When it comes to hybrids, Toyota is the undisputed king. The Japanese automaker’s ultra-efficient Prius is practically the gold standard when it comes to economical motoring, but just because they’ve been successful over the past 15 years doesn’t mean they’re slowing down.
Toyota is hard at work on the next-generation Prius, which is widely expected to debut as a 2015 model. When it does arrive on the market Satoshi Ogiso, Toyota Motor Corporation’s managing officer said it will be “the first to introduce a substantially improved family of hybrid powertrains.”
Precisely what that entails is unclear at this time – and company representatives are tight lipped on the topic – but the Prius has become roughly 10 percent more efficient with each generation, of which there have been three since it landed on the market in 1997.
The challenge is to continue that progress, which isn’t easy. According to Uncle Sam the 2013 Prius averages an impressive 50 miles per gallon; a 10 percent increase would result in a combined efficiency score of 55 mpg. Could the next-generation of the car deliver that? Or perhaps more?
Globally, Toyota plans to introduce 15 new or redesigned hybrid vehicles by the end of 2015. Supposedly the company’s new electrified powertrains will be smaller, lighter, less expensive, and deliver significantly better fuel economy. How can you top that?
These improvements are the direct result of big investments in a variety of key propulsion systems. Toyota has been continuously working to advance its internal combustion, battery and electric motor technologies. It will be interesting to see how far the next-generation Prius will be able to stretch a gallon of gasoline.
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