Toyota showcases new Prius, Mirai, Research Institute

Toyota showcases new Prius, Mirai, Research Institute

In keeping with the public policy mission of The Washington Auto Show, Toyota showcased its 2016 Prius and Mirai Fuel Cell on Industry/Media Day.

The new Prius is longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, with more interior room. Safety features include lane departure warning, pedestrian detection, dynamic cruise control and automatic high beam. The Prius now has intelligent parking assist, which automatically steers the car into a parallel parking space. It offers a smoother, quiet ride. The Prius Two Eco gets 58 mpg city/56 mpg highway.

The entry-level Prius Two starts at $24,200, the same price as the previous version despite the added features. The top model, the Prius Four Touring, goes up to $30,000.

The Mirai hydrogen electric car went on sale in California last fall. Thousands of buyers are on a waiting list to buy the Mirai, but Toyota plans to temper delivery to match available infrastructure. There will be 10 hydrogen filling stations in California by the end of January and 30 by the end of 2016. The Mirai, which has a 300-mile range on one tank, has $3,000 in federal incentives.

Toyotaês goal is to have its entire fleet run on alternative fuels by 2050. The automaker is also working toward an Emergency Notification System where all Toyota vehicles will be connected globally.

The automaker also highlighted the Toyota Research Institute, a group of scientists and engineers doing research on artificial intelligence and robots. TRI, headed by Dr. Gil Pratt, has an initial five-year budget of $1 billion and a mission to bridge the gap between research and product development.

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