We already reported that Toyota has delayed the next-generation Prius six months in order to get it right, and now fresh details have emerged about the upcoming hybrid vehicle.
One interesting fact is that the fourth-generation Prius will offer two battery choices, a low-cost nickel-metal hydride unit or a lithium ion pack. Even more interesting is that Toyota is considering offering an all-wheel drive model in addition to the standard front-wheel drive layout.
“I think we will possibly do it,” Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of powertrain development, told Autonews, without offering any other details about the batteries or the possibility of an all-wheel drive Prius.
However, it is a known fact that the next-generation hybrid drivetrain that will debut in the next Prius will be used across a wider variety of vehicle configurations and body types. This is why an all-wheel drive Prius could happen. The new hybrid system will be smaller, lighter and more efficient.
“The batteries will be renewed. Everything will be revised. And I think we will come up with a fuel economy that will surprise everyone,” Saga said. The Prius could be offered with a cheaper version using the nickel-metal hydride technology, while a larger capacity lithium ion pack with increased electric-only driving range could be offered as an upper trim model with a higher price.
The upcoming Prius will also debut Toyota’s new modular platform dubbed Toyota New Global Architecture.
By Dan Mihalascu