Conventional Cars toyota-prius-c-concept

Published on July 5th, 2012 | by Christopher DeMorro

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2015 Toyota Prius Rumors Start Surfacing

The Toyota Prius has remained at the front of the MPG pack for more than a decade now, and in that time it has garnered a reputation as a reliable, cost-effective solution to high gas prices. Toyota has expanded the Prius lineup to include a compact and a larger minivan, but rivals are closing the mineshaft, errr, MPG gap. So how does Toyota intend to keep the Prius on top?

Edmunds Inside Line reports that Toyota will be focusing its efforts on making the 4th-generation Prius lighter and more aerodynamic. Due out in 2015, Toyota is also reportedly working with tire makers on achieving new gains in the area of low-rolling resistance tires. But it Toyota’s efforts in making the next Prius even lighter that will likely bring the biggest MPG gains.

Ideas like an all-aluminum body have been tried and abandoned before, though the Prius V does weigh an aluminum hood to shave off a few pounds. The weight of the Prius has steadily gone up over the years, now sitting around 3,000 pounds, up from around 2,700 when it debuted. The compact Prius C tips the scales at just 2,500 pounds however, and every pound of weight Toyota can save makes it easier to attain those uber-high MPG numbers.

However, Toyota needs to keep the Prius affordable. It is a delicate balancing act, as materials like aluminum and carbon fiber are a lot more expensive than heavier recycled steel. It’s interested that the Edmunds article doesn’t mention anything about the battery pack or engine either. Toyota has, for some reason, stuck with heavier nickel-hydride batteries in the Prius rather than making the jump to lithium-ion cells. The reasoning could go back to affordability, but the weight savings could help push the Prius over the 60 mpg mark.

With an expanding lineup and absolute domination of the market, the Prius remains top dog…for now. But the rate at which other automakers have caught up is astounding, and Toyota had better pull out all the stops for the next Prius if they want to stay on top. Do you have a wishlist of parts you hope to see in the next Prius?

Source: Edmunds Inside Line


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About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or esle, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.



  • Mark W

    Most traded in car type by new Gm Volt owners: the Prius.

    Peddle faster Toyota!

  • Arthur

    I have bought 8 prii including the plugin. I was disappointed by the plugin. I bought two Nissan leafs and find myself using these cars most of the time. So it looks like I’m gravitating more to the Nissan in the future and the prii I have will be the last I buy unless they come out with a true plugin ( 45 miles on electric minimum).

    • http://MrEnergyCzar.com MrEnergyCzar

      I didn’t like that the Plug-in Prius doesn’t run all electric at any speed, the battery is way too small…

      MrEnergyCzar

  • http://MrEnergyCzar.com MrEnergyCzar

    They should have a super eco driving mode where they can claim 60 mpg and a sport mode for those that don’t care as much…

    MrEnergyCzar

  • gendotte

    A 2+2 convertable

  • JayZ

    >> for some reason, stuck with heavier nickel-hydride batteries in the Prius rather than making the jump to lithium-ion cells

    Come on, do you really think a manufacturer who sold 4 million hybrids takes these decisions lightly? Sensible engineering is not about making the strongest, or the fastest or the lightest or even the cheapest, its about meticulously selecting parts and engineering so the end-product becomes just right for a majority of needs.

    Just wait and see in a couple of years when GM Volts start falling apart and their batteries start to get weak and used Volt prices fall through the roof, American tax payers will really start to question why they ever decided to fund the Volt.

    • http://www.sublimeburnout.com Christopher DeMorro

      @ JayZ

      Well while Toyota dawdles, other automakers are making the jump to lithium-ion batteries. Also, given how much effort went into testing the Volt and its batteries, I doubt it will be falling apart 5, or even 15 years from now.

      Not to take away from the obvious reliability of the Prius; it is proven to be a strong-running vehicle. But it is in danger of falling behind the competition unless Toyota steps its game up. That has been, and continues to be, my main criticism of the Prius and Toyota in general.

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  • JayZ

    Li ION tech has been around for quite a while, in fact Toyota had sufficient time to implement LI-ion for gen3 prius and they opted not to. On the other extreme we see compaines the likes of Volvo putting out their first hybrid cars with li-ion and a hefty price tag and with no assurance on their longevity and safety. If these decisions were that simple, Toyota would probably hire me as their next product architect, and believe me, success in the marketplace and not wanting to be falling behind in the competition would be the sort of fundamental business goals that Toyota will be familar with already but the key differentiator is (in my opinion) the maturity with which some of these issues are addressed by Toyota. The second aspect to consider is reliability – Toyota have very successfully managed reliability against increasing complexity of engine tech. I’ve had GMs before failing in the most unimaginable ways – even the simplest of engines so again it comes down to the basics – there is no point in rushing to grab the latest components around and assemble a car, it is not going to sell well, the right fundamentals need to be in place.

  • 40oz_Warrrioe

    I’d love to see the next Prius have light weight composite body panels ( I miss my ding-free Saturn )…. but not carbon fiber because it’s nearly impoossible to recycle.

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