Toyota's hybrid Prius to hit UAE roads in 2016

Toyotas hybrid Prius to hit UAE roads in 2016
Toyota Motor president Akio Toyoda stands in front of the Prius 2016 during the Tokyo Motor Show in October. - AFP

Dubai - More than nine million gasoline-electric hybrid cars are in service throughout the world.

By Abdul Basit

Published: Tue 3 Nov 2015, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 4 Nov 2015, 7:35 AM

Toyota will bring its flagship hybrid vehicle Prius to the UAE and other Middle East markets for the first time early next year, a top executive of Toyota Motor Corporation told Khaleej Times.
The Toyota Prius sparked a revolution when it went on sale in 1997 as it was the world's first mass-produced full-hybrid vehicle. The Prius made significant progress in its third generation in 2009, achieving fuel efficiency of 32.6 km/litre in the Japanese JC08 test cycle. Now the world's largest automaker aims to touch 40 km/litre with certain grades.
More than nine million gasoline-electric hybrid cars are in service throughout the world. Toyota-made vehicles account for eight million of them, and the Prius makes up half of Toyota's total.
Last month, Toyota showcased Prius 2016 in Japan at the Tokyo Motor Show. In its fourth generation, the hybrid vehicle is set to take on new markets with better environmental performance and a new design.
"The final timing has not been decided but it will hit roads in the UAE and other parts of the Middle East early next year," Takayuki Yoshitsugu, chief representative for Toyota Middle East & North Africa, said.
"The all-new Prius will be launched in all GCC markets and most Middle East markets within a week in early 2016," Dubai-based Yoshitsugu informed.
The Japanese auto giant expects big success for the hybrid car. "I believe we will successfully penetrate the Middle East market with Prius," he added.
He declined to provide any sales target for the vehicle, but said: "We don't expect big numbers in the beginning but it will increase gradually."
A Dubai-based private taxi company bought Toyota Hybrid Camry a few years ago and witnessed more than 30 per cent fuel savings per car. "More taxi companies from the UAE are approaching us for hybrid cars," he informed.
Toyota's hybrid Prius is being sold in 90 markets, including the US and Europe. It will cross the 100 country mark after the Middle East market launch next year.
The vehicle, which 18 years ago set out to be a forerunner of a new era of automotive efficiency, has quickly become mainstream.
Today, however, many automakers offer alternative energy vehicles, in part because Toyota made its technology available to promote uptake of the concept. Environmental performance alone is no longer enough to make a car stand out in a now-crowded segment.
That's why Toyota rebuilt the Prius from the ground up, broadening the car's appeal by overhauling its design, improving performance and adding personal touches both inside and out, under the development concept of "a beautiful car for a beautiful Earth".
The Prius retains its 1.8-litre VVT-i equipped Atkinson cycle petrol engine (2ZR-FXE), which is perfectly for highway driving needs. However, the engine has been re-engineered, with better results in terms of performance, fuel economy and reductions to size and weight.
The new engine achieves a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 per cent - the world's highest level in a mass-produced gasoline engine.
Key components of the hybrid system - including the motors, transaxle, power control unit and hybrid batteries - are smaller and lighter, improving fuel efficiency and making excellent use of space.
For the first time, the Prius will feature an E-Four (electronic four-wheel drive) system, which uses a high-output rear motor to assist the engine and front motor as needed and continuously optimises the allocation of power between the front and rear wheels.

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