Next-generation Toyota Prius will get electric all-wheel drive

Article by Christian A., on November 20, 2012

There’s a lot in store for Toyota’s next-generation Prius. In a recent Motor Trend report, a Toyota engineer hinted that the next Prius will arrive in spring 2015. It’s expected to return 60 mpg combined and to have improved styling and an all-wheel-drive system. The Toyota Prius already sells well in several states but the automaker wanted to get more people to consider a Prius.

With regards to the new Prius, the Toyota engineer informed Motor Trend that the rear wheels will be driven by a motor with what’s referred to as the e-4WD system. So that the Prius can go past snowy areas, the rears can operate up to 37 mph. When it runs faster than this speed, it turns into a purely front-wheel drive car. The Toyota Prius features new drivetrain technology that can help it get into the other markets.

A striking design would certainly benefit the Prius. It now has a lower profile and it will be sleeker as well. To boost the aerodynamics, the car will have a lower hood height (by around 3.5 inches) and roof height than the model in dealerships. Similar to that model, the new Prius could make use of either NiMH batteries or lithium-ion units.

The Toyota engineer said that its engineers have determined that NiMH batteries could handle power delivery better in terms of demanding consumption and electricity recharging.

It’s not the compact Prius C or the more versatile Prius V that has an EPA rating of 51/48 mpg city/highway. Instead, it’s the original Toyota Prius that boasts this rating. The next Prius has a platform that’s lighter, reducing the weight of the model by about 150 pounds. It has a fuel economy rating that could go up to as high as 60 mpg combined or even higher.

Aerodynamic design was a significant consideration when it comes to building the new Toyota Prius. The designers and engineers aim to make an attractive framework without sacrificing the functionality of the car. The dynamic triangular base of the previous models was then maintained to make the new Prius recognizable, although some alterations have been implemented particularly on its angle, pillar position and its overall profile. The high-performance silhouette was then achieved by refining the front pillar by extending it forward.

The height of the Prius is maintained but the roof top is moved 3.9 inches backwards thus modifying the roof profile. This alteration highlights the wedge shape and results to enhanced aerodynamics and increased headroom in the rear area.

The front and rear aspects of the Toyota Prius are designed to be aerodynamic, sharp and athletic. Character lines which run from the front portion of the car to the rear are strengthened to accentuate its bold geometric figure. When viewed at the back, rear treads are broadened to establish a firm and solid stance.

With regard to its dimensions, the modern Prius has a wheelbase that is equal to its predecessor. Overall, it is made longer slightly by 0.6 inch due in part by shifting the front hood forward.

Lowest Drag Coefficient

The brand-new Prius garnered the highest wind tunnel testing hours compared to other Toyota cars. This feat created the most aerodynamic framework of all mass-produced cars in the globe. The developers of the latest Prius successfully decreased the drag coefficient value to 0.25, down from 0.26 of the former model.

This was achieved by studying and improving the shape and form of the body, wheelhouse liner, underfloor and the wheels. The flow of air beneath the car was also studied comprehensively. Engineers then made modifications on the form of the underfloor’s front surface and the fender liner, and created a fin at the cover of the rear floor to enhance linear stability.

Topics: toyota, toyota prius, awd

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