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 actually prettier, little doubt — the 1997 Prius was the primary mass-produced hybrid electrical automobile, but it surely 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 group 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 components 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 might obtain a 0–62 mph acceleration in 6.7 seconds, because of 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 could 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 stated it’s going again to the drafting board on its e-TNGA versatile EV platform after releasing a mediocre at greatest bZ4X EV that grew to become topic to a serious recall to maintain its wheels hooked up (the difficulty has been resolved). So whereas Toyota appears to be like to kind all that out for subsequent 12 months, it determined to proceed doing what it does greatest: 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,” stated Greenpeace East Asia local weather and power campaigner Daniel Learn in an emailed assertion. “When the Prius was first launched, it was on the reducing fringe of low carbon transport. Nonetheless, 25 years later, it’s clear that hybrid automobile expertise will not be adequate to cap international heating at 1.5C.”
(Greenpeace lately knocked Toyota, in addition to GM, Volkswagen, and Hyundai, for persevering with to promote inside combustion engine automobiles at a fee that may make it unimaginable to rein within the worst results of local weather change.)
Past Toyota’s disappointing EV observe file, the Prius is getting some fascinating options. There are cameras on the entrance and rear of the automotive, a digital rear-view mirror, and a built-in recorder as effectively (although Toyota says it information to the inner laptop 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 could actually cost the principle drive battery whereas stationary and the accent battery whereas in movement.
You too can use the Prius as a transportable battery pack with 100-volt AC energy plugs within the rear middle console and within the cargo space. It could actually take a load of as much as 1,500W solely on the battery, or you may swap 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 automotive secured from the weather.
The 2023 Prius, with its new appears to be like and options, is an interesting hybrid that may actually get loads of consideration. Toyota is reportedly contemplating hitting the reset button on its EV plans for investing $17.6 billion in battery tech, but it surely hasn’t publicly laid out a brand new path but. It could be too late to efficiently foyer the federal government to decelerate EV adoption (once more), but it surely’s by no means too late to construct one thing new.