Friday, April 10, 2009

2010 Toyota Prius

Today's post is about a vehicle the 2010 Toyota Prius, that started a paradigm shift in the auto world. The Toyota Prius has turned the automobile world inside out with their high mileage hybrid introduced in 2001. The other auto manufacturers have been playing catch up ever since. See the video!

The word prius is a Latin
word meaning to precede....a Toyota spokesperson stated that "Toyota chose this name because the Prius vehicle is the predecessor of cars to come. In business speak, Toyota is betting big that this will be next the successful technology in automobile fuel economy. I would have to agree that Toyota has proven the technology to be feasible and profitable.

Toyota was actually able to overcome the battery restrictions that had held the the
GM EV1 from permanent production. Although, the EV1 was an electric car not a hybrid.

In 1994, Toyota executive Takeshi Uchiyamada was given the task of creating a new car which would be both fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. After reviewing over 100 hybrid designs, the engineering team settled on a hybrid engine design based on a 1974 TRW (an American auto parts supplier)patent, but many technical and engineering problems had to be solved within the three years that the team was given to bring the car to the Japanese market, a goal they barely achieved as the first Prius went on sale in December 1997. A main problem was the longevity of the battery, which needed to last between 7 and 10 years. The solution the engineers came up with was to keep the battery pack between 60% and 40% charged, proving to be the "sweet spot" for extending the battery life to roughly that of the other car components.

The car was a modest success in Japan then Toyota put it on sale in the U.S. and European markets in 2001. Sales were limited and customer waiting lists of up to 6 months were common during the first few years. In 2004, a complete redesign, increased production, and soaring fuel prices led to significant increases in sales, sales hit a high point with over 182,000 sales in the U.S.

The Prius has been restyled for 2010, the interior has been upgraded and the fuel economy increased slightly to 51 city and 48 highway. The performance from 0-60 mph. is 9.8 seconds. The base price is estimated to be $23,500 plus. See a Car and Driver article on the 2010 Toyota Prius.

My take is that the 2010 Toyota Prius is a continuing evolution of the hybrid gasoline electric car. Toyota will be rewarded for it's smart business acumen. It is a great green economy car, but not my cup of tea!


  1. Hi Pete .. is it too boxy for you? I think I see quite a few of them over here .. and Toyota has always had a good reputation.

    As you say .. it seems Toyota have got it right and there's going to be so much change in the car market in the next year .. & Toyota are already down the road & ready to go.

    Thanks - it's good to hear what's going on ..

    Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters

  2. Hello Hilary,

    Thanks for commenting on my post! Since I have a financial background, the numbers do not make any sense financially on most hybrids. The Prius costs about $9,000 more than an equivalent economy car. That pays for a lot of gas! An owner will have to keep the car for 7-8 years or more to breakeven on the additional cost.

    If I were to purchase a car in this would probably be the a Wolkswagon Jetta TDI. The Jetta TDI has good fuel economy , good performance, great driving experience and you don't have to pay the additional hybrid cost.

    The green cars that I am waiting on are the full electrics the Tesla Model S, Chevrolet Volt and Cadillac Converj.

    Best Regards

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online

  3. Hi Pete,

    Interesting post, interesting comments between you and Hilary. I never thought in the way you are explaining in your reply. That is true if you spent so much money for car, it will take long for the saving to cover the initial cost.

    But, still from gas to hybrid, from hybrid to all electric should be the way, even putting ecology aside.

    New Prius looks cool. It looks like Toyota and design team has some concept stick to their brain in designing it.

    Thank you for your sharing.

    Shaw Funami
    Fill the Missing Link

  4. Hello Shaw,

    Your correct...Toyota is improving on the styling both exterior and interior. In fact, they are working on an electric plus in model.
    So, they will have an electric car also.

    My preferance is to go straight electric! I hate putting gas in the car, plugging a car into the house electricity would please me, since I would only have to pay $3-$4 per charge.

    Thank you for your comments!

    Pete Baca
    The Car Enthusiast Online