Can you imagine a car that garners more attention that isn’t a sports car; I sure can’t. The Toyota Prius has been a cash machine for Toyota for many years because of the advanced hybrid technology that it employs. When Toyota announced they were going to give us a new Prius for 2016 most were excited by the prospect but appalled when the new car made its appearance at various auto shows around the world. To its detriment, the Prius resembles the Mirai, but Toyota asked us to pump the brakes on the judgement, confidently letting us know this was intentional and the Prius would be better than ever at what it does well.
So, what does the Prius do well? This car has been a fuel efficiency monster for years, and at an affordable price. The Prius is one car that we can all easily associate with and know the car will return great performance in the fuel mileage category without sacrificing too much space or the ability to accelerate quickly. This new Prius is expected to give us a full ten percent more form the fuel efficiency standpoint which is amazing as it felt like the previous model had squeezed out all it could.
The reason this new Prius can offer such a change is similar to what we see on many other cars. The Prius will be lighter and Toyota has found a way to reduce the mechanical losses which helps to increase the thermal efficiency of the car. This will give us a fuel mileage rating as high as 55 mph on the highway and should even provide and Eco model with a better battery pack with more efficiency as well. Currently the Prius offers a 48 mpg rating on the highway so this increase is even more than ten percent which is awesome.
This redesigned model is expected to offer up to a forty percent thermal efficiency which helps make it more efficient. Many of the components have been upgraded to make this possible which will translate into an energy savings which can then be put into driving the car more efficiently. Heat is energy and energy saved makes this beauty better, its simple science overall, but certainly was a lot of work for the Prius engineers to come up with a 1.5 percent increase in thermal efficiency to make this car perform better.
The friction has also been reduced by nearly twenty percent. This is the result of the new transaxle, the TNGA platform which cuts the weight, and the new electric motor. With reduced friction is a reduced loss of mechanical power making this system much more efficient and able to offer a better overall production for this car.
The battery packs used will be all new and one will be a nickel-metal hydride while the other is a lithium-ion. No word yet as to which model will get which batter pack but the Prius gains some cargo space because these new, smaller, more efficient battery packs can now be located under the rear seat to make this possible and offer an even more livable space from the Prius.
The new setup with the new architecture and the moved battery pack will also allow the Prius to be better at handling. A new double-wishbone rear suspension will be used and the center of gravity is lowered to give much better control and offer the improved handling. This is also a benefit of the TNGA architecture which makes the car up to sixty percent more rigid than before which uses much more high-strength steel. This car is also expected to offer better acceleration and responsiveness, especially at low speeds with the reduced weight and much better hybrid software.
With this new information it’s certainly a case that has been made for the Prius which will make its appearance in the early part of 2016. When we see more specific numbers we can discuss those then and continue to marvel at the king of hybrids and the one that got everyone else working to match it, the Toyota Prius.