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Hybrid Synergy Drive

Toyota Prius Prime Plug-in w/Solar Assist 
Toyota sold more than 9 million hybrid vehicles as of 2016! 
Lets examine how they continue to innovate the Prius Family! 

2017 Prius Prime Dash View 
More than 50MPG ^^

With class leading fuel economy the new Prius is built on the TNGA platform, giving the 4th generation architecture improved ride quality, better handling, better acceleration and better overall drying dynamics! The new Prius returning a fuel economy greater than 50 miles per gallon while also offering improved driving pleasure.

2017 Prius Prime Front DS View 
Up to 40% Thermal Efficiency 

Each 4th gen. Prius ships with the world's first engine to achieve 40-percent thermal efficiency, the ratio of vehicle propulsion produced from the fuels energy. Toyota claims the new Prius propulsion system benefits from more than 50 efficiency-enhancing technologies that make the whole system lighter and more efficient! Better fuel mixing combined with block thermal enhancement and friction reduction all resulting in better efficiency!

2017 Prius Prime Engine / Motor View 
More Fun

The enhanced driving dynamics came from a heavier higher quality double-wishbone rear suspension system, but engineers were able to carve out weigh elsewhere by replacing nuts and bolts in previously multi-part components with welded monolithic single parts that are stronger and lighter.

10% Better Each Redesign

Toyotas' long game revolves around a 10% fuel economy improvement with each new generation of Prius. Nothing disruptive or groundbreaking, the Prius started life in Japan in 1997. Work on that vehicle began in 1992 when the Japanese automakers were precluded from participating in the US DOE backed Partnership for Next Generation Vehicle platform, something the US automakers failed to deliver on, namely a practical family sedan that achieves 80 MPG in real world conditions!

2017 Prius Prime Energy Input View 
Grid + Sun = Less Gas

The only way you are going to get 80mpg out of a new Prius is to buy the Plug-in model and feed it many kWh of grid power to offset finite fossil fuel consumption. The solar roof on the newest Prime model actually charges the traction battery with hundreds of watts of solar power :) I imagine this will help the Solar Roof enhanced Prii to achieve slightly better net lifetime fuel economy.

2017 Prius Prime Solar Roof View

Recycling Old Prii

The batteries in a Prius are valuable to recycle, meaning they have enough metal to be worth something, similar to the way you can get paid for lead batteries if your bring them to a recycler, but in the case of Prii the battery is worth more than $400 for scrap value!

Old Prius Traction Battery 

The new plug-in Prius now stores more than 8kWh of power or enough for 20+ miles of EV mode driving per charge! In hybrid mode it offers 50+ mpg operation for hundreds more miles of range per tank! I believe that Plug-in hybrids will help to bridge the gap between gasoline energy and future battery technologies that are much better overall than the Lithium Ion batteries of today. 

Gasoline is 12,000wh/kg, Lithium Ion is about 600wh/kg in the highest quality cells! That means gasoline has a 20X power to weight ratio advantage over lithium ion, but gasoline cannot be recharged 500 times, so the lifetime net energy storage EQ is much greater for EV's, namely 600wh/kg x 500 = 300,000wh/kg lifetime storage capacity! The Tesla Model S is able to accelerate extremely rapidly with its heavy batteries because the batteries are able to discharge peak power instantaneously. Gasoline motors by comparison have a REV lag where time is required to spool up power output. Electric final drive powers the fastest accelerating vehicles in the world as a result! 

Schwarz Vehicles

It was an overcast autumn day in 2003 when I saw a first generation Toyota Prius. The unusual steel wheels caught my eye. I remember going back to my dorm room and searching for "Toyota Prius" online, returning what would become more than 4 years of automotive technology research that among other things motivated me to study ecology and major in Environmental Science :) I even traveled to Tokyo to get a close look at what gives Japan such an interesting automotive sector ^^

Today Meg and I have 4 Japanese vehicles! A 1993 Suburu Legacy L FWD, a 2005 Toyota Prius II, a 2013 Honda PCX-150 and a 2014 Honda CR-Z ex manual hybrid. These vehicles achieve 34, 46, 89 and 42 MPG respectively; the Prius & CR-Z are hybrids!

The PCX-150 could be considered a soft hybrid due to its ACG alternator starter that allows the tiny 153cc engine to crank out 350w of alternator energy while propelling me at up to 68mph while returning almost 100mpg!

More than 119,000 miles have been logged on our 2005 Prius and it has a lifetime net average fuel economy of 46.4mpg! The Prius is like a small SUV in terms of utility storage with the rear seats folded down, we use it like this to move cargo and to go on road trips as a couple without children thankfully!

The CR-Z sits idle inside our garage with ~11,000 mi logged so far. We do not drive it much anymore because of a Takata airbag recall issue that makes it moisture sensitive, meaning its only safe to operate when the weather outside is dry. I signed up for Drive & Save on this vehicle, put the little transponder puck in the CR-Z and have not driven it since!

The 93 Subaru Legacy was a gift from my fathers estate generously given to Meg & I after his passing. The only thing hybridized on it is the electric start + alternator which is present on almost all modern vehicles. Imaging trying to hand crank your car engine today lol !

We had leased a 2013 Nissan Leaf S and with the help of my late father Ken Schwarz, drove it 14,000mi in 24 months of zero tailpipe instant electric acceleration joy :) My dad loved the heated seats and found the sportily off the line acceleration very enjoyable. I miss him and the electromotive feeling of instant torque offered by electric vehicles.

In mid 2015 an acquaintance of mine gave me a test ride in her Tesla Model S P85 D the acceleration was like a LIM driven theme park ride ^^ LIM's or linear induction motors are essentially an electric motor that has been unwound into a train track shape, where the vehicle becomes the rotor, the track is the stator, current is dumped into the track accelerating the vehicle with instant torque at rates capable of producing thrill induced smiles :)

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