Fourth-Generation Prius: New Engine, New Design, More Fuel Efficient
January 29, 2014 12:31 PM
comment(s) - last by
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.
, 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
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
, 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
. 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.
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Ugly and so-so
1/29/2014 1:59:19 PM
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
1/29/2014 10:45:32 PM
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
1/29/2014 11:17:07 PM
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.
"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov
Toyota to Release 15 New Hybrids by 2015, Reveals Specs for Next-Gen Prius
August 29, 2013, 12:18 PM
Toyota Readies Fourth Generation Prius, Will Reportedly Achieve 60 MPG
November 9, 2012, 7:47 AM
NAIAS 2012: Toyota Steps Out of Prius Realm with NS4 Concept
January 10, 2012, 2:44 PM
Tesla’s Elon Musk Says that Fully Autonomous Vehicles Are Still at Least 5 Years Away
September 19, 2014, 9:48 AM
Quick Note: Kia Soul EV Priced from $33,700
September 11, 2014, 5:32 PM
Production Infiniti LE Electric Sedan Leaked in Patent Drawings
September 9, 2014, 10:32 AM
"Decepticon" Driver Triumphs Over Cops in Massachusetts Court
September 5, 2014, 12:07 PM
Tesla Motors Confirms Nevada Gigafactory Deal, Will Receive $1.25B in Tax Breaks
September 4, 2014, 8:24 PM
Mazda Unveils the 2016 MX-5 Miata, Drops 220 Pounds and 3" in Length
September 3, 2014, 8:59 PM
Most Popular Articles
HTC Preps Nexus 9 With Nvidia K1 64-Bit "Denver" SoC, Android L Onboard
September 10, 2014, 10:21 PM
Quick Note: Buy an Xbox One Sept 7-13, Get a Free Game
September 4, 2014, 10:42 AM
Apple Announces Its Smartwatch: The $349 Apple Watch
September 9, 2014, 2:09 PM
Dell Announces "World's Thinnest" Tablet: The Venue 8 7000 Series
September 11, 2014, 8:51 AM
T-Mobile Launches Un-carrier 7.0, Beefs Up Wi-Fi Calling
September 11, 2014, 2:56 PM
Latest Blog Posts
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
Space Terrorism is a Looming Threat For the United States
Apr 23, 2014, 7:47 PM
Facebook Aims to Provide Internet to "Every Person in the World" with Drones, Satellites
Apr 1, 2014, 10:20 AM
Retail Mobile Sites Experience Outages in Light of Simplexity's Bankruptcy
Mar 14, 2014, 8:48 AM
Tesla vs. BMW: Who Has the Safer EV?
Feb 1, 2014, 2:56 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information