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Monday, February 2, 2009


Toyota is calling 2010 prius its “third generation Prius,” but as predicted earlier, it does not offer a lighter-weight lithium-ion battery pack. There are significant hurdles of safety and manufacturing that Toyota and others have not been able to iron yet pertaining to mass production lithium-ion batteries for hybrid vehicles. Even so, Toyota has managed to upgrade its technology in several significant ways.

The conservative body changes are also not the “pretty Prius” that was heavily rumored last year. The biggest change is is a nearly four-inch pushback of the hump in the roofline and some pillar repositioning to improve aerodynamics and deliver more rear-seat headroom where it’s needed. The cargo area is over two inches wider, and a tad longer. Toyota claims that the redesign also reduces the new Prius’ coefficient of drag to an impressive 0.25 (down from 0.26).

The 2010 Prius gets a larger, higher torque 98-horsepower Atkinson-cycle 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine. Toyota says this larger engine (the old one was 1.61.5 liters) will deliver better fuel economy at highway speeds because it will be strong enough to run in a higher gear range (added for the 2010 Prius), even on inclines. And while this hasn’t been EPA-tested yet, Toyota is predicting 50/ 50 miles per gallon in combined driving. It's going to be a group of very efficient Cars

Several changes are aimed at reducing power consumption. Toyota lightened its electric motivation system by trimming the size and weight of the electric motor, inverter, and transaxle. (Imagine if they paired that with a lighter battery pack.) The new Prius also offers LED low-beam headlights on some trim lines. The air conditioning system has been reengineered for cool-down efficiency. I think my son won't mind me sending him to school in this car!

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