Prius Stories June 20, 2016

When Toyota introduced the 2010 Prius years ago, the automaker offered an optional solar panel on the roof of the car. The idea to power your electric vehicle from direct sunlight is understandably appealing, but the system was actually only able to power the climate control inside the system and not the battery pack to power the vehicle.

While solar is great as a source of energy and something we follow diligently here, it requires a great deal of space to make it worthwhile for transportation applications.  Toyota has said that it didn’t connect the previous $2000 Prius Solar Panel option directly to the engine because it caused radio interference with the car’s stereo. In reality, not much power would have been gained. The previous panels were 50watts or about a 6th of a solid 3’x5′ solar panel.

Now the Japanese automaker is bringing back the feature in the new 2017 Prius Plug-In, now renamed the ‘Prius Prime’, and it will reportedly be able to charge your battery pack to contribute to the vehicle’s electric range. Looking at the size, I’d guess it is at least 3-5 times bigger/more powerful than the previous Kyocera solar panel but even then, will it have a meaningful impact on driving/range?  expand full story

Prius Stories March 23, 2016

Toyota debuted its next generation Prius plug-in hybrid, now called the ‘Prius Prime’ today at New York Auto Show. The vehicle is the second generation plug-in hybrid Prius and it’s built on the Japanese automaker’s fourth generation Prius platform unveiled last year.

The new version of Toyota’s flagship hybrid is expected to achieve 22 miles of range on a single charge and a 120+ MPGe rating. Those are company estimates and not verified by the EPA yet. expand full story

Prius Stories February 25, 2014

Consumer Reports likes the Model S. It named the Model S Tops in Customer Satisfaction, gave it a near perfect score and  a top 5 Brand Perception. Today it named the Best Overall in its top 10 cars list saying:

BEST OVERALL: Tesla Model S ($89,650) This electric luxury vehicle offers blistering acceleration, razor-sharp handling, a compliant ride, and a versatile cabin with room for a small third-row seat. This technological tour de force, while pricey, is brimming with innovation and offers a 225-mile driving range and 5-hour charges with Tesla’s special connector.

In a nod to a decade ago, CR named the top “Green Car” the Toyota Prius saying:

Toyota Prius ($26,750) There’s no shortage of hybrids on the showroom floor; however none can match the combination of affordability, practicality, and fuel efficiency that the Prius delivers—which is why it leads in this category for the 11th year in a row. Its 44 mpg overall is still the best Consumer Reports has measured in any five-passenger, non-plug-in vehicle. And its roomy interior and hatchback versatility make it practical.

The following is Consumer Reports’ full breakdown: expand full story

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