The current Prius generation has been around for five years, and is showing its age. This is a 2008 model, and the generation will end with the 2009 model year. Toyota shows off an improved 2010 version at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.
The true genius of the Prius lies in the hybrid system, which uses an electric motor to complement the power of a 1.5-liter gas engine. The result is a relatively slow car, but fuel economy consistently at 45 mpg.
Although composed of economy car materials, the interior uses a futuristic design, doing away with most switchgear in favor of a touch screen. The instrument cluster is a display, with a digital speed read-out.
The power-flow animation shows electricity going from the battery and to the electric motor, and going from the wheels to the battery, when the car is working as a generator. It also shows when the engine turns on.