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Prius: Leading a Wave of Hybrids

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Case for Chapter 3

PRIUS: Leading a Wave of Hybrids

Americans love their cars. In a country where SUVs sell briskly and the biggest sport is stockcar racing, you wouldn't expect a small, hybrid, sluggish vehicle to sell well. Despite such expectations, Toyota successfully introduced the Prius in 2000, and Honda introduced the Insight. The Prius, whose name means " to go before," literally flew out of dealer showrooms, even if consumers weren't quite sure how to pronounce it ( it's PREE-us, not PRY-US). Given Toyota's success with the Prius and Honda's with the Insight, other automotive companies have plans to introduce hybrids of some sort.

Hybrid vehicles have both a gas engine and an electric motor. When starting up or at very low speeds (under 15 mph), the auto runs on the electric motor. At roughly 15 mph, the gas engine kicks in. This means that the auto gets power from only the battery at low speeds, and from bothe the gas engine and electric motor during heavy acceleration. Once up to speed, the gas engine sends power directly to the wheels and, through the generator, to the electric motor or battery. When braking, energy from the slowing wheels



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