• Aug 28, 2013
Twenty years ago, a small group of engineers at Toyota were tasked with the G21 project, a look into the "Global 21st Century" and how Toyota could make vehicles that used less fuel and emit less CO2. You might be able to guess that the result of that project was the Prius, which became an icon and is today the world's most popular hybrid (in Japan and California, it's the most popular car, period).

Speaking at the Toyota Hybrid World Tour, a rock 'n roll-themed media event in Ypsilanti, MI today, one of those engineers, Satoshi Ogiso, who is now Toyota Motor Corporation's managing officer, gave some hints on the next-gen Prius. The headline number: roughly 55 miles per gallon thanks to a new platform – the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) – and a more thermal efficient engine. The TNGA will provide a lower center of gravity as well as improved ride and handling, Ogiso said, and the new Prius motor will be more power dense as well.

The 55-mpg number is a big deal, but it is in line with the improvements in the model's history. The first-gen Prius got 41 mpg, the second-gen got 46 and the third got 50. So, there was around a 10-percent improvement each time. "To beat your own record becomes very difficult," Ogiso said, adding that it becomes all the more rewarding when you manage to reach your goal. The big question, of course, is when this next-gen Prius is due? "It's a sensitive question," Ogiso said, but then gave a big hint that 2015 is likely. Once again, he pointed to history. After all, the first-gen was 1997, second-gen was 2003 and third-gen was 2009. It's always been six years between models he said, laughing.
Show full PR text
Toyota to Launch 'New Era' of High-MPG Hybrids, Expand Its Global Hybrid Rollout
  • Early information on Next-Generation Prius
  • VP Carter challenges industry: 5 million U.S. hybrid sales by end of 2016
  • Global verification tests of new wireless/inductive charging system
  • 2015 hydrogen fuel cell vehicle at Tokyo and CES shows
YPSILANTI, Mich., August 28, 2013 - Want to save money and gas? Toyota plans to help consumers do both.

Promising continued gains in fuel economy, Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) Managing Officer Satoshi Ogiso outlined the launch of a new era in hybrid technology with the arrival of the next-generation Prius, while Toyota Motor Sales (TMS) Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Carter issued a challenge for the industry to significantly step up its commitment to hybrids as a core technology.

As a backdrop to these announcements, Toyota gathered in one place for the first time ever the entire Toyota and Lexus global hybrid line up. The company has sold more than 5 million Toyota and Lexus hybrids worldwide. The environmental effect has been an estimated 34 million ton reduction in C02 - the equivalent of taking 4.8 million vehicles off the road.

"I would like to see us -- as an industry -- accomplish the same thing in the U.S.," said Carter. "That is...5 million hybrids, cumulatively, in the U.S. by close of business 2016. 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. It's do-able. And I think we will do it."

Stressing Toyota's further commitment to industry hybrid leadership, Ogiso announced that "when the next generation Prius arrives, it will begin a new era for a broad range of Toyota and Lexus vehicles" and will be "the first to introduce a substantially improved family of hybrid powertrains."

Between now and the end of 2015, Toyota plans to introduce 15 new or redesigned hybrid vehicles globally. These new hybrid powertrains will deliver significantly improved fuel economy in a more compact package that is lighter in weight and lower in cost. Ogiso said the performance of this new generation of powertrains will reflect significant advances in battery, electric motor and gas engine technologies that are part of Toyota's larger strategy towards the electrification of the automobile through hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell technologies.

Ogiso used the next-generation Prius as an example.

"The current Prius has held America's fuel economy crown for many years," said Ogiso. "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."

The next Prius will feature improved batteries with higher energy density – the relationship between the battery's output and dimensions. Toyota, already a leader in advanced drive battery technology, has stepped up its research, development and production capacity of both nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion and will use these technologies where appropriate in its expanding focus on electrification of the automobile. Toyota has also ramped up development on new battery technologies like solid state and lithium air, as well as devoting resources focused on chemistries beyond lithium, such as magnesium and other low-valence materials.

The next Prius will also feature electric motors that will be smaller in size. He noted that the current Prius motors have four times the power density of the first model and that "the next will be even higher."

In addition, the thermal efficiency of the gasoline engine in the current Prius is 38.5 percent. The next-generation will boost that level to more than 40 percent – a world best.

The next Prius will also utilize Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA), featuring a lower center of gravity and increased structural rigidity, which will contribute to greatly improved driving dynamics.

Improved aerodynamics will contribute to an all-new exterior design. Ogiso promised a roomier interior and significant refinements in design, layout and ease of operation.

Ogiso also said the next-generation Prius Plug-in (PHV) is being developed in parallel with the standard Prius model.

"We have been listening very carefully to Prius PHV 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," Ogiso said. "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." He said verification work on the system will be conducted in Japan, the U.S. and Europe in 2014.

Work is also progressing on Toyota's first commercially available hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, a new mid-size four-door sedan whose concept will be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show in November. That vehicle will make its North American debut in January at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where Bob Carter will discuss the role of Toyota's U.S.-based engineering team in its development, as well as preliminary plans for introduction into the U.S. market.

Carter said that the hydrogen fuel cell will utilize core hybrid technology and will be a primary element of Toyota's future mobility strategy.

"Toyota currently accounts for more than 60 percent of U.S. hybrid sales and 70 percent of the nearly 3 million hybrids on U.S. roads today," said Carter.

"Over the past 5 years, the percentage of hybrid sales at Toyota has grown from 10 to 16 percent of our total sales mix. Honda is less than 2. And while hybrid as a percentage of the total market is just under 4 percent, we believe that it can...and must grow."


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 151 Comments
      danwat1234
      • 1 Year Ago
      According to the greencarcongress article linked below, the next gen Prius was supposed to have an engine of thermal efficiency of a bit more than 40%, thanks to a lean burning turbocharged engine Yes, lean burn, no engines on the market right now do lean burn. Honda used to but they couldn't keep the emissions low enough for the new standards so they haven't done it in 8+ years. There are 2 possible future engines for the Prius, one is a direct injected Atkinson cycle, that 2.5 years ago they achieved 42.4% efficiency. The turbocharged lean burn engine 2.5 years ago they had achieved 43.7% thermal efficiency. Hopefully the next gen plug-in Prius won't be grossly more expensive than the regular Prius for probably
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      The next car will be closer to 60mpg. There's also talk of it being awd, although I don't know how true that is. And 2015 is the latest it will show up. That is all per Toyota employees, btw.
        Frisky_Dingo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        Downvoted for simply stating unbiased facts?? Seems legit.
          Ziv
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Frisky_Dingo
          "unbiased facts" = unsupported statements made by a fake named person on ABG Let me think about this for a bit...
        Klinkster
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        Considering they're talking about electric motors, absolutely AWD is a possibility. Check out the prototype 420hp Yaris hybrid they just announced using a super-capacitor and electric motors. When the front wheels slip, the electric motors on the back wheels kick in. AWD baby!
        oRenj9
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        If by "Toyota Employees" you mean "Toyota Dealership Employees," then I just want to point out that they are almost always full of **** and you should take their statements with a grain of salt. In fact, unless this person is a chief engineer or manager on the Prius project, then they likely don't know anything beyond what the general public does.
          Frisky_Dingo
          • 1 Year Ago
          @oRenj9
          No, that's not what I mean at all, but thanks for playing.
        yonomo200
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        Toyota employees such as yourself?
      cbamft
      • 1 Year Ago
      If you can keep it under the speed limit on the freeway and surface streets, a Gen2 Prius can average nearly 60mpg.
        superchan7
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cbamft
        Real world MPGs on Priuses are shocking. Utterly shocking; there is no competition.
        John K
        • 1 Year Ago
        @cbamft
        did not know that a Prius is capable of going over the speed limit
          yusosmug
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John K
          I did not know you were incapable of writing a complete sentence.
          superchan7
          • 1 Year Ago
          @John K
          Actually Priuses tend to go under or way over. Lots of oblivious drivers blowing by Highway Patrol officers at 80 mph here in California.
      BipDBo
      • 1 Year Ago
      CT : fairly slow, two row, 5 seat, FWD, $32K luxury hatchback I'll give it to you that Lexus has a little more interesting hybrid offerings, particularly the 338 hp, RWD GS 450h. The problem is that it's $60k. They can make these hybrid drivetrains for only a few thousand above an ICE drive train. They can do it more affordably with more volume. Hybrids, by nature, appeal to economy and practicality, so I'd rather see them expand to other markets under the more affordable Toyota and Scion badges.
      bK
      • 1 Year Ago
      I thought the prius already achived 55mpg, oh thats right toyota understates their mpg.
      John Fish Kurmann
      • 1 Year Ago
      I wasn't present to hear what was said live, but nothing in the press release specifies the goal of 55 MPG. They talk about the past two generations improving MPG by ~10% and Ogiso is quoted as saying "We are very motivated to beat our record." That suggests to me that MPG will improve by more than 10% for the 4th Generation, and that jibes with previous rumors that it will attain 60 MPG.
      Sasparilla Fizz
      • 1 Year Ago
      I hope they stick with NiMH for the hybrid battery type - as it doesn't loose capacity over time (the way that Toyota manages it in their hybrid's) while any Li type battery would loose capacity.
      Tony Akinremi
      • 1 Year Ago
      With increase fuel prices on horizon, higher MPG will be great reason for a Prius purchase.
        CoolWaters
        • 1 Day Ago
        @Tony Akinremi
        http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2013/08/28/business-oil-prices-syria.html Exactly, it's already started. You'd better beat the rush before this war goes HOT.
      John P
      • 1 Year Ago
      I would like to see Toyota, VW, Peugeot or Audi sell a DIESEL hybrid capable of 100 MPG EPA cycle.
        oRenj9
        • 1 Day Ago
        @John P
        Ah yes, this ONE WEIRD TRICK that will magically double the efficiency of hybrid cars. If only those damn ENGINEERS would listen to the INTERNET!
        skierpage
        • 1 Day Ago
        @John P
        You're disconnected with reality if you think changing to diesel will make the car 80% more efficient. If it was possible then VW would have been selling a diesel hybrid that "only" gets 65 mpg for the last decade.
        Patrick
        • 1 Day Ago
        @John P
        How would they get a diesel engine to run long enough and frequently enough in a hybrid to activate the DPF regen cycle?
          king.phaggle
          • 1 Day Ago
          @Patrick
          F*** DPF's. When you're netting nearly 100 mpg you can live with polluting some. Still better than most cars and the stupid hippies can deal with it.
      Avinash Machado
      • 1 Year Ago
      They should improve the driving dynamics as well.
      Hazdaz
      • 1 Year Ago
      Once again, the fools out there that thought that no one would ever buy a hybrid, and that somehow hybrids weren't worth it are going to be proven wrong when this next-gen Prius comes out. With each generation not only has the car become more efficient, but its become more practical (and larger) and when looking at what you get for the price, more competitive for average consumer's dollars.
      SealBeach
      • 1 Year Ago
      The MPG gains are decreasing if you look at fuel savings, though. An extra 5 MPG over 50 MPG is 10% increase, while a 5 MPG over 40 MPG would be 12%. Limited returns, and it the R&D costs still go way up trying to eek out that extra MPG.
        graphikzking
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SealBeach
        normally yes, but they can still creep up with the battery / electric motor. I agree the thermal retention was vastly improved from GEN2 to GEN3 version. My wife has a G2 and I have the G3 and I can see a MASSIVE difference in the winter. However, with all these battery price drops, it should equate to a slightly bigger battery and more powerful electric with an actual "Lower cost". Normally a lot of R&D for minimal gains, but batteries are like Turbos right now. Turn up the boost = more cheap power. Newer cheaper bigger batteries = more efficient for no R&D costs. :)
        knightrider_6
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SealBeach
        " R&D costs still go way up trying to eek out that extra MPG" That's surprising because it hasn't affected the retail price of hybrid cars. A 2003 Prius cost almost the same as 2013 Prius.
        Raz
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SealBeach
        So Toyota should just do what GM does...............which is nothing and lose a decade worth of hybrid sales? You realize that to date GM does not have a legit hybrid.
        skierpage
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SealBeach
        "eek! a mouse". You mean "eke out".
        TMoody
        • 1 Year Ago
        @SealBeach
        Respectfully you're completely missing the point of incremental modest improvements over time. Imagine 8-10% mpg improvements over say a 50 year time horizon. Call it 7-8 gens of the car, 8-10% improvement each time. You're then looking at 100mog+ real world combined, while emitting a fraction of the nasties that today's Prius does. Now multiply that by millions of cars and you're talking about a geopolitically changed environment. For the better. You realize that's what the Japanese mfrs did with quality metrics starting in the 1950's right? 5% improvement with each gen (sometimes every 2-3 years) was the pursued goal. By the 70's - just in time for the OPEC shenanigans - the quality was "good enough" and the economy far better. The rest is history in the making. I get that the economics for one buyer of a specific car may not be all that compelling gen over gen. Maybe $1000 fuel savings over 10 years that barely covers the price differential, if at all. But we need to think bigger here IMHO.
    • Load More Comments