First Nürburgring record for fuel economy

Toyota Prius plug-in sets first Nürburgring record for fuel economy

Nürburgring, the go to location when it comes to proving performance for manufacturers latest models has now been given an additional use as it is now not only about miles per hour but miles per gallon. Toyota have turned tradition on its head by taking its Prius Plug-in hybrid to the track and setting out not to show how fast it can go but just how little fuel it can use on single lap.

With no clever technical trickery or tweaks, Toyota placed a genuine real world Toyota Prius Plug-in on the track and drove the car around the track to match day to day driving demands placed on a car. In theory, the distance could be covered without a drop of petrol being used.

Tasked with the driving duties was Motoring journalist and Japanese car expert Joe Clifford. In dry, breezy conditions he recorded 698mpg, completing his lap in 20 minutes and 59 seconds. These figures far strip out the combined cycle figure of 134mpg; in fact the Toyota used less than five tablespoons of fuel to do the job.

Toyota’s full hybrid system

The technology that makes all of this possible is the Toyota full hybrid system which matches the 1.8 litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with a compact, rechargeable lithium-ion battery. It’s the batteries energy density and performance that means the car can be driven further and at higher speeds on electric power alone than the standard Prius.

Clifford said: “We used no special tricks for this test. We simply took a fully charged car, fitted it with low rolling resistance tyres and drove the lap, among all the other public drivers taking the opportunity to experience the challenge of the Nürburgring.”

Prius Plug-in’s achievement adds to the history of Toyota’s Nürburgring success, including lap records for its EV P001 and P002 electric vehicles. More importantly, this latest test relates directly to what customers might experience with their own vehicle in day-to-day journeys. In a neat link to the record-breaking exploits of the EV P002, the battery cells from that car were used to power up the Prius Plug-in, via Toyota Motorsports’ charging truck.

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