Toyota has presented the 5th-gen Prius
Toyota has unveiled the fifth generation of its hybrid pioneer Prius and is adapting the drive concept, at least for Europe. From next year, the Prius will only be offered as a plug-in hybrid in Europe.
++ This article has been updated. Kindly continue reading below. ++
However, the full hybrid concept will not be completely discarded; outside Europe, the Prius will continue to be available with this drive system. But let’s first look at the PHEV, which is exclusively on offer in Europe: the powertrain has a system output of 164 kW and is supposed to ensure “responsive acceleration”, according to Toyota’s press release.
To achieve this, the Japanese combine a 111 kW 2.0-litre petrol engine and “a 120 kW/160 hp transaxle electric motor on the front axle”, according to the statement. When asked, a Toyota spokesperson states that “hybrid transaxle” is the term used to describe the front-wheel drive system “where everything is housed in one casing (electric motor, planetary gearbox and differential)”. So this designation has nothing to do with the actual transaxle approach used in internal combustion engines (engine in the front, transmission in the rear) or other plug-in hybrids (internal combustion engine in the front, electric motor in the rear).
The battery itself has been enlarged to 13.6 kWh and is thus supposed to offer an increased e-range of more than 50 percent “to be able to cover the majority of everyday journeys locally emission-free”. However, the exact e-range is not specified. The battery is no longer placed under the boot, but between the axles under the rear seat, which should contribute to a low centre of gravity. The lithium-ion battery is charged by cable or via the optional solar roof, but Toyota does not specify the charging capacity.
Outside Europe, there will also be a parallel full hybrid. This is available in two versions, as before with a 1.8-litre petrol engine and also a 2.0-litre engine. With the latter, the power output is 144 kW.
Whereas in the fourth generation the Prius Hybrid and Prius Plug-in Hybrid were visually distinct from each other (and the length also differed by seven centimetres), the bodies are now no longer different. At 4.60 metres, the PHEV is even 4.5 centimetres shorter. However, since the wheelbase has been stretched by 50 millimetres to 2.75 metres (for the repositioned battery), there should be a little more space in the interior.
For aerodynamic reasons, however, the “iconic” wedge shape remains, according to Toyota. However, this has been reinterpreted, and in generation five the Japanese company opted for “more elegant and modern lines”. In other words, the curlicues and moulded body parts that have been characteristic of Toyota’s recent models have been kept much simpler.
Toyota has not yet announced prices at the presentation. What is clear, however, is that the Prius will be available in European markets in the summer of 2023. This was no longer the case with the fourth generation, at least for the full hybrid, which was withdrawn from the market in 2020. The stand-alone PHEV, however, continued to be offered.
Update 02 March 2023
A little over three months after Toyota revealed the fifth-generation Prius, the company announced plans to begin sales of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) in Japan on March 15. Prius HEV models were launched in Japan in January this year. Priced at 4.6 million yen (about 33.600 USD), the Prius PHEV will only be available in a sole Z grade. Produced at its Tsutsumi Plant, Toyota is targeting sales of 450 units a month in Japan (Reference: Prius HEV: 4,300 units per month). In Europe, the new Prius will only be offered as a plug-in hybrid.
toyota.eu, global.toyota (update)
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It’s almost as if Toyota is intentional trying to destroy its market share in its largest market (US).
Prius should have been PHEV only on the last generation and BEV/PHEV or pure BEV for this one.
Glad to see all the companies setting up production in North America. The fall of the anti-BEV automakers will be swift brutal. And I’m going to enjoy watching the collapse of the companies that fought it. Companies do not innately deserve to survive. When a few companies go under others will grow and new companies will form.
Employees impacted have no one to blame but their greedy corporate overlords that decided short term profits were more important that long term viability of the company. Migration to new work opportunities is something that been driving humanity since we stepped out of living in caves.
A different strategy. If there was a Prius with a battery range of around 100km it could be a winner.
But they have this fascination with hydrogen combustion engines instead of batteries.
Again, they have this tie up with Mazda and their developed 800c hydrogen rotary?
As an incompetent I wonder why they are going for hydrogen and not ammonia which has 3 times the energy value and much improved liquification temperatures.
Why we still want the PHEV we all wanted in 2005
On 22 January 2023 the French business newspaper La Tribune published an article entitled “Qui pourrait se passer de sa voiture Six graphiques pour analyser nos trajets du quotidien” which means “Who doesn’t need their car – six graphs to analyse our daily trips”. There is a graph that classifies 24.6 million people in France who travel to work each day by journey distance and transport method used.
8.2 million people travel less than 5 km to get to work yet 60 % of them use the car to do it. And nearly all the other 16.4 million travel less than 50 km – and 80% of them use the car.
This is why when the EV revolution was starting in 2005 when the Prius Mark II was launched all the talk was about the next step being PHEVs. People like Felix Kramer and Calcars where converting Priuses to PHEVs, GM came out with the Volt in 2007 and my 2005 report “Peak Oil: The EV Imperative” was part of that movement advocating mass adoption of PHEVs to reduce oil consumption or at least enable Europe and the USA to be resilient and reduce imports as conventional oil production fell. Instead, the world got fracking and tar sands.
Those French figures apply to all the industrialised countries. A PHEV with 50 km range would enable at least two thirds of French commuters to get to work and back without recharging – and in over 90% of French commuters would be covered with recharging at work for the few who travel more than 25 km to work. Recharging that can be low power and easy to install because the battery is small.
The new 2023 Prius is therefore designed perfectly. It will meet the commuter needs of nearly everyone. And give us normal range for the relatively small number of longer trips we do.
6 Priuses on the road eliminating 90% of the normal fuel use of 6 cars compared to one BEV eliminating 100% of the fuel use of only 1 car.
Those who are anti-PHEV are either inadvertently or deliberately supporting the oil companies to continue excessive consumption of and dependence on oil.
We do not need 60 – 80 kWh batteries, creating expensive behemoths that only the rich can afford.
We need what WH Auden asked for in the 1960s – a nice little electric brougham. Yes “engineers”, you should indeed hang your heads in shame.