Toyotas Prius: The Debate Continues – Pogue’s Posts – Technology – New York Times Blog
For example, the Prius was NOT designed to have good gas mileage. The original thrust of the Prius design within Toyota was to leapfrog ALL current and pending emissions legislation. The increased gas mileage was a freebie. As you pointed out, it also has the best reliability ratings in the Consumer Reports guide.
Engineering? All other cars have transmissions, either manual or automatic, that are mechanical monstrosities. The equivalent unit in the Prius (called the Power Split Device) will fit in the palm or your hand and has only 21 moving parts, with no clutches, belts, torque converters, or any other kind of slip component. All three motors are directly connected to the wheels at all times. Want to back up? No gear changes— just spin the motors in reverse. Simple. Elegant. Reliable.
How about 100,000 miles between brake pads replacement? The Prius only uses its brake pads for panic stops and stopping under 7 miles per hour. All other braking is done electromagnetically, using the regeneration of electricity to both stop the car and charge the batteries. A win/win situation.
I have been fascinated by the engineering and concept of the Toyota Prius. Appeals very much to my inner tree hugger. Never knew the details above until today!