Another cool idea from the makers of the Prius: sun-powered coolers. Toyota redefines the sunroof as it plans to add one to the top of the 2010 Toyota Prius.
Beginning June, Aussies can drive off with new third-generation gear from the world's largest seller of fuel-electric hybrids, promising greater mileage and performance than before.
The solar panel generates enough electricity to operate a circulation fan, which keeps the car cool when it's parked, and the fan can be turned on via remote control, meaning hot air can be pumped out before anyone enters the Prius. The solar panels save the fuel that would have gone into improving creature comforts inside the cabin.
Several improvements mark the 2010 Prius from last year's predecessor, such as the petrol engine's and the electric motor's size. Both have been made bigger, Toyota having found that bigger engines don't take as much fuel to run the car. 0 to 100 km/h acceleration time has been cut by one tick to 9.9 seconds, nearly as fast as the Camry, another of Toyota's best-sellers. Further improvements in the car's profile and undercarriage shape have brought the drag coefficient to only 0.25.
The Prius series debuted a decade ago with 41 mpg, but the upcoming third-generation redesigned Prius now packs 50 mpg, perfect for the day that petrol prices head north again.
The 2010 Prius is expected to sell at the $40,000 level. Once demand and production returns, around 400,000 units are expected to be made every year, to be sold worldwide.