Mark Jacobson Toyota Answers Your Hybrid Questions:
How do Toyota Hybrid engines work? Hybrid Synergy Drive® is smart technology, telling the car when to
switch between regular gas and electric power and when to combine both for
maximum efficiency, which guarantees a high level of on-road performance
while minimizing fuel consumption and pollution from exhaust gases.
When the gas engine is running, it charges the battery and when the
car brakes, energy that most cars waste as heat lost during braking, is
converted to electricity for the car to use later.
Do hybrid batteries ever need to be replaced? Hybrid batteries are designed to last the life of the vehicle. Backed by an 8 year, 100,000 mile warranty, hybrid taxi's have gone well over 250,000 miles on the original battery. The fact of the matter is 99% of the hybrid vehicles we have sold since 2001 have never had their original battery replaced.
Do hybrids last long? Taxi fleets in major US and Canadian cities have been using hybrids for over a decade logging millions of miles, some with over 1,000,000 miles on the odometer. This means you can expect your Toyota hybrid will last a long time as you drive around Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Apex and beyond the North Carolina area!
Are Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) batteries inferior to Lithium Ion (Li Ion batteries)? NiMH works well for hybrid applications that don't see deep charging cycles without the added cost of Li Ion. NiMH chemistry is appropriate for hybrid application.
Are hybrids only good for city driving? While hybrids benefit from engine-shut-off and more EV driving in the city, Toyota's hybrid engines are of an Atkinson cycle design which is more efficient even on the highway than comparable conventional gas engine vehicles . Atkinson cycle design (vs Otto cycle in conventional engines) is more efficient, but lacks low end torque - which when mated to the electric motors of Hybrid Synergy Drive, provide instantaneous low-end torque.
Are hybrids small and underpowered? The Highlander Hybrid is an SUV that can tow with a towing capacity of 3,500 lbs & Camry Hybrid packs 200hp in a mid-size package. Hybrids will be racing in LeMans and have competed in the Newfoundland Targa Rally twice.
Do hybrids require more maintenance? In a hybrid, the engines are off some of the time, the brakes are regenerative, saving pad & rotor life, there is no transmission fluid under load, there are no starters, alternators or belts to be replaced. In fact, much of the hybrid maintenance schedule is nearly identical to a conventionally powered vehicle's maintenance schedule.
What hybrid warranty coverage do I have on my Toyota? Hybrid-related components, including the HV battery, battery control module, hybrid control module and inverter with converter, are covered for 8 years/100,000 miles. The Basic Coverage is 36 months/36,000 miles (all components other than normal wear and maintenance items). Powertrain Coverage is 60 months/60,000 miles, including the engine, transmission/transaxle, front-wheel-drive system and rear-wheel drive. Rust-Through Coverage runs for 60 months/unlimited miles (corrosion perforation of sheet metal).
Do hybrids have expensive components? The e-CVT transmission has fewer components than a traditional automatic transmission and there is only a battery and inverter as extra parts. Batteries are reliable and approx $2500.
Are Hybrid vehicles just a fad? Hybrids have been around for over 10 years now with over 3.3 million sold worldwide. The trend will grow as other manufacturers develop hybrids.
Do hybrid batteries fill up landfills? Hybrid batteries can be dismantled and recycled. Toyota has a battery recycling program in place that recycles over 90% of a used battery
Are hybrids safe to drive? Hybrids are as safe to drive as comparably equipped gas vehicles. Hybrids cause no greater concern for passengers or rescuers in the event of a collision than non-hybrid vehicles. The batteries are sealed in a protective metal case and insulated from the vehicle body. Toyota locates the battery packs near the rear axle, a location well-protected in the event of a collision. Hybrid vehicles must conform to the same government crash standards as all other passenger vehicles. Additionally, hybrids shroud their battery cables in bright-orange cladding as a warning to emergency workers.
Are competitor hybrids the same as Toyota hybrids? Although almost every manufacturer has a hybrid, our hybrids actually provide suberb fuel efficiency because of the nature of our patented technology (that some other manufacturers even license). Full EV-only driving, engine-start-stop, highly efficient Atkinson cycle engines, regenerative braking, electric motor assist are featured on Toyota's full-hybrids.
Hybrids get great gas mileage, but how much less do they pollute? One important measurement of pollution from cars is the amount of
smog-forming emissions. Toyota hybrids emit 80% less of these than the
average new car.