Toyota Turns a Prius into a Roller Coaster

Pop Culture

Toyota Prius as a Roller CoasterYou’ve probably seen the Toyota commercial by now that features an interesting ‘What If’. It pontificates:

“What if the energy generated from a braking roller coaster was used to power something?”

The commercial features the Viper at Six Flags Magic Mountain by the way. Even though I skipped the Arrow looper while I was at the park I identified it right away.

Anyway, it turns out that Toyota wasn’t just throwing out a random idea. They worked with Pittsburgh engineers Deep Local to test out the concept. It’s a cool video and you’ll notice some Kennywood coasters in the beginning. Here’s Toyota’s Building a Hybrid Roller Coaster – Ideas for Good video:

After a few viewings I noticed a ‘dramatization’ note at the bottom of the video. That made the video slightly less cool, but it’s still fun to see an interesting concept acted out in this way. See behind-the-scenes photos and read about the Prius’ transformation at Deep Local’s Blog. Also, visit Toyota’s Ideas for Good site.

What’s Your Take?
What do you think about Toyota’s Prius roller coaster? Leave a comment below.


  1. Cool video, you guys may find this video interesting aswell its when an F1 car was placed on the track of the pepsi max big 1.

    • does the real ride head-bang like that?

  2. That would be pretty cool, having an amusement park powered by ride brakes. Then the park could spend more money on rides than power.

    • I don't think the entire park could be powered by rides' brakes, but I do think that using this sort of technology could probably reduce the amount of energy put into lifting the train up the lift hill.

      PS-CC's right. I read the note. Total bummer.

      • Not necessarily. Think about coasters like Top Thrill Dragster. (Kingda Ka not included because it uses magnetic brakes, so I don't see how it could work on that ride) The force would be so massive. If coaster companies one day did build 700' coasters normally, maybe this dream could come true. Just saying. I'm a 10 year old, not a physicist.

        • They both use magnetic brakes…

  3. Maybe the reason they tested brakes is because Toyota has had major problems with their brakes.

  4. My vote for spending the extra money saved by that technology goes to theming! That can really help rides out, and make them a better experience. Also, if the line and whole ride is themed perfectly, then people won't re-ride again and again, therefore the line will be shorter

  5. Quil is spot on. A coster operates in a constant gravitational field so, without friction/sound/wind losses, it would be conservative. The energy to push the cars up the first ramp would be equal to the energy required to stop it. Because of the losses, they have to add energy to the system to keep it going. So, regenerative breaks could never exceed the energy put into the system meaning it would be meaningless to power anything but the ride itself with the recaptured park no less than anything else in the park.

    • … recaptured power …

  6. Sweet. That video has coasters from Kennywood. I actually went there today.

  7. If you could mount a generator to a flywheel and have a friction surface on the edge or connected to a truck tire, that the coaster on the bottom of the train to turn it as it heads down the hill, it should get that spinning to over 1000 rpm and should still be spinning by the time the next train comes through. From this it should produce power all day long and use it as a power supplement to the grid, or use it to charge up batteries for electric vehicles in the park.

    • Or flip your idea…. Have the wheel, generator, & batteries on the roller coaster “train”. Then it will charge its batteries on the majority of the ride, then use that energy to take the “train” (full of the next set of riders) up the first hill or any secondary hills. The generator would have to double as the motor and move the “train” up the hill.

  8. Cool cool COOL!!!!!!!

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