On the second day of Christmas, Toyota officially launched what will be known as the “Aqua” in Japan, or the “Prius C” in the U.S. and elsewhere. It will also be known as “the world’s most fuel efficient hybrid car.” At least that’s what Reuters calls it.
TTAC’s Best & Brightest have known the car since mid November, personally presented by Toyota’s Chief Engineer Satoshi Ogiso. What he could not reveal at the time was the price. In Japan, the car will be available at a starting price of 1.69 million yen ($21,600).
The compact hybrid costs less that the bigger Prius, but it costs more than its competitors.
The Nikkei [sub] does the math:
“Honda Motor Co.’s Fit compact hybrid, which runs 26 km/liter, has a starting price of Y1.59 million. Mazda Motor Corp.’s Demio gasoline engine-powered compact runs 25 km/l and has a starting price of Y1.4 million.”
The Japanese government will kick in 210,000 yen ($2,700).
The Aqua boast a fuel efficiency of 35.4 km/L in the JC08 test cycle and 40.0 km/L in the MLIT 10-15 test cycle. That would be 83 mpg, or 94 mpg respectively, if Japan would test like the EPA, which it does not.
The Aqua achieves that fuel efficiency with a smaller, lighter and more efficient 1.5-liter Toyota Hybrid System II (THS II). Says Toyota:
“A cooled Exhaust-Gas Recirculation (EGR) system improves efficiency in the high-expansion-ratio Atkinson cycle engine. Also contributing to increased engine efficiency is a battery-powered water pump, a friction-reducing beltless design and precise coolant-water-flow volume control. The hybrid transaxle, which includes the power control unit, the power-generation motor and drive motor, has also been designed to be small and light.”
According to The Nikkei, Toyota has already received orders for 60,000 Aqua, five times the monthly sales target of 12,000 vehicles. If you would order an Aqua today in Japan, it would take four months for the car to arrive.
The car is slated for sale in 50 countries, including the U.S., as the Prius C. In Europe, Toyota will release a new small hybrid based on the Yaris compact. It will use the same hybrid system as the Aqua. Timing for the overseas launch has not been released.