New Toyota Prius arrives in Hawai‘i

HONOLULU — Beginning on Friday, the all-new 2004 Prius became available at Toyota dealers in Hawai‘i, including Kauai Toyota.

The second-generation Prius carries an estimated EPA rating of 60 MPG in city driving, and 51 MPG on the highway.

Prius provides the best fuel- efficiency rating of any midsize vehicle sold in America, and launches Toyota’s second-generation of electric-gas hybrid technology, according to a company spokesman.

Prius (Latin for “to go before”) was the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle when introduced in Japan in 1997. It has since become the best-selling hybrid in the world.

The 2004 Prius gas-electric hybrid features significantly more power and performance than the previous model, as well as best-in-class emissions performance, the spokesman said.

Larger and better in every metric of comparison, Prius is the first hybrid vehicle available to provide the room, comfort and features of a midsize sedan.

“Given that gas prices in Hawai‘i are the highest in the nation, we expect interest in the new Prius will be strong,” said Curt Lee, executive vice president of Servco Automotive. “With the 2004 Prius, we have an energy-efficient vehicle that also works perfectly as a family car.”

Pricing for the new Prius carries over unchanged for the fourth-consecutive model year, with a base MSRP of $19,995. In addition, the new Prius again qualifies for the federal government’s clean-burning fuel deduction, making purchasers eligible for a tax deduction of up to $2,000 for any new Prius placed in service in 2003.

The new Prius is the first Toyota product to employ Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive, third-generation, electric-gas hybrid powertrain technology.

The new system produces more power from both the gasoline engine and the electric motor, giving the new Prius acceleration comparable to a 4-cylinder midsize car. The 2004 Prius can accelerate from 0 mph to 60 mph in about 10 seconds.

Hybrid Synergy Drive is defined as a “full hybrid system.”

Unlike competitive systems currently on the market, the full hybrid system is capable of operating in gas or electric modes, as well as a mode that combines the power of the gas engine and electric motor.

The Prius never needs to be plugged in for recharging.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive combines a 1.5-liter four-cylinder Atkinson Cycle gasoline engine and an electric drive motor.

The gasoline engine for the 2004 Prius produces 76 horsepower and 82 lb.-ft. of torque.

The permanent-magnet electric drive motor produces its maximum power of 50 kW (67 horsepower) from 1200-1540 RPM, and peak torque of 295 lb.-ft. from 0-1,200.

Emissions

Hybrid Synergy Drive will reduce the already scant emissions over the previous-generation model by an additional 30 percent. That equates to producing nearly 90 percent fewer smog forming emissions than a conventional internal combustion engine vehicle.

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