A recent Japanese interview from Nikkei Technology with hybrid vehicle development chief Shunsuke Fushiki shed only a little light on the yet-under-wraps Prius PHV, but more range is in the offing.
Fushiki suggested Toyota does not wish to compromise interior space by stuffing more batteries in the trunk, or other passenger space, but it has looked at work-arounds for this dilemma.
“For the new Prius, we moved the battery from under the luggage space to under the rear seats. To install a battery in a limited space, we reduced cell size and improved storability,” said Fushiki of the regular Prius. “We are still considering how to lay out the battery in the next Prius PHV. It is possible that the battery, whose capacity will be larger than that of the new Prius’ battery, will be stored in the center console or luggage space.”
In order to facilitate all-electric driving, Fushiki commented also on the upgrades to the powertrain that will distinguish the PHV.Both versions will ride on the Toyota New Global Architecture, so the issue is one of packaging, costs, and preserving owner satisfaction with the best compromise.
“To ensure EV driving performance, we will employ a lithium-ion (li-ion) battery and motor that are different from those of the new Prius,” he said. “The li-ion battery of the new Prius is focused on output density. Because EV driving will be prioritized for the next Prius PHV, we are currently developing a battery with a focus on energy density. Also, we will employ a drive motor larger than that of the new Prius.”