Following the launch of Toyota Prius Hybrid Synergy Drive vehicle in Brunei a year ago, NBT Brunei recently introduced the world’s first full hybrid luxury compact car, the CT 200h. If you’re confused by jargons and acronyms that are popping up in ads, fear not, you’re not alone! The Prius’ Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) is a drive-by-wire system with no direct mechanical connection between the engine and the engine controls. Both the gas pedal and the gearshift lever in an HSD car merely send electrical signals to a control computer. There are essential three types of hybrid systems: Mild Hybrid, Full Hybrid, and Plug-In Hybrid.
The Prius and the Lexus CT 200h are Full Hybrid for the following reason: Full hybrid cars can run using just battery power without using the traditional engine. This makes them more fuel efficient than a mild hybrid. The electric motor is used at low speeds, where the electric motor is much more efficient than the gas-powered engine. It also means that the gas engine doesn’t idle when the car is stopped. The result is a highly efficient vehicle for city driving.I was unable to make it for the official launch at the Lexus showroom but when they came to town, I couldn’t let opportunity pass. p.s. With the exception of a few wide-angle images here, all other pictures were photographed with the Canon 100mm Hybrid Image Stabilizer lens, a system the Lexus doesn’t come with :)
The CT 200h features LED daytime running lights mounted below the halogen low- and high-beam headlights. (Halogen headlights with auto on/off function).
This high tech engine compartment is extremely "mechanic unfriendly" as my hands-on dad would comment. The days of spacious engine bay for easy access to components are long gone! Hello OBD.
An inverter/converter is one single unit that houses both an inverter and a converter. These are the devices that are used by both EVs and hybrids to manage their electric drive systems.
Along with a built-in charge controller, the inverter/converter supplies current to the battery pack for recharging during regenerative braking, as well as provides electricity to the motor/generator for vehicle propulsion. Both hybrids and EVs use relatively low voltage DC batteries (about 210-V) to keep the physical size (and cargo space consumed) down, but they also generally use highly efficient, and high voltage AC motor/generators.
High-voltage wiring harness with braided shielfing provides sufficient protection against interference with automotive radio reception. The same is also found in the current generation Toyota Prius.
A design in ergonomics ensure all controls are within easy reach.
The red glow reminds the driver that the car is in sports mode, the mode I'll likely find myself in most of the time. The throttle response is immediate and packs a punch the very second you blip the gas pedal. In sports mode, the left gauge switches to a tachometer useful during spirited driving.
Blue is the new green. Toyota uses blue on the Toyota Prius to represent eco-friendliness. Similarly, when you drift from sports mode into ECO(nomy) mode, the red glow switches to blue but that's not evident here. Note the left gauge which shows the charge readiness and fuel ECOnomy as the car is driven.
The large centrally mounted dial gives you an option to switch between ECOnomy, Normal and Power.
Hybrid drive transmission, incorporating Electronic-Continuously Variable Transmission (E-CVT)
Aluminum tyre valve cover is apparently an object of desire which also means an item most likely to mysteriously disappear (one by one) :)
While we’re on the subject of hybrid vehicles powered by an inverter and converter technology, this 6-speed Lexus IS 300 Convertible is nothing short of amazing. The hardtop roof fully opens and closes in 21 seconds each way and Lexus Manager, Aron, demonstrated this after we returned from the CT 200h test drive.
If this IS300 Convertible is in a colour you fancy, it's Cerulean Blue. There's Aron in the driver's seat demonstrating just how quickly it switches persona. 21 seconds to be exact but who's counting!
Sofian (in the Superman tee) in a state of bliss fires away questions about this hot convertible!
One of the things I learnt about resisting temptation is never to touch the object of one's desire. The moment you establish physical contact, resistance becomes futile. I drove the CT200h and now I think about it all day! Sofian, I wish you good luck, seems wifey is mighty impressed :)