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Prius MPV teaser  (Source: Toyota)

Prius MPV under heavy camouflage  (Source: Auto Spies)
Toyota is looking to expand its Prius lineup

Rumors of an MPV or minivan based on Toyota's popular Prius have been swirling around for quite some time. Given that current 5-seat Prius is capable of 50 mpg, it's seems reasonable to think that a slightly larger vehicle with additional seating/cargo capacity would be welcome in the marketplace (with a slight hit to overall fuel economy).

Today, Edmunds Inside Line has some of the first spy photos of the MPV counterpart to the Prius hatchback. According to the publication, the vehicle will seat seven passengers and will be similar in size to such vehicles as the Mazda 5 and the Kia Rondo. The Mazda 5 in particular is quite popular with small families as it is closer in size to the original Chrysler minivans that debuted in the mid-80s instead of the gargantuan Siennas, Odysseys, and Caravans prowling the streets today.

Given that the MPV will share much in common with the standard Prius, we expect to see the same 1.8-liter gasoline engine used and a new lithium-ion battery pack for added power and range (while at the same time saving weight). It shouldn't be too difficult for the MPV to achieve greater than 40 mpg combined (city/highway), but we'll just have to wait for the final EPA numbers to come in when the vehicle is released next year.

When the Prius MPV does hit U.S. streets, it will likely be joined by a similar offering from General Motors: the Chevrolet Volt MPV5. The "crossover" variant of the standard Volt sedan seats five people and can travel up to 35 miles on battery power alone.

Updated 10/11/2010

Toyota has just posted a teaser shot of it upcoming Prius MPV on its Facebook page.

 



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RE: one thing...
By jonup on 10/4/2010 5:05:26 PM , Rating: 4
The problem with Solar is that the panels are not cost efficient. I personally do not like the government to tell me what to do and it should be up to the market to lead to business decisions. Also you need to keep the panels clean, which would add to the cost of owner ship. I was gonna fund a solar powerplant in Eastern Europe so I am aware of some of the pros and cons of solar. Also panels have relatively short live ~20 years. Solar power only makes economic sense in very limited surcamstances and they usually involve government subsidy.
Hydrogen cells make more sense but do not forget that it require a lot of energy to create them. As long as they use clean and efficient energy source they could be good alternative. Maybe solar powerplants?!


RE: one thing...
By Fraggeren on 10/4/2010 7:16:55 PM , Rating: 1
Most quality solar panels has a 25 years warranty, and they could last a lot longer.

"very limited surcamstances", please enlighten us, I'm pretty sure you have no idea.

And a great thing about solar panels, they are becoming cheaper and cheaper every year.


RE: one thing...
By Ytsejamer1 on 10/4/2010 7:44:50 PM , Rating: 3
I'm actually replying to the top... wouldn't it make sense to optimize ICE, etc, etc.

We should optimize...but at the same time think about this...what other infrastructure do we have in place even more convenient that gas stations? That's right...electrical outlets. Can our backend infrastructure handle it? That's a tough one...not at this stage of the game. Hydrogen...yeah right. I think we'd have an easier time upgrading our grid rather than trying to totally reinvent the wheel with hydrogen station infrastructure.


RE: one thing...
By vol7ron on 10/12/2010 12:41:32 AM , Rating: 2
Sooooooooooo.....

...I'm thinking the prius minivan will get like 30MPG. I think 45 is kind of a high estimate.


RE: one thing...
By goku on 10/11/2010 4:33:26 PM , Rating: 1
Solar Panels are generally WARRANTED for 20 years with 80 percent of capacity.. There is a big difference between what the warranty period of something is and how long it will actually last. There are solar panels that are 30 years old that are still being used today, so to say they last only 20 years would be misleading. It's pretty much equivalent to saying Toyotas only last 3-5 years while GM vehicles last 10 years since that's pretty much the length of their warranties.


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