Toyota Motor Corp. has disclosed further details on the fourth-generation Toyota Prius, including its batteries, gasoline engine and platform. Toyota executives said engineers intend to equip the Toyota Prius with powerful and lightweight lithium ion batteries as well as new ultra-efficient gasoline engine. The new engine is expected to achieve thermal efficiency rates beyond 40 percent, compared with a max of 38.5 percent in the current Prius.
A higher efficiency rate means more energy from internal combustion is captured and less is lost through heat. The next generation Prius will also be a pioneer in the push for Toyota's new modular product development -- Toyota New Global Architecture -- which aims to allow versatile engineering and low-cost, flexible manufacturing.
Toyota has disclosed that the first vehicle to be based on the platform strategy will be launched in 2015. Toyota's global design chief has vowed that the Prius will have a revolutionary design -- both inside and out. The TNGA calls for lower-slung vehicles with a more planted stance and lower center of gravity aimed at improving handling and creating a sportier image.
The new look is part of Toyota's plan to keep the Prius not only at the top of hybrid sales but also ahead of other electric-gasoline rivals. Toyota is working to make sure that the Prius would not lose market share to rivals not only in the hybrid segment but only in the other areas.
However, it seems that the fourth-generation Toyota Prius won't be introduced in the US for at least another year as it becomes more unlikely that it would be built in North America anytime soon.