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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 FITCamaro on 1/29/2014 2:20:51 PM , Rating: 0
Diesels get great city fuel economy because they can run far leaner than a gasoline engine. And with start-stop becoming more common, it's even less of an impact.

Diesels require less maintenance than gasoline engines. Sure there are particulate filters, but they're gradually being phased out because of clogging.

I agree on emissions. Our standards are ridiculous.


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.


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