Toyota has released a few new technical details about its all-new 2016 Prius. The revised version of the popular hybrid will greet the public for the first time at next month’s Los Angeles auto show.
Although seemingly carryover, Toyota has significantly updated the 1.8L VVT-i four-cylinder gas engine that powers the Prius. To that familiar engine Toyota engineers added a large volume exhaust gas recirculation system, new air intake ports that improve airflow, and redesigned coolant passages, netting a thermal efficiency of 40 percent.
On the electric power front, the 2016 Prius employs a new transaxle and electric motor that are smaller and lighter than the units they replace. The units also reduce mechanical drag by about 20 percent. A new power control unit is also part of the 2016 Prius, which is small enough to fit directly above the transaxle.
The 2016 Prius will continue to use nickel-metal hydride batteries, but those units will be smaller than before thanks to a more energy-dense formula. Ditto for the lithium-ion units destined for the Prius plug-in model.
Those batteries are packaged low in the Prius’ chassis, resulting in a lower center of gravity. Toyota promises a new structure that is 60 percent stiffer than the one used in the old Prius will also improve the hybrid’s driving dynamics.
Toyota hasn’t announced pricing for the new Prius, but it’s scheduled to land in Toyota showrooms early next year.