February 6, 2003

Toyota Prius gasoline-electric hybrid to compete in Canadian Rally Championship

Ken Tomikawa, President of Toyota Canada, is seated in the Prius with rally team manager, Jerry Maslanka. Click image to enlarge

Toronto, Ontario – Toyota Canada announced that it has donated a Prius gasoline-electric hybrid vehicle to Ability Rally Racing. The Ability team will enter the Prius in the 2003 Canadian Rally Championship to raise awareness of the Alberta Association for Conductive Education (AAFCE), an organization dedicated to meeting the special needs of children with a variety of motor impairments. All benefits from the campaign will go towards building an environmentally-sensitive recreational retreat for children with motor disabilities. The retreat will be powered solely by renewable energy sources.

“The AAFCE is extremely grateful for the contributions of Toyota Canada and all of our generous sponsors,” said Jerry Maslanka, AAFCE founder and father of two children with cerebral palsy. “They have quite literally become the motive force behind our important efforts to meet the needs of motor-disabled children.”

“Toyota is honoured to make a contribution to this very worthy cause which serves two important goals – to help motor-disabled children, and to draw attention to the importance of using all the technology at our command to reduce pollution and fuel consumption,” said Ken Tomikawa, President of TCI. “We look forward to our partnership with them, and we’ll be following the rally season with special enthusiasm this year.”

Piloting the AAFCE Prius will be experienced Canadian rally driver Maciek Ogrocki, assisted by co-driver David C. Shindle of Washington, D.C. To meet safety and performance regulations, the rally Prius will be prepared for Ability Rally Racing by Guyons Performance Centres with a Proflex rally suspension, seats and restraints by OMP, plus special lights, wheels and tires.

Team manager Maslanka plans to enter the car in the following 2003 Canadian Rally Championship events:

  • Rallye Perce-Neige, Maniwaki, Quebec (February 7 – 9)
  • Rallye International de Quebec, Quebec City, Quebec (February 26 –
    March 2)

  • Bighorn Rally, Edson, Alberta (May 17 – 19)
  • Rocky Mountain Rally, Calgary, Alberta (May 23 – 25)
  • Pacific Forest Rally, Merrit, British Columbia (June 13 – 14)
  • Rallye Baie des Chaleurs, New Richmond, Quebec (July 4 – 6)
  • Rallye Baie defi Ste-Agathe, St.Agathe, Quebec (Sept. 5 – 6)
  • Rallye International de Charlevoix, La Malbaie, Quebec (Oct 20 – 26)
  • Rally of the Tall Pines, Bancroft, Ontario (Nov 22 – 23)

To further raise awareness for the AAFCE, the rally car will be prominently displayed on the Toyota stand during 2003 auto shows across Canada, including the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto in February, and the Calgary International Auto and Truck Show in March.

The Prius, which first went on sale in Japan in 1997, is powered by a hybrid technology that combines a gasoline engine and an electric motor in a high-efficiency powertrain that monitors itself continuously to ensure it is operating in the most energy efficient and least polluting mode. It is 90 per cent cleaner than conventionally-powered cars, produces about 50 per cent less nitrous oxide and about 80 per cent less of other greenhouse gases, and has a fuel consumption rating of 4.5 L/100 km (63 mpg).

Unlike pure electric vehicles, the Prius never needs to be plugged in for recharging. Instead, the battery is charged by the gasoline engine and a unique onboard regenerative braking system. When the vehicle is braking or coasting the electric motor becomes a generator, turning energy that would normally be lost into electricity to recharge the batteries.

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