It's official, the award-winning Toyota Prius petrol-electric
hybrid car will be unveiled at Auto Africa in October this year,
and will be available in local showrooms early next year.
The car that a host of Hollywood stars chose to drive them to
the Oscars has at its heart what Toyota calls Hybrid Synergy Drive.
The Prius' electric motor is its main power source, but it can
switch seamlessly to petrol propulsion whenever extra acceleration
or speed is required.
Prius sets new global benchmarks in environmental performance,
and can squeeze up to 35km out of a litre of fuel, while achieving
unusually low emissions. And, it offers lively performance with
a claimed acceleration from standstill to 100km/h in less than
The Prius comes to SA in its stylish second generation offering
a number of technological firsts. Among these is the choice of
EV driving mode, which allows the driver to simply press a button
to use the electric motor to power the vehicle, which results
in result is zero emissions and very low noise levels.
There is no need to charge the sophisticated battery pack from
an external source as battery charging is incorporated into the
overall electronic controls, which use the petrol engine and regenerative
braking as charging sources.
Toyota engineers have also taken advantage Prius' new electrical
architecture to maximize the car's active and safety features
and in a world first, it relies entirely on an electric/electronic
circuit to co-ordinate the power steering, braking, traction and
vehicle stability control systems.
In terms of safety the Prius was the first hybrid car to be submitted
to the stringent Euro NCAP test procedure, which it passed with
flying colours and a five-star safety rating.
Prius has also won a succession of international accolades including
North American Car of the Year for 2004, International Engine
of the Year, 2004 Family Car of the Year and Best Engineered Vehicle
The announcement also coincides with a number of significant
accolades for the company, with Toyota overtaking a prestigious
European rival to become the world's leading automotive brand,
according to an annual survey. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic,
Toyota has emerged as the top scorer in JD Power and Associates'
Vehicle Dependability Study in Germany.