• Apr 29th 2008 at 11:50AM
  • 22
Click on the photo for a gallery of high-res images of the Hybrid-X Concept

There's a good deal that we already know about Toyota's next Prius. For instance, we expect it to make its formal debut in 2009 at the Detroit Auto Show, along with a possible Lexus sister. We know that Toyota plans to increase production by 60 percent in 2009. We also expect Prius V.3 to be equipped with nickel metal hydride batteries to start, though lithium ions could go into the Lexus model. A recent article on Auto Observer reinforces all of these points and adds that Toyota is planning to increase the displacement of the new Prius' internal combustion engine to 1.8 liters from today's 1.5 liters. This should offer twenty-five extra horsepower from the engine, pushing total power to a combined 160 horses. Even with the added gumption, the next Prius is expected to post an efficiency increase of around 10 percent, possibly achieving 50-55 miles per gallon in the real world.

The next-gen Prius is expected to grow a bit larger and could get a wagon option as well, though the assorted hybrid bits will actually decrease in size. If the next Prius grows too large for your needs, rumors indicate that a smaller hybrid under the Prius banner is also possible. Auto Observer quotes an anonymous source as suggesting that the next generation Prius is "still Prius-eque, but a bit bigger and more solid looking." The current Prius' styling is an acquired taste, but most consider Gen-2 better looking than Gen-1. We have high hopes for the next Prius redesign, and the possible Prius brand as well.

[Source: Auto Observer]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yeah Mike,
      I agree with you, since when has a larger displacement engine sucked less fuel ? This sounds like a marketing spin. The current Prius could be improved without so much major change. Besides, isn't the Hybrid Camry the next size up ? Why would they need a larger Prius before they hybridise the Corolla. Or does that mean the Corolla hybrid is not going to happen ?

      Who is calling for more power ? I've test driven this car. It is powerful enough and that's comparing to my own vehicles which are in the eight seconds to sixty class. It's seamless acceleration gives the illusion it's slow. In fact its 20-50mph accel ramp is quite good.

      Generally speaking with conventional transmission the only way to improve a so-so mpg figure is to supply an extra tall gear in the final drive differential. GM is doing this right now with the Cobalt as this press release outlines : -

      GM Introduces Higher Fuel Economy Version of the Cobalt 29 April 2008.
      GM has introduced the new Chevy Cobalt XFE (Xtra Fuel Economy). Powered by a 2.2L Ecotec engine, and available now, the Cobalt XFE delivers 25 mpg US city and 36 mpg highway—an improvement of more than 9% over the previous highway rating.
      With manual transmission, a revised engine calibration, low rolling-resistance tires,
      AND A NEW 3.74:1 final drive ratio.

      The current Prius could have a modest upgrade by increasing the NiMH battery draw from 100 to 135 amps. Calculations show this battery should be capable of 180amps, so it has been conservatively rated for years - time to unloosen the screws, so to speak. That would give an extra 10Hp for MG2.
      MG2 itself would be upgraded by first changing the final drive ratio from 4.113 to 5.00 while at the same time discarding the sprocket chain takeoff as is now done with the Hybrid Camry. Changing the ratio does minimal amount to the vehicle performance by itself, unlike the Chevy Cobalt, since we are talking about a constant power system here. However raising the rpms of MG2 by 20% over the same vehicle speed range has the effect of increasing the specific power of MG2 from 50kw to 60kw. I am suggesting to capitalize on 7kw of that. To do this a stator winding change, reducing turns by 20% and increasing the copper wire diameter by 10%, will be necessary. The software current limit settings on battery draw will need changing also but the engine,MG1 and the PSD will remain unaltered.
      That is my idea how an upgrade should be conducted. Just the removal of the sprocket to sprocket power transfer may reduce fuel consumption by 5 or 6% incidentally.
      • 7 Years Ago
      @Nathaniel Sears
      I think it has everything to do with those people who look at it's smaller profile in the outside, and think that its very small inside. Also has to do with the people who refuse to say it's practically a midsize because the outside dimensions are smaller. So Toyota figured it's not that hard to add a few inches outside and have people stop thinking it's too small. As for the bigger engine it's to address those who said it was too underpowered. But I think most of the people who brought up all the shortcomings of the current prius just doesn't like the prius and they still won't like it with these changes.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Toyota's taking a similar approach to the 2nd gen upgrade, looking for an ideal balancing of increased efficiency and increased size/power utility.

      Toyota's whole approach with the Prius has been to make a highly efficient car that can appeal to mainstream users. It's not trying to make a car that's either as efficient as humanly possible or as powerful as humanly possible, but one that can convince main street that a hybrid can be a practical and even a desirable solution to their transportation needs. It's shooting for the middle of the market. It wants to show you can drive a hybrid and improve your mpg and lessen your environmental impact at a cost comparable to cars with similar size/features, and all without significantly altering your lifestyle. That's what Prius is. This upgrade is directly in that tradition.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Why does Displacement = Inefficiently??

      After all, Optimizing a hybrid powertrain might well take advantage of a larger engine. IE a more aggressive Miller Cycle engine.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I believe the Corrolla's when to 1.8, so this decision is probably based on standardizing on a common engine. As was pointed out, it does not mean that it actually sucks in more gas, I bet if you compare older Corrolla's to the newer ones (when they switched) you will find that the mpg did not decrease.

      My disappointment lies with the decision to make it bigger. The Prius doesn't need to be bigger. It seems like car companies can only justify an upgrade by making a car bigger. Especially after they've put all this effort into shrinking the hybrid components.
      • 7 Years Ago
      A wagon version would be very welcome.
      • 7 Years Ago
      The new Prius will be for some and the older smaller Prius style will be for others. This way
      Toyota meets more than one demand for this type of car.

      I work for Toyota so I get a bit more of the inside scoop than others may, and understand more what they are trying to accomplish from a marketing perspective is to target an age group they have yet to gain sales from in this type of vehicle.

      They are targeting an even younger audience by adding a more sporty version of the Prius to attract an even younger buying crowd, but also it will give the vehicle more ride comfort to make it a little bigger in this model.

      It will not be for everyone but the new version certainly will help to sell more of them, and help to make America a greener place to live, and also make it so we will not go broke trying to fill our tanks.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not surprised it's getting more power and getting bigger. Given the limited mental capacity of dumb American consumers, it's pretty much a given. They need to feel like they are in their freaking living rooms when in a car. Real retarded bunch.

      Anyone with half a brain would realize the current Pruis interior is LARGE. More than enough room to carry 4 or 5 people in comfort.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Not so complicated. Increasing the car's footprint while retaining or improving the engine's efficiency will help Toyota meet the new corporate CAFE requirments.

      • 7 Years Ago
      Nah, I see the Prius taking on the role of the Accord for Honda

      Getting bigger to follow the generational trends of the buyers, while smaller cars (Civic and FIT) come along on the back end to fill the smaller car market.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'd rather see a SMALLER GAS engine and a LARGER ELECTRIC engine. I would expect that every generation would continue that trend until you only use the gas engine serially in emergencies.

      A larger engine will have bigger pistons and will require more fuel to explode to push those pistons. A larger engine means more performance which is the OPPOSITE of Efficiency.
      • 7 Years Ago
      No plug ? Yawn
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