2001 April: The Queensland Government has leased six Toyota Prius cars. The idea of hybrid power is good, but at the current prices hybrid cars will only bought be well to do organisations and individuals who want to wear ecological credentials prominently.
Also see the Honda
2001 January: Toyota reports that it has sold more the 50,000 Prius hybrid cars world-wide since its launch in Japan in December 1997.
The Prius features a petrol engine, continuously variable transmission (CVT), generator, electric motor and 288-volt battery pack. It can be driven by either motor, or both of them together. The advantage of a hybrid is that it has the range and refuelling ease of a conventional petrol car, but gains significant economy through using a smaller petrol motor which operates in a more efficient range, most of the time. The petrol and electric motors operate together when high acceleration is demanded. The petrol motor can charge the battery at other times. Regenerative braking recovers kinetic energy and stores it in the battery - while supplementing the conventional brakes, which can be smaller and lighter than otherwise.
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