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Products (Transport Instrument - Automobile/Motorbike)

Third Generation Toyota Prius ZVW30


Ever since the invention of the automobile in Europe in the 19th century, engineers have continued to improve its basic design, allowing the automobile to make significant contributions to the development of many other industries. Today, even with the invention of newer modes of transport, such as the railway and the airplane, the automobile continues to be vital in many situations, particularly for distribution.

The Japanese automobile manufacturing industry grew significantly between the 1960s and the 1980s, and resulted in Japan leading the rest of the world both in performance and in automobile production volume. Japanese cars remain in strong demand today, thanks to their superior performance and durability.

The majority of automobiles manufactured today are powered by gasoline. Increasing attention is being paid to environmental problems, exemplified by global warming, and there is general concurrence that gasoline-powered engines that release large amounts of carbon dioxide and exhaust fumes into the atmosphere during operation are problematic from the perspective of environmental preservation. In addition, the oil stockpile which drives the world’s engines is limited.

Still, the automobile is an integral part of industry and of everyday life for citizens, and there are simply no substitutes in certain transport situations. In response, research and development has concentrated on finding alternatives to gasoline-powered engines and on increasing the energy efficiency of gasoline.

The Toyota Prius hybrid car is one of those developed in response to the pressing issues outlined above. Conventional cars, powered by gasoline engines, had very poor fuel efficiency, particularly when running at low speeds, such as starting and stopping. The hybrid car uses an electric-powered motor when running at low speeds, and switches to a gasoline-powered engine once speed has reached a level where fuel performance is more efficient. This technology has allowed significant reductions in the levels of carbon dioxide and exhaust fumes emitted.

The Prius is a mass-produced hybrid vehicle, manufactured by Toyota Motor Corporation, which was first on sale in 1997, based on the concept of “comfort for people, comfort for the Earth”. The Prius has a fully automated battery switch system (although it is also possible to only use the electric motor to power the automobile). The battery pack is also self-charging; the Prius can either recover energy otherwise lost when braking, or use the internal generator contained within the automobile. This means that the Prius is also equipped with a fully automated power system. It is a revolutionary automobile that runs exactly like a gasoline engine-powered car.

The current third generation ZVW30 is the latest Prius model, launched in 2009. The ZVW30 shows significant improvements from the initial model, and can achieve performance of 32.6 km/L when running in JC08 mode, and 38.0 km/L when running in 10.15 mode; these are the best fuel performance figures of any automobile commercially available in the world (as of October 2010). This success has allowed the Prius to record 125% target achievement for the fuel economy standards formulated in 2010 by Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport as part of their Global Warming Countermeasures. The Prius has also recorded a level of exhaust fume emissions that undercuts 2005 exhaust fume emission standards by 75%.

Extremely low fuel consumption performance is perhaps often associated with decline in engine drive, but any such assumption is mistaken. The new model Prius has expanded engine displacement from the initial figure of 1.5L to 1.8L. By using both the gasoline engine and the electric motor, speeds equivalent to a 2.4L car can be achieved. It is hard to believe that this kind of powerful performance, even better than that of an entirely gasoline-powered car, can be achieved by an environmentally friendly automobile.

The Prius hybrid features a number of functions that are testament to its environmentally friendly properties. The latest Prius, for example, features an EV drive mode system. This system allows the driver to control the power source used, and makes it possible to run the automobile by the electric motor alone. If the vehicle is kept at a speed less than 55 km/h, it is possible to run the vehicle in EV mode for a maximum of 2 km. For this period, the car will run with almost no noise while emitting almost no exhaust fumes emitted. The newest Prius model is not just kind to the environment, it is also low noise, making it one of the best performing silent eco-cars on the market.

Even when not in EV driver mode, the new Prius model is incredibly quiet when running. The improved 1.8L engine has been modified to lower the number of revolutions, leaving the overall level of noise extremely quiet indeed.

The Prius models currently on sale are all 2 row, 5-seater vehicles, but Toyota Motor Corporation announced in March 2011 at the International Motor Show in Geneva that it would be launching a new minivan Prius, the Prius+, which will have 3 rows and seat 7 passengers. The Prius+ will go on sale in Japan at the end of April 2011.

The new Prius models maintain both low fuel consumption and low exhaust fumes, while simultaneously having greater engine driving force than ever before. The Prius is a pioneering vehicle; it is an example of engineering designed to help preserve the Earth’s precious environment and engineering that reflects innovative developments in automobile research. The Prius will doubtless continue to evolve, and the improved models will continue to be in ever greater demand throughout the world.

Mar 17, 2011

About the author
Eriko Kinashi is a reporter for Japanest NIPPON
"PRIUS Design Elements"
Overall length 4,460 mm
Overall width 1,745 mm
Overall height 1,490 mm
Gross vehicle weight 1,310–1,490 kg
Capacity 5 passengers
Engine 1.8L 2ZR-FXE
Motor 3JM synchronous motor
Main power battery Nickel-Metal hydride battery
Maximum output Engine, 73 kw (99 PS) / 5,200 rpm; Motor, 60 kw (82 PS)