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The automaker also said that it would spend a consolidated 890 billion yen on environmental technology development in the fiscal year ending March 2014

It's a good day for Toyota and electric vehicles (EVs) in general as the Prius has managed to hit 3 million sales total. 

Toyota announced that its full hybrid electric Prius passed the 3 million worldwide cumulative sales mark at the end of June. The automaker also said that it would spend a consolidated 890 billion yen on environmental technology development in the fiscal year ending March 2014. 

It also plans to make consolidated capital expenditure investments of 910 billion yen, with about 440 billion yen invested in Japan. That's a 7 percent and 9 percent increase respectively year-on-year.

The Prius first went on sale in Japan in 1997 and the U.S. in 2000. The current Toyota Prius received an EPA-rated 51 MPG city/49 MPG highway, which is a 22 percent boost from the last generation.

Last November, reports started circulating that Toyota was readying the fourth generation Prius -- and that it would achieve 60 MPH

Toyota is also working to make sure that it stays on top of the green car game. Back in May of this year, it announced that it would build a new production line for about 20 billion yen ($194 million USD) in an effort to increase lithium-ion battery production to 200,000 per year. 

At that time, Reuters reported that Toyota's Prius line accounted for 70 percent of the 5 million gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles the company has sold since they launched in 1997. 

In January of this year, Toyota's Prius was named the best-selling vehicle in California with 60,688 units sold. 

Source: Toyota

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RE: Creating a new shape.
By Solandri on 7/6/2013 4:58:27 PM , Rating: 2
For example, when you look at a car speeding down the motorway on a wet day you can see a cloud of spray that sort of hangs in the air and is travelling at the same speed as the car, so that car is dragging along maybe several kilos of air behind it all the time, which isn't part of the payload and is wasting fuel. I think a car which has a roof that slopes towards a tail would have less air being dragged behind it, thus it would be more fuel efficient

That's true at high speeds. At low speeds, the extra drag from air along the skin of the tail exceeds the drag from dragging the air behind it if you don't have a tail, and additional losses due to the weight of the tail. (Note that "speed" in these flow regimes is proportional to body length. So even though an albatross doesn't move as fast as a Prius in mph, it's "faster" in that it moves more body lengths per second.)

If the car is designed right, the air you're dragging behind you acts almost like a real tail would. That's why pickup trucks get better mileage with the tailgate up than with it down. With it up, a vortex forms in the bed which causes air to flow smoothly over the cab to the tailgate. With the tailgate down, no vortex forms, and the air does a steep drag-inducing dive the moment it clears the cab. The back of the cab is much bigger than the back of the tailgate, so there's more drag with the tailgate down.

Whether this is real or just perceived, the "Prius shape", especially the "sloping towards a tail" roof, is becoming more popular and is now appearing in other brands and car types.

As you can guess, the shape is much older than the Prius. For optimal airflow, you don't want the air running over any sharp corners. In traditional boxy cars, where the hood meets the windshield is an internal corner, and where the windshield meets the roof is an external corner. Both are detrimental to smooth airflow. Internal corners cause air to slow down, external corners cause air to speed up.

Aerodynamicists have long known that a smooth continuous surface from nose to roof minimizes drag. It's just that until recently, energy prices were low enough that it didn't really matter. Glass costs (the windshield ends up huge if you slope it like on the Prius) and structural integrity also made the traditional boxy front windshield easier and cheaper to design.

RE: Creating a new shape.
By Dorkyman on 7/9/2013 11:50:50 AM , Rating: 2
Aerodynamicists have long known that a smooth continuous surface from nose to roof minimizes drag.

Yeah, but there's more to it than that.

A golf ball has dimples because it was discovered long ago that inducing turbulent flow in the boundary layer served to greatly reduce the "dead air" zone behind the ball as if flew through the air. Those guys at Mythbusters took a small car a few years back and discovered that if it was similarly dimpled, the drag at highway speeds was greatly diminished, just like the golf ball.

"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain

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