Toyota Prius has been one of the most popular hybrids in the world. Despite limited sales, the Japanese carmaker has been selling the car in India for six years now and is now all set to launch the new generation model as well. Recently Toyota previewed the car in India ahead of its official launch next year. Sources from the company have told us that the new-gen Toyota Prius will be launched in the first quarter (Q1) of the 2017 calendar year, although rumour has it that the car will go on sale in January 2017.
Toyota Motor Corp expects hybrid cars to make up 20 percent of its total vehicle sales in India by 2020 from less than 2 percent today, a senior company official told Reuters. Toyota, which already sells the Camry hybrid in India, plans to introduce hybrid technology in models like the Corolla and Prius sedans and could introduce it for sport-utility vehicles and multi-purpose vehicles, Akito Tachibana, managing director of Toyota's India business said on Wednesday.
The development costs of hybrid vehicles mean they are out of reach for a vast majority of India's first-time car buyers, which then makes it difficult for car makers to achieve the volumes needed to bring down the price. For instance, Toyota's Camry hybrid is priced starting at ₹ 33 lakh, about 15 times the price of a petrol variant of one of India's top-selling small cars. Toyota will work to increase the number of components it sources from the Indian domestic market to bring down the overall cost of manufacturing hybrids, Tachibana said. "We think that hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology is the best solution in India," Tachibana said, adding that this clean fuel technology is also needed to meet India's stricter emission and fuel efficiency norms starting in 2017.
Coming back to the car in question here, the new Toyota Prius was unveiled in India at the 2016 Delhi Auto Expo. The all-new Prius, which was globally revealed by Toyota in September 2015, utilises the new Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) and this platform has resulted in a series of improvements in the car when compared to the outgoing model. Powering the Prius is the same 1.8-litre, 4-cylinder VVT-i petrol engine and comes paired to an electric motor. The churns out 97bhp and develops a respectable 142Nm of torque whereas, the updated electric motor makes 71bhp. Toyota has also reworked upon the engine to improve fuel economy by 18 per cent and thermal efficiency by 40 per cent. The bump in fuel efficiency will mean that the Prius will now be able to return a fuel economy figure of 40Km/l.
The Prius comes equipped with a new nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) hybrid battery that now sits beneath the rear seats, which results in a configuration that helps in the weight distribution of the car. The battery is smaller than before, but more durable, and with an increased charging performance.