Toyota's Prius has been a runaway
success for the company. First introduced as an '01 model in 2000
in the United States market, the hybrid has continually gained in
sales, gotten larger to accommodate American tastes, and has become
more powerful and more fuel efficient.
According to a recent
report from Motor Trend magazine, a new variant of the
Prius will take boost passenger space and cargo capacity even
further. Toyota is reportedly working on an "Alpha" minivan
which will share its platform with the current third-generation
The Alpha is said to ride on a wheelbase that is one inch longer
than the current Prius hybrid's 106.3 inches and overall length will
be roughly a foot longer at around 187.6 inches. The Alpha will also
have an extra row of seating bringing total passenger capacity to
seven (up from five in the current Prius hatchback).
Although the Alpha will be larger and heavier than standard Prius,
some of the added weight is expected to be offset by the use of a
lithium-ion (li-ion) battery pack instead of the heavier nickel-metal
hybrid battery pack currently used. According to Motor Trend,
a li-ion pack would be roughly a third the weight of the existing
Still, the Alpha is likely to get worse mileage than its more
lithe counterpart. The Prius hatchback is rated at a combined 50 mpg,
so a heftier people mover based on the same platform would probably
score somewhere around 45 mpg by our estimates.
However, that would still put it ahead of small family haulers
like the Mazda 5 and Kia Rondo which are rated at 24 mpg and 22 mpg
quote: Man tough getting nice artist rendering of it huh?