Category: Technical

The Future of Electric Cars

Posted by Greg on Wed 22-Jun-2011

This presentation was kindly made available to us by the Prius Club of San Diego (USA). It illustrates the progress that is being made by manufacturers around the world to develop hybrid and pure electric vehicles.

The availability and pricing information relates to the USA, but units have been converted to metric where appropriate. Some of these vehicles are expected to be available in Australia in the near future.

There are 29 slides in all. Click on any slide to move to the next slide, or the slide will change automatically in 20 seconds.

A static slide version of this presentation is available here.


Prius ZVW30 Possible Problems?

Posted by John on Fri 5-Feb-2010

Owners of July 2009 onwards ZVW30 models have probably read reports of possible braking problems with Prius, particularly in the US market.

The Australian Prius models are not exhibiting problems such as those described in the US cars…..however, in a small number of cases here, owners could experience a miniscule delay in braking performance in certain circumstances such as when one (or both) front wheel(s) hits a slippery surface, drops into a pothole, or hits a large bump under light braking. In this instance, the ABS system may experience a minute delay in changing the hydraulic pressure to the brakes, causing a slight lag in retardation. The ABS system will immediately compensate if the brake pedal is pressed harder in this scenario. If any owner experiences the problem (which has been rectified on cars built after the end of January 2010), and has concerns about it, please visit your nearest Toyota dealer. Toyota Australia is monitoring the situation, and owners of any affected Prius will be notified if any action needs to be taken.

There is also a separate problem with various Toyota models sold in overseas markets experiencing sticking accelerator pedals. The electronic accelerator pedal assembly on all Toyotas sold in Australia (both imported and built here) is of a different design and manufacturer to the overseas and Japanese domestic models. No instances of sticking accelerators have been reported in Australia.

The current potential problems only relate to the mid 2009 ZVW30 model Prius, no other model Prius are affected in any way. If you are concerned at all, please visit this link:

Toyota Australia Advice to Prius Customers

New Prius displayed in Melbourne

Posted by John on Mon 16-Mar-2009

2009 Prius Rear Side

At the recent Melbourne Motor Show, Toyota Australia displayed a new model Prius. This is a RHD model, and should be a pointer to what we will be offered when the new model is released here mid-year. Certainly, it should be identical externally and mechanically, but as yet we do not know the final equipment specifications of our models.

We do know, however, that where the US gets 4 different levels of model with differing levels of equipment in each, the Australian cars will stick to 2 models as before. It seems, though, that the current i-Tech should be renamed Hi-Tech with the level of equipment it will have as standard.

The Dark Grey featured is a new colour, with the current Pistachio Green and Light Crystal Blue colours being dropped in the new model, with a lighter Gold replacing the current Bronze. White, Silver, Wildfire Red, Dark Blue and Black remain in the range.

More information as it becomes available soon.

Below is a video and photos of the new Prius shown in Melbourne.


New 2009 Prius

Posted by John on Mon 19-Jan-2009

Full details on the new model 2009 Prius have been released by Toyota, although we will not see it in Australia until around August/September this year.

2009 Prius

2009 Prius

As expected, the overall look is very much along the lines of the current NHW20, although most panels have been changed for a sleeker, slightly more angular look which has even better aerodynamics. The front is the most changed, there is a stronger body line crease, and the roofline has been re-profiled. The rear is also more angular, and has all-new tail lights. Two sizes and styles of alloy wheels are offered, a 15″ and a 17″. A moonroof  incorporating solar cells which power a ventilation system for cooling while the car is parked is also available. LED lights are now used for the low-beam headlights as well as the rear lights.

Mechanically, a new 1.8 litre petrol motor links with a redesigned and lighter Hybrid Synergy Drive to deliver more than 20% more power while using 10%  less fuel than the NHW20. The Prius petrol motor is the first to have a belt-less design, with the water pump now being electrically driven, as is the air-conditioning. The air-conditioning can now be turned on remotely from the key fob so the car is cool when you enter it. Main traction battery remains Nickel-metal Hydride in construction.

In some markets, park assist is offered, whereby the car literally parks itself. Prius cruise control now incorporates radar guidance. This can be shown on the dash display, but monitors the car’s distance from any objects ahead and adjusts speed to maintain a safe distance from them.

2009 Prius interior

2009 Prius interior

The Prius interior is new, with 9 airbags standard, and the previous central screen display incorporated into a flowing console extension linking the centre console and the dash proper. Energy monitoring, fuel consumption, and a range of other info displays can be selected in the main instrument display just below the windscreen. These displays are selected by thumb buttons on the new steering wheel. The new console also incorporates the navigation system (when fitted), climate control screen and controls, and the audio system screen and controls. It also houses the redesigned gear selector. An overhead console incorporates interior lights, moonroof controls (when fitted), and a button to activate Toyota’s SOS emergency assistance system. Seats are new, with more pronounced side bolsters and scalloped-out backs for more support and greater rear kneeroom. There is also more rear seat  headroom thanks to the new roof profile. Two gloveboxes are retained, along with the usual array of drink holders, bins etc, and an I-pod socket in the centre console. A lot of the plastics and seat materials used in the new Prius are plant-derived rather than using petroleum – thus extending the Green image.


It will be interesting to see what standard equipment Toyota Australia specifies for our market, and what optional accessories we are offered. Pricing, of course, will not be announced until just prior to release, so we have to wait for that. Hopefully the world economic crisis might have settled a little by then.

Enjoy the photo album of the new Prius, you can link to it here….

Photos of the 2009 Prius