With the launch of the 2016 Toyota Prius just months away, the automaker is revealing a few more tech tidbits about the new fourth-generation hybrid. Toyota isn’t ready to unveil official fuel economy figures just yet, but expect a combined rating of 55 mpg, which is based on the automaker’s claim that the 2016 Prius will be 10 percent more efficient than its predecessor.
Toyota achieved that 10-percent gain in a number of ways. For starters, the 1.8-liter I-4 now achieves 40 percent thermal efficiency, up from 38.5 percent in the current 2015 Toyota Prius. The engine also receives a larger exhaust gas recirculation system, a revised air intake port, and improved coolant flow. A number of moving parts have reduced friction, while low-viscosity engine oil also improves efficiency.
The Prius has traditionally featured a nickel-metal hydride battery, but Toyota says the 2016 model will also offer a lithium-ion pack. No details were given on the second battery choice, though it could be used for the 2016 Prius Eco model. Both batteries will be small enough to fit under the rear seat, which improves cargo capacity.
In addition to a revised transaxle and electric motor, Toyota says the new Prius will have a new and more compact power control unit. Other methods include an active grille shutter, revised exhaust heat recirculation system, and a new system that accelerates engine heating.
As previously reported, the 2016 Prius will debut the automaker’s Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) that’s stiffer and should improve handling. The Prius will also gain new advanced safety technology and more passenger room. Full details about the new Prius are expected to drop at next month’s 2015 Los Angeles Auto Show.