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Toyota Prius c hybrid   (Source: Tiffany Kaiser, DailyTech)

Toyota Prius c hybrid  (Source: Tiffany Kaiser, DailyTech)

Toyota Prius c hybrid  (Source: Tiffany Kaiser, DailyTech)
The 2013 Toyota Prius c hybrid is due to launch this March

Toyota revealed its Prius c hybrid at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this morning, describing the new member as a car meant for the city. In fact, that's exactly what the "c" in Prius c stands for.

The 2013 Toyota Prius c hybrid leaked way back in October of last year, with more details trickling out through November. But this morning marked the hybrid's first North American debut, and the specs have caught a lot of attention.

Toyota's Prius c hybrid has a 73 HP, 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with a 60 HP electric motor. It also offers a 144-volt nickel-metal-hydride battery and continuously variable automatic transmission with front-wheel drive. According to Toyota, the estimated gas mileage for the hybrid is 53 mpg city and 46 mpg highway.

The Prius c hybrid is a bit smaller than the original Prius, coming in at 19.1-inches shorter bumper-to-bumper, 542 pounds lighter, and a smaller gas engine with a 1.5-liter instead of a 1.8-liter. It also has 87.4 cubic feet of passenger space and 17.1 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the backseat while the original Prius has 94 cubic feet of passenger space and 21.6 cubic feet of cargo volume.

Prius c hybrid drivers can select from Normal, Eco and EV drive modes as always, and will be offered at a price tag below $19,000.

"It's sized, priced, styled and packaged to appeal to young buyers on a budget who, until now, have probably found a hybrid experience out of reach," said Jim Lentz, Toyota USA president and CEO. "That's why we view the Prius as a gateway vehicle and a key component of our Prius strategy."

The Prius c hybrid will offer standard equipment such as an AM/FM/CD stereo with Bluetooth hands-free and audio connectivity, remote keyless entry, steering wheel audio controls, nine airbags and 15-inch steel wheels.

The 2013 Toyota Prius c hybrid is due to launch this March.


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RE: Why not......?
By L1011 on 1/11/2012 11:03:06 AM , Rating: 2
Sorry if I wasn't clear before. I meant the gas or diesel engine would run ONLY the generator and not act as part of the drive train. IOW, the car would not have a battery (except to start the engine, of course, like in a traditional car) and would run entirely on the electric power generated by the gas or diesel engine attached to the generator.


RE: Why not......?
By ChronoReverse on 1/11/2012 11:49:39 AM , Rating: 2
That's why my first line mentioned the Volt.

Then I elaborated and showed how that is a poorer design.


RE: Why not......?
By shiftypy on 1/12/2012 3:36:28 AM , Rating: 2
I prefer the serial hybrid model although not necessarily Volt

My reasoning is that you get a simpler design: get rid of gearbox, some drivetrain stuff, optimize engine for one rpm really and eventually use wheel hub electric motors.
If you don't need ICengine to act as a proper car engine but rather as a generator I think there is a lot to gain.


RE: Why not......?
By corduroygt on 1/12/2012 9:02:45 AM , Rating: 2
Not on the highway. At constant speed and constant load, it's always more efficient to drive the wheels directly by a gas engine. Too much loss when charging/discharging batteries. That's a big reason why some trains in Germany use truck transmissions to drive the wheels directly from the output of the diesel engine, instead of using diesel electric propulsion.


RE: Why not......?
By ChronoReverse on 1/12/2012 10:55:37 AM , Rating: 2
Of all that, the only thing you gain going serial hybrid is getting rid of the drivetrain stuff.

Wheel hub motors are a terrible idea that since it's all unsprung weight. Therefore it's better to have a single engine with the power distributed to the wheels.

Toyota's solution does optimize the engine for one RPM (to the point where their hybrid ICE are Atkinson cycle) so that's not a factor either.

It's also a pretty heavy waste to have an entire gas engine's power not available for drive when you need it. This means you need a larger electric motor (more expensive due to rare earths) and larger battery racks (more weight) as the car will need to be more electric than hybrid to avoid running down the batteries.

It's one of those things that sound like "obviously this would be better, why nobody do this?" but has a ton of caveats that make the gains (if any) not terribly great.


RE: Why not......?
By 91TTZ on 1/16/2012 1:45:56 PM , Rating: 2
That is how trains work.


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