2015 Toyota Prius: Details Emerging For Next Hybrid Flagship

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2012 Toyota Prius

2012 Toyota Prius

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Toyota's fourth-generation Prius hybrid, expected in around 2015, has a tough act to follow.

Still among the most economical vehicles on the market, the third-generation Prius has taken the internal combustion engine to new levels of efficiency--and the new Prius will have to beat it.

To ensure the next-gen Prius is worthy of the badge, Toyota is aiming to make improvements in tire rolling resistance, aerodynamics, and weight savings.

According to Inside Line, sources at Toyota have revealed the company is in talks with tire manufacturers to work on an ultra-low rolling resistance tire for the next Prius, helping it slip along the road even more easily than the current model.

Weight savings will play a key part too, though the company has apparently scrapped the idea of an aluminum body due to high investment costs. Instead, Toyota is likely to make more efficient use of high-strength steel and reduce the thickness of non-structural areas to save weight. However, aluminum may still be used for the hood--just as it is on the 2012 Toyota Prius V.

Toyota will also improve the aerodynamics, possibly taking a lead from the FT-Bh concept shown at this year's Geneva Motor Show.

The concept had a drag coefficient of only 0.235, the result of dramatic moldings and curves to let air slip cleanly by. A production Prius won't be quite so eye-catching, but we'd not be surprised to see some inspiration from the FT-Bh.

There are no clues just yet as to what will power the next Prius, but expect to see some improvements there too.

With improvements all around, will the 2015 Prius be a 60 mpg car? We'll have to wait and see...


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Comments (27)
  1. 60 MPG is CRAP for 2015 in a hybrid!! We need 100MPG minimum, if the LEAF can go all-electric then the Prius needs to learn from her cousin at NISSAN!

  2. Michael we have already had a 100mpg hybrid,I owned one from 2000 the original Honda Insight, all aluminum but a low two seat coupe.Unfortunately its a lot tougher to achieve this efficiency from a five door family car.AS to Toyota switching to electric it may happen but there is still a need and market to improve the gas sipping hybrid before taking that plunge.You could always satisfy your urge and purchase a Leaf!

  3. It's worth mentioning Michael that 60 mpg would be the official EPA figure - the same measurement that even the all-electric Leaf misses out on 100mpge with. Many owners are capable of getting more than the EPA figures suggest, such as Don above with his old Insight, a car rated at 53 mpg combined but clearly capable of more.

    60 mpg is a realistic target for a non plug-in version of the next Prius, given modern safety regulations, space requirements and so-on, and without carrying too much weight in batteries.

  4. I am NOT surprised that many of the Prius owners are getting better than official EPA figure. They certainly drive like turtles...

    When I drive the Prius, I get between between 37mpg-42mpg which is nowhere near the EPA rating.

    The Plug-in Prius is even worse. I can't even stay in EV mode with my normal style (unlike typical Prius slow driving style). EPA should have rated it 2 miles electric instead of 6 miles electric range.

  5. Any driver who can't get 50 mpg in a Prius is just plain incompetent.

  6. That big of a jump ain't gonna happen by 2015 for a hybrid...even the Prius. Know that competition spurs greater advancements, usually, and nothing STILL to this day competes with the Prius in its full hybrid class. So why should Toyota push hard to tremendously improve the Prius mpg? I know, I also wish there were others to meet if not beat the Prius mpg but nothing really comes close to its full hybrid mpg moving that midsize hatch body around. I fault the other manufacturers n do not necessarily chock it all up to Toyota greatness.

  7. Erik - I suppose Toyota's incentive is that there's likely to be a lot more competition arriving in the next few years so they need to ensure the Prius remains top dog.

  8. Who exactly? I still, amazingly, see no car maker out there planning to build a full hybrid vehicle to meet let alone beat the current Prius. The new Fusion hybrid will apparently beat the camry hybrid but will be more then 10% less efficient then the prius. I wish u were right but there is nothing out there that says Toyota should worry. Honda should've beaten them by now with their current, smaller Insight but of course they f###ed that up n that car sucks in most ways.

    Plug-ins are a different matter altogether. I see Toyota making the new Prius better cause they can and it is their green flagship vehicle. Apparently the Prius spin offs are doing well too. Prius family sales are likely to increase within the next few years.

  9. There are more comments in this thread
  10. Antony you mention the hood being aluminum just as in the 2012 Prius v...I would like to add the hood has been aluminum from the second gen 04 Prius so this is nothing new.

  11. Ah, thanks Don!

  12. Liftgate is aluminum as well.

  13. Toyota has NOT done anything innovative with the Prius for a long time. All it does is to de-tune the car into even more a slow, incompetent econ box. Sure, slow the card down even more will increase the MPG. At some point, the slow performance is NOT acceptable for consumers and safety of the public.

  14. I'm not sure where the idea the Prius has got slower has come from, since each generation of Prius has been quicker than the last, not to mention more economical. And with the next Prius being lighter and more aerodynamic, there's every chance it'll get quicker too.

    Still, let's not let facts get in the way of an anti-Prius bias, eh?

  15. Ah your so diplomatic Antony and all the better for it.
    I had a factual response ready to challenge Xiaolong Li but it no longer seems relevant.

  16. Prius Gen III might be faster than the Prius I or II, but Prius V, Prius C or the Plug-in Prius aren't any faster than the Prius Gen III.

    If Prius is gettin faster, their drivers certainly do NOT show its "improved" performance on ANY HIGHWAY entrance ramp. Just come for a brief visit in California, EVERY highway entrance ramp is pretty much held up with a Prius in front of 5-7 cars...

  17. The plug-in Prius isn't *supposed* to be faster than the regular car. It's designed to use less gas.

    Driving that doesn't meet your own personal standards does not mean the car itself is below par. And I've been to California. *Many* people drive poorly (same as anywhere, really), not just Prius drivers.

  18. Plug-in Prius is there to "scam" the system. It qualify for the single usage of HOV lanes as well as the "ev" Federal tax credits.

    If it is designed to save gas, then why the combined system supposes to have more "power"? Why don't Toyota step up and make a "real" plug-in car similar to Volt that can stay in EV mode for real?

    Prius seem to be pretty "high" on themselves just b/c they drive a Prius...

  19. Sure the Plug-in Prius has limitations that the Chevy Volt does not. However, it is well short of a scam.

    The PiP is about $10,000 cheaper (tax credits aside) than the Chevy Volt. That is why Toyota didn't make this a "real" Plug-in. It is the money.

    Additionally, PiP Owners are getting 30% of their miles on electricity versus 60-70% for Volt owners. Not too shabby.

  20. There are more comments in this thread
  21. Let's hope it's above 60 MPG and they use lithium in the entire line...


  22. Toyota has been consistently improving the Prius mpg, but 60 mpg by 2015 would be a much faster rate of improvement than every in its history.
    2001 41 mpg
    2004 46 mpg 11%
    2010 50 mpg 8%
    so perhaps we can expect 55 mpg in 2016 based on this trend.

  23. Good point. Depends where the improvements come from, I guess. City mileage may benefit from a switch to li-ion batteries (if they choose that route) and highway would certainly benefit from a lower-drag body and even more specialized tires. It's optimistic, but not impossible.

  24. Nah. I think Toyota is shooting for and will get 60mpg out of the new gen Prius. The combination of things they are doing mentioned above combined with the new lithium ion battery should do it. Reason: prius has to compete with much better mpg ICE cars, plug-in vehicles, and EVs too. That was not the case just 3 years ago.

  25. John, don't forget that the EPA standards got more stringent between the 2004 and 2010 model. Had the EPA system stayed the same, the improvement would have been better. I think Toyota can hit that number.

  26. 60 mpg's? I average over 62 mpg's on my daily 45 mile commute with my 2012 Prius.

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