By Cynthia Shahan, with content additions and editing by Zachary Shahan
Lest we forget, conventional hybrid electric cars (no plugs), and especially the Toyota Prius, led the beginning of this transition to eliminate gas, lower emissions, and come into the age of the EV. Toyota has just revealed the 2016 Prius, and it is a big change from previous models — design-wise. It comes with what some have described as a “sporty style,” but …
It is not my style. I like large windows in an automobile — too many of today’s cars lack a view, and the 2016 Prius is no exception. One needs a good view to be safe. I don’t understand the logic of the style of fewer windows as this car “sports.” It lacks clarity and elegance.
And the rear design and lights… umm… I don’t really know who’s style that is, but I have a hard time seeing it appeal to a large number of people. But maybe it is to help with aerodynamics and efficiency?
If you consider it “green” (which is highly debatable), the Prius is the top-selling “green car” in the world. But will it hold that spot?
“Toyota has ‘reimagined’ it with 10-percent improved fuel economy… Toyota is not publishing the exact mpg estimates just yet, saying it awaits EPA certification,” Jeff Cobb writes, “but 10 percent would work out to 56 mpg city, 53 mpg highway, 55 mpg compared to today’s Prius Liftback rated 51 city, 48 highway, 50 combined.”
Also in development is the more-efficient “Eco” Prius model, but we don’t know much about that yet. Jeff believes it may include lithium-ion batteries, among other perks and improvements. Quoting Toyota, “A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model will achieve an even greater improvement, strengthening Toyota’s leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency.”
Toyota plans to expand in coming years. Still, to do this, Toyota faces much more competition, with ever-increasing plug-in electric fans. The Prius’ 55 mpg all-the-time-high fuel economy should help to contend with the competitors, but you still can’t avoid gas stations, wake up to a full charge every day, enjoy instant torque and the smooth and quiet ride of an electric car, and cut emissions enough to stop global warming.
I’m not so sure about the future of the Prius. Its sales numbers won’t collapse overnight, but with greener, cheaper, more efficient, and more convenient plug-in cars competing more and more, it seems to have met its match. And I don’t think the new styling is going to help.