Image via Vimeo video
Prius cars utilize regenerative breaking to harvest energy and recharge the battery... and that's true when they're used as roller coasters. A team of makers decided that they wanted to see what else a Prius could become, and so transformed it into a roller coaster car that gathers energy while breaking at the bottom of the hill. A while ago, Toyota launched an "Ideas for Good" contest to gather really smart concepts for everything from more eco-friendly vehicles to disaster relief. Basically, Toyota said, "Hey, we have this cool car with tons of interesting parts...what else can you make it into that is useful and helpful to people?"
One of the "good ideas" was an energy-generating amusement park, so that the hefty energy load required by rides could be lessened. Well, Gizmodo drew our attention to the fact that a team has managed to put together the beginnings of that idea, using a Prius.
It's a rather expensive way to get a prototype rolling, but if it inspires something bigger, then it's a plus. NotCot reports, "Toyota teamed up with our favorite engineering crew Deeplocal to build a roller coaster from a 2011 Prius. The team of 5 gutted a Prius, using the engine, wiring harness, batteries, and Hybrid Synergy Drive system in a custom designed and fabricated coaster car... and a 70 foot coaster track out of steel."
The cart can reach a speed of 15 mph when dropping down the platform, and get as much as 6,000 watts from a single run. That's pretty amazing! The lights you see in the video above are all powered by the cart itself.
NotCot has tons of still images of the project.
Another project in the works through Ideas for Good, is a solar-powered disaster relief tent:
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