The next-generation Toyota Prius was already delayed by 6 months due to the fact that the Japanese engineers need to improve the fuel economy ratings and we do know that the best-selling hybrid vehicle will make its debut next year. What’s more interesting is that the new Prius will use technology from the TS040 racecar that ran at this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours endurance race.
According to Yoshiaki Kinoshita a.k.a. president of Toyota Motorsport GmbH, the components used by the TS040 Hybrid Le Mans racer already have parts from the next-generation Prius. Although he didn’t want to give too many details, Yoshiaki Kinoshita said that the technology includes microchips and microcontrollers, not mechanical parts.
For those who don’t know, the TS040 also has a four-wheel-drive hybrid powertrain and comparing it wit its predecessor, the TS030, its fuel consumption improved by 25 percent from the 2013 car. The TS040 is not only more fuel-efficient, but also more powerful as its hybrid system develops a staggering 1,000 hp.
Kinoshita also added that the car’s storage system will not migrate from the TS040 to the Prius as the racercar uses supercapacitors and not batteries seen on the current hybrid models.
The good news is that the four-wheel-drive hybrid technology may also be seen in the next Prius as it is not he first time when we talk about an all-wheel-drive Prius.
Earlier this year, Toyota revealed a semiconductor that is able to improve hybrid fuel efficiency by almost 10 percent. Called silicon carbide semiconductors, these will arrive on the market by 2020. [source: automotive news - sub. required]