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Hybrid Auto - Toyota Prius pics

by James Denison / June 3, 2004 11:16 AM PDT
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Interesting pics.
by Kiddpeat / June 3, 2004 12:19 PM PDT

I did think the display would be more sophisticated.

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Federal Investigation of Prius Problems!
by James Denison / June 1, 2005 4:04 AM PDT
In reply to: Interesting pics.

Putting this high in the thread so seen easier. Don't forget a newer working picture page link is available in my post near bottom. Link in start of thread no longer valid.


The government has opened an investigation of the hot-selling hybrid Toyota Prius amid reports of the engine stalling without warning, officials said Wednesday.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said the preliminary investigation will involve about 75,000 cars of the 2004-2005 model years.

Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. said in a statement that it was "an early stage inquiry to determine if further analysis is warranted, not a recall."

The company said it was cooperating with NHTSA and would provide the agency with the complete results of its internal investigation.

The Prius has been a hugely popular model in the United States, leading to.....(rest at article link)

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Re: Toyota Prius -- So what do they think of it? (NT)
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 3, 2004 1:05 PM PDT


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First impressions they...
by James Denison / June 3, 2004 2:08 PM PDT

...are pleased with it. They drove it 800 miles to get here on the interstates. FIL said it takes a bit of getting used to not having any sound before you take off. He says it's very quiet even when the engine kicks in. I watched them drive it this evening and the only sound was crunching of tires on the road at first, then the gasoline engine kicked in a bit as they accelerated. The real test is after they've had it awhile. Of course it's still under warranty, but after that they'll probably still have any repairs done by Toyota. I haven't driven it, but my wife will probably give it a spin tomorrow. I want her to see how she likes it as a possible commuter vehicle for her 2 years from now. The size is supposed to be close to that of a Camry.

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They're gonna love it, James...........
by Tony Holmes / June 4, 2004 12:26 PM PDT

and the service they get with it also.Toyota only wants their specially trained Master Techs working on it.Stay away from aftermarket service on that car,I had to attend a 3 day class just to learn all the computer sytems on the car.

Toyota is more than generous with any warranty repairs on it.

I'm one of four Techs in our shop that are allowed to touch them.They've been virtually rock solid so far with no problems or recalls and no power train problems.

There's no transmission in the normal sense,just two electic motors and a simple gear set.There's no shifting,just smooth acceleration.

The "shift lever" is nothing but a joystick,just lightly touch it to put in gear.Looks like they got it without the Nav and smart key options too.

FWIW,Toyota classes it as a midsize car,it's deceiving until you sit in it.The Highlander is scheduled to get a Hybrid Option at the end of '05.

The damn things are like Harleys,everyone made is already sold and there's a waiting list.


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Re:They're gonna love it, James...........
by James Denison / June 4, 2004 6:37 PM PDT

I'm waiting for Chiltons or Haynes to get a manual out on it, just so I can check out how it's put together. I've been guessing that they dropped the alternator and starter from the engine and just using the electric motor as the starter and it's charging system for the alternator. I didn't crawl under it or anything to check it out that thoroughly though. Didn't want to make the inlaws nervous, heh. Did they turn the torque convertor into a large stator and put eletromagnets around the tranny housing? If I was creating something like that I'd probably do the above things mentioned.

They seem happy enough with it. I followed them out of the neighborhood with my Grand Caravan (3.3L) and that car was hard to keep up with. Not sure I would want to work on one though, looks like a real pain. My hands and arms would never fit in some of those spaces.

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Re:Re:They're gonna love it, James...........
by Tony Holmes / June 4, 2004 8:56 PM PDT


They dropped both the alt and starter from the engine.Starting chores are handled by one of the 2 electric motors.The two motors are self contained and about the size of large torque convertors.They also function to regenerate power when decelerating.

Charging the auxilliary 12 volt batt and powering the 12 volt systems is handled by the invertor/converter which is the big silver affair under the hood on the left side.it's water cooled.

There's no accessory belts on the engine,the a/c compressor has a self contained motor which powers it.The power steering has a self contained electric motor which powers it using yaw rate sensors.They've both proved trouble free.

The main HV battery is on the floor between the rear wheels and is just under 300volts.The orange wires you see signify HV battery power and can injure/kill,never fool with any of them unless you're trained on the car.


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That's some important safety info!
by James Denison / June 5, 2004 4:59 AM PDT

I'll tell my in-laws to not touch the underhood electrics at all! Now I'm wondering how many are going to electrocute themselves in coming years. Aren't the batteries direct current? Is that 300 volt rating on them or the charging part of the system? Are they using alternating current or direct current for the motor itself? I remember those old DC generators on cars before the AC ones. You had to polarize it (spark it) at the relay to be sure it had the direct current charging the proper direction (polarity). The other info was great to know also, I had surmised similar but didn't know for sure. Too jammed under the hood to do more than peer down the nooks and cranny's without removing a few items like air cleaner and I wasn't about to do that on THEIR new car.

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Re:Re:Re:They're gonna love it, James...........
by Dan McC / June 6, 2004 10:44 PM PDT


Have you heard any rumblings of the new 48v systems making it into production in the near future? I've been reading a little about it and it sounds fascinating.


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Re:Re:Re:Re:They're gonna love it, James...........
by Tony Holmes / June 7, 2004 1:33 AM PDT

Yes Dan,

We frequently have "BS" sessions at tech class and discuss stuff just like that. :=)

One of the first things out of the instructor's mouth was "Can you imagine the decibel levels these kids will be able to reach with a 42 volt + 160 amp stereo system?" lol !

One of the reasons manufacturers would do it is the increased electrical demands due to electric a/c,p/s etc like the Prius has.There's even talk about eliminating camshafts and valve trains entirely,replacing them with solenoid operated valves.It would be easy for the Toyota Hybrid System to handle the additional load of elec valves etc.

For other manufacturers to implement all that they'd have to go to 42-48V systems which Toyota might not do in the near future.You probably will see all the electric inovations on Prius,Highlander Hybrids and possibly 4Runner in the future.


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Re:Re:Re:Re:Re:They're gonna love it, James...........
by Dan McC / June 7, 2004 3:20 AM PDT

It sounds like the Prius is already on the way to a lot of the benefits of the higher voltage system. It does seem that the benefits of it will make it pretty easy to offset the costs of the transition. What will the country save every year in eliminating the timing/accessory belts? What will the design changes be if you don't have to mount everything to align with the drive train? What changes can be made to the interior when they make the inevitable change to drive-by-electron?

Being able to run video/game/audio systems is the dullest part of it. Wink

Should be interesting.


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Re: WOW! Drive by wire in the not too far future...
by John Robie / June 7, 2004 4:41 AM PDT

It will be great for saving gas to drive by wire with the valves, no camshaft (but possibly a gear driven alternator), no belt for water pump, steering pump, and fan. Course the fuel pump and fan are already an electric reality.

Steer and brake by wire....hope they have hydraulic backup like on some commercial aircraft.

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Re:Re:They're gonna love it, James...........
by Tony Holmes / June 5, 2004 8:57 AM PDT


To be specific,the HV batt is NIMH and rated at 274v DC and the electric motors are rated at 50KW,they run A/C.All charging duties are handled by the two motors contained in the "trans",they produce just under 300V A/C under decelleration and when the engine is running.

All the back and forth conversion is handled by the converter/inverter.Under hard accelleration the system is supplying almost 500V to the motors. Toyota claims those electric motors have the highest output per unit weight and volume of any electric motor in the world!

The gas engine is only 1.5L compared to your Caravan with 3.3L.One important thing to remember,the torque output of an electric motor is instant whereas a gas engine takes time to build torque.

The combined output of a Prius is 352 ftlbs of torque which would account for your Caravan having a hard time keeping up :=)

In case you want to drive yourself nuts on Google,the Prius runs 13.1 compression yet runs on regular gas.That's because it uses an "Atkinson Cycle" engine.

I could keep running my mouth but I'd turn this post into "War and Peace".You don't want to let Bubba at the corner gas station work on this car LOL !


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Thanks Tony
by James Denison / June 5, 2004 12:17 PM PDT

Looks like Toyota put a lot of thought into it. I checked chiltons (http://www.chiltononline.com) and haynes (http://www.haynes.com) automotive manuals, they don't have one out on it yet. I did find a 2003 being auctioned off on EBay.

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Re: First impressions they...
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / June 4, 2004 1:06 PM PDT

Hi, James.

I believe it's midway betweena Camry and a Civic.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Re:Re: Get a Chevy!!! :-)...nt
by Mary Kay / June 3, 2004 11:48 PM PDT


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Does Chevy make a hybrid? -nt
by Dan McC / June 4, 2004 12:37 AM PDT


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Re:Does Chevy make a hybrid? -nt
by Mary Kay / June 4, 2004 1:33 AM PDT

I have no idea. As you can surmise I am not a car person. We had 4 plants close in this area in the last week and a half.When I see all the young people moving away, I think I get a little carried away. Sorry if you were offended.

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Re:Re:Does Chevy make a hybrid? -nt
by Dan McC / June 4, 2004 1:49 AM PDT

I wasn't offended. Why would you think that? I was just asking.


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Re:Does Chevy make a hybrid? They're behind the curve (as usual)!
by Paul C / June 4, 2004 8:26 AM PDT
The systems vary in complexity and cost to explore the market viability of each application. The models start with the already announced production of the GMC Sierra and Chevy Silverado hybrid pickup trucks for delivery to fleet customers in 2004. The trucks, which deliver fuel economy of up to 12 percent, will be available to retail customers later in 2004. A distinctive feature of these hybrid pick-ups is an auxiliary power feature for operating power tools and other devices.

The rest of the GM statement on planned hybrid rollouts is here

Meanwhile, hybrid Ford Escape SUV's are already in dealerships. Note: The Ford hybrids, and AIR the GM ones, use the Honda system, in which the gas engine is always on and the electric motor kicks in when additional power is needed. In the Toyota system, the electric motor drives the vehicle at low speeds, with the gas engine kicking in when needed. Both systems operate quite seamlessly, IMO (I have driven both).
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Re:Re:But in the end, the profits go back to the nation of ownership...nt


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Personally, I agree. I always buy American.
by James Denison / June 4, 2004 4:14 AM PDT

I've never bought a traitor (one who buys foreign) car. Even buy American for used cars, but with more "foreign" cars being built here, and more "domestic" cars having foreign parts all over them, its difficult to do more now than buy an American label. My wife's next car will likely be a Malibu, but all things above considered I we may consider "traitor" cars too.

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Yeah, but define ''American''
by Josh K / June 4, 2004 4:31 AM PDT

My Honda was built in Ohio by American workers, some of whom may well have been laid off by GM or other American carmakers. Many "American" cars are actually assembled in Mexico or Canada.

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Re:Yeah, but define ''American''
by Paul C / June 4, 2004 8:33 AM PDT


What year is your Honda? The Feds classify country of origin these days by the percentage of content in the vehicle. IOW, from I believe the 2000 model year, Hondas produced in Marysville, OH are classified as "domestic" vehicles, because over 90% of their parts are produced in this country. OTOH, the new subcompact Chevrolet Aveo is classified as an import, since it's built in South Korea using mostly Korean-made parts.

The badge on the hood just doesn't tell the whole story anymore....

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(NT) Hi Paul; it's a '98
by Josh K / June 5, 2004 6:06 AM PDT


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Re: Hi Josh
by Rolway / June 5, 2004 6:49 AM PDT

Glad you are feeling better. Hope the summer treats you better than this spring has.


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(NT) Thanks, George.
by Josh K / June 6, 2004 11:16 PM PDT
In reply to: Re: Hi Josh


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(NT) Message has been deleted.
by Josh K / June 4, 2004 12:56 AM PDT
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Deleted my own - replied to wrong post
by Josh K / June 4, 2004 12:57 AM PDT


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Re:Hybrid Auto - Toyota Prius pics
by Rolway / June 4, 2004 6:03 AM PDT

Hi James

That web site I had on here a while back http://www.boycottgasoline.com/ gives a lot of info on that Toyota Prius. Half way down under "Alternate Energy - Best Milage Vehicles" Click "go" button to get info, Specs. etc. Sorry I don't know how to link direct to it, but its there anyway. (takes a few seconds to load)


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