Toyota Prius Plug-in sets benchmark 0.4-litres/100 km lap recordThe record was set by Joe Clifford who completed the 20.7 km long course in 20 minutes and 59 seconds. The minimum speed of 60 km/h had to be maintained and no mechanical modifications were allowed. The only parts fitted to the car included lightweight 18-inch alloy wheels wrapped in low-rolling resistance tyres, upgraded suspension and aerodynamic improvements.
The technology that made this possible is a Toyota’s full hybrid system that pairs a 1.8-litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine with a small rechargeable lithium-ion battery. The battery’s performance and excellent energy retention means the car can be driven faster and further on just electric power alone when compared to the standard Prius.
In addition, Toyota says the record was set during a public track session, so the car had to deal with navigate through traffic while sticking to the circuit rules including the minimum average speed of 60 km/h.
"Although the 12.9-mile (20.7 km) distance is similar to a typical commuter trip, the difference here is a rise and fall in elevation of around 1000 feet (0.3 km)," said Clifford.
“In fact it was only on one long climb that the petrol engine cut in, and then only for a short while. Without that, we think we might have even achieved the ultimate 999.9 mpg (0.23-litres/100 km) read-out – the highest figure the display can show."