The Toyota Prius deserves praise. With nearly 5 million units sold since 2000, the Prius is the best-selling hybrid vehicle in the world – Toyota is the only automaker capable of perennially cracking the code for mass-market hybrids. Recently, details were released about an all-new fourth-generation Prius set to debut for the 2016 model year, so it’s fitting to take a look at the Prius’ development over the years.
Olathe Toyota Parts created the following “Toyota Prius: Generations Compared” chart to track the Prius’ improvements in technology, efficiency, and practicality from 2001-2016. Incredibly, the figures show a 30 percent increase in fuel economy and horsepower, while the Prius’ maximum cargo volume has increased 350 percent, primarily due to the addition of folding rear seats. Notable too is the roughly 17 percent decrease in the hybrid’s drag coefficient across the generations, an achievement that came courtesy of the continuous roofline introduced for 2004.
Most important, however, is the Prius’ weight gain through the fourth generation. Due to increased competition from hybrid and EV automakers, Toyota consistently improved the Prius’ mpg capabilities, a decision that necessitated larger batteries with a greater charge capacity. As a result, the Prius gained nearly 300 pounds as of 2010, but the fourth-generation Prius is set to buck the trend – using improved circuitry, a more concentrated energy cell, revised electric motor construction, and a redesigned transaxle, the fourth generation Prius will lose nearly 200 pounds over the third-generation.
The 2016 Prius will also be available in an “Eco” model designation, equipped with a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery pack instead of the traditional Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) unit. In addition to boasting faster recharge times and improved long-term life, the Li-ion unit will bring further weight savings.
Please enjoy this TFLcar.com video review of the 2016 Toyota Prius’ debut in Las Vegas.