Prius Plug-in sets one of the slowest lap records of all time
The Toyota sets a snail’s pace and a mark for hyperefficiency around Germany's famed Nurburgring.
Ladies and gentlemen, do not start your engines.
While the Nurburgring Nordschleife usually conjures images of supercars careening around Karussell or barreling down the Dottinger Hohe straight at speeds exceeding 200 mph, British automotive journalist Joe Clifford raced a plug-in hybrid on the famous track at the slowest possible speed.
Now a new name can be added to the pantheon of record-setting vehicles at the Nurburgring: the Toyota Prius Plug-in.
Clifford's Toyota-sponsored stunt lap in a Prius Plug-in fitted with TRD parts (for style, none performance enhancing) clocked in at a whopping 20 minutes, 59 seconds, or 14 minutes behind the Porsche 918 Spyder. In that time, you could watch half an episode of "Big Bang Theory" before the Prius even finished a lap. Obviously, no speed records were set, but the lap saw the Prius Plug-in return 698 mpg -- a high mark in efficiency that will be hard to beat.
Clifford’s Plug-in with its lithium-ion battery and 1.8-liter Atkinson cycle engine set out to complete the 12.9-mile Nordschleife in real-world conditions: It drove among regular traffic during a public session, while complying with the track’s 60 kph (37 mph) minimum speed requirement.
Theoretically, it was conceivable that the Prius Plug-in could make the Nordschleife run without using any fuel. In practice, the hilly nature of the Nürburgring forced the Prius Plug-in to turn on its engine.
“Although the 12.9-mile distance is similar to a typical commuter trip, the difference here is a rise and fall in elevation of around 1,000 feet," Clifford said. "In fact it was only on one long climb that the petrol engine cut in, and then only for a short while.” That hillclimb used less than five tablespoons of fuel, leading to the impressive 698 mpg figure for the Nordschleife run, one that far outstrips the Prius Plug-in’s Environmental Protection Agency-combined cycle rating of 95 mpg on both gas and electric modes.
There’s no word of anyone preparing to challenge this new Nürburgring record, but Clifford sees room for improvement and said that had his engine stayed off, “we might have even achieved the ultimate 999.9 mpg read-out -- the highest figure the display can show.”
[Source: Toyota.co.uk; photo via Toyota.co.uk]
Only a Prius could make the Nurburgring so boring.
The Prius is absolutely fantastic at what it does so I certainly respect it for that. I know many people that have one and love it, but absolutely none of them mention driving enjoyment or performance as one of their buying criteria. Why send the car to Nurburgring though? There are so many Prius owners out there proving the car's great fuel efficiency every day on their daily commutes. For people that want to save gas, they're already sold on the Prius. This event is funny (unintentioanlly?) positive press for Toyota though.
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