Skip to main content

2017 Toyota Prius operates 79.4% emission-free in 3rd-party testing

The Toyota Prius Hybrid shines in zero emission test.

Anyone who has driven a modern hybrid vehicle knows that at times the vehicle is powered only by electricity. That electricity is not from a plug, but rather, generated when the vehicle brakes and from its gasoline engine. The power is stored in the vehicle’s battery pack. The vehicle can then use that power to move. One might assume this level of power is minimal, but a recent study done by the University of Rome reveals it is anything but trivial in the Toyota Prius.

The vehicle selected was the European high-trim Prius. This model uses the larger 17 wheels, and lower-capacity Ni-Mh battery pack. We need to emphasize again that this is not a plug-in Prius or new Prius Prime, but a hybrid model. The group ran multiple tests, using multiple test drivers to determine how often the Prius was running on electric power it generated. This mode is emissions-free since the gasoline motor is not in use. The shocking result was that the current Prius can operate in zero emissions mode up to 73.2 percent of the journey’s time, or up to 62.5 percent of the journeys distance.

It should be noted that the zero emissions time is greater than the distance because most of the time when the Prius is not moving its gasoline engine doesn’t run. It gets better for urban drivers. Hybrids generally do better in the city, and in testing, the University of Rome reported that the Prius generated no emissions for 79.4 percent of the journey’s time and 76.3 percent of the distance. The routes were 37 km in distance and driven by 20 men and women volunteers of varying backgrounds.

This test being to determine the Prius’ maximum emissions-free capabilities, Eco mode was selected, and AC was turned to “Off.” What it proves is that the Prius is not just a vehicle with extremely low emissions, but that the majority of the time it is in operation it has the same emissions as an electric vehicle – zero.

Th U.S. EPA rates the current U.S.-spec Prius Eco at 56 MPG combined, 58 MPG City. It produces just 158 grams of CO2 per mile and is rated a perfect 10 by the EPA on emissions (10 being the highest score). In recent Torque News testing, our editor’s mileage over 800 miles of driving was 63 MPG.

Details here on how the Toyota Synergy Drive operates

Image note: The vehicle shown is not the European Prius used in testing, but a U.S.-spec model.