Toyota Engines: Toyota's New Hybrid Line Up
February 16, 2009
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Toyota was the first car manufacturer to mass produce the hybrid vehicle. The Prius, the first of Toyota’s hybrids, was offered to the public in Japan in 1997. Toyota has enlarged the Prius market to over 40 countries and expanded beyond the Prius model. Toyota now offers the popular engine in its relatively new suv Highlander and the well liked Camry. Next up for inclusion is Toyota’s minivan, the Sienna, which is set for production in 2010. Toyota’s new Hybrid Synergy drive is the largest mass produced environmentally friendly system to date and Toyota has announced that by 2030, it will offer the system as an option in every car, truck and suv in its lineup. The HSD is able to cool utilizing an all electric compressor and has been combined with a smaller, lighter NiMH battery. The air conditioning system operates completely independently of the engine. Toyota is the first car manufacturer to develop this concept.
The 2004 Prius was warranted for 100,000 miles or 8 years. Given the extreme reliability of the Toyota Prius, consumers have had little to complain about in the way of repairs. However, when problems do occur, the Prius is more costly than other vehicles of its class. Toyota has recognized this as a problem and has since taken steps to correct this. Higher repair costs are related almost completely to the earlier models and have nearly disappeared with the introduction of the 2007 and 2008 models
In 2004 Toyota redesigned the Prius and made it in to a midsize lift back. The redesigned interior spaces give the rear passengers more leg room, making it more spacious than many of the larger automobiles in the market.
Toyota has given Lexus its own line up of hybrids which consist of the GS 450h, the RX 400h and the LS600h.
The 2010 Toyota Prius is expected to reach 50 mpg with its combined fuel economy cycle. This is just slightly more than its immediate predecessors. By redesigning the exterior of the vehicle as well as the front bumper Toyota has also decreased the wind drag which resulted in the better fuel mileage.
Before the economy started to weaken significantly, Toyota had planned to manufacture the Prius in the United States. Work had begun on a new plant in Blue Springs, Mississippi. However, in December 2008, Toyota suspended work on the plant indefinitely and has yet to announce a completion date.
By 2007, Toyota was dominating the hybrid market, the United States EPA declaring the Prius the most fuel efficient car sold in the U.S.
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