Toyota plans to first implement the new TNGA technology in its small-car platform, which is used for the Toyota Prius. TNGA technologies would ideally then spread to the entire Toyota lineup by the first half of 2020.
Executive vice president of global research and development Mitsuhisa Kato told AN that in addition to the reduced weight that TNGA provides, future models underpinned with the new architecture will also contain engines capable of higher thermal efficiency. A higher thermal efficiency represents more energy harnessed from internal combustion and less lost through heat.
The current Toyota Prius (pictured) reportedly leads the automaker’s lineup with a 38.5 percent thermal efficiency. The upcoming 2015 Toyota Prius will utilize the new TNGA hybrid engine, which is expected to increased thermal efficiency to 42 percent. On its own the new engine could contribute to about 10 percent better fuel consumption. Today’s Prius is EPA-rated for 51/48 mpg city/highway.
This new information is consistent with our previous report that the 2015 Toyota Prius would shed about 150 pounds and increase fuel efficiency to at least 60 mpg combined. Numbers such as these would be especially impressive, considering that the 2015 Toyota Prius is also expected to have all-wheel-drive at speeds up to 37 mph.
Our spy shots of the vehicle thus far have shown a fully redesigned interior with a more upscale look, eschewing the current central gauge in favor of a traditional center stack. The exterior, however, remains heavily camouflaged.
Otherwise, this is the first major piece of information to surface about the next-gen Toyota Prius. Although it is not yet clear exactly how Toyota has achieved these new weight and efficiency gains, it is clear that it is serious about maintaining the Prius as the poster-child of fuel-efficiency and green technology in the automotive landscape. With redesigned looks and a fully-overhauled platform, expect the 2015 Toyota Prius to stay competitive despite a rising tide of other players in the compact hybrid segment.