The Toyota Prius is a car from Japanese car manufacturer Toyota, in which a Hybrid Synergy Drive-called petrol-electric hybrid drive is used. The first generation of this vehicle was released at the end of 1997.
The larger second generation hatchback was introduced in 2003. Since 2009, it will be sold worldwide in the third generation models. The Toyota Prius was the first mass-production model incorporating a hybrid engine.
By combining a petrol engine with an electric motor in conjunction with a streamlined body form with a low drag coefficient, a low amount of petrol consumption is achieved.
Unlike pure electric cars, the Prius gets its electrical energy not from the national grid. The nickel-metal hydride battery is charged while driving through the generator from the internal combustion engine and by regenerative braking, load energy recovery during braking and coasting. The battery charge and energy flow can be displayed to the driver on a central display. To make a long battery life, this is not fully charged but is fully discharged.
At startup and at low speed and when reversing when the engine reaches the required operating temperature it allows the battery to take over, driven solely by the electric motor and has at this stage no petrol consumption. In stop-and-go traffic, the petrol engine is used during acceleration and activated often, but it switches off automatically as soon as the petrol supply is removed, unless the automatic power management is recharging the battery using the petrol engine.
The automatic switching off the petrol engine, so downhill driving, braking or coasting is done with electric power. The range of the electric motor alone with a full battery is a maximum of two kilometers at 50 km / h or four kilometers at 25 km / h.
The Prius has a drive-by-wire controls. The electro-hydraulic brake, the gear selector for the driving mode and throttle are controlled electronically. For the brakes a hydraulic system is in use. Furthermore, electrically powered all auxiliary equipment, an air conditioning system with variable speed, electric power steering and an additional electric water pump. This is needed because these units must be even with the internal combustion engine.