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first of all thanks to whoever is responsible for this site and all those who contribute. i found most of the answers i was looking for during my 2001 prius purchase.

i work as a courier in vancouver bc canada
the car cost much more than i could justify (courier golden rule is 10 grand is too much) but God willing and if my toyota is as reliable as my 2 previous corollas (260,000 km on both and never a problem) i should save enough on fuel to offset the extra expense.

i pushed my first tank to 804km (2 days of work) and averaged 4.4L/100km about 53mpg.
i'm very very happy with that, i hope to do better as i learn more about the car.

i have a couple of questions
can the car run if the batteries fail, gas only?
what would be the epa without the electrical?
can i replace the tape deck with a minidisc player?

the first two questions are asked of me all the time and i don't know the answer

thanks
alain
 

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Alain, congrats on your purchase. The basic answer to your question, is, I believe, that the car will not function without the big HV traction battery. For one thing, the car has no regular starter motor. MG1 (one of the two motor-generators) functions as the starter, drawing its power from the HV battery. For another, the hybrid system operates as an integrated unit, with MG1, MG2, and the engine all connected by the planetary power-split device such that there are no clutches and no shifting of gears: everything is always connected.

The Atkinson/Miller-cycle engine is more efficient than an Otto-cycle engine, but would utterly lack the low-end torque to give acceptable performance without the boost the car gets from MG2. (Electric motors have maximum torque at zero rpm, so the ICE and the MG complement each other perfectly.)

Somebody could probably tell you what kind of mpg you could expect if you put a 76 hp Miller engine in a car this size, but it would be a purely academic calculation because you'd need a clutch and a transmission; and you'd have a car so under-powered nobody would want to drive it.

The Prius is a true hybrid, in that electrical and ICE are integrated to the point that both are absolutely necessary. (The car will run for short distances and low speeds on electric alone, but the ICE is necessary then to re-charge the battery.)
 

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No, it cannot run without the electrical. The main hybrid system electric motor is used as the starter for the gas engine. So if the electric fails completely, there is no way to start the gas engine. (A conventional gas car has a small electric motor hooked up to the 12v battery to start it, commonly called the 'starter motor'. The Prius uses the high-voltage drive motor as the starter when needed.)

So EPA numbers without electrical are impossible.

As for a MiniDisc? Unfortunately, no after-market stereos fit the classic Prius (at least, none of my searching has found any,) so your best bed is a cassette adaptor and a portable MD player. Either that, or an FM transmitter, or Coastal E-Tech's Aux. Radio Input
 
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