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Toyota looks to diversify its Prius hybrid

We reported late last month that Toyota will delay the launch of its next generation Prius by six months. The company is reportedly using that extra time to boost the fuel efficiency of its popular hybrid by at least 10 percent (the current model is rated at 51 mpg city, 48 mpg highway).
 
Koei Saga, Toyota’s senior managing officer in charge of powertrain development, has also provided a few more details on the next generation Prius in an interview with Automotive News. According to Saga, the all-new Prius will be available with both nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries. The NiMH batteries will be available to help the Prius maintain a reasonably low cost of entry, while the more expensive Li-ion batteries will be provided as an option for customers that want increased performance and range.
 
It should also be noted that Li-ion batteries are not only more powerful, but also lighter and more compact. The current generation Prius v is only available with NiMH batteries in the North American market. However, the Japanese and European market vehicle uses a lighter, more compact Li-ion battery pack that allows enough space to offer a third row of seating.


The Prius v is available with a third-row in the Japanese market due to the use of a more compact, lithium-ion battery pack.
 
When it comes to providing an AWD option for the next generation Prius, Saga was receptive, stating, "I think we will possibly do it."
 
The AWD option could be a boon for people that live in mountainous regions of the United States (who seemingly tend to stick gravitate towards Subarus) and for those that want added reassurance when driving in inclement weather.

Source: Automotive News





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