Toyota hopes to boost the efficiency of its hybrid vehicles by as much as 10 percent through a new semiconductor that uses less energy.
The company is currently developing a chip that it says will boost the efficiency of its Prius hybrid by up to 10 percent and hopes to market the technology commercially by 2020. Currently, Toyota says it is already seeing a 5 percent improvement in its tests.
Its new chips use 10 percent of the power that the current units do and enable the power control unit to shrink by 80 percent. Toyota’s vehicles will benefit from an efficiency boost because the hybrid systems will lose less power when the battery is running the electric motor.
Even before the new chips start showing up in Toyota’s hybrids, the company is aiming for substantial efficiency gains in the next generation Prius expected in the 2015 model year. When that car arrives, it is expected to offer 55 MPG and wireless charging for enhanced driver convenience.
“[The] next-generation Prius, specifically, will combine our advanced battery technologies with new electric motors that are smaller in size and feature improved power density,” Satoshi Ogiso, Toyota Motor Corporation’s managing officer, said during a media briefing in Detroit last summer.
Improved thermal efficiency of the internal combustion engine portion of the drivetrain is a key focus for the new Prius. The current model offers 38.5 percent thermal efficiency, but Toyota is shooting for 40 percent with the new car.
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