Toyota has released technical and fuel economy specs of its all-new Prius hybrid, which is expected to have the “highest fuel economy of any vehicle without a plug.”
As expected, the new Prius’ hybrid system consists of a 1.8-liter VVT-i Atkinson cycle gasoline engine, a new electric motor and newly developed lithium-ion or nickel-metal hydride batteries.
Toyota says the gasoline engine has been completely re-engineered, achieving “remarkable results” in terms of performance, fuel economy, and reductions to size and weight.
The new unit has a maximum thermal efficiency of 40 percent thanks to the use of a large-volume exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system and improvements in combustion efficiency.
In Japan, the gasoline engine is rated at 98PS (97hp) at 5,200 rpm and 142Nm (105lb-ft) of torque at 3,600 rpm, while the electric motor has a maximum output of 53kW (72PS or 71hp) and 163Nm (120lb-ft) of torque. The automaker estimates that certain grades achieve a target fuel efficiency of 40 km/L (2.5 l/100 km or 94 mpg US) under the Japanese JC08 cycle.
The improved fuel efficiency is in part due to the fact that key components of the hybrid system (including the motors, transaxle, power control unit and hybrid batteries) are now smaller and lighter.
Smaller components also translate into improved practicality, with the new Prius boasting a boot volume of 502 liters (17.7 cu-ft), an increase of 56 liters over the previous generation model.
For the first time, the Prius will feature an E-Four (electronic four-wheel drive) system, which uses a high-output rear motor to assist the engine and front motor as needed. It also optimizes the allocation of power between the front and rear wheels. As a result, Toyota says the E-Four delivers levels of power and drivability under bad-weather and slippery conditions that are found only in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.
The fourth-generation Toyota Prius will go on sale in Japan in December.