Toyota studies UK launch for Prius hybrid car

Toyota is looking at how and when it could bring its 1.5 litre hybrid vehicle, the Prius, to the UK, said Takeshi Uchiyamada, chief engineer for the Prius project. In Brussels earlier this month he said: ‘We have started our study but cannot reveal any details because we have not yet decided our corporate strategy. […]

Toyota is looking at how and when it could bring its 1.5 litre hybrid vehicle, the Prius, to the UK, said Takeshi Uchiyamada, chief engineer for the Prius project.

In Brussels earlier this month he said: ‘We have started our study but cannot reveal any details because we have not yet decided our corporate strategy.

‘If we are to sell in the UK we need to consider various technical changes to the car and adjust it for different driving conditions,’ he added.

The Prius is the world’s first internal combustion/electric hybrid passenger car to go to volume production.

Central to the car is the Toyota Hybrid System power train. The vehicle is powered by a petrol engine, and an electric motor supplied with electricity by a generator and from batteries.

An electronic control unit determines which power source is engaged for maximum efficiency. In a traffic jam, for example, the car switches to electric mode.

Toyota claims the Prius is twice as fuel efficient as conventional petrol-engined cars and cuts HC, CO, and NOx emissions to about one-tenth of the amounts set by Japanese pollution regulations.

The car went on sale in Japan in December 1997.