2. HARDWARE: PRIUS
The Prius saves fuel and reduces emissions by scavenging energy that most cars waste. Regenerative braking links the brakes to a generator, helping use the car's kinetic energy to recharge the battery whenever the brakes are applied.
Whoa. Talk about driving over a cliff. After tooling around in the Accord Hybrid, getting into the 2005 Toyota Prius was like riding a ten-speed down a rock quarry. To compare the Prius to a machine like the Accord Hybrid is nuts -- but still, most people will cross-shop these vehicles if they are searching for the right hybrid. And actually, the Prius did quite well: we were able to reach decent cruising speeds on the freeway, and the car handled tight cornering with enough competence so as not to frighten small children. Acceleration was a bit of a challenge, however – the Prius, as with all full hybrids, is designed to glide into action. More of a jump would be ideal, but in order to get an emissions rating of SULEV and a test average of 42 mpg, the Prius must make a sacrifice or two. The 2005 Toyota Prius does well to make that sacrifice almost painless. A front-wheel-driver, the Prius rides on independent MacPherson struts up front and a rear torsion beam axle. The ride is commuter-smooth, though compromised by the vehicle’s stiff, high-mileage tires. The Prius is a second-generation car, so integrating a hybrid powertrain has already been accomplished and fine-tuned. Toyota engineers were able to make significant improvements to the drivability of the Prius, from improving the aerodynamics to adding several key features for ride, economy and safety. Like all hybrids, the 2005 Toyota Prius gets energy from energy expended while braking, and while it gives a slightly different feel to the pedal upon mashification, the brakes put an end to your trip promptly and smoothly. Toyota also added some of their newest safety technology to the Prius, including Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution, which does as their monikers imply.
The Prius saves fuel and reduces emissions by scavenging energy that most cars waste. Regenerative braking links the brakes to a generator, helping use the car's kinetic energy to recharge the battery whenever the brakes are applied. Along the same lines, the transmission offers a setting that helps recharge the battery when the driver merely lifts off the accelerator and lets the car coast downhill. In sum, with all these regenerative methodologies, there's no need (and no way, for that matter) to plug the car into an electrical outlet to charge the battery.