Toyota recently revealed the polarizing redesign of the Prius. Despite looks that are cringe-worthy to some, there is no denying the fact that the Japanese automaker is one of the more astute hybrid automakers in the industry. Today, Toyota revealed some of the tech surrounding the 2016 Prius.
Toyota will continue with the 1.8-liter VVT-I engine that earlier Prius models used, but it has completely reworked this powerplant. The first order of business was to improve its maximum thermal efficiency to 40 percent – the typical engine runs at only 25 percent efficiency. It achieves this groundbreaking efficiency by way of a large-volume EGR valve and improved combustion efficiency. The efficient combustion is thanks in part to a redesigned intake port in the combustion chamber.
The help keep the engine’s temperature lower, Toyota has revised its coolant ports, while the friction created by the piston skirts and other moving parts is significantly lower than before. Also helping in the friction department is a low-viscosity oil.
As expected, fuel economy is at an all-time high for the Prius. In fact, Toyota claims it will have the highest fuel economy of any vehicle without a plug. This extra thriftiness is thanks to new grille shutters, an improved exhaust heat recirculation system, and a new engine coolant sector valve, to heat the coolant more quickly and improve cold-weather fuel economy.
Toyota also did a lot of work on the electric motor and transmission to help improve efficiency. The motor and transmission are both significantly lighter than before. The reduced weight gives the electric motor a more favorable power-to-weight ratio. The changes to the transmission include replacing the planetary gears with parallel gears, which play a big part in reducing power loss through the drivetrain by 20 percent.
The new chassis, which is dubbed the Toyota New Global Architecture, increases overall rigidity by 60 percent. This added stiffness is courtesy of laser screw welding, new structural adhesives, and more. Additionally, Toyota upped the amount of high-strength steel it uses in the Prius from 3 percent to 19 percent in 2016.
Inside the cabin, there are plenty of new tech features too. In here, you’ll find a new multi-information display in the instrument panel that includes two 4.2-inch screens. The screen on the right side will show speed, fuel, and other info, while the screen on the left is a multi-display that can show whatever the driver selects. Topping off the interior upgrades is the heads-up display and Smart-Flow air conditioning.
There are still no pricing details available for the 2016 Prius, but look for it to arrive in dealers early next year.