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Rumors Rampant: Next-Gen 94MPG Prius by 2008?

The UK’s AutoExpress reports that Toyota’s fuel economy target for the upcoming next-generation Prius is 40 kilometers/liter (2.5 l/100km, or 94 mpg US), and that the automaker is striving to have the new Prius on the road as early as 2008.

According to a Toyota engineer quoted by the publication, the entire electrical system is being redesigned to improve the fuel economy, and the automaker is working to switch to a lithium-ion battery system from the NiMH pack used in the current Prius.

Part of the impetus for the dramatic improvement in fuel consumption is to position the Prius to compete more effectively against the more fuel-efficient diesels that now dominate the European market, according to the report.

At 94 mpg, the redesigned Prius would approach the lower end of the projected 100–150 mpg fuel consumption of EDrive’s aftermarket plug-in Prius. (Earlier post.) The EDrive conversion currently carries a price tag of about $12,000 in addition to the cost of the base Prius.

The AutoExpress report did not indicate if Toyota was working with a plug-in configuration, or if the company is exploring major changes in the combustion engine.

Comments

hampden wireless

The Prius will not go all aluminum like the Insight. Its just too expensive. Many say the Insight costs more then $30,000 to build. They may use more aluminum like in doors and other places but nothing like the Insight. Carbon fiber could again be used in parts but not the whole car.

The better batteries will be in there. That is almost a no brainer.

The electric motor cant get too much more efficient. Its about as good as you can get. Just the control electronics can get better, and only by about 20%. I hear they are currently 80% efficient so thats a pretty hard limit.

CJ

To Lucas,

PSA (Peugoet Citroen) have already built what you were thinking of. They developed the diesel hybrid a few months back, 2 of them actually, one in C4 guise and one in 307 guise - called Hdi Hybride.

Europeans will be familiar with the 110bhp ford/psa 1.6Hdi under the bonnet, which is doing a fine job of powering everything from the peugoet 407 to the volvo s40 and mazda3.

The CEO of PSA actually said it's pointless to have built a petrol powered hybrid as a regular modern diesel would beat it in power, fuel economy and C02 emmisions.

Either way, diesel hybrids like this will no doubt be common place in EU in the next few years and Toyota has the fine 89bhp D-4D in the corolla/yaris that it could hybrid, not to mention the 175hp (400Nm torque) 2.2 that currently powers the Lexus IS.

Granted, it would take a huge shift (in mindset) as well as a bit of exhaust aftertreatment to be accepted in the US, but still... my point was that in the Yaris the 1.4 D4-D does (Extra Urban/highway) 70.6mpg and(combined) 62.8mpg so a push well above 94mpgUS (121mpg) should be doable using Lithium Ion batteries, stop-start technology et. al.

...just some thoughts anyway.

d

t is right: technology won't save us. But it will give us much needed working space, and it's incumbent on us to make full use of that space and to recognize the limitations. That said, if Toyota can do it, this will help a lot. A couple of points though. Aluminum is energetically very expensive, so a total energy cost analysis will be instructive, if it does indeed make much use of aluminum. Yet weight will clearly be an issue: I don't see how a 3000 lb gasser will get that kind of performance -- it doesn't matter how good the electrics are, there is only so much energy in gasoline. Actually, I hope it isn't a gasser but something that can run a renewable fuel.

mango

"I wonder if I would stop if I didn't have to, and how that would effect my safety."

How safe are the Prius' low rolling resistance tires in an emergency braking or swerve and recover situation.

BlackSun

t, you and people like you will always find the cloud in every silver lining. News flash: (Thankfully), you can't control behavior, people will live where they want, and drive as far as they can afford.

Breakthroughs in both technology and marketing such as represented by PHEV's, the new Prius, etc., should be greeted with the cheers they deserve.

The anti-suburb nazis will be an even sorrier bunch in a few years when they realize the future doesn't care what they think.

patrick

Some people complain about "urban sprawl"...some say every vehicle should be a plug in hybrid. I live within walking distance to my work but need a car due to having kids. If I had a plug in hybrid I would be wasting my money on components that would never get used. Not that I don't want such a vehicle (I do very much want that type of vehicle) but living in a city, unless you have $500,000 + for a house you are going to be living in apartments or condos where they don't approve of you dropping 200' of extension cords out your 4th floor window and across the property up to your car.

dimitris

> The Prius will not go all aluminum like the Insight. Its
> just too expensive. Many say the Insight costs more then
> $30,000 to build.

Audi just came out with the new TT, which will retail in Europe for around EUR40K. Its frame is 70% aluminum. The primary (only?) reason the other 30% - all of it in the back of the car - is steel is to improve the weight distribution of an otherwise nose-heavy vehicle, i.e. for handling in a "sporty" car.

If VAG - who have some of the worst productivity/cost numbers per car in the business - can sell a mostly aluminum, luxury car for EUR40K, I'm sure Toyota can manage to build an aluminum Prius for much less if the weight savings are important enough.

Robert

All I can say is stuff this tech into a Mini Van.
Even if it got 60plus MPG that would be a great start.
I have kids so the Prius is too small though I could use it for work and just might buy it for that alone.

Shaun Williams

Ok, for those of you who don't want to plug in your Prius could at least plug in your brain?

The wonderful thing about PHEV's is not so much about improving MPG of the ICE but about giving the consumer a choice of what energy they use to propel their vehicles. You can never approach zero emissions with a HEV.

That is the paradigm shift.

It's disappointing to see that some readers of GCC still don’t get it, what hope the masses…

I'm with Nick, there is no new magic way to double the efficiency of an ICE.

Toyota must be testing the water for a Plug In!

Shaun Williams

And another thing;

"At 94 mpg, the redesigned Prius would approach the lower end of the projected 100–150 mpg fuel consumption of EDrive’s aftermarket plug-in Prius. (Earlier post.)"

Is a silly thing to say because IF a 94 MPG HEV is possible then surely that would give a PHEV using the same technology around 200-250 MPG fuel consumption.

Tman

"Audi just came out with the new TT, which will retail in Europe for around EUR40K. Its frame is 70% aluminum. The primary (only?) reason the other 30% - all of it in the back of the car - is steel is to improve the weight distribution of an otherwise nose-heavy vehicle, i.e. for handling in a "sporty" car." by dimitris

Newsflash, that 70% aluminum is for the body panels and doors. The frame is stll goood old steel like the golf which its based off. And believe me aluminum is still too expensive to be used as sole material for a prius. in small amounts like audi has done with the TT, but not like the insight or the audi A2 and A8.

Joseph Willemssen

"Is a silly thing to say because IF a 94 MPG HEV is possible then surely that would give a PHEV using the same technology around 200-250 MPG fuel consumption."

Like I said, the plug-in zealots will now be dissatisfied with 94 mpg.

t

I love this new technology as much or more than everyone else. After all, I have had a hybrid since 2002. I would do nothing to discourage this better technology and will probably be the first in line to buy it if and when it comes out.

In any event, some see my comments as clouds in silver lining. Too bad. If we neglect the big picture, we fail to achieve the goals that this technology is intended to achieve. It's not about sprawl per se, it's about the long distance driving associated with that sprawl. It's not about suburbs per se, it's about how these suburbs are constructed and how they are integral to nothing.

hampden wireless

You wrote:
If VAG - who have some of the worst productivity/cost numbers per car in the business - can sell a mostly aluminum, luxury car for EUR40K, I'm sure Toyota can manage to build an aluminum Prius for much less if the weight savings are important enough.
-----------------
That makes no sense. That car is not all aluminum first of all it has a steel frame which again is my point. Second 40,000 euro's is about $48000 which is alot of money and its not even a hybrid. The next Prius might have aluminum doors, hood and more but not the frame. If the Prius was $48000 it could be made aluminum but not at $25000 or less.

tom deplume

Toyota could go further with the Atkinson cycle to improve mileage. By making the power stroke 4 times longer than the compression stroke the engine would generate 1/2 the power but use only 1/4 the fuel of a standard engine of the same bore and stroke. There is a weight penalty involved which could be compensated for by a lighter battery pack.

dimitris

Sorry about the thread creep, I'll reply to this and leave it alone:

> Newsflash, that 70% aluminum is for the body panels
> and doors. The frame is stll goood old steel like the
> golf which its based off.

It doesn't quite seem to be a Golf-based platform:

http://www.fourtitude.com/news/publish/Audi_News/article_2142.shtml

Buried with the rest of the marketspeak there:

> The body is constructed in the ASF Space Frame design
> developed by Audi and consists of aluminium and steel.
> This is the first time that it has combined different
> materials alongside each other. 69 percent of the
> superstructure is made of aluminium. The steel
> components making up the remaining 31 percent are to
> be found at the rear end, so as to ensure balanced
> distribution of the axle loads.

The other (and vastly more expensive) ASF vehicle on the market, the A8, has had a full aluminum body for years. The "frame" and the "body" are the same thing, these are unibody cars after all.

On cost, if a company that's not exactly known for controlling its costs can sell (at a profit) a luxury car for 40K euro, I wouldn't be surprised to see Toyota do something major with aluminum in a Prius which, among other things, amortizes R&D over more units anyway.

Adam

My problem ... been contemplating making the 'leap' to a Prius ... but the candy is dangling in front of me ... if I wait just a little longer ....

Re Stormy & pit stops -- different way of looking at the reduced requirements for stopping for gas ... One of the forgotten values of improved gas mileage is the reduced requirement to take time out of one's life to stop at a gas station ... While we don't "pay" for that time, it has a value. Sadly, the "pay back" for Prius/fuel efficiency is done in the simplest cost of fuel analysis, without consideration of other very real economic paybacks ... even without considering the 'emotional' (I am helping) and societal (reduced pollution/reduced requirement to move fuel around) impacts ...

Paul Berg

Hey..everybody are just talking about the lithium batttery future. There are other battery tech under development just now ...and its as powerful as lihium...but 5 times cheaper...and based upon lead acid tech... so there is hope an that front as well :) http://www.effpower.com Paul Berg, Sweden

mark

I think a substancial improvement in fuel efficiency for the '08 Prius is likely, given the improvements Toyota made from the 2003 Prius to the current model. Another area where there is room for improvement is aerodynamics, although 0.26 is very good, designers have been able to achieve sub 0.2 in concepts.

heinz

My Audi A2 1,2 TDI once clocked 2,5 l / 100 km driven very carefully but not at snail speed. I usually get 3 to 3,5 l per 100 km. Toyotas 94MPG does not impress me.

Heinz

The Anonymous Poster

Heinz, if Toyota detuned the Prius's powertrain to make the car as slow as your A2, I'd bet it would get much more than 94 MPG.

Roger Pham

Wanna guess the Tech behind the Spec of the 94-mpg-wondercar? Hmm...let's see...
-Hydrogen-boosted gasoline engine capable of increase combustion efficiency up to ~30% due to ultra lean burn...plus raising the geometric compression of the Atkinson cycle engine to well above 13:1, likely 16:1 ratio due to the boost in effect of hydrogen injection, making the engine more diesel-like in economy...
-HCCI (Homogeneous Combustion Compress Ignition), though I doubt this tech will be ready by then...
-Direct fuel injection, anyone?...
-More powerful Li-ion battery hence more electric-motor boost while making the IC engine smaller, worth another ~20% gain in efficiency...
-Smaller IC engine, lighter Li-ion battery and lighter and more energy-efficient power electronics converter, and lighter chassis reducing curb weight to ~2500lbs? Every gain in weight reduction and efficiency has a compounding effect of making other components lighter. Just a guess, but if possible, one can figure in another ~15% increase in efficiency...

Now, let's see, has anyone been adding up the numbers?
And what about the bragging rights of having the first 94mpg-5-passenger car in the market? Priceless.

allen zheng

Some thoughts on some of the components to an efficient car based on a compact or sub-compact vehicle body/frame. (In this case, a modified GM Aveo)
use:
1: Thermovotaic and themo-electric generators/cells in the exhaust and coolant (water oil transmission hydraulic fluids) to produce electricity. (50% of waste heat)
2: Electric motor/generator and lithium ion batteries /ultracapacitors to increase mileage due to nonuse/cutback of ICE and regen braking and electric energy storage. (100% city, less highway)
3: Cylinder deactivation, engine cutoff at stop, reduced fuel mixture ratio at cruise. (variable)
4: CVT transmission for better acceleration and efficient use of max torque and hp + highway cruise at low rpm for better mileage. (20-100% around 33-50% probable)
5: Aluminum/high strength steel/plastic(M5 fiber) construction (carbon fiber later)= lower weight/center of gravity. With airbags, crash survivability/walkaway probability.
6: Delayed/smart start of engine cooling for faster engine warmup, esp cold winter start. Vacuum flask as a possible addition. (0.1-11% LA summer-Chicago winter)
7: Possible follow-on onboard hydrogen generator. Utilization of waste heat and electricity for distilation of water and mid-high temp electrolysis. Used for more complete combustion of gasoline + displacement of gasoline. Production of oxygen for combustion.
8: Electric motor for pumps and/or two stage turbo.
9: Plug-in (variable)
10: Aerodynamics (shape and anti-friction surface/paint)

This should push the mileage from 24/34 to 96/136 before plugin cap. Plugin implementattion, hydrogen, carbon fiber, aerodynamics, and low roll resist tires will push it another 10-25%.

hampden wireless

From Edmunds, Differing #'s and different year.

http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/News/articleId=109981

Andrey

Direct gasoline injection for sure! It is ideally suited to frequent engine start-stop due to much lover engine evaporative emissions.

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