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Bust a few myths about Hybrid

Here's where we answer your frequently asked questions about Hybrid.

1. Do I have to plug the car in to the mains electricity to charge the battery?

No. The hybrid system recharges the battery by recovering energy from the braking system and whilst driving. It is all controlled automatically without any need for input from the driver.

2. Is fuel economy as good as the official figures suggest?

As with conventional vehicles, actual consumption differs depending on the nature of the journey and the driving style. It takes a little practice to get the best from the car, but whilst some have claimed they can't match the official figures, others exceed them.

3. Will the vehicle run with no petrol in the tank?

Only for a short distance, in an emergency. Like a conventional car, it cannot be run without fuel.

4. What happens if the battery goes flat?

The on-board computer makes sure the hybrid/traction battery never discharges completely. There is a conventional battery as well that is treated just like the battery in a non-hybrid.

5. Can I get an electric shock?

In an accident and under maintenance there is no risk of an electric shock. The battery is securely enclosed and if any abnormality is detected the computer will cut off the high voltage and prevent any escaping. There is also a service plug which can be used for manual disconnection.

6. Is there a risk of radiation from the batteries?

No. Our hybrids have World Health Organisation certificates of compliance for non ionizing radiation both inside and outside the vehicle.

7. How long do hybrids last?

They are built to last as long as conventional vehicles.

8. How long does the hybrid battery last?

The battery is designed to last the life of the vehicle. Some US owners have already passed 250,000 miles.

9. Will the hybrid battery lose its strength the more it is used and so reduce the fuel economy?

No, the battery will maintain sufficient energy storage for its lifetime. Even frequent use of electric-only mode will have no adverse effect.

10. How do we know hybrid technology is reliable when it is so new?

Toyota launched the first Prius to the public almost twenty years ago, and have since sold over 9 million hybrids. They have proved just as reliable as conventional vehicles.

11. Is the hybrid really environmentally friendly when you take the entire life cycle of the vehicle into account?

Over its entire life cycle from production to disposal, the Toyota hybrids have a lower impact on the environment than conventional vehicles. The majority of emissions do come from fuel used in driving, so emitting 43% less CO2 than equivalent petrol engined cars and 47% less NOx than diesels quickly compensates for the limited amount of extra energy used in manufacture.

12. What happens to the batteries when the car is eventually disposed of?

A free recycling system is in place for all the batteries we produce. They are processed at purpose built plants, the nickel-iron for example being recycled into stainless steel. The Prius, for example, is now 95% recyclable.

13. How does Toyota hybrid compare with 'clean diesel' technology?

Hybrid significantly reduces NOx and CO2 emissions and offers improved fuel economy. No current diesel can offer these three advantages to the same extent.

14. Will different transmissions be available with Hybrid?

No, the current automatic transmission, a unique version of E-CVT, is an essential component of the Hybrid.

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