by Ken Zino
2007 Toyota 1/X Concept
2007 Toyota 1/X ConceptEnlarge Photo
The Toyota Prius debuted at
In order to accomplish the improvements, the packaging is clever, complicated, and expensive. The power unit is located beneath the rear seat for what is called a mid-ship, rear-wheel-drive configuration. The unit-body is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic that is light yet strong enough to provide occupant crash protection.
The 1/X also differs from the Prius in that it’s a plug-in hybrid, PHEV, allowing the battery pack to be recharged by plugging it into a recharging station. The prototype PHEV system works the same as the Prius, switching from electric motor only mode, to gas-engine only, to a combined gas-electric operation. A regenerative braking system helps keep the battery charged.
The alleged advantage is that the PHEV's prototype battery pack is capable of storing higher levels of electricity, supplied by "plugging into the grid" for recharging. Since the 1/X has significantly more electric power in reserve, the vehicle is capable of operating in pure-electric mode for longer periods of time and at much higher speeds than the current Prius.
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