Do so and the Corolla glides away smoothly and serenely, its information display confirming that the flow of power to the wheels is coming solely from the battery. Ask a bit more of the powertrain and the petrol engine will join in – it announces itself with a distant ‘thrum’ but the actual transition to petrol-powered drive is as good as imperceptible; once again, the information display most obviously gives the game away.
If you want to drive on electric power for as long as possible, then switching to EV mode keeps the system drawing on the battery pack, rather than the fuel tank, for forward propulsion – providing there’s enough remaining charge. Once again a light-footed approach is required to keep you in EV mode for as long as the battery pack’s charge will allow. Advances in Toyota’s hybrid technology mean the Corolla Hybrid could be eased up to at least 50mph in EV mode on a flat road, although the battery’s capacity means such a party trick can’t be performed for long.
Maintaining your momentum is key to efficient progress, whatever drive mode you’re in. Fluctuations in speed sap energy, and while some of that deceleration can be recouped via the regenerative braking system, avoiding slowing in the first place, safety permitting, of course, is preferable. It’s here that the driver’s eyes and situational awareness play such a crucial role: reading the traffic flow and road conditions should take precedence over monitoring the power flow on your information display.