The 2004 Toyota Prius, the second generation of the automaker's gas-electric hybrid, made its worldwide debut on April 16 at the 2003 New York Auto Show. The all-new model will feature the new Hybrid Synergy Drive system, which Toyota said will incease fuel economy by 15 percent, from the mid 40s (mpg) to the low 50s. The new Prius will also produce 30 percent fewer tailpipe emissions than the current model. The 2004 model will be certified as a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV) for tailpipe emissions in California and those states adopting California standards. According to Toyota, the Hybrid Synergy Drive has a 50 percent more powerful 50-kilowatt drive-motor operating at up to 500 volts. This increased voltage and power is enabled by a newly adopted high-voltage power converter. Additionally, the generator in the new Prius has a higher peak operating speed that increases electric-mode operation in city and freeway slow-and-go operation. The automaker said Hybrid Synergy Drive will also improve acceleration performance from the mid-12-second range to the mid-10-second range. The 2004 Prius will also feature increased interior space, moving from a compact to the midsize class.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials