First of all, a HUGE thank you to Toyota of Long Beach20 minutes ago
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As the Prius reached ten years of being available in the US market, in February 2011 Consumer Reports examined the lifetime and replacement cost of the Prius battery. The magazine tested a 2002 Toyota Prius with over 200,000 miles on it, and compared the results to the nearly identical 2001 Prius with 2,000 miles tested by Consumer Reports 10 years before. The comparison showed little difference in performance when tested for fuel economy and acceleration. Overall fuel economy of the 2001 model was 40.6 miles per US gallon (5.79 L/100 km; 48.8 mpg‑imp) while the 2002 Prius with high mileage delivered 40.4 miles per US gallon (5.82 L/100 km; 48.5 mpg‑imp). The magazine concluded that the effectiveness of the battery has not degraded over the long run. The cost of replacing the first generation battery varies between US$2,200 and US$2,600 from a Toyota dealer, but low-use units from salvage yards are available for around US$500. One study indicates it may be worthwhile to rebuild batteries using good blades from defective used batteries.
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We also drove both cars on a flat but snow-covered road with an obstacle course that required a quick right-left S-turn. When we tried the maneuver in the front-drive Prius, its front tires were easily overwhelmed when we accelerated and steered at the same time. Because of that, it was hard to keep the car from running wide. With AWD-e, there was still some squirming through the course, but it was far more composed and easy to drive.
Available Teen Driver offers an industry-first in-vehicle report card to help parents encourage better driving habits. The in-vehicle report card is visible on the available Chevrolet Infotainment 3 System† display. This built-in Teen Driver technology (if equipped) can help parents coach new drivers to become better drivers even when you are not in the car.
In May 2011 Toyota introduced the Prius α (alpha) in Japan, which is available in a five-seat, two-row model and a seven-seat, three-row model, the latter's third row enabled by a space-saving lithium-ion drive battery in the center console. The five-seat model uses a NiMH battery pack. The Alpha is the basis for the five-seat Prius v launched in North America in October 2011 with a nickel-metal hydride battery pack similar to the 2010 model year Prius, and with two rows of seats to accommodate five passengers. The European and Japanese versions are offered with a lithium-ion battery, with three rows of seats with accommodations for seven passengers. However, the seven passenger seating on the Prius v is not available on North American Prius v models. The European version, named Prius+ (plus), began deliveries in June 2012. Global sales totaled 671,200 units as of January 2017. Japan is the leading market with 446,400 units sold, followed by North America with 173,100 units, and Europe with 43,800, all through January 2017.
The Prius's hybrid powertrain is not capable of delivering thrilling or even amusing acceleration. Its lethargy can't be given a free pass, as other competitors prove that acceptable performance need not be sacrificed in the pursuit of world-beating fuel economy. The all-wheel-drive versions feature an electric motor that functions separately from the hybrid system and powers the rear wheels.
Among the new standard features of the Prius, Toyota introduced three optional user-selectable driving modes: EV mode for electric-only low-speed operation, Eco mode for best fuel efficiency, and Power mode for better performance. Optional features included the solar-PV roof panels to help cool the cabin interior in summer heat, Intelligent Parking Assist and Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
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Rising oil prices caused by the Arab Spring led to increased sales of the Prius in the first quarter of 2011, but the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami led to a production stoppage. Production restarted several days later, but output was hindered due to shortages from parts suppliers. Nevertheless, during the 2011 Japanese fiscal year (1 April 2011 through 31 March 2012), the Prius family sold 310,484 units, including sales of the Prius α, launched in May 2011, and the Toyota Aqua, launched in December, allowing the Prius brand to become the best-selling vehicle in Japan for the third-consecutive year.
The Second Generation Prius contains a 1.310 kWh battery, composed of 28 modules. Each battery module is made of 6 individual 1.2 V 6.5 Ah Prismatic NiMH cells in series forming a 7.2 V 6.5 Ah module with 46 Wh/kg energy density and 1.3 kW/kg output power density. Each module contains an integrated charge controller and relay. These modules are connected 28 in series to form a 201.6 V 6.5 Ah battery (traction battery), also known as the energy storage system. The computer controlled charge controller and battery management computer systems keep this battery between 38% and 82% state of charge, with a tendency to keep the average state of charge around 60%. By shallow cycling the battery only a small portion of its net available energy storage capacity is available for use (approximately 400 Wh) by the hybrid drive system, but the shallow computer controlled cycling dramatically improves the cycle life, thermal management control, and net long term calendar life of the battery. Active cooling of this battery is achieved by a blower motor and air ducting, while passive thermal management was accomplished through the metal case design.
The large number of Prius-owning progressive celebrities in 2002 prompted The Washington Post to dub hybrids "Hollywood's latest politically correct status symbol". Conservatives called "Prius Patriots" also drive the cars because they want to contribute to reducing US dependence on foreign oil. A 2007 San Francisco Chronicle article said "Prius Progressives" were becoming an archetype, with American conservative commentator Rush Limbaugh opining that "these liberals think they're ahead of the game on these things, and they're just suckers".