Fleet News

Toyota launches hybrid power car

TOYOTA has unveiled the first mass-produced hybrid power car - which switches between a traditional petrol engine and an electric motor - amid speculation as to whether the vehicle will go on sale in the UK. The Prius has been launched in Japan with the manufacturer expecting to sell about 1,000 units a month after the upper medium sector hatchback goes on sale in Japan on December 10.

A Toyota (GB) spokesman said: 'We would love to have the car in the UK, but no timetable for imports has been decided.' However, there is industry speculation that the 1.5-litre engine could find its way into the new Carina, due to go on sale in Britain in January, and the ultra-clean engine could appear in the Carina before the end of the century.

The revolutionary engine achieves almost twice the fuel efficiency of conventional petrol cars - 79.1mpg - and cuts emissions to about a tenth of the amounts set by current pollution regulations. The car switches automatically between the petrol engine and the electric motor, depending on driving conditions. When the car stops the engine switches off automatically and energy is regenerated by converting the vehicle's kinetic energy into electrical energy during deceleration and braking.

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