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Toyota executive/UMKC alumnus showcases hybrid vehicles

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) kicked off the School of Computing and Engineering's (SCE) observance of National Engineers Week (Feb. 21-25) with an exclusive Toyota Ride and Drive Event. National Engineers Week highlights UMKC's continuing commitment to sustainability and strong ties to local and national companies, like Toyota.  

Bill Reinert -- a UMKC College of Arts and Sciences alumnus and national manager of Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A. Inc.'s Advanced Technology Group -- showcased two Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles-Advanced and five Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles on Feb. 22. Typically limited to Toyota's largest markets, the event allowed UMKC friends, students, faculty and staff to see the vehicles up close and learn about their operations. A pre-designated, limited number of people had the opportunity to drive the vehicles with a Toyota technician, who explained the vehicle's operations. 

Set to be introduced to the market in 2015, the Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle-Advanced (FCHV-adv) is based on the Toyota Highlander mid-size sport utility vehicle and utilizes the same core Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) technology as the Toyota Prius. The FCHV-adv fuel cell system features four compressed hydrogen fuel tanks, an electric motor, a nickel-metal hydride battery and a power control unit. Hydrogen gas is fed into the fuel cell stack, where it is combined with oxygen. The electricity produced by this chemical reaction is used to power the electric motor and charge the battery. In addition to featuring superior fuel economy, the FCHV-adv is smog-free, with water vapor as its only byproduct.

Based on the third generation of the Toyota Prius - the world's best-selling hybrid vehicle - the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) offers the best environmental performance of any mass-produced vehicle technology available today. The PHV represents a significant enhancement of Toyota's HSD system, and combines high-output lithium-ion batteries with HSD technology to offer an expanded fully electric driving mode. The PHV can be recharged in approximately three hours from a standard 110-volt electrical outlet or in one and a half hours with a 220-volt connection. The PHV's lithium-ion battery pack ensures strong, seamless acceleration up to highway speeds of more than 60 mph on electric-only power. With a fully-charged battery, it can travel a maximum of approximately 13 miles in Electric Vehicle (EV) mode. Once the EV-mode charge is depleted, the vehicle defaults to normal, full-hybrid mode and operates like a regular Prius.

Reinert graduated from the UMKC College of Arts and Sciences in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and his Master's degree in Energy Engineering from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Reinert joined Toyota in 1990, and helped design the Toyota Prius and the FCHV-adv. Before joining Toyota, Reinert worked in energy engineering at Bell Labs and Hewlett Packard. Reinert also leads energy and resource management projects in the Galapagos Islands with Toyota's partner, the World Wildlife Fund. Based on the "Galapagos Energy Blueprint," co-authored by Reinert, this 10-year project has transformed energy use within the archipelago. He also serves as chair of the electricity sub-group for the Future Transportation Fuels (FTF) study, under the National Petroleum Council.

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The theme of the School of Computing and Engineering's 2011 Engineering Week is "Evolution of Engineering and Technology".