It’s Official, Toyota Prius to Get 50 M.P.G.

By dancurranjr On March 7th, 2009

toyota_priusAutomakers used to battle over horsepower. Now it’s miles a gallon. In December, Ford declared that its new 2010 Fusion Hybrid would be the most fuel-efficient midsize car, with 41 miles a gallon in the city (and 36 m.p.g. on the highway). On Monday, Toyota revealed that the new 2010 Prius four-door compact will get 50.

The combined E.P.A. estimated fuel efficiency breaks down to 50 miles a gallon on the highway and 49 in the city, for a combined gas mileage of 50. That’s an improvement over the current Prius, which gets 46 combined.

Toyota said a larger, more powerful 1.8-liter 4-cylinder engine, producing 98 horsepower, actually helps improve highway mileage. “By making more torque, the new engine can run at lower average r.p.m. on the highway,” Toyota said in a news release. Net horsepower from the gas-electric hybrid system is 134. “When operating at lower r.p.m., the new engine uses less fuel. Mileage is especially improved in cold-start conditions and at higher speeds.”

An electric water pump and a new exhaust gas recirculation system also contribute to the engine’s increased efficiency. Other improvements include: a lighter transaxle, which reduces torque losses by as much as 20 percent over the previous model, and a new cooling system for the inverter, which converts direct current to alternating current.

The 2010 Toyota Prius will go on sale this spring. Bob Carter, vice president and general manager of Toyota Motor Sales, told The Detroit News that the company expected “to sell about 100,000 units in 2009 and 180,000 during the first calendar year.”


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