At the end of last September, you may have noticed an unusually slow race through the streets of Montreal. It was the 6th edition of the " Rallye Vert de Montréal " (Montreal Green Rally), a race featuring models that demonstrate the possibilities of cars of the future. This race is not based on speed, as the vehicles run at normal operating speeds, but rather consumption and efficiency and it's a direct way to teach the public about the emerging technologies of alternative mobility. It consists of a combination of elements. For example, the time to travel a given distance in relation to fuel consumption, based on the registered vehicle's classification of category and function. The rally is restricted to vehicles using alternative fuels and energy.
Last year, the Toyota Prius PHV (Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle) won top honours in several categories and it will try to repeat the feat at the 14th Monte Carlo New Energy Rally. Held from March 21st to 23rd, the rally is the first event of the 2013 season for the FIA Alternative Energies Cup. Organized by the Automobile Club of Monaco, this event brings together a hundred competitors who will drive about 1000 kilometres in a three day period. This event allows manufacturers to test the limits of their future vehicles against those of their market competitors.
Since this segment is becoming increasingly competitive, The Toyota Prius PHV will have it's work cut out for it in Monte Carlo. On top of competing with models that are well known in America (Leaf, Focus Electric, i-MiEV etc), it will have to deal with models from Peugeot, Citroën, Renault and others. Many of these models are similar to each other, but since the market is young, the badge on a car is very important.
The Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive, the collection of hybrid technologies developed by Toyota and powering it's Prius has a decade of experience in hybrids. The HSD technology creates a full hybrid vehicle, allowing it to run entirely on it's electric motor, as opposed to most other brands of hybrids, considered "mild hybrids" because they cannot. The PHV runs on the same basic principles as those of the original, but also has the ability to plug the vehicle into a power outlet to charge the battery. It can travel on it's own steam up to about 25 km on battery alone before switching to hybrid mode. The Prius PHV's fuel consumption is estimated at 3.8 litres/100 km.
By Linda Aylesworth - autoExpert.ca