Toyota Prius started the hybrid vehicle revolution alongside Honda Insight nearly twenty years ago, continuously improving power and fuel economy.
The fourth-generation Toyota Prius, slated for Spring 2015 production, has been delayed six months, until December 2015, with the Prius Plug-In coming a year later. While Toyota itself hasn’t clarified the exact reasons, it’s most-likely that engineers want to squeeze as much fuel economy out of it as possible. The Gen IV Toyota Prius, probably as a 2016 model, is actually the test-bed for the newest technologies that Toyota plans on putting into its hybrid vehicle lineup.
In keeping with Kaizen – Continuous Improvement, I can understand the delay to make sure they “get it right.” After all, now that there is infinitely more competition in the hybrid vehicle marketplace today than there was in the segment’s infancy. That Toyota makes up 75% of worldwide hybrid vehicle sales, however, is no reason for Toyota to rest on its laurels, and we expect further improvements to be announced as the final Toyota Prius production model is revealed this spring.
Toyota’s New Global Architecture, a modular Hybrid Synergy Drive, can be adapted to more vehicles in the lineup. Currently, each vehicle type gets its own version of the Drive, but the new version will be adaptable across the lineup, supporting a wider range of engines, motors, and batteries. Currently, between Toyota, Lexus, and Scion, Toyota plans on launching over twenty new hybrid vehicles, practically covering the entire lineup.
So, will the Gen IV Toyota Prius exceed the promised 55 mpg? Will it use the new lightweight, yet insanely expensive SiC Power Control Unit? Final specifications for the Gen IV Toyota Prius are still forthcoming.
Image © Toyota