Toyota’s “Ideas for Good” contest has resulted in a surprising outcome – a hybrid roller coaster. A five-person engineering team from Deeplocal used the engine, wiring harness, batteries, and hybrid drive system from a 2011 Prius to create a coaster that can generate electricity while braking.
The project has been gaining some attention online as a potential way for future amusement parks to lower their energy use, and possibly have rides power other aspects of a facility. The Deeplocal team built a seventy foot steel track with a ten foot drop that was able to produce 6,000 watts of electricity on a single run.
The prototype roller coaster can reach a top speed of 15 miles per hour, which is not too bad for a miniature model. The electricity generated from the modified Prius was used to power a series of incandescent bulbs that could be used to light signs, and LED bulbs used to light-up the coaster itself.
You can see a video of the hybrid roller coaster in action below, however, the actual demonstration doesn’t happen until the 4-minute mark. And one other note, while the lights in the video are very impressive, they are not actually being powered by the car.