Toyota Prius/FAQ

Toyota Prius - Contents

This page is a repository of frequently asked questions about the Toyota Prius with major contribution from members of PriusChat.

OverviewEdit

Official Toyota LinksEdit

2006 Model YearEdit

The picture is of the Japanese Prius with the new badge above the side-blinkers. Shipping was also increased $40 for 2006, making the total increase $490.
Although not shown on the chart Magnetic Gray will be available for the Prius in May 2006.

Extended WarrantyEdit

Fuel EconomyEdit

From FuelEconomy.gov - 2006 Model Year Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fuel Economy:

EPA Fuel Economy
  • Fuel Type - Regular Gasoline
  • MPG (city) - 60
  • MPG (highway) - 51
  • MPG (combined) - 55

All miles-per-gallon figures are based on standards set in 1972-1976 and accurate standards will be available in cars of 2008 and beyond.

EPA Fuel Economics
  • Cost to Drive 25 Miles $1.35
  • Fuel to Drive 25 Miles 0.45 gal
  • Cost of a Fill-up $35.70
  • Miles on a Tank 589 miles
  • Tank Size 11.9 gal
  • Annual Fuel Cost* $909

*Based on 15000 annual miles and a fuel price of $ 3.00 per gallon.

Fill-up cost and the distance you can travel on a tank are calculated based on the combined MPG and the assumption that you will re-fuel when your tank is 10% full.

EmissionsEdit

Hybrid Electric Vehicle Testing Data and Results-Toyota Prius

SpecificationsEdit

From FuelEconomy.gov - 2006 Model Year Alternative Fuel Vehicle Fuel Economy:

  • Engine (Atkinson cycle type) - 1.5 liters - 76 hp - Torque 82 ft/lb
  • Electric motor - 67 hp - Torque 295 ft/lb
  • Cylinders - 4
  • Transmission - Automatic (fully variable gear ratios)
  • Drive - Front-wheel drive
  • Turbocharger - no
  • Supercharger - no
  • Passenger Volume - 96 ft3 (HB)
  • Luggage Volume - 16 ft3 (HB)
  • Engine Characteristics - HEV

SafetyEdit

NHTSA.DOT.gov - NHTSA Crash Test Ratings

Comparisons With Other HybridsEdit

FuelEconomy.gov - Compare Hybrids Side by Side

InsideEdit

Amber snowflake icon
Page 116 of the 2005 Owner's Manual. On the forward dash, this light flashes 3-times and will stay on when the outside ambient temperature is below +3°C (+37°F). It serves as a reminder that the road may be icy. There is no known way to disable it, although black electrical tape works well to hide it. Starting with the 2006 model year, the dash icon has been removed. Instead, a brief message appears on the MFD when the temperature reaches +3°C (+37°F).
Vent in USA-passenger-side rear seatback
Page 16 of the 2005 Owner's Manual. This is the fan-assisted air inlet for the vehicle hybrid battery cooling system. Do not block this vent.
Glove box light
This light is on whenever the headlights are on; it does not turn off with the glove box closed. This is normal. Power use is negligible because it is an LED.

AudioEdit

  • Basic facts
  • Chris Dragon's dash dissembly guide
  • Sparky's speaker replacement guide
iPod connectivity
The VAIStech SoundLinQ SLI provides a complete AUX input solution through the Apple iPod's dock-connector that's compatible with the non-JBL and JBL audio system. By selecting MiniDisc mode, the SLI will not conflict with an internal or external cd-changer that's already connected.
JBL
XM radio
  • Eddie Bell's installation guide

BluetoothEdit

Prius models with navigation have a Bluetooth handsfree kit for cell phones, allowing you to use the speakers and microphone already in the car as a speakerphone with compatible phones.

Heating and CoolingEdit

Since the 2004 model year, the Prius has electric air conditioning that does not need the engine to remain running. However, the air conditioning does present a drain on the battery, so the engine will run more often with it on or set colder than if it were off or set warmer.
The majority of the heat comes from the engine, like any traditional car. In cold weather, the engine will run longer and more often. Turning the temperature down helps some. There is also an electric heater which helps warm the car. The electric heater can be brought into play by adjusting the desired cabin temperature to "Hi" (that's one notch above 85 degrees). Like most vehicles, the Prius will heat up faster when driven and there is no need to allow the car to idle to warm up before driving.

Navigation SystemEdit

Starting in the 2006 model and in any upgrade from older GPS software to version 6.1, it is no longer possible to override the "greying out" of the function buttons while the car is in motion. This means that while the car is moving, your passenger cannot input a destination address. Previous to this, there was an override function available.

The link below has information on pre-2005/V6.1 units, but is missing any information for later units.

The voice command can be disabled, as shown in the following link, but there is still a delay equal in length to the original voice command, so disabling it does not completely solve the problem. Also, some voice preambles reportedly remain even after disabling the main preamble.

SeatsEdit

Many people have reported that the seats in the Prius are hard and uncomfortable.
If comfort is a priority for you, make sure you take a test drive or two before deciding to buy.
US version of the Prius does not have height-adjustable driver seats;
European and Asian versions do.

OutsideEdit

Fuel SystemEdit

Fuel Type
The Prius is designed to run on unleaded 87 octane fuel (85 in high altitudes) (R+M)/2 method [1]; there is no advantage to using higher-grade fuel.
The FTC says:

In most cases, using a higher octane gasoline than your owner's manual recommends offers absolutely no benefit. It won't make your car perform better, go faster, get better mileage or run cleaner.

Octane is the measure of a fuel's resistance to autoignition (detonation or pre-ignition) that can occur as the fuel/air mixture is compressed. Engines with higher compression ratios generally require higher antiknock index fuel, while lower-compression engines safely burn regular-grade gasoline. Modern engines frequently incorporate piezoelectric sensors that detect pre-ignition (knocking) and quell it by retarding the spark timing, which can prevent engine damage but usually reduces performance and efficiency. [2] [3]
Fuel Tank/Gauge
The North American Prius uses a rubber bladder system besides a charcoal filter for gas vapor emissions control. However, the rubber is temperature sensitive and will shrink/stiffen in cooler weather lowering the tank capacity from the default 11.9 gallons, and contributing to a wildly inconsistent fuel gauge. This is similar to the "memory" in NiCad batteries. Slow filling of the tank with careful "burping" of the fuel inlet past the first "click-off", without spilling, will stretch the bladder back out and restore the original tank capacity.
Page 206; The tank is 45L (11.9 gal., 9.9 Imp.gal) and decreases by 5L (1.3 gal., 1.1 Imp.gal) @ -10°C/14°F.
MPG display on the Multi-Function Display (MFD)
The numbers shown on the Consumption screen are the instantaneous values measured from the fuel-flow through the fuel-injectors. On the 2005 model, the average MPG will reset if the tank is refilled with more than 3? gallons of gas so allowing only tank MPG. On the 2006 model it will not reset until the reset button has been pressed thus allowing lifetime MPG.

TiresEdit

2004-2006 HSD Prius [4]

Goodyear Integrity x 4

  • 185/65 R15 (855 revs per mile)
  • 15" OEM wheels (rims) are 6.45kg (14.2lbs)
  • 16" OEM wheels (rims) are 6.90kg (15.2lbs)
  • Plus Sizing:
    • plus 0 (R15): 195/60 (+1.0% fast)
    • plus 1 (R16): 195/55 (+0.1% fast), 215/50 (0% exact match)
    • plus 2 (R17): 195/50 (-0.9% slow), 205/45 (+0.8% fast), 215/45 (-0.6% slow)
      not recommended due to MPG loss by increased unsprung weight and rolling resistance

Tires without "Low Rolling Resistance" (LRR) will negatively effect gas mileage by as much as 6mpg.

Driving TechniquesEdit

ModificationsEdit

ElectronicEdit

Beeps
The beeps you hear from making selections on the touchscreen can not be disabled in models prior to 2005(?).
EV Button Installation
The EV button, present on Prius models outside of North America, allows the vehicle to travel a short distance on battery power alone (given conditions such as sufficient charge and battery temperature).
Plug-in Conversions
The Prius is a preferential candidate for plug-in in conversions due to availability of model, the ease of the EV Button mod as well as a range of conversions available.

PhysicalEdit

Sunroof/Moonroof
The Prius has an aerodynamically curved roofline different from other vehicles. This generally prevents a cookie-cutter installation of one.

ShoppingEdit

BT Tech
BT Tech Chassis Stiffening Plate
[5]
BT Tech Prius Tower Strut Brace
[6]
BT Tech Prius Skid Plate
Sigma Automotive
Almost every Japanese Domestic Model (JDM) OE part available here for ordering
Toyota Prius For Sale and Auction
Toyota Prius cars and parts for sale and auction, new listings HOURLY!

IncentivesEdit

GovernmentEdit


2006 Federal Tax CreditEdit

The 2006 federal income tax credit for the Toyota Prius was$1575 for purchases until March 31, 2007.

Purchases from January 1, 2006 through September 30, 2006 qualified for the full $3150 credit.
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ACEEE.org
  • News Release - New Light-Duty Hybrid and Diesel Tax Credits for Consumers Estimated by ACEEE
  • Estimates of tax credits for 31 hybrid and diesel cars and light trucks
This credit is intended to offset the cost of a car being outfitted with hybrid technology.
Individuals can claim the credit for each vehicle that they purchase.
Since this is a tax credit your tax bill is reduced dollar for dollar, it will not reduce your tax bill below your alternative minimum tax.
Earned income credit and additional child tax credit are the only refundable credits (you can get back more than your tax liability if you qualify for these credits).
If your tax liability is less than the hybrid tax credit, it will reduce your tax liability to $0 but you will receive none of the remainder of the credit nor can it be carried over to the next tax year.
Alternative Minimum Tax
Itemized deductions that are allowed for AMT are:
  • mortgage interest for purchase or remodeling of your home
  • medical/dental expenses above 10% of AGI
  • charitable gifts
  • casualty and theft losses
  • some miscellaneous deductions
Some itemized deductions that are not allowed for AMT are:
  • state and local income taxes
  • real and personal property taxes
  • loan interest not related to buying or improving your home
AMT allows fewer itemized deductions than the regular tax calculation. However, the AMT exemption is larger than the personal exemption.
Regular taxable income is taxed at 10%, 15%, 25%, 28%, 31%, and 35% in a progressive manner. Income subject to AMT is taxed at 26% and 28%, also progressive.
AMT used to be for the richest people, but it's affecting an increasing number of the middle class. A lot of people seem to think that they will get the full $3150 tax credit by buying a Prius in early 2006. It's better to crunch the numbers now and find out for sure than to get a nasty surprise in April 2007.
CNN Money - Alternative Minimum Tax 101
AMT Calculation
Phase-out of the hybrid tax credit
ASE.org - Alliance to Save Energy - Phase-out of the hybrid tax credit
In short, the period for the full hybrid vehicle tax credit lasts at least through the second quarter of 2006.
  • The date you take possession of the vehicle (not the order date) is the applicable date for purposes of the tax credit.
  • The 60,000 hybrid vehicle threshhold includes all models the manufacture sells after December 31, 2005.
The 60k hybrid vehicles limit was reached by Toytoa in the second quarter of 2006, so the tax credit will follow the following schedule:
(2006Q1) - 100% $3150
(2006Q2) - 100% $3150
(2006Q3) - 100% $3150
(2006Q4) - 50% $1575
(2007Q1) - 50% $1575
(2007Q2) - 25% $787.50
(2007Q3) - 25% $787.50
Energy Policy Act of 2005
ne.DOE.gov - Energy Policy Act of 2005
Transcribed from Energy Policy Act of 2005
“(f) Limitation on Number of New Qualified Hybrid and Advanced Lean-Burn Technology Vehicles Eligible for Credit.--
“(1) In general.—In the case of a qualified vehicle sold during the phaseout period, only the applicable percentage of the credit otherwise allowable under subsection (c) or (d) shall be allowed.
“(2) Phaseout period.—For purposes of this subsection, the phaseout period is the period beginning with the second calendar quarter following the calendar quarter which includes the first date on which the number of qualified vehicles manufactured by the manufacturer of the vehicle referred to in paragraph (1) sold for use in the United States after December 31, 2005, is at least 60,000.
“(3) Applicable percentage.—For purposes of paragraph (1), the applicable percentage is—
“(A) 50 percent for the first 2 calendar quarters of the phaseout period,
“(B) 25 percent for the 3d and 4th calendar quarters of the phaseout period, and
“(C) 0 percent for each calendar quarter thereafter.
2006 Tax Credit Strategy, How to get your $ faster

2005 Federal Tax DeductionEdit

A deduction of $2000 was in effect until the end of 2005

Under the current law, those in the top tax bracket would realize a maximum tax savings of $700 if they purchase a hybrid vehicle before January 01, 2006.

  • How to Claim a Federal Tax Deduction
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires that purchasers retain normal proof of purchase documentation as well as the Toyota Certification letter and Internal Revenue Service Acknowledgement letter as substantiation for the deduction.
  • Federal Tax Deduction Guidelines
The purchase of a new Prius (model years 2001 - 2005) must be completed on or before December 31, 2005, for the $2000 deduction.

Before using this important federal tax deduction on your tax return, please check with your tax advisor for possible additional state tax benefits and for any changes in the federal tax laws that might have occurred.

The federal tax deduction is not available for Prius lessees or purchasers of used Prius vehicles. To the extent applicable, this deduction is available to Prius purchasers regardless of whether you itemize deductions on your federal income tax return. Your overall federal tax benefit will depend on your individual tax situation, particularly if you claim depreciation deductions on your Prius. See your tax advisor for more details.


HOV Lane AccessEdit

California

Bay Area: from MercuryNews.com - Hybrid perks and more

  • HOV-lane access. As of early October, the DMV had issued about 27,000 carpool-access stickers to drivers of the Prius, Civic and Insight. The program will end once 75,000 permits are issued. Bay Area residents must apply for a FasTrak transponder. The state legislation requires a minimum of 45 mpg, so the Prius, Civic and older models of the Insight are eligible.
  • Santa Clara County - No Expressway Access (includes link to the Mercury News Mr Roadshow article): Loophole in the law, the carpool stickers do not apply to all diamond lanes. This refers to some carpool lanes Santa Clara County, not sure if it's the same in other counties.
New York
  • Pending - assembly.state.ny.us - A04278 Provides that operators of hybrid vehicles shall be permitted to travel in high occupancy vehicle lanes regardless of the number of passengers in such vehicle.

LocalEdit

New York’s Clean Pass Program - [7] New York’s DMV Clean Pass Info. - [8]

Clean Pass is an innovative program that will allow eligible low-emission, energy-efficient vehicles to use the 40-mile Long Island Expressway High Occupancy Vehicle (LIE/HOV) lanes beginning March 1st, regardless of the number of occupants in the vehicle. The program will result in an estimated reduction of 6,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions and savings in excess of 500,000 gallons of gasoline You can apply by phone calling the State Department of Motor Vehicles at 1 (518) 486-9786, menu option 7, between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Based on certain federal emission and fuel economy standards, eligible vehicles include the Toyota Prius Hybrid, model year 2001-2006; the Honda Civic Hybrid, model year 2003-2006; and the Honda Insight Hybrid, model year 2000-2004.

New York State Thruway Authority: E-ZPass Green Pass Discount Plan - [9]

Offers a special 10% discount to Hybrid vehicles getting at least 45 miles to the gallon and meeting the California Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV)or pre-model year 2005 hybrid vehicles which are certified to the California Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) standard.
The following is a list of currently eligible vehicles*:
** Note - Honda Insights - model years 2005-2006 do not meet the eligibility criteria because they do not meet California Air Resources Board SULEV emission requirements.

Complete List - see http://www.whybuyhybrid.com/hybrid-buying-incentives.htm#States

Private SectorEdit

HybridCars.com - Corporate Incentives
- Helping Employees Into Hybrids
Mercury News - Hybrid perks and more

Purchasing ToolsEdit

Buyers GuidesEdit

MercuryNews.com - 2006 hybrid buyers guide

Taking Delivery of Your PriusEdit

Prius Pick-up Checklist

GlossaryEdit

Acronyms and Abbreviations Glossary

More InformationEdit

How Hybrids WorkEdit

Last modified on 13 March 2014, at 00:01