Next-generation Toyota Prius touted to be lighter and more fuel efficient (55 mpg)

Article by Anita Panait, on August 29, 2013

The chief engineer of Toyota’s Prius program declared that the next generation will have significantly better fuel economy, will be lighter and less costly. Satoshi Ogiso, managing officer of Toyota Motor Corp., remarked that the performance of the next generation of Prius powertrains “will reflect significant advances” in battery, electric motor and gas engine technologies.

He remarked that although the hybrid components will be shrunk in the next Prius, the vehicle’s size and interior packaging will not get smaller. Ogiso said that Toyota is aiming at improving the Prius’ fuel economy from the current 50 mpg to near 55 mpg. Ogiso declined to disclosed launch timing for the Prius, but said cycles for the vehicle have traditionally have been six years long, which means the next generation could be launch in the United States in spring 2015.

According to Ogiso, next-generation hybrid batteries will have higher energy density. The carmaker is currently developing current lithium-ion and nickel-metal-hydride battery technologies, as well as future batteries based on solid-state, lithium-air and magnesium chemistries.

The next Prius will also have smaller yet more powerful electric motors and more efficient gasoline engines.

According to Ogiso, the Prius engine will will have thermal efficiency above 40 percent, making it the most efficient in the world. He disclosed that Toyota will also commence testing next year a wireless battery charging system for a future plug-in Prius.

He also disclosed that the Prius will be the lead vehicle for Toyota's New Global Architecture platform, with a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity. Toyota is set to unveil its fuel cell vehicle, featuring advances in hydrogen fuel-cell technology, at the Tokyo Motor Show in November.

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