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It's new TNGA platform will also allow for 20 percent less vehicle weight

Toyota Motor Corp. is shedding more light on the upcoming fourth-generation Toyota Prius, including a whole new design and at least an 8 percent gain in fuel economy. 
 
According to Automotive News, Toyota is looking to make some major changes in design, manufacturing and technology for the next Prius, which is due to be released in a year.
 
For starters, the next-gen Prius will be the first (or one of the first) Toyota vehicles based on the automaker's latest platform, "Toyota New Global Architecture" (TNGA). TNGA aims to improved engineering and low-cost as well as flexible manufacturing. 
 
This platform will call for a major redesign of the Prius' looks. TNGA means lower-slung vehicles with a more planted stance and lower center of gravity, which should improve handling and offer a sportier look.


One possible design direction for the next generation Prius -- the FT-Bh concept
 
Chris Hostetter, Toyota's vice president for strategic planning in the U.S., has said that the Prius could use a new look. 
 
"There's an undercurrent among most people that they're ready for a new Prius look," said Hostetter. "Maybe our architecture has been a little bit similar for the last two generations."
 
The Prius, which was first launched in Japan in 1997 and the U.S. in 2000, had an exterior design that was altered from Toyota's Yaris sedan. The second-generation Prius was released in 2003, and it received the raked hood and windshield. From 2003 to 2004, Prius sales increased dramatically from 43,162 to 125,742. Toyota is likely hoping to do the same with a completely redesigned fourth-generation Prius. 
 
Aside from design, the new Prius is getting a makeover under the hood. Its new ultra-efficient gasoline engine will achieve thermal efficiency rates above 40 percent, which is a nice boost from 38.5 percent in the current Prius. 
 
Toyota also talked batteries in its latest Prius revelations. It’s deciding whether to use lithium ion batteries for its fourth-generation Prius, or to offer some models with lithium ion and others with nickel-metal hydride batteries. While Toyota likes the power and energy performance of lithium ion, it worries about the cost compared to nickel-metal hydride batteries. 


Another possible avenue -- the NS4 concept
 
Satoshi Ogiso, managing officer in charge of global product planning at Toyota, said the automaker is pushing for at least an 8 percent improvement in fuel economy, which is slightly less than the 10 percent gains each Prius before it has received. 
 
"Generally speaking, hybrid powertrains are more mature than before. So, the general tendency is that when a technology matures, the improvement ratio is saturating, dropping," said Ogiso. "We will do our best effort to keep that pace."
 
But the fact that TNGA models will cut vehicle weight will be helpful. It was reported that Toyota should be able to cut overall vehicle weight by up to 20 percent on TNGA models, which includes the new Prius. 
 
Toyota mentioned lighter components, such as its new one-size-fits-all heating and air-conditioning unit that 20 percent smaller than the previous Prius generation's. 
 
Jonny Lieberman, senior features editor at Motor Trend, recently spoke with his sources at Toyota and shared a bit of secret info about the next Prius. Lieberman hinted that the next Prius would have a fuel economy rating of 60 mpg. This shouldn't be too hard to achieve assuming a lighter vehicle weight, more powerful electric motor, and a possible switch from NiMH to lithium-ion batteries.

Source: Automotive News



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RE: Ugly and so-so
By Argon18 on 1/29/2014 1:02:01 PM , Rating: -1
"You don't see the point of a practical vehicle that costs around $24,000 and can get 58 mpg in the city and 52 mpg on the highway (if we believe the 8% efficiency gains) on regular gasoline? ".

Nope. You're saying it like 50 mpg is something new. Back in 1979, my VW Rabbit diesel got 50 mpg on the highway. In 1996 my VW Passat TDI got 50 mpg on the highway. All without gimmicky electronic gadgets that are prone to failure, and expensive battery pack replacements. Not to mention that small cars in Europe have been getting 80+ MPG for nearly a decade now.

Do we even need to mention that small turbo diesel engined cars like the VW TDI's typically return much higher than their EPA number in real world driving, while gasoline-electric hybrids typically do exactly the opposite? I'll close with the point that 8 of the 10 "Top Greenest Cars" in the UK last year were turbo diesels. The modern diesel is cleaner and more efficient than a silly gasoline hybrid.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/29/2014 1:25:41 PM , Rating: 5
1) In America, diesel fuel almost always costs 10%+ more
2) High pressure fuel pumps, injectors, DPF, SCR, turbochargers = $$$ repairs
3) Diesels get marginal city fuel economy, which is increasingly more important
4) The Otto cycle is rapidly approaching real-world diesel thermal efficiency
5) Your 1979 Rabbit would be considered a death trap today
6) The only 3L/100km cars in Europe were the Lupo and A2. Both were failures.
7) The Prius sells nowadays primarily on economics. It's a hedge against volatile fuel costs.
8) The UK's "Greenest Cars" probably couldn't be sold in America due to emissions.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By DanNeely on 1/29/2014 1:35:39 PM , Rating: 5
9) The UK Imperial gallon is ~25% larger than the US Customary gallon. Argon18's diesels would only be ~40mpg here; alternately the new Prius would get ~65/72 MPG there.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Mint on 1/29/2014 2:48:54 PM , Rating: 4
Not only that, but Europe's test cycle is a joke compared to the EPA's. Between the easier test and smaller gallon, the same car will get almost twice the MPG there than here.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Mint on 1/29/2014 2:49:35 PM , Rating: 2
(sorry, meant larger gallon)


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Spuke on 1/29/2014 5:00:23 PM , Rating: 2
I'd be willing to buy the second one as a used, beater car in a few years.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/29/2014 5:07:37 PM , Rating: 2
Just realize, no Prius will ever see the light of day rolling on dubs...

:)


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Spuke on 1/29/2014 5:44:48 PM , Rating: 2
Oh I know! It's a concept but I'm actually amazed that Toyota is considering making it look like a normal car.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By mjv.theory on 1/29/2014 3:52:28 PM , Rating: 2
A US gallon is 3.785litres and a UK gallon is 4.546litres. A UK gallon is 120% of a US gallon, a US gallon is 83% of a UK gallon.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Argon18 on 1/30/2014 10:24:32 AM , Rating: 2
"The UK Imperial gallon is ~25% larger than the US Customary gallon. Argon18's diesels would only be ~40mpg here"

Incorrect, 1 US gallon is .83 Imperial gallons. ~25% is a bit of an exaggeration, no?

Plus I'm not in the UK. I'm in the US. My figures were in US gallons. My VW diesels are a true 50 mpg here in the US.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By UNHchabo on 1/30/2014 4:30:09 PM , Rating: 2
1 / 0.83 = 1.205

Not quite 25%, but more than 20%.

You achieving 50mpg in highway driving is apples and oranges to a car getting 50mpg in the EPA "highway cycle" test. Almost every car is capable of exceeding its rated highway mileage in ideal highway conditions.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By FITCamaro on 1/29/14, Rating: 0
RE: Ugly and so-so
By Mint on 1/29/2014 2:58:52 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't matter if it's leaner. The problem with city driving is that all the kinetic energy is lost when you stop unless you have regenerative braking. That's why hybrids get better city rating than highway. Start-stop tech only gets rid of idling, and many people find it annoying.

Sure, some people drive mainly on the highway, and marketers like to look only at the former to fool customers that they have a fuel-efficient car. But the reality is that the EPA's combined rating is based on real-world driving patterns, where over half of mileage is driven in stop and go traffic.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By yomamafor1 on 1/30/2014 2:17:16 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Getting 44mpg in a CT200h in pure city driving is really hard to beat.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Argon18 on 1/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/29/2014 4:53:25 PM , Rating: 2
Diesels produce a lot of NOx when running lean, which is compounded by their high compression ratios. Soon new diesel cars will need to fill up with diesel *and* urea to meet emissions.

Stop/Start definitely helps, but it uses an oversized battery and starter motor. Both are relatively weak links. A hybrid can use its drive motor and HV battery.

Diesels don't have full regenerative braking and only get decent city mileage with a manual transmission. Planetary/CVT automatics are inefficient and complicated ($$$). The Prius transmission is efficient and dead-simple... and automatic!

A VW TDI will likely require more ($$$) maintenance than a Toyota gasoline engine. The only maintenance a Prius needs over 250,000 miles is filters and fluids.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Argon18 on 1/30/14, Rating: -1
RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/30/2014 5:23:29 PM , Rating: 3
Gasoline-electric hybrids either eliminate (e.g. high pressure pumps, DPF, SCR) or replace complex moving assemblies (e.g. turbocharger, automatic transmission) with motors/electronics.

I read the maintenance manuals for both. The Prius maintenance manual is 1/2 page. The VW TDI Sportwagen maintenance manual is 2 1/2 pages. I won't get into details, but the amount of work needed is reflected in the manual length.

The Prius doesn't have belts, its water pump is electric and brakes can easily last the life of the car. I doubt most Prius owners ever replace batteries/bushings/bearings/control arms, unless they live in a harsh environment.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Kazinji on 2/1/2014 7:36:03 AM , Rating: 2
Mazda's newer diesel engine is interesting. Reduces NOx and no fluids.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Dorkyman on 1/29/2014 10:42:16 PM , Rating: 2
Beg to differ.

Diesels are inherently more efficient in city driving because the engine is idling most of the time. A gasoline engine is basically a big vacuum pump, sucking against the closed throttle plate at idle. Takes a lot of effort (and fuel) to maintain that high vacuum. A diesel by contrast breathes freely and at idle has almost no resistance in the intake. Takes very little fuel to keep things spinning.

This is also why a diesel engine usually has a big air filter--a lot of air is gulped in regardless of throttle position.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By hpglow on 1/29/2014 3:26:01 PM , Rating: 1
I drive a '00 Jeta as my DD it gets between 37 and 40 MPG in the city (my calcs based on fuel added vs trip odometer reading). It gets between 45 and 55 MPG on the highway. 10% higher cost of diesel is moot. I have put just short of 210k miles on it with minimal repairs plus regular scheduled maintainance. Most people posting this fud about diesel cars have no clue what they are talking about. I get good fuel economy and I get to drive a midsize car.

The car I owned before my Jetta was an '96 Pontiac Sunfire 2.4L and it threw a pushrod at 138k miles and it was constantly breaking down after it hit 80k.

I also own a '04 Jeep and a '66 C10 but I have nothing remarkable to say about either.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/29/2014 5:05:30 PM , Rating: 3
A Prius gets ~50mpg city and highway, so what advantage does a diesel have?

1) Purchase price? No.
2) Fuel price? No.
3) Emissions? No.
4) Maintenance costs? No.
5) Performance? Maybe.
6) Convenience? No, especially not if a manual
7) Higher resale value? No.
8) Comfort/size? No.
9) Anti-hybrid social cachet? Yes!

I'm not the "eco-warrior" type. I just think a Prius nowadays is a rational choice for the average driver. It sure wasn't when it first came out...

Oh, and your Pontiac threw a pushrod because it was a Pontiac :).


RE: Ugly and so-so
By niva on 1/29/14, Rating: 0
RE: Ugly and so-so
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/29/2014 5:52:37 PM , Rating: 2
For "ME" the Fusion Hybrid would be a non-starter due to the fact that it's a sedan with reduced cargo capacity compared to even the standard Fusion due to the battery pack.

The standard Prius automatically wins over the Fusion for my needs due to its practical form-factor as a hatchback. The large cargo area coupled with the fold-down seats make it more practical for families with kids/dogs.

When I was looking for a vehicle to replace my sedan (which wasn't cutting it as a family vehicle with a kid and a dog), I looked at the Prius v, Ford C-Max, and Jetta Sportwagen TDI. They all had similar fuel economy, all have plenty of cargo space, and all were priced around the same. I ultimately crossed the Prius v off my list because I didn't like the seating position (high like a crossover), the interior was cheap as hell, and it was gutless.

The C-Max was nixed due to its non-intuitive, Jetson-eque dashboard, seating position, and reports that its fuel economy wasn't what Ford had originally claimed.

I finally settled on the JSW because it had a driving position that I was more comfortable with, the interior was high-quality, it was quiet, performance was quite respectable with the DSG, and it was the best handler of the bunch. It also helped that they were moving out the 2013 models to make way for the 2014s so I saved a few grand.

To me, it isn't so much about looks (hey, I drive a friggin' station wagon) as it is about practicality and fuel economy.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/29/2014 6:42:55 PM , Rating: 2
Here's the story of a man named Brandon
Who was living with three boys of his own.
They were four men living all together
yet they were all alone...

Planning any trips to the Grand Canyon. :)

(Good choice, BTW.)


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/29/2014 5:59:47 PM , Rating: 5
I will add that Toyota sold 234,000 Prius vehicles in the United States last year. Face it, it is no longer a "hippie" niche anymore and it is actually "appealing" to mainstream America.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/29/2014 6:31:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Bottom line is the average driver should select a vehicle that appeals to him/her and not to you.


I agree, but my argument was framed around making rational choices. People buy cars based on emotion, only constrained by practicality. The lure of a 500hp luxury sedan gets soured by its high cost of ownership.

The Prius wins the practicality argument for many consumers, just not always the emotional one.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By piroroadkill on 1/30/2014 6:21:54 AM , Rating: 2
Comfort/size? Uh, yes.

Almost all massive European luxo-barges come in diesels, which are popular.

Unless you think the Audi A8 is less luxury than a Prius.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/30/2014 5:47:32 PM , Rating: 2
There are few diesel luxo-barges in America, but many come as hybrids.

Compare like-sized/powered automobiles and you'll see hybrids have competitive, if not better fuel economy.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Argon18 on 1/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: Ugly and so-so
By e36Jeff on 1/30/2014 10:42:52 PM , Rating: 2
Please get your facts straight. The 335d was slower, by a good margin, than a 335i in 0-60, 5-60, 0-100, and the 1/4 mile. It was faster than a 328i, but it is the same price as a 335i. The current 328i is so much faster than the 328d that its laughable. the closest any diesel comes to its gasoline equivalent is the M550d xdrive, which is only slightly slower than a 550i, but not sold in the US.

And fundamentally, the back and forth in the comments of is diesel better than hybrid is broken. Which one is better is purely down to what your driving habits look like. If you do heavy city driving, or get stuck in stop and go traffic all the time, a hybrid is better for you. If you do mostly highway driving, you should probably look at a diesel.

I think a diesel hybrid would actually be the best option, as it gives you the economy of a diesel in low load situations with the regen of a hybrid in stop and go.

Having said all that, I'd still only buy a diesel or a hybrid if someone put a gun to my head and told me those were my only choices, unless we are talking about an i8, P1, 918, or LaFerrari. Maybe the M550d. I'd consider a 335d if it came with a manual though.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By JediJeb on 1/31/2014 10:06:39 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
6) Convenience? No, especially not if a manual


Don't know about convenience, but I would prefer a manual any day. I have only ever seen one manual transmission fail and that one the owner never checked the fluid level and let it run out of fluid. It was also nearly twenty years old at the time.

I have however seen many automatic transmissions fail or need major repairs to keep them going. And the electronic ones are just that much more complicated and costly to repair.

It is also a biased statistic that drivers want to buy automatics more than manual transmissions, simply because the most popular vehicles like minivans and SUVs rarely offer a manual even as an option.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By piroroadkill on 1/30/2014 6:20:04 AM , Rating: 2
The Lupo 3L and Audi A2 were not failures.

Not only were they not failures, they are sought after in the used car market. The A2 holds up well with its aluminium body (as long as it hasn't been damaged!).


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/30/2014 5:55:20 PM , Rating: 2
The Lupo 3L and Audi A2 were the equivalent of the original Honda Insight. All three automobiles were technology demonstrators that made little economic sense. None made their meager sales expectations because they were overpriced for the gain in efficiency. Who wants a 72mpg Lupo when you can have a 50mpg Golf for the same price?

The 2000-2006 Honda Insight is also a sought after car. Like the Lupo 3L/Audi A2, it's because it was advanced for its time, sold in relatively few numbers and nowadays is heavily depreciated.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/30/2014 6:06:14 PM , Rating: 2
EDIT: As a side-note, I think all three of those cars are amazing and would love to own an example of each. Most people love HP; I love efficiency. That doesn't take away from them being market failures, though.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Argon18 on 1/30/14, Rating: 0
RE: Ugly and so-so
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/30/2014 12:08:52 PM , Rating: 3
I'm not going to get into your other comments, but this one stuck out to me:

quote:
No, the price in the US is seasonal. Diesel is cheaper than gasoline in summer, and more expensive in winter. It's supply and demand. Diesel fuel is the same thing as home heating oil - the only difference is the additives and the taxes.


Where do you live? It has been YEARS since I've seen diesel priced LOWER than regular unleaded. Even in the summer time, diesel is at least 50c higher than regular unleaded in the Raleigh, NC area.

I manage to get my diesel premium down to 40c by using my Kroger rewards points at Shell and Kroger fuel stations.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By FredExII on 2/2/2014 12:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
I was wondering the same thing, where does he live? I'm in southwestern Michigan and near Indiana and diesel has been running much higher than unleaded here for years, year round.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Dr K on 1/30/2014 2:15:10 PM , Rating: 2
Here in Ohio, Diesel rarely is ONLY 10% more than gasoline and typically it is 30% more. I started watching the difference because I was thinking of looking at a diesel vehicle and also figured the diesel offered roughly a 30% better fuel economy. Paying close to 30% more for the fuel effectively nullifies any net economic advantage of having a diesel engine.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By TheEquatorialSky on 1/30/2014 5:43:57 PM , Rating: 3
1) In America, diesel is taxed at a higher rate and sold in lower volumes than gasoline. It's very rare to see diesel cost less than gasoline, at least where I've traveled.

2) Heavy-duty diesel engines have extreme longevity because they are under-stressed. An semi-truck diesel puts out ~30hp/L. A VW TDI engine puts out 70hp/L.

3) The Prius hybrid system makes up for the otto cycle deficiency. The Prius and VW TDI Sportwagen are comparably-sized/powered automobiles. Look at the EPA city ratings.

4) The Prius engine has a thermal efficiency of 38.5%. The next-gen engine should break 40%. The hybrid drive system also allows the Prius to operate near max-BSFC for longer periods of time than an automatic TDI diesel.

5) The 1979 Rabbit fuel economy rating is irrelevant since it can't meet modern safety standards. The 1986 CRX HF was rated well over 50mpg combined, but it's irrelevant because you can't build a CRX today.

6) They were available, but too expensive for the gain in efficiency. The Prius had the same problem when it came out, but was saved by government subsidies (which I never agreed with). Total cost of ownership is what matters.

7) This simply isn't true anymore. Also, the Prius battery pack has proven to be extremely reliable. The early Honda hybrids were notorious for eating batteries.

8) I'm not 100% sure, but diesel emissions are stricter in the USA, especially with regards to sulfur. Euro emissions are often modeled after CARB regulations.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By nolisi on 1/29/2014 1:57:39 PM , Rating: 5
Here's the point you're missing (actually, it seems like you're ignoring it completely in order to pretend that you have a point).

1) You may have been able to coax 50 MPG highway out of your Passat (congrats on getting 25% more mileage out of your engine). Given what we know about the variability of milage, the likelihood is that most drivers didn't get the same. Any claim you make to that effect without statistics to back it is just foolish. At the time, the maximum highway was 41. In almost 20 years, VW has only been able to improve that number to 43.

2) There's no way in hell your Passat or Rabbit got better city mileage than highway, which is becoming the more important number with how much traffic is impacting highways. Stop ignoring this number. Hybrid technology is not "gimmicky" when it can enhance your mileage to this degree. No modern diesel can accomplish the same.

3) Since our own experience seems to be what matters to you, I'll provide mine. I own a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid- after about 90,000 miles of driving, I have yet to have ANY component break on me. My tires are in good shape, and I haven't needed a brake job (thanks regenerative braking)- and at last check I still have an estimated 15-20k miles before I have to replace either. Oil and filter changes only. I could cite a friend who had a mid 2000's VW Passat who spent $5-6 K in repairs alone in the first 3-4 years outside of regular maintenance.

4) Most cars, regardless of power train, make, and type get worse mileage than EPA in real world driving. This phenomenon is not unique to hybrids. (Coincidentally, I've bested EPA combined mileage by 6 MPG in my Escape). It depends on how you drive the vehicle.

5) http://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/top-10/top-11-m...

I don't know what hybrid availability is like in the UK, but here's a list to chew on. You'll be surprised to find that the Passat isn't anywhere on the list.

And those are just a few of the criticisms I have of what seems to be your intentionally limited perspective.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Heidfirst on 1/29/2014 4:34:02 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that 1 of those hybrids is available in the UK/Europe but then again we will have ones that aren't in the USA.
It's very hard to compare between N.A. & Europe because not only are the cars different (e.g. the N.A. Passat is not the European Passat) but driving patterns are too (even between countries in the EU).


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/29/2014 1:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
I drive a Jetta Sportwagen TDI, I know the joys of diesel power. My vehicle is rated at 29/39. The most I've seen on the highway is 45 (well above EPA, but still below a Prius)

But I'm not going to sit here with my head in the sand proclaiming that vehicles like Prius aren't just as (if not more efficient) without the 10 to 15 percent fuel cost premium.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Dorkyman on 1/29/2014 10:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
I think it's silly to argue the merits of 50mpg versus 40. The enormous gain in efficiency comes in going from 20 (conventional car) to 40 (hybrid). Beyond that it's just incremental. It won't make that much of a difference in fuel costs for the year when compared to everything else.


RE: Ugly and so-so
By Brandon Hill (blog) on 1/29/2014 11:17:07 PM , Rating: 4
I was never arguing about that...

I was simply stating that it's ignorant to bash a relatively affordable car that would get close to 60 mpg on regular unleaded.


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