Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Penn State Students Make Prius Pretty

From the Penn State News...

Penn State graphic design student Kelsey Stark designed this vehicle wrap for a Toyota Prius as part of the Campus and Community Sustainability Expo.  Image: Penn State

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Three new vehicles from Penn State Transportation Services are sporting a look that illustrates a commitment to sustainability, thanks to the creativity of Penn State graphic design students.
At the Campus and Community Sustainability Expo, held on April 25 at the State College Borough Building, three Prius compressed natural gas (CNG) cars were unveiled, each featuring a vehicle wrap designed by the students. 
Sponsored by State College Borough and the Sustainable Communities Collaborative, the expo provided teams of Penn State students an opportunity to share their work on projects that support sustainability in the Centre region. More than 200 students across eight fields of study participated.
If you ever done this, it's lot more difficult than you might think.
Loshaj said the most challenging part of the project was to create flat designs that would eventually be wrapped around the vehicle.
“We had to not only be aware of the design aesthetically but also how it interacted with the various areas of the vehicle, such as door handles and the outer linings of doors and hoods,” said Loshaj. 
No doubt, dude, no doubt.

Pretty quiet week so far. But make no mistake, we're watching.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Toyota Launching Two New Plug-In Hybrids...In China

From Autoevolution...
Toyota will launch two plug-in hybrid vehicles in the near future. The catch is that both models will be sold in China, at least in the initial stage. Here’s the manufacturer’s take on the matter:

"With plug-in hybrids representing the new benchmark for environmentally-friendly vehicles in China, the mass-market Corolla and Levin plug-in hybrid models will be launched in 2018."
Now you're saying, "Levin", what the hell is that? Well, it depends. I can't find exactly the Chinese Levin will be but Toyota has used Levin for several different things in different places over the years. It was a trim level of Corolla for awhile. It was the name for the Auris in Australia, for awhile. I can say that Levin means "lightning" in Old English. So, there, you learned something.

I'll leave you with the close of the article...
Why is Toyota reluctant to bring these two tree-hugging babies in the United States? The answer to that question is as simple as it can be: it isn’t worth the effort because the Chinese government offers better purchasing incentives for plug-in hybrids. To qualify for the incentives Toyota aims for in the Middle Kingdom, a plug-in hybrid vehicle has to run on electricity for at least 50 kilometers (31 miles).
Care to guess how much the Prius Prime can go without firing up its internal combustion engine? 22 miles or 35.4 kilometers. As if that weren’t shameful enough, the Ioniq Plug-In Hybrid trumps the Prius Prime with 31 miles (50 kilometers) of all-electric range. Dearest Toyota, why can’t you put a little more effort into developing better eco-friendly vehicles for the North American market? Signed, everyone.
 One answer, they're selling a shitload of Tundras and Tacomas and making bank on those.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Racing (Look) Prius

Well, not so much a racing Prius as there are no mechanical mods to the power train. It's still the same 4G Prius underneath but you can look like a race car...soon.

Photos from Wald International.

I Got Nuthin'

Honestly, sometimes these art projects excite and intrigue and other times I'm left with the feeling that, "well, we had this budget and if we didn't spend it we lose it next year so..."

I'm sure there are as many different viewpoints as there are viewers.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I Click So You Don't Have To

There are tons of these sites out there. With one or two sentences seemingly strung together by a bot or a five year old and one headline with enough keywords to choke most Google algorithms, well, you get the idea.

And yes, the only reason I clicked was to see what could inspire a headline so insipid as this.

And no, no link. Because.

New Prius Gets Strong Safety Rating In Europe

The new fourth generation Prius scored a five star safety rating by the EU agency in charge of testing vehicles, the NCAP, despite additional criteria added this year.
...the Prius’ standard-fit safety equipment ensured that it achieved an impressive 85% score for safety assistance, which supplemented an impressive 92% score for adult occupant protection.
Source here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A Totally Different Kind of Prius Caravan

Who knew?
With a maximum towing capacity of 725 kg (1,598 lbs), the new-gen Prius has been engineered to tow a trailer or light caravan, for the first time in its 19-year history.

Its new ability has been made possible thanks to heat management measures introduced in its main electric motor-generator and differential. This, Toyota hopes, will endear the popular hybrid with its extended practicality to appeal to a wider range of customers. 

Those interested in the new Prius' towing capability will be able to equip the car with towing hitches and wiring systems from the automaker's official range of accessories, which are said to be "simple and easy to operate, with clear red and green indicators to show when a secure connection has been made". Most of the hardware is concealed behind the lower lip of the rear bumper and when the towing arm is not needed, it can be unclipped and stored in a special bag, in the boot. 

Toyota's announcement on the hybrid's towing ability comes right after Euro NCAP and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) have proved its safety, awarding it with 5 stars and Top Safety Pick Plus ratings, respectively. In the US, customers can buy the 2016 Prius from $24,200, while in the United Kingdom, it starts from £23,295 ($33,400). 
Obviously this was written for the UK market. I'm looking into this to see if it also applies here.

So I asked Toyota USA about this and this was there response...
"There is no Prius-specific Genuine Toyota Accessories towing hitch and/or wiring system available to US market consumers. As to whether or not this optional towing setup is UK- or EU-only, we cannot comment, nor can we comment on the Prius’ European specifications or capabilities."
We thank Toyota to taking the time to respond to our inquiry.