The new Toyota Prius cleanly took the first ever Environmental Award at the British International Motor Show.
The IBCAM British Steel Auto Design Awards judges had no difficulty in choosing the Prius over a wide range of new eco cars, seeing it as the most competent execution of the hybrid principle, which combines petrol and battery power sources. This halves fuel consumption and reduces emissions to one tenth of current legislative levels.
David Burnicle, President of IBCAM and one of the judges, said: ‘The Prius is an excellent example of Toyota’s electrical and mechanical engineers working together to address one of the most complex challenges faced by the global car industry how to control this type of powertrain. Some 70% of Toyota’s drivetrain engineering effort went into developing appropriate electronic software.’
World leading product designer Richard Seymour added: ‘Many environmentalists have long seen the electric vehicle as the holy grail and the internal combustion engine an unnecessary evil. But there are many roads to a better, cleaner future. Hybrid technology as demonstrated by the Prius is an effective solution in the drive for more environmentally friendly cars.’
Graham Smith, managing director of Toyota GB, said: ‘I am delighted Prius’ advanced technology has been recognised by this award. Prius is the world’s first and so far only production hybrid car. It goes on sale to UK buyers in 2000.’
The Jaguar S-Type drove off with the coveted ‘Car of the Show’ award. The presentation of the award to Jaguar was the highlight of the prestigious gala dinner and awards ceremony, which rewards engineering excellence. Richard Seymour commented: ‘The challenge for today’s designers is how to deal with the explosive growth of electronic control and IT systems. For example, drivers shouldn’t have to spend so much of their time trying to navigate the control systems when they should be concentrating on the road, and the S-Type’s voice activated control system is one way in which this type of issue can be successfully addressed.’