In October 1997, Prius was released for sale as the first mass producing hybrid car with gasoline engine and electric motor. Keeping its conventional usability, Prius was developed under the aim of harmony of Car and Earth, thinking about saving natural resources and global environment. By putting together the 1.5 liter gasoline engine with VVT-i, designed specially for Prius, and electric motors, it makes it possible to have better fuel consumption rate. Other than that, the engine automatically powers itself off when the car is stopped, and while driving in slow speed it automatically charges its electric energy from kinetic energy to reduct the every loss. With this technology, Prius accomplishes 29.0km/l fuel consumption in 10/15 driving mode. Even though the body as whole is quite compact, the inside is kept with wide space by making the wheel base short and the total height high. Its rear seats can be folded in a 60/40 split to make them flat. For the interior, digital meter is placed at the center of the dash board and all the operation functions are gathered at the center between the front 2 seats to allow drivers to have higher recognition and control. Displays such as audio and clock are standard equipped, shown on display with the energy usage of hybrid system. It is walk-able between the front 2 seats, by using column shift lever and foot parking brake. Transmission is with electic-control AT with variable speed function. There is only FF type for Prius, but with collision safety body (Global Outstanding Assessment), ABS, brake assisting system, Dual SRS Airbag, as its standard equipment.
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