Toyota Prius Canada
The Toyota Prius is a hybrid electric vehicle manufactured by Toyota since 1997, the Prius arrived in Canada in 2001 and instantly gained popularity as the most fuel efficient vehicle in Canada and ten years later it continues to be the most sold hybrid vehicle in Canada. In 2008 the Toyota Prius reached a record of 1 million units sold worldwide and in September 2010 it reached 2 million sold; with Canada, the United States and Japan being its largest market.
Toyota Prius 1997-2003
The Prius was a long project in the making, with research and development going back to the Earth Charter in 1992 where Toyota outlined its goal to develop an electric zero emissions vehicle. At the Tokyo Auto Show in 1995 a concept car design went on display with a hybrid motor with the name 'prius" which is latin for "prior", the Prius went on to test driving in 1996, with full design and development in early 1997 and was officially unveiled in December 1997 in Japan with Toyota's new green vehicle ideology being available to the general public.
The Toyota Prius arrived in Canada and other export markets in 2001 powered by a 4-cylinder 1.5L Atkinson cycle gasoline engine, a magnet electric motor, powered by a 274-volt nickel-metal hydride battery. While the electric engine only produced 44HP, the gasoline engine developed 70HP, the NHW11 Prius engine which was specially designed for Canada and the United States had a powerful engine due to longer distances. While the Prius was the second hybrid vehicle to arrive in Canada after the Honda Insight it quickly became the most sold hybrid in all North America. In size the Prius is between the Toyota Yaris and Corolla but with better fuel economy than both.
Toyota Prius 2003-2009 NHW20
The second generation Prius was redesigned with a larger platform placing it between the Toyota Corolla and Camry. The redesigned smaller and lighter battery also allowed for more legroom and a roomier interior; while the revolutionized exterior design is also more aerodynamic. In Canada the battery has a 160,000 km warranty, while it can't be classified as a zero-emission vehicle it falls under SULEV standards (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle).
The new Prius design was equipped with the Toyota Hybrid System II, 1.5L engine, with a Smart Key System DVD navigation and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC). The Toyota Prius was named the European Car of the Year in 2005 being the first hybrid to ever win this award. In 2006 the Prius received a few minor changes including an optional back-up camera, higher resolution LCD display, more safety features and an upgraded audio system, while side curtain airbags where added in the 2007 models. The Toyota Prius received five stars in front crash tests by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) and four out of five stars for rollover testing.
Toyota Prius 2009-present ZVW30
In 2009 Toyota presented the new generation Prius at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, the 1.5L engine was replaced by a 1.8 L Dual VVT-i with 98HP plus the electric motor totals 134HP, the larger engine increases torque while reducing engine speed or RPM which increases the fuel economy; with an all electric water pump and air conditioning its the first engine in production without any belts which further increases fuel economy, while other components of the drive terrain are significantly smaller and lighter.
During the design and development stage of the third generation Prius, Toyota filed over one thousand patents proving to be one of Toyota's records to date. Toyota's goal is to sell 400,000 units a year worldwide and in May 2009 they needed to increase production to 600,000 units to keep up with high sales. All units imported into Canada are manufactured at Toyota City in Japan, while there are plans to begin manufacturing in China for Asian markets.
In Canada the 2012 Toyota Prius is available in five models, with the base model starting at under
$28,000; Toyota Prius Premium; Toyota Prius with Solar Panel; Toyota Prius Touring package and the fully loaded Toyota Prius Technology package. All share the same 1.8L Atkinson Cycle Engine which is 33% lighter than previous models further increasing fuel efficiency; combined with Hybrid Synergy Drive technology generating 134HP, priding itself with achieving 3.8L/100km. The all new exhaust heat recirculation technology specially designed for colder Canadian climates, transfers exhaust heat into the engine coolant warming up the oil for better start-up time and increasing fuel economy even more. They are equipped with an automatic CVT transmission (Continuously Variable Transmission), front ventilated brakes, front and back disc brakes, with anti-block ABS, brake assist, electronic brake force distribution (EBD) and integrated regenerative braking system.
The Prius Premium includes; upgraded JLB audio system with 8 speakers, push button ignition and back up camera integrated on the rear view mirror. The 2011 Toyota Prius Premium with Solar Panels adds a powered sunroof with built in solar panels and remote air conditioning which pre-cools the vehicle interior without using any power; while the 2011 Prius Technology package features; intelligent packing assist, dynamic radar cruise control, leather seats and voice activated DVD system.