Sales of the Toyota Prius may be falling with the RAV4 Hybrid taking the crown of Toyota’s best-selling hybrid model in the United States, but we reckon it is popular enough to be renewed for another generation.
A 2023 Toyota Prius for fifth-generation is in the pipeline, as per a report from bestcarweb.jp that emerged in May. According to a more recent bestcarweb.jp report, Toyota will offer the next-gen Prius in a unique hydrogen variant. We’ve covered the details in-depth in the powertrain section.
Since its launch in 1997, the Toyota Prius has sported a peculiar design for distinction and achieve higher aerodynamic efficiency than comparable compact cars. The aim is to streamline it into a sporty coupe instead of a family vehicle in the fifth generation, says the Japanese report. It is safe to assume that Toyota engineers will aim for a coefficient of drag of 0.24 Cd or lower with the refined silhouette. As per Best Car, a futuristic interior will be a selling point of the 2023 Toyota Prius.
The fourth-gen Prius debuted Toyota’s high-strength TNGA platform, and it sits on the GA-C version. The next-gen Prius should ride on an enhanced version of this modular architecture to meet future customer requirements and crash safety standards. Like the third- and fourth-generation Prius, it should come available in hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants in most key markets like the USA, Japan, and European countries, and there’s more!
More efficient hybrid powertrain
Toyota will use the current 1.8-liter petrol engine in the hybrid system of the 2023 Prius. Best Car adds that the Prius also carries the current Lithium-ion battery pack into the next generation. Though the displacement is unchanged, the gasoline engine will be discernably more efficient, it is reported. For reference, the current Prius’s maximum fuel economy is 32.1 km/l as per Japan’s WLTC test method.
Hydrogen-powered engine variants
Perhaps, the Toyota Prius’ work isn’t done though the world has adopted hybrids at a mass level and is gradually moving on to pure EVs. Turning hydrogen-engine technology into a commercial reality could be the next challenge for the esteemed nameplate.
Toyota’s relatively slower pace of electrification has indicated that it’s considering other, uncommon ways to achieve carbon-neutrality.
The rumored Toyota Prius hydrogen variant could turn out as an innovation. The Mirai and the Nexo use a fuel cell in which a chemical reaction of the contained hydrogen with oxygen generates electricity, which powers an electric motor. The next-gen Prius could come with a combustion engine that generates power through the combustion of hydrogen using modified fuel supply and injection systems of gasoline engines.
In April, Toyota announced the development of hydrogen-engine technology through motorsports. The company is testing a 1.6-liter turbocharged three-cylinder engine that runs on compressed hydrogen in a Toyota Corolla Sport-based racing vehicle.
According to the recent Best Car report, it is said that Toyota is working on commercializing hydrogen-engine technology in 3-4 years.
The 2023 Toyota Prius will be one of 70 electrified models, including HEVs, PHEVs, BEVs, and FCEVs, that Toyota plans in its line-up by 2025. Sales of the Toyota Prius slipped again in 2020, with 43,525 units sold in the United States, a drop of 38 percent compared to 2019, a shadow of its former self when you consider Toyota sold well over 200,000 units in 2012. A full redesign could help whip up some enthusiasm for the Prius nameplate, but it is an uphill task as customers migrate to crossovers and SUVs. The emergence of affordable and long-range electric vehicles is another rising threat to the brand that was once an innovator for the car industry.
Look out for the debut of the next generation Toyota Prius in the second half of 2022.
Featured Image Source: Toyota