In an effort to boost fuel economy of what is considered the world’s best selling hybrid car, Toyota will make its fourth-generation Toyota Prius lighter and more ‘slippery’.
Because many of the easier energy-saving wins have already been reached, the goal of achieving better fuel economy will be a real challenge. Toyota has a plan on how to achieve this and is already in talks with tire companies to make tires with lower rolling resistance. The fourth-generation Toyota Prius will also be manufactured from lighter materials and have a more aerodynamic shape.
At first the company chose aluminum as the body material, but gave up the idea due to high costs and the concern that production will not be enough to offset the spending. Prius V, the latest long-wheelbase model in the US, also known as Prius+ in Europe, has only an aluminum hood. The company also planned an aluminum tailgate, but abandoned the plan due to the high cost and complexity of designing a deep-draw press to stamp the panel
The first Prius hit the Japanese market in 1997, reaching the global market in 2000. In 15 years, Toyota managed to sell over 2.6 million units globally and expanded its portfolio to include the smaller, entry-level Prius C and the extended Prius V.