Toyota 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

Toyota Prius Stories March 24, 2016

One of the most eye-catching elements of Toyota’s new Prius Prime may not be its Tesla-inspired center touchscreen, but a slightly concave rear window that channels air over the spoiler and was unnoticed during our first look. expand full story

Toyota 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

Toyota Prius Stories October 14, 2015

Toyota revealed details on some of the new technologies it will introduce in its fourth generation Prius. Most notably, the Japan-based automaker will offer two choices of battery packs with higher energy density for the 2016 Prius: lithium-ion or nickel-metal hybrid. expand full story

Toyota Prius Stories October 1, 2015

I have to say, as an EV enthusiast, these new ads from Chevy leave an incredibly bad taste in my mouth. Yes, the Prius’s NiCad batteries are older technology –and frankly as a Prius Plug-in owner there are plenty of vectors for attack on its battery system – but the Prius STILL gets better mileage than the Volt once the battery is used up, and the Volt’s battery ain’t that big. If I were making the Volt ad and I felt the need to attach the Prius, I’d point out that it is almost impossible to drive electric only with it where the Volt only uses gas on long trips.

Chevrolet’s global chief marketing officer, Tim Mahoney, said those ads have been extremely effective in helping improve Chevrolet’s brand image. Mahoney said Chevrolet’s “shattering perceptions” ads have bumped consumers’ favorable opinion of the brand by 3 percent.

The Leaf ad traps the focus group between floors in dead elevators, leaving them stranded there to emphasize the frustration of being stuck, a major concern for drivers of battery powered cars such as the Leaf. The Prius attack ads points out the car’s engineering is yester-tech.

The Internet ads will be cut down and broadcast on TV, Mahoney said. Volt ads will stress three things: The car’s 53-mile all-electric range, its technology and a combined gasoline and electric driving range of more than 400 miles. Most drivers, Mahoney said, will go between 1,000 and 1,500 miles between tanks of gasoline.

“We’re going to go head-to-head with Leaf and Prius,” Mahoney said. “The ads allow Chevrolet to talk in one way and they allow Chevrolet’s personality to come through. We’re going to be taking more risks,” he said.

In the below commercial, Chevy compares the Leaf’s 80 miles (guess they didn’t hear about the 100+ mile version that will be available in many places before the 2016 Volt) to the Volt’s 400+ with gas. I get it – but why not play up the bits about being electric? expand full story

Toyota Prius Stories September 9, 2015

Toyota launched its fourth-generation Prius last night in Las Vegas. Prius sales peaked in 2010 and this is the first major redesign since the glory days of the hybrid. The 2016 model stray from the iconic “Prius look” which is now very recognizable after selling over 3.5 million vehicles, but the exterior design still has an unconventional feel to it, especially because of the front-fenders which are very similar to the Mirai’s, Toyota fuel cells vehicle.

They also lowered the hood and the car is now a little bigger; 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower. expand full story

Toyota Prius Stories August 31, 2015

Two pictures of the 2016 Toyota Prius leaked this weekend on the Malaysia Prius Club forum. The pictures appear to have been shot inside the cargo hold of a plane.

Fortunately and for the first time, the cars have no apparent camouflage on them, giving us a very good look at Toyota’s next generation Prius. expand full story

Toyota 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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