purely to boost petrol engine performance.

A series hybrid uses electric power alone to drive the wheels.

Prius is a full hybrid and can operate in petrol or electric modes, or a combination of both.

Petrol engine power can be transmitted to the front axle via the mechanical path or the electrical path, or a mixture of both.

The petrol engine's excess power output is transmitted to the hybrid battery via the generator, which can be used as supplementary power for vehicle acceleration later when used by the main electric motor to supplement engine power.

As well as propelling the vehicle, the Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive allows for energy-saving regenerative braking on the front axle.

A single gateway electronic control unit (computer) controls the overall operation of the engine, power-split/power transmission device, generator, motors, inverter and battery.

There is also a separate engine ECU and Power Control Unit for the Hybrid System, which controls the power split and transmission as well as the motor generators.

Compound Planetary Gear Set:

In Prius' compound planetary gear system, the engine output shaft drives the first planetary gear carrier, and uses a set of pinion gears to simultaneously transmit power to the outer ring gear and the inner sun gear, which drives the generator.

The shaft of the outer ring gear connects via the compound gear directly to the countershaft and the front wheels.

The second planetary gear set - the motor-speed reduction set - has a fixed pinion carrier and its sun gear connects directly to the electric drive motor.

The sun gear connects to the front wheels via the compound gear and the counter gear.


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It's official. The third-generation Prius, powered by Hybrid Synergy Drive, is Australia's greenest car.

Official figures reveal the third-generation Prius emits just 89 grams of CO2 per km and travels 100km using only 3.9 litres of petrol*.

As a result, new Prius has the lowest greenhouse and air pollution emissions of any car sold in Australia.

It is the highest-ranking car on the Federal Government's Green Vehicle Guide.

Second-generation Prius was the top-ranked vehicle for more than four years with fuel economy of 4.4 litres per 100km and CO2 of 106g/km.

Early this year, its CO2 count was pipped by a solitary gram by a two-seat car with a three-cylinder, one-litre petrol engine requiring premium unleaded fuel.

The petrol engine in new Prius grows to 1.8 litres, helping to boost power from the combined petrol-electric Hybrid Synergy Drive system by more than 20 per cent to 100kW.

Despite the increased output, there has been a 16 per cent improvement in CO2 emissions with fuel consumption lowered by more than 11 per cent.

No other car sold in Australia achieves CO2 emissions under 100g/km.

Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the figures confirm the strong environmental credentials for third-generation Prius.

"Existing Prius customers already know they can drive an environmentally sound car without sacrificing space, comfort or performance," Mr Buttner said.

"The new-generation car takes a further leap forward with an improved Hybrid Synergy Drive system that increases performance at the same time as cutting emissions to levels never before seen in Australia.

"New Prius sends a clear message to car buyers about saving money at the petrol pump while being kinder to the environment.

"Prius is an essential part of Toyota's development towards its global goal of sustainable mobility."

Mr Buttner said it was important to note that none of the five-star top performers in the Green Vehicle Guide are diesel vehicles, even where their fuel consumption is relatively good.

The Guide makes it clear that the contribution to air pollution by diesel vehicles is generally higher than that of comparative petrol or LPG vehicles.

Of most concern are particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen (NOx) emissions, which the Guide says can cause a range of adverse health effects.

"These emissions are generally higher in diesel vehicles compared with petrol or gas vehicles," the Guide says.

* Based on the ADR 81/02 combined cycle.


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Toyota has developed an Atkinson Cycle - also known as "high expansion cycle" - process version of its proven 1.8-litre Corolla engine for new Prius, giving the new 2ZR-FXE engine increased efficiency.

The Atkinson Cycle process has a higher expansion ratio than a conventional Otto Cycle engine, offering improved fuel economy and Euro 5 emissions.

It makes full use of combustion energy by effectively making the expansion stroke longer than the compression stroke.

It therefore harnesses more of the energy into torque on the crankshaft, which would otherwise be lost in an Otto Cycle engine.

Toyota has combined the Atkinson Cycle with direct ignition, twin-camshafts, a multi-valve cylinder head and Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), all of which improve efficiency.

The 2ZR-FXE engine also has cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation and a new engine heat management system that combines a heat recovery system and electric water pump.

High-Expansion Ratio:

In a conventional (Otto) cycle engine, the compression stroke volume and expansion stroke volume are practically identical, and the compression ratio and expansion ratio are identical.

Any attempt to increase the expansion ratio results in an increase in compression ratio and greater likelihood of engine-damaging knock, also known as "pre-ignition" or "detonation".

The Atkinson Cycle process in the 2ZR-FXE engine solves this dilemma by delaying the closing of the intake valves.

The intake valves remain open for the initial stage of the compression stroke (when the piston is ascending), delaying the start of compression and reducing the effective compression ratio. However, the 2ZR-FXE still has a relatively high compression ratio of 13.0:1.

A small portion of the intake air that has been drawn into the cylinder during the intake phase is returned to the intake manifold.

This slight amount of back-flow into the intake manifold produces a benefit in partial load conditions: it allows for an increase in throttle valve opening, reducing intake manifold vacuum and reducing intake pumping losses.

Two Ratios:

The expansion and compression ratios are determined by these formulae:

Expansion ratio equals (expansion stroke volume + combustion chamber volume), divided by combustion chamber volume.

Compression ratio equals (compression stroke volume + combustion chamber volume), divided by combustion chamber volume.

Atkinson and Miller:

The Atkinson Cycle was proposed in the 1880s by English engineer James Atkinson, to enable the compression stroke and expansion stroke to be set mechanically independently of each other.

Later, this concept was extended by an American, R.H. Miller, who developed a supercharged system called the Miller Cycle, in which the opening and closing of the intake valves was made adjustable.

The system offers high thermal efficiency, but does not generate as high an output, so until now any practical application involved the addition of forced induction.

However, Prius uses the Atkinson Cycle process in a naturally aspirated engine.


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Prius' Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system has been redesigned with all-new electrical components to increase performance, fuel economy and package efficiency.

Prius has new electric motors, increased voltage for the electric drive motor, an all-new Power Control Unit (PCU) and a new, more compact HV battery.

The electric drive motor now operates on 650 Volts AC, compared with 500V AC in the superseded model.

Prius' generator has newly developed concentrated coil winding to reduce weight.

The electric drive motor is now air-cooled and has higher rotational speed to improve performance.

It is 33 per cent smaller than the previous motor, but has 20 per cent more power.

The new 3JM motor delivers 60kW of power and 207Nm of torque.

New Prius has a second planetary gear set in its Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive system which acts as a reduction gear for the electric drive motor.

Adding the reduction gear allowed Prius' designers to employ the more compact and efficient electric drive motor while improving performance.

During deceleration the electric drive motor acts as a high-output generator for regenerative braking.

Kinetic energy, which would otherwise be wasted as heat through the brakes, is converted to electrical energy and stored in the HV battery for future use.

Prius' all-new Power Control Unit (PCU) is the centre piece of the new system.

The new integrated PCU incorporates the main voltage boost converter that pushes hybrid battery voltage from 201 Volts DC to 650 Volts DC. It also contains an inverter to convert the direct current to alternating current for the electric drive motor.

The new inverter is 36 per cent lighter and 37 per cent more compact than the one it supersedes. It also has faster switching for improved efficiency.

The inverter is water cooled and has an exclusive electric water pump.

In addition, the PCU has a DC/DC converter to convert 201.6 Volt DC power from the battery and/or the generator to 12 Volts DC, to power ancillary devices (such as the power steering, electric water pump and headlamps) and charge the auxiliary battery.

Prius uses a DC/DC converter to deliver 12 Volt power in lieu of having a conventional 12V alternator driven by belt from the petrol engine.

The new DC/DC converter has 20 per cent greater output than the converter on the current Prius.

The PCU also contains the motor/generator electric control unit and operational circuit.

Toyota has designed a new, more space efficient and higher performing cooling system for the PCU.

Each power module contains an Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistor (IGBT) and a diode, which both produce heat.

The new cooling system almost directly cools the IGBT as opposed to the previous model's indirect method, which results in significant weight reductions (minus 36 per cent) and size reductions (minus 37 per cent).


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Toyota has developed an all-new 201.6 Volt sealed nickel metal hydride battery for Prius, to improve hybrid-system performance and optimise luggage space.

The new HV battery provides high levels of output density (output per unit of weight).

It has a maximum output of 27kW (2kW more than the superseded battery) to increase performance and range in EV mode - when driving under electric power alone.

The new battery is also more compact than the superseded Prius battery.

It has 168 cells linked into 28 modules.

The battery module, battery monitoring unit, system main relay and service plug are all housed in a single sheet-metal package to minimise package size.

The cooling motor is brushless and the fan is a 3D-encased scrolling unit to increase airflow while minimising turbulence and noise, and creating the smallest possible design.


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The hybrid battery in every Toyota Prius sold in Australia is now covered by an eight-year/160,000km warranty.

The three-year/60,000km extension of the warranty applies to more than 12,700 cars sold since Prius was launched here in late 2001 - and every Prius sold from today.

Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said the extended warranty is further evidence of Toyota's confidence in the life of the hybrid battery.

"Fewer than one-quarter of one per cent of Prius hybrid batteries have been replaced in almost eight years of sales," Mr Buttner said.

"Their endurance has been tested under severe conditions, with several Prius taxis driven for more than 400,000km on the original battery in the hot, humid climate of Cairns.

"That's equivalent to more than 20 years of normal driving.

"There is also a comprehensive recycling program in place for the batteries with our suppliers certified to ISO14001."

Toyota is writing to all Prius owners to notify them of the extended warranty.

Prius was introduced to Australia in 2001. The second-generation car went on sale in 2003.

The extended warranty also applies to Lexus GS, RX and LS hybrids, including more than 2,200 already on Australian roads.


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Third-generation Prius will turn drivers into "bowser wowsers" with multiple driving modes and an energy monitor to help them achieve the best possible driving efficiency and fuel economy.

Drivers can select three "on demand" drive modes - EV, ECO and POWER - that supplement normal driving with new Prius' 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine, 60kW electric motor and seamless intelligent electronic transmission.

From start-up and at speeds up to 50km/h, new Prius 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.

This unique driving mode requires the uncompromised hybrid technology of Hybrid Synergy Drive. It is not available to drivers of parallel hybrids, otherwise known as mild hybrid vehicles.

The EV drive mode contributes to a significant reduction in overall fuel consumption because the petrol engine is switched off.

In ECO mode, the system reduces throttle response to aggressive accelerator pedal inputs and adjusts the power split between the petrol engine and electric motor. It also controls auxiliary functions like air-conditioning to improve fuel economy performance.

Depending on driving conditions, ECO mode can help drivers achieve a 10 to 15 per cent reduction in fuel consumption.

The POWER mode modifies response to throttle inputs, improving accelerator response and giving greater driving pleasure.

New Prius is also fitted with an Eco Drive Monitor, which displays information about the operation of the Hybrid Synergy Drive system.

The Energy Monitor shows the engine's current operating conditions and the electric and mechanical power flow. Working in real time, it helps the driver understand the basic energy flow through the system.

The Hybrid System Indicator displays real-time vehicle response to accelerator use, helping the driver modify throttle inputs and driving style to gain maximum fuel efficiency.

Drivers can view average fuel consumption for the past one-minute and five-minute driving intervals with a "green car" symbol indicating the amount of energy reclaimed through regenerative braking.

Another display provides trip-computer mileage and average fuel consumption records from previous trips.


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Toyota's next-generation Prius is powered by Hybrid Synergy Drive, the undisputed reference point for hybrid technology.

Unlike most of its competitors, the Hybrid Synergy Drive technology in Prius is an uncompromised system.

It allows new Prius to operate on petrol alone, electric power alone, or a combination of both - and it can also charge the hybrid battery while the car is running.

These are the capabilities that set Prius apart from other hybrids.

In third-generation Prius, Toyota engineers have made comprehensive improvements to this award-winning Hybrid Synergy Drive technology.

They have redesigned 90 per cent of the hybrid drive components so they deliver more power and better fuel economy, while being lighter and more compact.

There are three types of hybrid system - series, parallel and Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, a series-parallel hybrid that combines the best features of the other two systems.

A series hybrid has an on-board internal combustion engine (petrol or diesel) that never drives the wheels.

Instead, it provides power to an electric motor which is permanently connected to the wheels - such as in a railroad locomotive.

Mass-produced series hybrid cars do not exist, although one carmaker has announced plans to produce such a vehicle in the future.

A parallel hybrid uses an internal combustion engine as the main power source, while a small electric motor assists with acceleration.

The battery and electric motor in a parallel hybrid are not powerful enough to move the car from a standing start on electric power alone.

Parallel hybrids are quite efficient on the highway, but relatively inefficient in stop-and-go driving.

Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive has the potential to perform better than either of the other systems alone with power allocation controlled to gain the best efficiency.

In Prius, an electric motor is used for start-up and for low to mid-range speeds.

In normal cruising, both the engine and the electric motor drive the wheels; surplus engine power is used to recharge the battery.

Under hard acceleration, the battery supplies additional energy, while the engine and motor provide smooth acceleration response.

When the driver brakes or slows down, the motor recovers the kinetic energy that is normally lost as heat, converts it into electricity and stores it in the battery - a feature known as regenerative braking.

The petrol engine automatically switches off when the car is stationary or coasting, which save s fuel and reduce s exhaust emissions.

At low speeds, a Prius driver can also push a button on the dashboard to select electric drive for short distances, such as in stop-start driving in heavy traffic.

Prius requires no special training to drive.

Its computer-controlled epicyclical constantly variable transmission allows the car to operate in a similar way to an automatic with no perceptible gear ratio changes.

Prius has a "B" position on the shifter that works just like selecting a lower gear on a conventional automatic transmission - except that it increases regenerative braking.

Driving downhill, it will increase the amount of energy recovered, boosting hybrid battery levels.

The blended series-parallel approach of Hybrid Synergy Drive makes more sense to Toyota than the alternatives.


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The new Prius 2ZR-FXE petrol engine has a water-cooled Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system, designed to improve fuel economy, particularly in high-load driving.

Prius now uses the Atkinson Cycle process and cooled EGR.

Both contribute to reducing exhaust gas temperature and reduced need to use extra fuel injection volume to cool the exhaust gas temperature entering the catalytic converter - thereby increasing fuel economy.

The longer expansion stroke of the Atkinson Cycle engine lowers exhaust gas temperature compared with a conventional Otto Cycle engine.

The cooled EGR system further reduces exhaust gas temperature.

It recirculates a percentage of the overall exhaust output to the 2ZR-FXE engine's combustion chambers.

The cooled exhaust gas is inert (cannot burn again) and can be recirculated into the intake system - reducing the exhaust gas temperature.

The system has three benefits: reduced intake losses, reduced cooling losses and reduced exhaust losses.

The EGR cooler is positioned forward of the EGR valve to lower the temperature of the gas entering the EGR valve.

Toyota has refined the EGR system's reliability by installing the EGR valve in the highest possible location to minimise water condensation caused by recirculation gas cooling.


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The new Toyota Prius petrol engine has an exhaust heat recovery system.

The system captures energy that would otherwise be lost through exhaust gasses and uses it to warm the engine coolant.

It reduces the time needed for the engine to reach operating temperature, thereby reducing fuel use and CO2 emissions.

The fast engine warm up helps improve Prius' driving comfort in cold weather.

The exhaust heat recovery system has a range of other benefits, as well: faster catalysts light up; faster heater operation and earlier use of petrol-engine cut.

The heat recovery system is installed in the exhaust behind the catalytic converter and employs an exhaust control valve and thermostat to monitor and manage the flow of gasses and coolant through the system.

The system operates under two conditions:

• Active: When the engine coolant temperatures are low, an internal exhaust control valve closes, forcing exhaust gasses to circulate through the EHR unit. The circulating hot gasses then warm coolant passing through the unit ; and

• Inactive: When engine coolant temperatures reach normal operating temperatures, the exhaust control valve opens, allowing exhaust gasses to pass through the exhaust system normally.


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Toyota Prius has an all-new platform and redesigned front and rear suspension for improved active safety, handling agility, stability and ride comfort.

The chassis hardware and software includes vehicle-speed sensitive electric power-assisted steering, a 15-inch brake package, ABS, Traction Control (TRC), Brake Assist (BA) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).

Prius' chassis dynamics are based on the vehicle's highly rigid body and large footprint on the road for its overall dimensions.

New Prius has 20mm more front track and 40mm more rear track, and has a 2700mm wheelbase.

The front suspension consists of MacPherson struts, with wide-based L-shaped lower arms to maximise suspension rigidity and provide crisp steering response.

The lower arms have been completely redesigned and extended to increase track.

The new lower arms have a closed section for increased rigidity, while reducing unsprung weight.

The installation point and characteristics of the lower arm bushing have been changed to optimise steering characteristics and ride comfort.

A ball-jointed stabiliser bar connects directly to the strut body to reduce uncontrolled body roll.

The front stabiliser bar bushings are now embedded in the front suspension member to optimise stabiliser bar location.

The bushings have been designed with both dust dimples to exclude dust and internal dimples to reduce the sliding resistance of the bar and optimise ride comfort.

Increased roll stiffness, increased caster angle and increased trail in the front suspension geometry give more natural steering feel.

Camber angle and kingpin offset angle have been enhance to improve cornering performance and stability under brakes.

The torsion-beam rear suspension system consists of a V-shaped cross-section axle beam with two long trailing arms, in conjunction with two coil springs and low-pressure gas-filled dampers.

The rigidity of the hydro-formed "V" cross-section beam system means Prius does not require a separate rear stabiliser bar.

Prius has a range of body design features to maximise rigidity and therefore handling.

At the front, Prius has a substantial pressed-steel cross member.

The steering box is attached directly to the front suspension member to increase rigidity and steering feel.

The back door aperture has a closed cross-section structure for its entire perimeter to increase rigidity.

The rear side members have reinforcements that rigidly couple the side members behind the lower back panel.

An inner gusset has been added to the rear wheel housings.

Front suspension:

Prius' front suspension has a range of new features, including a new system of layered piston backing valves with independent seats in the dampers for improved damper performance.

Prius' front dampers are low-pressure gas-filled.

Toyota has enhanced the damping performance of Prius' damper units - particularly the piston valves - to ensure high levels of driving stability and body control, and optimal ride comfort.

The damper units provide linear and more consistent damping force characteristics across the full range of piston velocities.

Linear low-speed damping characteristics improve body control and ride comfort while providing a flat ride posture.

It also improves response to driving manoeuvres by smoothing the vehicle's response to steering input.

Increased medium-to-high-speed damping force has improved the ability of the suspension to absorb road shock.

The stabiliser bar is hollow aluminium to save weight while delivering a high level of roll rigidity.

Conical-wound coil springs are used to improve ride comfort.

The new springs vary in diameter from top to bottom to reduce lateral force on the damper unit and reduce suspension friction.

In addition, the front suspension units have a bound stopper to improve ride comfort.

The upper suspension support includes a ball bearing and uses an integrated input construction method.

It transmits all the inputs (from the damper, bound stopper and coil spring) from the strut bearing via the suspension support to the body.

Rear suspension:

Prius' rear suspension provides crisp turn-in, high levels of cornering stability and impressive straight-line stability, while also delivering package efficiency and minimising vehicle weight.

Crisp turn-in and straight-line stability are often mutually exclusive, or require a complex and less space-efficient multi-link system.

Prius has torsion-beam rear suspension with toe-correcting bushes and anti-lift geometry.

The bushes mount to the body at an angle.

They have a plastic inner bulge to reduce weight.

This semi-independent rear suspension is a compact system that saves on weight and intrusion into the passenger and luggage compartments.

It has the advantage of minimal camber change during cornering, through the optimal location of the axle beam, for optimum stability, controllability and ride comfort.

New Prius front and rear suspension hardware includes conical-wound springs with spring insulators top and bottom, to optimise ride comfort.

The dampers are low-pressure nitrogen filled to resist damper fluid cavitation.


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New Toyota Prius has alloy wheels with aerodynamic wheel caps and low rolling resistance tyres.

All Prius models have 15x6JJ alloy wheels with 195/65R15 91H tyres.

The five-spoke wheels have been designed to save weight, with areas that do not affect wheel rigidity being cut or shaved down.

The flat-profile wheel caps have been designed to maximise aerodynamic efficiency and save fuel.

Entry level Prius has a temporary spare wheel.

Prius i-Tech has a puncture repair kit with an integrated compressor and bottle.


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A radar-based cruise-control system, never previously offered on a Toyota vehicle in Australia, is part of the advanced safety technology in new Prius i-Tech.

Known as Dynamic Radar Cruise Control*, the system is based on millimetre wavelength radar, using a sensor mounted behind the radiator grille.

It uses the radar sensor as well as yaw-rate and steering sensors and various other units to help the driver maintain an appropriate distance behind another vehicle travelling in the same lane.

A distance-control switch near the steering wheel enables the driver to select from three pre-set vehicle-to-vehicle gaps - short, medium or long.

When cruise control is first activated, the vehicle-to-vehicle distance automatically adopts the "long" setting.

If the radar detects there is no vehicle ahead of Prius, the cruise control operates conventionally with the vehicle travelling at the speed selected by the driver.

When the Dynamic Radar Cruise Control detects a slower vehicle ahead in the same lane, its electronic control unit calculates the distance between the vehicles based on the duration and input angle of returning radar beams.

The system lowers the speed of Prius by reducing power and, if necessary, by applying the brakes to maintain the desired vehicle spacing.

If further braking is required, it alerts the driver to intervene by sounding an alarm.

When the vehicle in front moves into another lane, Prius can return to its pre-set (constant) target speed.

The control unit is designed so it does not react to still objects, such as a vehicle parked at the side of the road.

The multifunction display in Prius includes graphics that show the system's settings.

Warning messages are programmed into the instrument panel multifunction display to warn the driver if the radar sensor is inoperative or when any conditions that cancel Dynamic Radar Cruise Control are present.

* Dynamic Radar Cruise Control is not an accident avoidance system. It is a driver-assist technology and should not be used in place of safe driving practices. The driver should continue to monitor the road ahead.


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Prius i-Tech is the first Toyota vehicle in Australia to have a radar-based Pre-Crash safety system.

Pre-Crash uses a millimetre-wavelength radar sensor to track the relative speed, distance and angle to objects ahead of the new Prius.

It also uses information from the Vehicle Stability Control sensors (that monitor vehicle speed, steering angle and yaw rate) and the brake system to determine if an emergency situation is developing.

When the system detects a collision is imminent, it triggers systems that prepare the car to help reduce injuries and damage.

A warning buzzer alerts the driver to intervene and avoid the collision.

At the same time, the system has Pre-Crash Brake Assist that ensures maximum braking force is provided when the driver uses the brake pedal.

In an extreme situation, when a crash is unavoidable, it will apply the brakes even if the driver has not touched the brake pedal.

The system will also activate electric motors to pre-tension the driver and front-passenger seatbelts in anticipation of an impact.

The seatbelts can also be retracted under emergency braking or when the Vehicle Stability Control detects that the vehicle is uncontrollable.

The Pre-crash Brake will operate if the speed difference of the on-coming vehicle is 15km/h or greater and the Prius' speed is 15km/h or greater. Prius i-Tech's ignition must also be set to ON and the PB Off switch must not been activated.

The Toyota Pre-Crash system is a fusion of leading-edge active and passive safety technology, developed at the Lexus Development Centre in Aichi, Japan.


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New Prius has seven airbags and a full range of electronic active safety features as standard equipment.

There are driver and passenger front airbags, driver's knee airbag, driver and front passenger's side airbags, front side curtain airbags and rear side curtain airbags.

In addition, new Prius has active front-seat head restraints and three ALR/ELR rear-seat seatbelts.

All three rear seatbelts have a child-seat fixing mechanism.

The LED tail lamps have Toyota's new emergency brake signal system to warn following drivers when the vehicle is decelerating at greater than 0.71G.

Prius' comprehensive package of active safety features consists of Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with cooperative steering assist, ABS, Brake Assist and Traction Control.

Brake by wire using Toyota's Electronically Controlled Brake (ECB-R) system is standard equipment.

Prius i-Tech has the added features of Dynamic radar cruise control and Pre-Crash safety System.


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Toyota's new Prius has a state-of-the-art braking system that combines brake-by-wire technology and regenerative braking.

Prius' new Electronically Controlled Brake system (ECB) is a Toyota first in Australia.

In addition, new Prius also has the Toyota first of an emergency brake signal that blinks the LED brake lamps at a frequency of 4 Hertz to warn drivers behind when emergency braking is occurring.

The system operates when the vehicle speed is greater than 55km/h and the deceleration force is greater than seven metres per second squared (0.71G).

The system uses inputs from the acceleration sensor, wheel-speed sensors and brake-pedal switch.

It was designed based on research that the blinking warning signal reduces the number of rear-end accidents.

The New Prius has a larger friction brake package, with 255mm by 25mm ventilated front discs and 259mm by 9mm solid rear discs.

The brake calipers have aluminium cylinders and resin pistons.

In addition, Prius has regenerative braking using its motor/generators to convert kinetic energy to electrical energy.

Prius' new electronically controlled brake system was designed to minimise weight and package efficiency, while optimising fuel economy.

The coordinated control of the friction and regenerative brakes contributes to improved fuel economy.

Regenerative braking capacity has been increased compared with current Prius.

Electronic control allows a reduction in brake system weight, while providing more precise brake-force distribution and closer cooperation with other related systems, which is beneficial to Vehicle Stability Control operation.

This in turn contributes to outstanding vehicle controllability.

The built-in ECB actuator makes this possible because it can control the hydraulic pressure of the brakes on each wheel independently and progressively.

The ECB system in Prius has four key benefits:

•brake pedal force detection: controlling the hydraulic source pressure applied to each brake caliper based on the detected pedal force, to generate additional braking force;

•maximised energy retardation: hydraulic brake pressure is controlled collaboratively by the hybrid system, based on the regenerative output from the drive motors, to achieve maximum efficiency;

•four-wheel independent braking control; and

•to ensure braking performance via back-up system in the event of a system malfunction.

The ECB system has a three-plunger type power supply to minimise operating noise.

The ECB is part of Prius' leading-edge electronic active safety systems that include ABS, Electronic Brake-force Distribution, Brake Assist, VSC+ (Vehicle Stability Control with steering assist) and TRC.

The ECB actuator on i-Tech grade has the additional feature of Pre-Crash Brake (where it automatically applies the brakes in an emergency situation and is also primed to apply maximum braking force at a slight touch of the pedal).


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Toyota's new Prius body uses four grades of high-strength steel sheet and selected aluminium panels to increase body rigidity and passive safety while meeting strict weight targets

Prius' state-of-the-art body design includes a flat rear floor for extra space, bolt-on structures for ease of repair following low-speed accidents and high levels of pedestrian safety.

• Prius' new highly rigid body has four key benefits:

• it creates a strong central safety cell;

• it improves ride, handling and stability by providing a stable platform for the suspension;

• it reduces noise, vibration and harshness (NVH); and

• it increases vehicle durability.

Toyota is an acknowledged world leader in body structure design, based on its massive computer aided design (CAD) capability and knowledge acquired from an extensive vehicle crash-testing program.

Prius' body makes extensive use of high-strength sheet steel and ultra-high strength sheet steel to maximise rigidity.

The ultra-high-tensile-strength sheet steel is 1.3 times the strength of conventional high-strength sheet steel and is used in key areas such as the rocker panels, main roof cross member, the upper half of the inner B-pillars, the rear bumper reinforcement, anti-intrusion beams in the doors and an under-floor brace.

Components pressed from high-strength steel sheet include the majority of the body frame, all the main frame members for the floor, front side-members and front suspension members, the remainder of the front door surround (the sections not pressed from ultra high-strength steel sheet), the front suspension member, front chassis cross-member, rocker panels, the inner doors, B-pillar, main floor cross-members, front suspension towers and front floor centre panel.

Prius' bonnet, bonnet inner panel, rear door and front bumper support are aluminium.

Prius' body designers paid particular attention to creating a rigid structure around the suspension mounting points and the rear cabin area to optimise handling and stability, and reduce NVH.

A front fender apron rear extension is used to connect the front spring supports to the cowl top outer panel (which is straight) to improve lateral rigidity - enhancing the rigidity of the front suspension input point and the body.

An inner-cowl-to-pillar brace bracket is used to connect the front spring support, the outer cowl top front panel and the inner front body pillar, for improved fore/aft rigidity.

The entire circumference of the rear header to the lower back panel uses an open structure to optimise the rigidity of the back-door aperture.

Body reinforcing features also include reinforcement to the lower back panel and a body lower back number two reinforcement to connect both rear side members and the side panels beneath the lower back panel.

This creates rigidity to counter torsional forces in the body and therefore improve driving stability.

The new body also has an inner gusset for the inner quarter wheel house and an outer reinforcement (roof side outer panel) for the wheel house construction, to increase lateral rigidity at the rear damper mounting points.

Prius has braces on the front suspension member where the stabiliser bar is mounted, a rear suspension brace and stronger mounts for the rear suspension trailing arms.

The substantial front suspension member is part of Toyota's chassis design philosophy to maximise body and suspension integrity, chassis performance, crashworthiness and NVH control.

Prius' body has a comprehensive impact-absorbing structure for front, side and rear collisions.

The front impact-absorbing structure is designed to minimise cabin deformation by dissipating crash energy, beginning with high-strength steel front side members to absorb and disperse impact energy.

Under members are used to disperse the impact load from the radiator supports.

The door belt line reinforcements have been strengthened to improve dispersal of collision energy to the road, door belt line and rocker panel.

A cross member in the dash disperses load from the front side members to the floor member and upper body.

Special members on the front floor at the sides of the tunnel increase floor tunnel strength and the distribution of load from the front side members.

An impact absorbing pad with sound-absorbing qualities is mounted from the lower surface of the dash panel to the floor front end to minimise the chance of injury to the driver and front passenger's legs in a frontal collision.

The side impact-absorbing structure includes ultra high-strength steel reinforcements for the outer centre pillar, inner rocker panel, outer rocker panel, roof centre and centre pillar hinge - for high strength.

Bulkheads are used on both sides of the numbers one and two floor cross members, and the floor centre cross member - to transmit impact load from the impact beams to the floor cross members.

The side impact beams have been positioned to efficiently distribute crash impact energy.

The impact support box has been located on the front floor between the driver's seat and front passenger's seat to ensure the load is transmitted from the centre pillar to the seat pipe, impact box and seat pipe on the opposite side, to help create a survival space.

Prius also has a comprehensive impact absorbing structure for rear-end collisions, with straight rear side members to reduce body deformation and reinforced rear side members.

Pedestrian injury lessening measures include an energy absorber at the front of the front bumper reinforcement and a ribbed structure for the inner bonnet to cushion impact.

The bonnet has been designed with a space between the bonnet panel and the bonnet lock striker to form a collapsible structure for the bonnet sub assembly.

An impact-absorbing bracket is used for the mounting portion of the front fender panel to absorb impact energy.

The back of the bonnet and the cowl use and open section structure that collapses easily in an impact from the top.


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Toyota's third-generation Prius offers "cool" technology - literally - that dramatically reduces in-car temperatures and saves fuel.

In a world first, the hybrid battery in Prius can be remotely activated to power the air-conditioner for up to three minutes before the driver enters the vehicle.

New Prius is also offered with solar cells on the roof that power a fan to discharge hot air from the car when it is parked.

The two systems cool the interior before starting a journey and they produce a quicker overall cool-down time, thereby saving fuel.

Toyota's test data indicates that temperatures in a normal car could rise to about 80ºC when the ambient air temperature is 35ºC.

By using the solar-powered ventilation when parked and then operating the remote air-conditioning system for one minute, the in-car temperature in new Prius could be cut by more than 40 per cent to 45ºC.

The remote air-conditioning system enables the hybrid battery to activate the air-conditioner's electric inverter compressor, which can operate without using the petrol engine.

The system is engaged by pressing the "A/C" button on the key fob. Typical uses would be when exiting a shopping centre, before leaving home or from a restaurant after having lunch.

The solar panels for the ventilation system are integrated into the rear of a sliding glass moonroof.

They power an electrically-operated fan that circulates and discharges hot air - without the need for the engine to be running.

The poly-silicon solar cells are identical to those used on houses. There are 36 cells, generating 59 Watts of electricity.

Toyota has also made the air-conditioner system in new Prius smaller, lighter and more efficient with significantly enhanced cooling performance.

The electric inverter runs independently of engine speed, ensuring optimum operating conditions.

As cooling does not depend on driving conditions, the system is more economical and produces a higher level of interior comfort.

Parts of the electric drive motor in Prius are used as core parts of the electric inverter compressor to enhance efficiency of the air-conditioning system.


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Toyota engineers have developed a world first for third-generation Prius hybrid car - plastic components made from plants you could grow in your backyard.

Known as ecological plastic, the plant-based foam and injection-moulded parts are found in several locations throughout new Prius, including the scuff plates, deck trim and driver's seat cushion.

The plant-based plastics replace conventional plastics which are made using petro-chemicals, cutting CO2 emissions over the life of the product (from manufacture to disposal) and helping to reduce petroleum use.

Over its life, ecological plastic emits just over half the CO2 of oil-based plastic because most of the CO2 emitted at disposal was originally captured during photosynthesis while the plant was growing.

Toyota plans to expand the use of plant-derived ecological plastic in future vehicles.

While Toyota's technology to produce ecological plastic from the cellulose in wood or grass is new, the plants being utilised are ancient.

The two principal crops, kenaf and ramie, are thousands of years old, dating from the earliest days of human society.

Kenaf is a member of the hibiscus family and related to cotton and okra. Ramie (commonly known as China grass) is one of the strongest natural fibres, similar to flax in absorbency and density.

This year is particularly significant for Toyota's breakthrough with plant-based eco-plastics because 2009 is the United Nations' International Year of Natural Fibres, which covers kenaf and ramie.

Other interior components in new-generation Prius are made from the latest Toyota-developed super olefin polymer, which has excellent recoverability and does not deteriorate even after repeated recycling.

Toyota has expanded the use of materials that are free of chlorine and bromine, while the use of PVC resin is a fraction of that used in a conventional car. Recycled sound-proofing material has also been used.

The introduction of ecological plastic in Prius follows the display at the 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show of the futuristic 1/X (one-exth) hybrid concept car that could eventually be made entirely from plant-based material, such as seaweed.

Further reducing the environmental footprint of new Prius, Toyota uses solar panels at its Tsutsumi manufacturing plant in central Japan to produce some of its own electricity - approximately enough to power 500 homes.


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Third-generation Prius features an ergonomically advanced interior that contributes to improved safety by reducing driver eye movement for better concentration on the road.

Two high-tech innovations - Touch Tracer and Head-up Display - allow the driver to view important vehicle information with minimum eye movement.

Touch Tracer is the first display system in the world to allow steering wheel controls to read out on the instrument panel, which is positioned at an ideal distance for at-a-glance reading of information.

The system allows the driver to control various on-board functions without the need to look down or take their hands from the steering wheel.

When the driver lightly touches the audio or information dials on the steering wheel, a duplicate image is automatically displayed on the instrument panel, right in front of the driver.

An orange light on the duplicate display shows what button the driver's finger is touching before pressing it to make a selection.

Touch Tracer can be used to adjust audio controls and cabin temperature as well as checking energy consumption.

New Prius also features a Head-Up Display (HUD) that projects key information onto the base of the windscreen, so the driver can read it without taking eyes off the road.

It is the first Toyota model in Australia with this feature.

Displayed information includes vehicle speed and a monitor that shows how economically the car is being driven.

Prius models equipped with satellite navigation also benefit from the head-up display of turn-by-turn and a distance countdown to the next turn.

This system is more intuitive than displaying a street name, which needs to be compared with the names on the street signs.

The Toyota system displays the distance remaining and timing for left/right turns and/or motorway exit with indicators and animation.

On the i-Tech grade, the HUD also displays reminders for pre-crash safety and brake warnings to the driver.

The display can be adjusted for height and brightness, or may be switched off.

The HUD has been engineered to be clearly visible, even on snow-covered roads.


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New Prius i-Tech has Intelligent Park Assist (IPA) to assist the driver to enter parallel or perpendicular parking spaces*.

The system is also offered as an option on entry level Prius.

Intelligent Park Assist employs a rear camera and ultrasonic sensors to identify parking spaces and then calculate the appropriate steering angle to guide the vehicle into the designated parking space.

The rear camera is mounted adjacent to the rear number plate and the ultrasonic sensors are mounted (one on either side) on the front bumper.

The system controls the steering to automatically guide the vehicle into the target parking position identified by the driver.

There is no steering input required from the driver, who merely controls vehicle speed during the manoeuvre by using the brake pedal.

Prius operates under electric power only when reversing.

IPA has three special features.

a space recognition function using the ultra-sonic sensors to recognise vacant parking spaces when there are no parking lane lines;

IPA pre-support function where the system can be switched between perpendicular and parallel mode to help the system more quickly determine the type of manoeuvre required; and

visual servo function, for enhanced parking accuracy in garage parking mode the servo will continually track the vehicle's position compared with the parking lines.

For parallel parking, the driver slowly drives past the intended parking space, allowing the system's sonar sensors to detect the available space, before stopping just beyond the space in a normal manner.

After the driver shifts into reverse gear and selects the parallel parking option, the IPA control unit determines the target parking position from the parking space previously detected by the ultrasonic sensors.

It then calculates both the parking trajectory and the required steering angle, while a view of the target parking position is projected onto the centre console Electro Multi-Vision (EMV) touch-screen.

The driver can then fine tune the exact parking position by using arrows on the touch screen and then confirms acceptance of the target position and system activation.

At this point, after the driver has checked traffic conditions to ensure that it is safe to reverse, the driver releases the brake pedal, and the vehicle will begin reversing at a slow speed.

The system monitors vehicle speed via the Hybrid Synergy Drive and brake systems' ECUs and automatically controls the electric power steering to guide the vehicle into the target parking position.

The IPA system will help execute 90-degree reverse parking manoeuvres in a similar fashion.

The driver brings the vehicle to a stop at a diagonal to the target parking position, and then selects reverse gear and "90-degree reverse park" on the IPA - thereby activating the ultrasonic sensors to detect the space and the image recognition function via the rear camera.

After the driver has checked traffic conditions to ensure that it is safe to reverse, the driver then confirms the system activation for a series parking manoeuvre on the EMV touch-screen, and the IPA controls the EPS to guide Prius into the designated space.

While the IPA system automatically controls the steering during either manoeuvre, the driver is responsible for both controlling the speed and stopping the vehicle using the brake pedal.

The driver can deactivate the IPA at any time through either throttle or steering input.

* Intelligent Park Assist is designed as a driver-assist device only and should not be used as a substitute for skilled driving and safe parking practices. The driver should watch the area into which the vehicle is to be reversed, react appropriately and ensure compliance with all road rules. Intelligent Park Assist requires driver brake control.


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Prius i-Tech is the first Toyota vehicle in Australia with low-beam light-emitting diode (LED) headlamp technology.

The new LED headlamps improve light distribution, increase bulb life and reduce power usage.

The LED headlamp system in Prius i-Tech offers excellent illumination and significantly improved durability over conventional headlamp systems.

The LED system is designed to be maintenance-free, with the lamps lasting the life of the vehicle - with approximately 90 per cent luminance after 4000 hours.

All Prius models have LED tail and stop lamps, for improved visibility to other drivers, as well as reduced power consumption.

The combination of LED headlamps and tail lamps/stop lamps in Prius i-Tech can reduce vehicle electricity consumption when compared with a more conventional lighting system.

Prius' headlamps (both LED and conventional) have a unique shape that tucks the fender into the headlamp for a cutting-edge image.

A "Hybrid synergy blue" tint further differentiates the hybrid vehicle.

The design goal for the four LED lamps in Prius i-Tech's low-beam system is 90 per cent intensity even after 15 years' (or 4000 hours) of vehicle use, making the low-beam headlamps maintenance-free.

The LED bulbs resist the chief problem of conventional headlamp bulbs - going "open circuit" due to vehicle vibration.

The LED bulbs also have advantages in faster illumination - taking 0.1 second from when the headlamp is turned on, compared with 0.3 seconds for halogen bulbs and 15 seconds for HID bulbs.

The Prius i-Tech low-beam system consists of two LED lamps per side, with an integrated heat sink to increase package efficiency.

There is a separate halogen high-beam lamp.


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Hybrid petrol-electric

Capacity (cc)





In-line four cylinder using Atkinson Cycle process, DOHC, four valves per cylinder with variable intake valve timing and cooled EGR

Bore x stroke (mm)

80.5 x 88.3mm

Compression ratio


Max. power

73kW @ 5200rpm

Max. torque

142Nm @ 4000rpm

Fuel system (petrol)

Electronic multipoint fuel injection with Electronic Throttle Control System

Fuel type

95 RON or higher

Fuel tank capacity (L)


Fuel economy1 (L/100km)

3.9 (Combined)

Fuel economy1 (L/100km)

3.9 (Urban)

Fuel economy1 (L/100km)

3.7 (Extra Urban)

Carbon dioxide (g/km)

89 (Combined)

Emission rating

Euro V



Series/parallel, full hybrid

System output

100kW (Combined)

Electric motor

AC synchronous, permanent magnet

- Voltage (V)


Electric generator

AC synchronous, permanent magnet

- Voltage (V)


High-voltage battery

Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH)

- Voltage (V)



0-100km/h (sec.)



Driven wheels


Transmission description

Electronically controlled Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT)

Transmission code


Final drive (differential gear ratio)




Rack and pinion, Electric Power Steering (EPS)

Turns lock to lock


Minimum turning circle (m)




Independent, MacPherson struts, L-arms, coil springs, gas dampers and ball jointed stabiliser bar


Semi-independent torsion beam with trailing arms, coil springs, gas dampers



255mm x 25mm ventilated discs, with sliding aluminium calipers


259mm x 9mm discs, aluminium calipers

Stability control

Electronically Controlled Braking (ECB-R), ABS with Brake Assist (BA), Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD), Traction Control (TRC), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC)



15 x 6J


195 R15 91H


Body type

Monocoque 5DR liftback

Length (mm)


Width (mm)


Overall height (mm)


Wheelbase (mm)


Front track (mm)


Rear track (mm)


Coefficient of drag (Cd)


Running clearance



Kerb weight (kg)


Gross vehicle mass (kg)


1 Fuel consumption will vary depending on driving conditions/style, vehicle conditions and options/accessories. Source of fuel consumption data: ADR 81/02 combined cycle.


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