Fleet News

Huge fleet potential for Toyota Prius

FLEETS in the UK will be taking delivery of the world's first mass-produced petrol/electric-powered hybrid passenger car by the year 2000 as Toyota prepares to start production of the Prius in Europe. Toyota says the first year into the new millennium will see at least 1,000 Prius sales to fleets in the UK.

Since its launch late last year in Japan following the Tokyo Motor Show, 11,000 have been delivered to customers in Japan. At one tenth of the emissions of a 'normal' unleaded petrol-powered medium-sized car, and an improvement of 35-40% on fuel economy (about 76mpg), Toyota believes the Prius will be a popular choice over other alternative fuels.

Mike Moran, Toyota UK's marketing director, said: 'There is huge potential for a fleet take-up in the new Prius. It is the first vehicle which is realistic to run as an environmentally-friendly alternative. This vehicle marks a real step change in technology - it's the most advanced thing on the market. Forget LPG as a fuel and other alternatives, this is the way forward.'

Under the bonnet, the Toyota Hybrid System is a package of a 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (the engine size may be bigger when it arrives in the UK to improve performance), a high-torque electric-drive motor and a separate generator. It works in conjunction with the nickel-metal batteries, which are housed behind the back seats. These are always maintained at a constant charge by the THS.

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