Published November 6, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Toyota is working on the next generation Prius, and details are slowly coming out.
First of all, the 4th generation of Toyota’s hybrid is penciled in for a spring 2015 launch.
All the information mentioned in this article has been provided to Motor Trend by an engineer involved with the program that reportedly wanted to stay anonymous.
The next Prius will be equipped with the next-generation of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system.
The concept of the next gen Prius is “Getting back to the basics of the original Prius.”
This said, the design will be dramatically altered. The hood and waistline will be lowered, and the whole front end’s proportions will be as well. The hood should end up being 3.5 inches lower and loose its wedge shape.
The A-pillar’s base will be brought backward while the roof line will move forward by more than 19 inches. The result will be a more vertical windshield in order to both improve aerodynamics and the general look of the vehicle. Aerodynamics will improve as moving the windshield this way will allow for a better treatment of the rear portion of the new Prius.
The 2015 Prius will be based on the next generation "C" platform. This strategy is part of Toyota’s New Global Architecture TNGA strategy. The Prius is considered the top of the range of cars based on this platform.
Yes, the next Prius will loose weight, all of 150 pounds according to the source mentioned. The wheelbase will stay the same at 106 inches while front overhang will decrease by 2 inches.
MotorTrend’s source was quoted as saying this styling change is American-led: “Our research tells us that many Americans think the current Prius' waistline is too high and its shape too "wedgy." They say it does not look sleek enough. We are being told to give the next model a sleeker, lower profile. And that's exactly what is going to happen.”
Mileage is expected to improve to at least 60 mpg combined. Batteries will be both of the lithium-ion and NiMH variety, as is the case today. As quoted in the article, “Toyota engineers have found that NiMH batteries actually manage power delivery better when it comes to intensive consumption and recharging of electricity.”
The next model will have 4wd, created in an e-4WD way. The rear wheels will be powered by a separate electric motor and will operate up to 37 mph.
Interestingly, the source of all these information stated various basic patents of Toyota’s original Toyota Hybrid System (THS) – the progenitor of the Hybrid Synergy Drive of today – will expire by 2013, but also said the company will jump again in front of the competition with the new generation of the THS system.