We've been hearing rumors about the next generation of the Toyota Prius for the last couple of years on a pretty regular basis. From the expectation of lithium-ion battery packs with more capacity for electric-only miles to wireless charging and more emotional styling, there's been no shortage of talking points for the car that's expected to see its first light of day at the very end of 2015 (we hope). But one thing we've yet to hear about, until now that is, is all-wheel drive.

According to a report from Automotive News, Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of powertrain development of the Prius, said in an interview last week, "I think we will possibly do [all-wheel drive]" for the car's next generation. There isn't any further indication on how the AWD system would work, but we'd put our money on something similar, at least in principle, to the E-Four system that just debuted on the 2015 Lexus NX 300h, which uses an electric motor mounted at the rear to power the car's back wheels when the front wheels lose traction.

The AN report also repeats a rumor we've heard before – that Toyota may offer two different battery pack options in its next Prius, one using lithium-ion chemistry and one using the nickel metal hydride technology that the Prius has featured from its very beginning. While the automaker has yet to talk efficiency, it's natural to expect more capacity for EV driving from newer lithium-based technology over that of nickel-based packs to go along with what we'd also expect would be a somewhat higher price.

We're sure you're just as curious about the next Prius as much as we are, and so we'll leave you with these words, again from Saga: "The batteries will be renewed. Everything will be revised. And I think we will come up with a fuel economy that will surprise everyone."


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  • 41 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      Mmhm... this could be awesome, but i see how this means more delays for the next model.. :(
      graphikzking
      • 7 Months Ago
      55mpg + awd + $29,000 or less(with a few options) and we have ourselves a winner :)
      Juventas
      • 7 Months Ago
      No thanks ill take the Volt 2.0 nstead
        Harry
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Juventas
        I wonder what route GM is taking with the Volt next year. It has to be cheaper, but most Volt fans want more AER. Kind of contradictory. Perhaps that is why they seem to be going with the Volt and the Volt light.
      jebibudala
      • 7 Months Ago
      Why? It doesn't have enough power to break traction on black ice to begin with.
      Shawn
      • 7 Months Ago
      Looks like the Honda Fit AWD Hybrid put the squeeze on. It quickly unseated the Prius in Japan for best selling.
        carguy1701
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Shawn
        >car that has been out for less than a year affecting product plans at a major automaker Yeah, no. Doesn't work that way.
          Shawn
          • 7 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          Did your mom give you a break from counting Jeeps with the spare tires mounted under the gas tank?
          Shawn
          • 7 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          I forgot. cartroll1701 goes to Japan and talks directly with the engineers.
          carguy1701
          • 7 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          The next generation Prius is almost done, you damn nimrod. All wheel drive was likely part of the program from the get-go. You really don't understand how this industry works at all.
          carguy1701
          • 7 Months Ago
          @carguy1701
          Yup, you're retarded. Inbreeding will do that.
      Avinash Machado
      • 7 Months Ago
      Great idea.
      Stinkyboy
      • 7 Months Ago
      AWD would be a great option for snowy regions
      timber
      • 7 Months Ago
      In general (of course some places or situations need it) I'm not a fan of AWD, it mainly adds weight and bulk with the corresponding results on efficiency and performance. Those who follow WRC noticed that some years ago 2WD cars had to be engine capped to they wouldn't shame WRCs on tarmac (of course on gravel and snow AWD reigned supreme). This was around the time Loeb was coming up. But with an electric power we can both have the cake and eat it. There are no transmissions shafts, Haldex or differentials or whatever. Several electric engines are heavier than less but the penalty and complexity are much smaller than with combustion engines transmissions. Much of the work comes from the electronic control.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 7 Months Ago
        @timber
        You're thinking of a mechanical AWD system which adds a long driveshaft, axles, another differential, and a few other pieces. For a car like this, you could literally be adding maybe 10 pounds net by basically just relocating one very compact and light drivetrain to the rear of the car; which would actually help weight balance in the end.
      Spec
      • 7 Months Ago
      I tend to think that AWD drive is an unnecessary add-on that adds cost and doesn't provide much value. But then again, since so many people are TERRIBLE drivers, perhaps they need it.
        paulwesterberg
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Spec
        The Prius with front wheel drive, stability/traction control and the hybrid battery for extra rear traction actually does pretty well driving in the snow. Source: I live in Wisconsin.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 7 Months Ago
        @Spec
        Why do you think that it would add much in the way of cost? the car already has two drivetrains, you know. It would require dramatically less extra parts than a traditional AWD setup. Just put the electric motor drivetrain on the rear wheels. You may even be able to just use rear hub motors..
      2 wheeled menace
      • 7 Months Ago
      It totally would.
      paulwesterberg
      • 7 Months Ago
      I doubt this will gain much traction in the market but it might convince some Subaru drivers to upgrade to a more efficient vehicle. Toyota definitely needs to make a rally/sport version.
        majortom1981
        • 7 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        What do you mean more efficient. Subaru already has the most fuel efficient awd car already doesn't it? the impreza gets 36mpg highway in awd
        TahsinZ
        • 7 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        An AWD Prius-V might actually steal a lot of Subaru customers
      BipDBo
      • 7 Months Ago
      I can't wait to see video of a Prius pulling a pickup truck out of the snow. I keep a tow strap in My Sienna, which has AWD. I've rescued a few truck owners from beach sand, at the cost of their pride. I've also impressed a few people at the boat ramp.
        pickles
        • 7 Months Ago
        @BipDBo
        Shhhh… the awesome capabilities of our Siennas are supposed to be a secret from the 'macho' SUV drivers. … but I love that you're out about showing the truck owners how a Sienna leaves them in the dust.
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