What people like:
Unbeatable Fuel Economy
Smooth Driving experience thanks to CVT and Hybrid engine
Spacious Interior and Boot
Whats people dislike:
Restricted Visibility at the Rear due to unusual design.
Toyota Prius means means «to go before» in Latin or «ahead of its time».
First generation Prius (1997-2003) — Chassis NHW10 went on sale in 1997. Sales were slow until 3d generation arrived.
Second generation Prius (2003-2009) — Chassis NHW20. By September 2010 more than 2 millions cars sold worldwide.
The battery pack of 2004 and later models of Toyota Prius is warranted for 240,000 km or 10 years in states that have adopted the stricter California emissions control standards, and 100,000 miles (160,000 km) or 8 years in other US States. The warranty for hybrid components is 160,000 km or 8 years.
Battery pack from the second generation Prius
A sealed 38-module nickel metal hydride (NiMH) battery pack providing 273.6 volts, 6.5 A·h capacity and weighing 53.3 kg (118 lb) is supplied by Japan’s Panasonic EV Energy Co. They are normally charged to 40-60% of maximum capacity to prolong battery life as well as provide a reserve for regenerative braking. Each battery pack uses 10-15 kg (22-33 lb) of lanthanum, and each Prius electric motor contains 1 kg (2 lb) of neodymium; production of the car is described as «the biggest user of rare earths of any object in the world.»[Source Wikipedia]
Battery Reliability / Life cycle
As the Prius reached ten years of being available in the U.S. market, in February 2011 Consumer Reports decided to look at the lifetime of the Prius battery and the cost to replace it. The magazine tested a 2002 Toyota Prius with over 200,000 miles on it, and compared the results to the nearly identical 2001 Prius with 2,000 miles tested by Consumer Reports 10 years before. The comparison showed little difference in performance when tested for fuel economy and acceleration. Overall fuel economy of the 2001 model was 5.79 L/100 km while the 2002 Prius with high mileage delivered 5.82 L/100 km. The magazine concluded that the effectiveness of the battery has not degraded over the long run. The cost of replacing the battery varies betweenUS$2,200 and US$2,600 from a Toyota dealer, but low-use units from salvage yards are available for around US$500. One piece of research indicates it may be worthwhile to rebuild batteries using good blades from defective used batteries.[Source Wikipedia]
LINKS to online information about Prius battery performance
Auckland based business specialising in repair, reconditioning and servicing of hybrid batteries.
(Apprx cost of reconditioning 2nd generation Prius battery is NZ$600).
The Prius uses an Atkinson Cycle combustion engine, combined with the electric motor, to provide power. The Atkinson cycle is different from the typical Otto Cycle that is found in most internal combustion engine (ICE) cars today. The advantage of the Atkinson cycle is that it is much more efficient than the Otto cycle. The disadvantage is that it has less power (especially when moving the car from a dead stop). However, combined with the hybrid system, the electric motors provide the necessary power to get the car moving before the ICE is needed.
Links on Prius Engine.