Toyota’s Prius has lengthy been the ugly duckling of the eco-car market, however the automaker is lastly delivering a model that’s simpler on the eyes. The redesigned fifth-generation 2023 Prius was simply revealed in Japan, with a sportier coupe-like look to cover that it’s nonetheless a four-door compact with hybrid and plug-in hybrid choices.
It’s definitely prettier, little doubt — the 1997 Prius was the primary mass-produced hybrid electrical automobile, however it wasn’t very visually interesting, nor had been any of the successive iterations. Toyota says this new one follows the “monoform silhouette” design launched within the second-generation Prius (2003-2009), and the event crew began from scratch to create a “Hybrid Reborn” idea that closely informs this new Prius.
The brand new Prius additionally makes use of the automaker’s second-generation TNGA platform that’s lighter and shares elements with different Toyota automobiles. Beforehand, the 2016 Prius was the first mannequin to undertake the previous TNGA.
However the Prius continues to be a Prius. It’s received 1.8 / 2.0-liter combustion engine choices on the brand new hybrid-only system that may output 144kW of drivable energy. The plug-in model comes with a 2.0-liter engine, has an influence output of 166kW, and may obtain a 0–62 mph acceleration in 6.7 seconds, due to an even bigger battery.
When driving all-electric, the brand new plug-in Prius achieves about 50 p.c greater vary than the earlier mannequin. Within the US, the most recent Prius Prime has a few 25-mile vary, so the brand new Prius might obtain round 37.5 miles in all-electric mode. Toyota plans to launch North American model particulars quickly.
Toyota has had a troublesome time getting actual totally electrical automobiles off the bottom, although. Final month, it mentioned it’s going again to the drafting board on its e-TNGA versatile EV platform after releasing a mediocre at finest bZ4X EV that grew to become topic to a significant recall to maintain its wheels connected (the difficulty has been resolved). So whereas Toyota seems to be to type all that out for subsequent yr, it determined to proceed doing what it does finest: make extra hybrids.
Environmentalists are lower than thrilled. “The sale of extra hybrid automobiles, together with the Prius, drags us additional into the local weather disaster,” mentioned Greenpeace East Asia local weather and power campaigner Daniel Learn in an emailed assertion. “When the Prius was first launched, it was on the slicing fringe of low carbon transport. Nevertheless, 25 years later, it’s clear that hybrid automobile know-how just isn’t enough to cap international heating at 1.5C.”
(Greenpeace just lately knocked Toyota, in addition to GM, Volkswagen, and Hyundai, for persevering with to promote inside combustion engine automobiles at a fee that can make it inconceivable to rein within the worst results of local weather change.)
Past Toyota’s disappointing EV monitor report, the Prius is getting some fascinating options. There are cameras on the entrance and rear of the automobile, a digital rear-view mirror, and a built-in recorder as effectively (although Toyota says it data to the interior pc and will not have a detachable SD card). And like Toyota’s bZ4X EV, there are photo voltaic panels current on the brand new Prius plug-in. It may possibly cost the principle drive battery whereas stationary and the accent battery whereas in movement.
You can even use the Prius as a conveyable battery pack with 100-volt AC energy plugs within the rear middle console and within the cargo space. It may possibly take a load of as much as 1,500W solely on the battery, or you’ll be able to change it to hybrid to generate electrical energy utilizing the fuel engine. Toyota even provides a window jam accent that allows you to run an influence twine into the cabin and nonetheless hold the automobile secured from the weather.
The 2023 Prius, with its new seems to be and options, is an interesting hybrid that can definitely get loads of consideration. Toyota is reportedly contemplating hitting the reset button on its EV plans for investing $17.6 billion in battery tech, however it hasn’t publicly laid out a brand new path but. It might be too late to efficiently foyer the federal government to decelerate EV adoption (once more), however it’s by no means too late to construct one thing new.