Toyota Claims Arctic Performance From Prius Nickel Battery

Toyota is claiming to have cracked the extreme cold weather problem with BEVs by employing an entirely different battery construction to the usual lithium-ion items.

It says the 2020 Toyota Prius will use a nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) battery on the all-wheel-drive version in a bid to preserve performance in near Artic conditions.

A Ni-MH battery uses hydrogen to store energy, rather than the carbon and lithium found in lithium-ion batteries. The carmaker says Ni-MH batteries are cheaper to produce and work in extreme temperatures, both hot and cold. However, they are also heavier than the equivalent lithium-ion batteries and are less durable, with total capacity reducing at a quicker pace than with lithium-ion.

The fuel economy of the Prius continues, with 67mpg (56mpg US) on the front-wheel-drive version. The car also continues to use the 1.8-liter four cylinder engine, together with the electric motor on the front axle, generating 119bhp overall.

Its AWD-e sibling has slightly less fuel economy claiming 60mpg (50mpg US). However, Toyota says the ‘e’ stands for electronic, with the system not requiring a center differential or front-to-rear driveshaft, with the ‘intelligent’ on-demand system using a small 5kW motor on the rear axle to give the car a 7bhp boost from a standstill to 6mph and, when needed, to 43mph. The system then runs the car in front-wheel-drive mode as much as possible, in order to deliver the best fuel economy.

The new Prius will also receive Toyota’s Safety Connect with emergency assistance, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle locator and automatic collision notification. Owners get a complimentary three-year trial subscription to the service. Joining this is Apple’s CarPlay infotainment system to the touchscreen display, plus Amazon Alexa compatibility.

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