The hybrid system of the fourth Prius generation will be smaller, lighter and cheaper, according to folks from Toyota. We can expect a potential decrease in the price for the Prius, or at the very least the current price level will be maintained. The next Prius, will also be the Toyota pioneer in modular construction, which will reduce costs and increase flexibility.
“When we look at the next-generation Prius, we will have a new type of hybrid system. We will make it even smaller, lighter and less expensive. That will strengthen its commercial attractiveness,” Senior Managing Officer Soichiro Okudaira, chief of Toyota’s R&D group declared. He didn’t give details concerning the new hybrid system but he did say the battery will have increased power output density.
The new Prius will see a revolutionary design, as promised by Toyota’s chief designer. The interior will also be revolutionized under this philosophy, all thanks to the new platform, which gives vehicles a lower center of gravity, thus presenting a more sporting image. On the inside modifications involves the repositioning of controls on the center console, changes to the upper part of the board, and other small changes in the location of various items.
All these efforts are part of an attempt by Toyota to keep the Prius an increasingly appealing hybrid in the world. It also aims to maintain the Toyota Prius as leader of a segment that is more and more crowded because of rivals. Even excluding hybrid vehicles that do not compete with the Prius, as well as SUVs and luxury sedans, it is almost inevitable that the Prius, once alone in this segment, will continue to lose market share.
The fuel economy will be achieved through a better hybrid system, and a better engine. But the TNGA technology will includes other components, which should translate into fuel economy. The key to achieve these objectives is the total weight loss.
Mitsuhisa Kato, executive vice president responsible for global R&D, said Toyota should be able to reduce overall vehicle weight by up to 20 percent on TNGA models, the platform the Prius will use.
“Conventional climate control units are often designed and tailored to each vehicle model, but this product has a new structure which enabled [us] to standardize components,” declared in a press release Denso Corp., Toyota’s largest supplier.
Toyota has sold over 1 million hybrid cars in 2013 for the second consecutive year.