After three years of successful sales in Japan, Toyota is today launching the Prius in Europe - a petrol-electric hybrid sedan offering low emissions and low fuel consumption
with advanced technology allowing the car to run on electric power alone. The four-door, five-seater handles and drives like a conventional family car with full safety features and an optional satellite navigation system.

The Toyota Prius will be launched to the public at the International Motor Show in Birmingham in October. It is the world's first mass produced Hybrid vehicle and achieves around sixty miles per gallon and a carbon dioxide emissions figure of less than 115 g/km.

In the UK a specialised dealer network has been developed to supply and service the Toyota Prius. These dealerships are known as Hybrid Technology Centres (HTC`s) and are official stockists of this vehicle. HTC`s are committed to playing their part in addressing the environmental aspects of all business operations and are part of Toyota`s global commitment to minimise the negative impact on the environment at all stages of a vehicles lifecycle. Each HTC has been thoroughly assessed to ensure it meets a range of environmental standards.

With more and more cars on the road, the effect on the environment and on air quality is a hot debate. Powered by the revolutionary Toyota Hybrid System (THS), the Prius can run on either its highly efficient, low emissions 1.5-litre petrol engine, its 33kW electric motor, or a combination of both. The ratio of power provided by each system is constantly monitored electronically, depending on speed and load, to keep the car in its most efficient operating mode. Under certain driving conditions, the petrol engine shuts down completely and the electric motor takes over. As a result the Prius is totally emissions-free in high-density traffic situations - the only car on the market to offer this major environmental benefit.

The THS is controlled by an on-board computer, which is constantly monitoring the condition and state of the motors and batteries. It maintains a minimum battery charge so there is no external charging. This is because although the main function of the petrol engine is to drive the wheels, any excess output is channelled to the generator where it can be used either to recharge the batteries or power the electric motor. The driver uses a display screen to monitor the various power sources, the performance and fuel consumption. This display screen also acts as a more general information centre during a journey with audio display and journey details.

Other features in the Prius include:
· A satellite navigation system as an option combining a GPS function with on-board sensors to give the precise location of the car. Information is displayed on the central display screen and instructions are issued both on the screen and using voice information. Useful locations such as fuel stations, hospitals and local amenities are also available.
· An industry-leading 5-year or 100,000 km pan-European warranty that will cover all mechanical parts. The Prius is the first car in Europe to be offered such a comprehensive guarantee
· Remote control central locking with double locking on selected models
· Power electric windows
· Heated and electrically powered door mirrors
· Driver and passenger airbags
· Side impact door bars front and rear
· Anti lock brakes
· Engine immobiliser and alarm system
· Lamps on and ignition key warning buzzer
· Audio equipment

The Prius will be available to order at the Motorshow in Birmingham in October and then initially through Toyota's 60 nationwide Hybrid Technology Centres at a cost of £16,500.