Toyota Announces Third-Generation Prius

Prius1500

The Prius has been a smash success for Toyota. It is by far the least-expensive, highest-performing hybrid car on the market, and it has helped establish Toyota as a hybrid innovator while most of the rest of the field struggles to catch up. Today, Toyota announced the next step in the Prius’ evolution: a third-generation Prius set to debut at the 2009 Detroit auto show.

According to Wired’s Autopia, the third-gen Prius should draw style cues from Toyota’s HybridX concept. Toyota is experimenting with a couple of new developments for the Prius, including a lithium-ion battery system and an improved Hybrid Synergy Drive potentially capable of 70 — yes, 70 — mpg or better.

Even more news for the hybrid crowd: Toyota’s president also announced the development of a hybrid-only Lexus model. There’s no telling what that will end up looking like, but for those turned off by the Prius’ look-at-me-I’m-saving-the-Earth style, it may mean even more help is on the way.

Coming Soon: Third-Gen Prius, Hybrid-Only Lexus (Autopia)

Comments 

Hybrit

I've read reports that the new prius will achieve more than 80 mpg. Whether it's 70 or 80 doesn't matter - the new Prius should silence the "clean diesel" cheerleaders who think the coming diesel cars will be the only way to go. Just look at history - there's not one diesel car nameplate that has been sold in this country that wasn't pulled off the market because of problems. VW has pulled their diesels and then re-introduced them three times. Even Mercedes Benz, the gold standard of diesel cars has had diesel free years. It's great technology for semis and large pickups, but the engines are heavier, cost more to manufacture, operate at higher compression, have a higher pressure fuel system that makes replacement parts expensive and uses a fuel that is naturally unstable, and prone to the formation of solids that clog the fuel filter and ruin the injectors. Diesel fuel is setting new record high prices every day and will continue to be more expensive than gasoline because so many professionals use it the demand never lessens, even if the price goes up. Meanwhile, gasoline use is dropping as mainstream drivers reduce their discretionary driving and you can buy gasoline for 55 cents a gallon cheaper than diesel. Toyota has sold 1 million hybrids worldwide and more than a half million in the U.S. There's not a diesel car in the U.S. that can match the present Prius for economy, and the new Prius will only put the new diesel cars farther behind.

scott

while i agree with ur theory, I have to only point out that it will take a collection of every sort of hybrid, etc engines t bring down the us demand for oil. Gm has a right ideas over electric with the volt car, but say everyone turned to it, electric cars would raise bills in that sit in homes. The point is we need a balence of a bit of everything, but saddly the fuel Co. -God forbid would take a change at alternative fuels, when so much market that has never been explored and can be valuable. there is no cure, but there is a demand for mixture, -but can we all as a country push for diverse fuels. Can we push each other, the acieve a better live. That's what it comes down too.

DodgeFan

Actually from what I read diseals have to pulled from market at times due to pollution standards to rework engines. Only with low sulfur diseal fuel has diseal engines been able to meet these requirements. The VW Jetta was able to succeed or match the Prius before it was pulled off the market for the year or two due to pollution standards. Normally I'm not a big import fan but I am interested in Honda's new diseals. I think the new Prius must be the plug in Prius and it is probably because it runs on batteries more that it gets better gas milleage. Therefore you are balancing electric vs. ICB motors with only the efficent of the gasoline motor being reported. I kind of wonder what the real efficent of the electric motor is. From what I hear electricity has been going up in price. The rational of buying a diseals for fuel savings goes like this price difference of fuels vs. milleage gained over previous car and the greater the milleage over previous car, not considering if your previous car used premium fuel.

J

70MPG, possible, not with US's lead-foot drivers.

George

If the current Prius get roughly 45mpg in the real world, by non-hypermilers.
I would seriously question the authenticity of reports of 60mpg overall on the next generation. 50-55mpg seems reasonable, depending on battery technology & capacity.

How will Toyota improve the CdA?
How will Toyota reduce weight?
Will ultra low rolling resistance tires be available for replacement when the OEM tires wear out?

A higher compression ratio & direct injection for the Atkinson cycle engine?
A dual range IVT, like the GS & LS hybrid?

Hybrit

I think it's good to be somewhat skeptical of the mpg claims until the new Prius actually comes out. If they go to Lithium Ion batteries, they hold twice the electricity of a nickel metal hydride battery per pound, so that would account for a lot of the improvement.

shane

Hybrit if you are going to try and make fun of a technology, at least learn a little about it so your facts are straight.

"there's not one diesel car nameplate that has been sold in this country that wasn't pulled off the market because of problems." This is just not the case. The reason diesels have been pulled have been either because of lack of interest from consumers or pollution laws changing and diesel's having to adapt.

"uses a fuel that is naturally unstable" Flat out lie. Do this. Get a cup of regular gas and a cup of diesel fuel and throw a match on both and see what happens. Look at that, the regular gas almost explodes and burns up all the gas, the diesel fuel puts the match out. Hmmmmm.

"have a higher pressure fuel system that makes replacement parts expensive" Are these parts going to me any more expensive than the ones for an electric car?? What are replacement batteries going to cost? And sense the parts are made for higher compressions, they are built better so they break down less, so yes the parts cost more but it will be in the shop much less. Diesel engines last 3 times longer than regular gas engines.

"Diesel fuel is setting new record high prices every day", while this is true today, the same can be said for normal gas. Gas prices are going up. And while in my town, today, Diesel prices are about 50 cents more than normal gas, the prices go up and down. Diesel fuel is used more in the winter than the summer, hence the demand is higher in the winter. Higher demand, higher prices. But once summer comes, regular gas will be more than diesel. Then you have to factor in bio-fuels and the impact they will have in the next few years. In 4 years, there maybe a bio-fuel that is cheaper than any gas you can buy. This one has to many variables to it to be a compelling case.

I personally have not decided which way I will go. Diesel (2009 Jetta) or gas hybrid (2009 Prius). But to discount a diesel in my book is limited your choices, as I think both have their advantages and dis-advantages. And I find myself switching almost every day.

Because of maintenance costs, mostly replacement batteries, I personally think I am leaning towards the Jetta for my next car. I mean having a car that will run for over 300,000 miles is a very compelling argument and still gets 60 mpg.

But I can not wait to get into a Toyota show room and test drive this 3rd gen hybrid. I will also want to go over warranty information and expected battery life, it's real MPG and costs, get the real numbers. Then I feel I will be able to make an informed decision on my future car. Who knows, maybe I will be buying a Prius.

Hybrit

Shane,
You are correct that there will be a huge role for diesel cars if we can develop biodiesel fuels in large volumes. I just read some research being done at the University of Minnesota on algae that takes carbon dioxide out of the air and produces biodiesel - they literally squeeze it out of the plants. I also applaud VW for developing a diesel hybrid. As far as Hybrid batteries, Toyota warranties the batteries in the Prius for 8 years. They've been bench tested to 250,000 miles, so that shouldn't be a concern. You challenge the statement that Diesel fuel is inherently unstable, to which I offer this excerpt from a diesel fuel website: "Diesel fuel filter elements should last a thousand hours or more, and injectors some 15,000 hours. However, since diesel fuel is inherently unstable, solids begin to form and the accumulating tank sludge will eventually clog your diesel fuel filters, ruin your injectors and cause diesel engines to smoke...The solids that form as the result of the inherent instability of the diesel fuel and the debris formed in the natural process of fuel degradation will accumulate in the bottom of your fuel tank. The sludge will form a coating or bio-film on the walls and baffles of the fuel tank, plug your fuel filters, adversely impact combustion efficiency, produce dark smoke from the exhaust, and impact performance. Eventually fouled diesel fuel will clog fuel lines and ruin your equipment." What I wrote was not a lie. If you want to see more of that kind of information just do an internet search on "diesel fuel gelling." Now factor in the $2,500 price premium on the "new diesel" cars coming out, and the extra 55 cents a gallon you'll pay at the pump - and the Prius looks like a proven technology with much less risk.

PASADENA

I am not a learned car scientist like so many of you. But I just want to say how excited I am about the next generation Prius. Toyota is doing a great job and I can hardly wait to what comes next.

Paul H

Diesel is now well over $4.20 a gallon in most places I see it being sold in upstate New York. I believe that if the Honda Accord Diesel makes it to market it will be a bigger failure then the Edsel. Perhaps I'm unaware that Honda has retained some GM and Ford executives help them assess the american market. I did not even mention the noise, or did I? The failure of the fuel to flow in 15 degree and below weather. (All the vehicle will do is idle but when you press the the gas its no go because the fuel can't flow fast enough because it is congealed). It will likely be a great disappointment to those who trust Honda. Paul H.

diesel

First: It takes twice the amount of light sweet crude oil to produce 93 unleaded octane than it does regular type 2 diesel. Therefore, the high price of diesel is evidence that oil companies are kicking us in the BA))$.
Second: The high compression ratio's and higher energy content of diesel as opposed to 93 octane produces more power. Hence you need less to produce the same amount of twisting force.
Third: The two mode hybrid system is cheaper to produce than the second gen synergy drive system.
Forth. Taking a 2 liter diesel (120 - 170 hp) and (220-270 lb torque) and attaching to a two mode hybrid system in any mid-sized sedan will produce mpg in the area of 60-70 mpg.
Fifth: Its performance will leave the third gen prius and camry hybrid in the dust while producing better mpg performance.

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