It appears that the fourth-generation Toyota Prius will arrive a little bit later as the Japanese carmaker delayed the start of production from early next year until December 2015. This means that a prototype version of the next-generation Prius will arrive around November 2014.
The reason for delaying the new hybrid vehicle is that engineers have to tweak it in order to ensure that it delivers the maximum fuel economy and possible adjust the body and chassis issues. As a result, the production of the plug-in Prius will start in October 2016.
As usual, the company’s spokesman declined to make any comment on future product plans, just like hybrid czar Satoshi Ogiso. Still, Ogisso said that the new Prius will be a test bed of critical new technologies, including the new vehicle architecture and the next-generation hybrid system codenamed 690A.
The first-generation Toyota Prius was introduced back in 1997, while the current version arrived in 2010. Since then, Toyota Prius became world’s best-selling hybrid vehicle.
Next-gen Prius will use the new modular approach, dubbed Toyota New Global Architecture that aims to boost the number of parts shared among vehicles in order to reduce costs.
The new hybrid system is also expected to be smaller, lighter and more efficient as Toyota is planning to improve the fuel-economy by at least 10 percent over the third-generation Prius. Still, the new Prius will not receive the new energy-saving computer chips that were unveiled by Toyota last month.
As we told you, the new semiconductors will be made of silicon carbide and show only a tenth of the energy loss of the silicon-based chips used today. Toyota will start the deployment of those chips somewhere in 2020.
While the design of the new Prius is shaped by the wind tunnel, it exudes a beauty that stirs emotion, thereby bringing a new sense of excitement. Its sporty design takes inspiration from a runner in the starting blocks, allowing the new Prius to convey a sense of forward motion.
The latest iteration of the Prius re-imagines the "Triangle Silhouette" that defined the second and third generation of the vehicle. When viewed from the side, the new Prius is longer and sleeker, featuring an outline that evokes a sporty form. Furthermore, the hood of the new Prius is now lower, with the name badge on the front now at the same height as on the Toyota Scion FR-S sports car.
Moreover, Toyota shifted the distinctive roof peak forward by 6.7 inches (170 mm) in an effort to reduce the drag aerodynamic while making sure that rear passengers still enjoy ample headroom. The flanks, starting from the front fenders, are marked by character lines. One of these sits above the sill sweeping up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease merges into the rear spoiler of the vehicle. The new Prius also comes with a characteristic light-catching upward-facing surface that commences from its lowest part, thereby highlighting the car’s stable low stance.
Meanwhile, the front end of the new Prius sports Bi-LED headlamps, as standard. This piece comes with automatic headlamp leveling that keeps the beam focused on the road, thereby preventing drivers coming from opposing lanes to be dazzled or blinded.