An all-new Toyota Prius will spearhead a new generation of hybrid vehicles for Toyota, with the lineup expected to leverage enhanced powertrain technologies that will deliver better fuel-economy ratings in a lighter and less-expensive package. The news was a highlight of a recent all-Toyota gathering at which the automaker shared some of its future product plans with the media.
Execs didn’t provide many details, but Satoshi Ogiso, managing officer of the Toyota Motor Corporation, did indicate that: “The current Prius has held America’s fuel economy crown for many years. In its three generations, Prius mpg has improved on average by about 10 percent, each generation. The challenge to continue to improve at this rate—to beat your own record—becomes very difficult, but makes it all the more motivating. We are very motivated to beat our record.”
For those keeping track, that current record, for the 2013 Toyota Prius, stands at a nifty 51 mpg city/48 mpg highway/50 mpg combined; accomplishing Toyota’s goal would raise that latter number to an incredible 55 mpg.
Ogiso also had some news for plug-in proponents: “We have been listening very carefully to Prius plug-in owners and are considering their requests for additional all-electric range. We have also heard from owners that they would like a more convenient charging operation.
“In response, we are developing a new wireless/inductive charging system that produces resonance between an on-floor coil and an onboard coil to transmit power to the battery, providing charging without the fuss of a cable.”
But as Toyota works to overcome these challenges, it also has offered up a challenge for the rest of the industry. Noting that the automaker already had sold more than 5 million hybrids globally since launching the Toyota Prius, Bob Carter, senior vice president at Toyota Motor Sales, called out the other brands as follows: “I would like to see us—as an industry—accomplish the same thing in the U.S. That results in 3 billion gallons of gasoline saved, which is more than enough gas for the entire population of the United States to drive from San Francisco to Los Angeles in a Prius.”
Written by Charles Krome.
Photo courtesy of Toyota.