Toyota Motor Corp.’s “hybrid czar” and product planning manager Satoshi Ogiso hs announced that the company has delayed production of its 4th generation Prius (code-named 690A) in order to make sure that they can achieve better mileage and fuel efficiency than ever before. To do this, Toyota’s engineers have been working to perfect a their plan to raise fuel efficiency with a “new gas engine with thermal efficiency rates up from the current rate of 38.55 to above 40%,” he stated. “Higher thermal efficiency means more energy is captured to power the wheels, and less is lost through heat. We need to prioritize fuel efficiency”
As a result, the cars debut will be delayed until December 2015. Word has it that the new hybrid system will be “smaller, lighter and more efficient.” In addition, Ogiso noted that the redesign will be incorporated into a wider range of vehicles beyond its Prius and “Camry-class” automobiles. One technology won’t be deployed in the 4th-generation hybrid system, however are new semiconductors made of silicon carbide, which won’t be available for production until 2020. According to Ogiso, they will possess “the potential to deliver 10% improved fuel efficiency because “less energy is lost when the battery powers the car’s electric motor or when the regenerative brakes recharge the battery.”
The first Prius cars debuted in Japan in 1997, making it the first mass-produced hybrids by any auto manufacturer. Sales went worldwide in 2000, and since then it has been sold in more than 80 countries, with total sales reaching 1 million cars by May 2008, and 2 million in September 2010, prior to the introduction of its extended hatchback wagon and Prius C in 2011, and the plug-in Prius in 2012. By last June, Toyota had more than 3.8 million in cumulative sales in June of last year. The Japan and US have accounted for the bulk of those figures.