Where’s the tailpipe?

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Events, Hybrids, News | Posted on 24-05-2012

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Check out this great “sneak peek” video from Mungenast Alton Toyota for the all new RAV 4 EV!

What do you think of Toyota’s all new, all electric SUV?

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The Whole Prius Family Receives GreenCarReports’ 2012 Best Green Car to Buy Award

Posted by John Dolan | Posted in Hybrids, News | Posted on 28-11-2011

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<img class="alignleft size-medium wp-image-529" src="http://blog.smartmotors.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/2012-toyota-prius_100350438_l-300×225.jpg"

alt=”” width=”300″ height=”225″ />GreenCarReports.com has just named the entire 2012 Toyota Prius family of vehicles its “Best Green Car to Buy 2012.” As we have reported in this blog earlier, the Prius will expand in the 2012 model year to a family of four, including the third-generation Prius Liftback, the Prius v, the Prius c and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid.


GreenCarReports editors choose the most significant new ‘green’ car available to shoppers during each model year based on practicality, new technologies and their impact on the environment. The website’s “Best Green Car to Buy” award recognizes mass-market, environmentally-friendly vehicles. Utilizing the CarConnection’s ratings as a starting point for their evaluations, their editorial team applies their own criteria to select the winner that will carry the “Best Green Car to Buy” environmental message.


“The Prius is more than just one car this year,” said GreenCarReports editor John Voelcker. “With a new Prius v and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, it is now a family of vehicles with some of the highest gas mileage on the market today, and the Prius name is likely to help encourage buyers to take the plunge into plug-in vehicles.”


The Prius vehicles that won the award were chosen from a very competitive field of environmentally sensitive cars that also included the Honda Civic Hybrid, Infiniti M35h, Mitsubishi i and the Volkswagen Passat TDI.


“Judging from the regular stream of e-mails asking us when someone will make a hybrid minivan or wagon”, Voelcker said, “Toyota should see a lot of interest in the 2012 Prius V wagon. It’s taller, longer, and has far more load space–and a much more flexible rear seat–than the standard 2012 Prius hatchback.”

And based GreenCarReports first drive review of the 2012 Toyota Prius V wagon, Voelcker said that Prius v’s 42 mpg mileage figure is real–and can be replicated by real-world drivers. The Prius v is every inch a Prius, but with more space. “That means that families with a couple of kids in car seats now have 34 to 40 cubic feet of load space behind the rear seat, or 67 cubic feet with the seat down. The rear seat of the Prius V also slides back and forth several inches, expanding and contracting the load bay as needed”, added the GreenCarReports editor. (By comparison, the five-door hatchback Prius offers 22 cubic feet with the seat up.)

Concerning the Prius Plug-in Hybrid Voelcker said, “we think it will be viewed as the safest, least risky way for car buyers to experiment with plug-in vehicles. The production plug-in Prius carries an asset that neither the Volt nor the Leaf has: the Prius name, which for a decade now has stood for very high gas mileage and Toyota solidity.”

For more info on the GreenCarReports Best Car To Buy 2012 award, see their dedicated page, Best Car To Buy 2012, which includes a profile of every nominee and more on the award itself (as well as last year’s winner, the 2011 Nissan Leaf–the first battery electric vehicle sold in volume in many decades).


pressroom.toyota.com, greencarreports.com



[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE-pE3bXhAk&w=560&h=315]

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Toyota Introduces the FT-86 a.k.a. The Scion FR-S!

Posted by John Dolan | Posted in News | Posted on 27-11-2011

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The Toyota FT-86 has been showing up on the auto show circuit for the past couple of years.  Now the production-spec machine is set to make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month.


In advance of the Tokyo premiere Toyota’s UK division recently released the first official photos and some initial specs.  In Europe, the car will officially be called the Toyota GT 86.  In the US, however, it will be a part of the Scion family and dubbed the FR-S.  While in Japan, the car will be known simply as the 86.


The Scion FR-S (aka. the GT 86 and the 86) will be the world’s only current sports car to feature a front-mounted, horizontally opposed engine and rear wheel-drive.  It will be Toyota’s most recent entry in its 50-year sports car heritage going back to the 1962 Sports 800 and the sleek 2000 GT straight-six that made its debut at the 1965 Tokyo Motor Show.  This is a heritage that also includes four generations of the Supra, which also came with straight-six engines and rear-wheel drive and culminated in the MR2 which was recognized as one of the best handling sports cars in motoring history.


The real inspiration for the FT-86 concept, however, was the Corolla GT (or Levin) AE86, a classic front engine, rear-wheel drive, limited slip differential configuration sports car introduced by Toyota in 1983.  The Corolla AE86 was a classic drift car suited to rally racing and drifting motor-sports.  For this reason, it became hugely popular with Japanese street racers called “Hashiriya” who would take the car through mountain passes and the tight corners that so suited the AE86.  Many auto enthusiasts refer to the AE86 by its Japanese name “Hachi-Roku,” which translated means “eight-six”.


The Scion FR-S (Toyota 86) is Toyota’s effort to re-engage with driving enthusiasts after discontinuing vehicles like the Supra, Celica and MR2 a few years ago.  It’s important to note that Toyota describes the car as a sports car that has been “designed by passion not by committee”.  Purists have griped that the bean counters have taken over Toyota in recent years and the company has over-focused on producing reliable, but vanilla cars that appeal to the mass market.  Judging from all the chat-room buzz and the FT-86 clubs out there, the diehards are already fully engaged.


In addition to its front-mounted engine and rear wheel-drive, this entirely driver-focused sports car will feature a low center of gravity and an excellent power-to-weight ratio.  Built on an all-new platform, the Scion FR-S (Toyota 86) will have a highly aerodynamic body with a near-perfect 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution.  Both the driving position and the power-train have been set as low as possible for the best balance.  The driver’s hip point will be the lowest of any current Toyota model.  Low curb weight combined with a suspension that features MacPherson struts in the front and double wishbone at the rear make it easy for drivers to push its nimble handling and cornering potential.


The Toyota 86’s engine is a joint venture between Toyota and Subaru (with a little Yamaha thrown in for extra measure.  Yamaha has long been a partner in engine design with Toyota going back to the GT2000).  Toyota added its D-4S fuel injection technology to Suburu’s new, horizontally opposed 2.0 liter four-cylinder boxer engine.  The D-4S injection system features twin injectors for both direct and port injection and a high 12.5:1 compression ratio, increasing power and torque across a wide  acceleration range without sacrificing fuel economy or environmental performance.  Just like earlier Toyota sports cars, power to the rear wheels is distributed via a limited slip differential to give the best possible grip on all road surfaces.  The ABS and switchable vehicle stability systems have been tuned to precisely deliver stability and performance with minimal electronic intervention.  The Toyota 86’s handling is so precise that Edmunds.com called the Scion FR-S “the Scion that slides”.


The 200 horsepower 2013 Scion FR-S should more than re-engage Toyota buyers into the world of sports cars.  Since it will be a Scion you can bet there will be loads of customizable accessories.  Its well-engineered lay out and usable engine power will actually make driving fun and affordable.  The FR-S will definitely be worth the wait!






Some Specs:


  • 2.0-liter boxer with D4-S injection (direct and port injected)
  • 197 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) @6,600 rpm
  • 6-speed manual or automatic transmissions
  • 17-inch wheel/tire package standard
  • 4,240mm (167 in.) long, 1285mm (50.6 in.) high, 2,570mm (101 in.) wide
  • 53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution
  • 475mm (18.7 in.) center of gravity


Sources:  Toyota Pressroom, Autoblog, The Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), http://driftjapan.com/blog/

wikipedia, Edmunds.com, http://www.ft86club.comhttps://www.frs-scion.com/, FR-SForum.com


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nw6WnrqMDTw&w=560&h=315]


[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YkOfUcoKWDE&w=560&h=315]

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Hybrids Parade About Madison In Record Numbers

Posted by John Dolan | Posted in Community, Events, Hybrids, News | Posted on 26-07-2011

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Hundreds of hybrid car

owners paraded around the west side of Madison on Sunday and set a Guinness World Record for the longest procession of hybrid vehicles.  Paul Cooley, showroom manager and event organizer for Smart Motors set the official tally at 208 hybrids completing a 2.1 mile loop in around 20 minutes.  The parade began and ended at Smart Motors.


Hybrids On Parade was described by one of the Madison Police officers assigned to direct the event as the “quietest parade ever”.  For good reason, traveling at steady parade speed of around 5 mph most of the hybrids were able to lock into electric-only mode for the majority of the drive.  The parade consisted mostly of Priuses, and these were largely of the 2004 to 2009 (generation II) vintage.  Other vehicles included: Camry and Highlander hybrids, Lexus hybrids (including a stately LS600h L), Honda Insights, Ford Fusion and Escape hybrids, and a couple of Chevy Volts.



Many hybrid owners were in town to participate in Madison’s sixth annual Green Drive Expo.  Although hybrid drivers from as far away as Florida, Texas, Colorado and Quebec joined in the record-setting event, the majority of the hybrid drivers were from the Madison area.  In fact, that Sunday morning had a definite ‘family reunion’ feeling to it as local Madison friends and neighbors, many of them supporters of hybrid technology for over a decade,  joined together in a spirit of green camaraderie to set the record and celebrate ‘green driving’.  The world record is further evidence (as if we needed it!) that Madison is a hub of environmentalism and ‘green driving’!


The previous Guinness World Record for the longest parade of hybrid cars was 140 during an event organized by Toyota Belgium at Tervuren, Belgium in August of last year.

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Tag all of your Hybrids on Parade posts on twitter

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in News | Posted on 25-07-2011

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With #theHOP

That’s right, if you are posting photos, videos or comments about yesterday’s “Hybrids on Parade” make sure you use the twitter hashtag #theHOP

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