A Cairns-based Toyota Prius taxi has clocked up approximately 550,000 kilometers while costing just half the fuel and maintenance outlay compared to other conventionally-powered cars in the fleet.

Thirty-two Prius taxis operate in Cairns, each clocking up around 200,000km per annum. Local Toyota dealer Pacific Toyota says it has eight more on order for local cab companies.

Taxi operator Graham Boundy, who owns Black and White Taxis in Cairns, received the company’s first Prius in September 2005.

“We’ve have had almost three years great service from it,” he said.

“We obviously track our costs very closely and our reports show the Prius consumes half the petrol of other vehicles in our fleet and also half the service costs - it is quite amazing.

“The Prius is also very suitable as a taxi in terms of leg and head room for both front and rear passengers, and in terms of boot size.

“In three years of driving it, I only had to turn down one fare for a group of four tourists with four very large, hard pieces of luggage.”

Mr Boundy said he no longer drives the Prius taxi himself, but was so impressed by the overall performance and low running costs of the vehicle that he bought a Prius for private use, and another for his wife.

The experience of Prius taxis also revealed the exceptional battery life of Prius.

The latest Prius battery confirms the progress made in sealed nickel-metal hydride (Ni-MH) technology, which was originally developed for electric vehicles.

The Prius taxi that has covered approximately 550,000km had a battery that recorded a low voltage reading and was replaced at 500,000km, as did another Prius taxi in Cairns that had travelled 350,000km.

These are the only two Prius in Australia that Toyota is aware of that have required battery replacements since the vehicle was first launched in Australia in October 2001.

“When you consider that the average car in Australia travels approximately 15,000km per year, the 350,000km Prius has crammed over 23 years of average driving into a couple of years,” said Vic Johnston, Toyota’s manager of hybrid sales and fleet strategy.

“And the 550,000km Prius has fitted in 36 years into three years, which is astonishing.

“The average age of the Australian car population is now around 10 years, so the battery is lasting well over double that in distance terms.

“When you consider that the Prius taxis in Cairns are generating half the fuel and service costs of other vehicles in their fleets, the Prius is significantly cheaper in whole-of-life costs.

“That’s why the taxi fleets use them, and continue to order them - they are simply less expensive to run and maintain than conventional vehicles in their fleet.”

The Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive used in Prius combines a petrol engine with a powerful electric motor.

At the time of purchase, Prius owners are automatically entitled to Toyota Service Advantage capped-price servicing, paying just $120 each service for up to six standard scheduled services during the first three years, or 60,000 kilometres of driving, (whichever occurs first).*

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Toyota Prius Taxi Cracks 550000 km

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