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Frankfurt show: Next Prius to preview Toyota tech

All in the family: New Prius starts the TNGA ball rolling as Toyota aims to boost profits, volumes and models into the next decade.

Toyota set to debut new suite of technologies at Frankfurt motor show

Toyota logo26 Aug 2015

By NEIL DOWLING

TOYOTA’s all-new modular architecture will debut in the fourth-generation Prius, which will be unveiled next month in Las Vegas just before its official launch at the Frankfurt motor show.

The Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform is an umbrella technology suite, similar in concept to Mazda’s SkyActiv technology set. It is designed for front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive cars, and is expected to underpin about half of the company’s passenger vehicles by 2020.

Its debut in the sleeker 2016 Prius will bring a reduction in vehicle weight, a more rigid body, lower engine location for better handling, and 15 per cent better fuel economy, according to Toyota.

No drivetrain details are available for the new hybrid ahead of its debut on September 8. However, it is expected to adopt a lighter and smaller lithium-ion battery pack to replace the existing nickel-metal hydride arrangement.

In a statement, Toyota said its fifth generation hybrid powertrain – now part of the new TNGA package – is 15 per cent more economical than a current Toyota hybrid model. In the case of the Prius, this means fuel economy would equate to a figure of 3.3 litres per 100 kilometres, bettering today’s mark of 3.9 L/100km.

The next Prius will be offered as both a standard hybrid and as a plug-in unit.

Some global markets have sold plug-in Prius models since 2011. It is possible that Australia could get a plug-in model in 2016, but Toyota Australia has refused to comment.

Toyota may also debut a wireless (or inductive) charging system for the next generation Prius. The inductive technology, under development since last year, uses a ground coil that wirelessly connects to a coil within the Prius platform.

Toyota’s plan to roll out the new TNGA technology will also mean reduced development and manufacturing costs by increasing the use of common components across its model range.

Toyota has about 100 platforms and sub-platforms currently in use. This number could be reduced to 50 platforms by 2020, according to the company.

It also has about 800 different engines – taking into account the various engines, the way the engine is placed within the platform and the changes to meet individual country emission regulations – which it plans to also reduce by introducing a new drivetrain family before 2020.

The three-model Prius range has sold 1462 units in 2015, with the compact Prius C accounting for more than half of those sales. Sales for both the C and the wagon-like V have softened year on year, while sales for the hatchback have remained steady.

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