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Next-gen Prius to get better MPG, cost less, Toyota promises

Toyota Motor Corp. says the next-generation of its Prius hybrid will get better mileage and cost less.

The next Prius, which is expected in 2015, will include improved batteries and smaller, more powerful electric motors, and will be built on the company’s new global vehicle architecture, Toyota managing officer Satoshi Ogiso said at a company hybrid vehicle event outside Detroit.

The next Prius also will have a roomier interior and introduce “advanced safety technologies” that Ogiso didn’t specify.

“When the next-generation Prius arrives, it will begin a new era for a broad range of Toyota and Lexus vehicle by marking the arrival of a substantially improved family of hybrid power trains,” Ogiso, who worked on the first-generation Prius before its 1997 launch, told reporters.

Toyota has earned the mantle as the world’s greenest automaker, thanks to the success of its hybrid vehicles including the Prius. The second generation of the Prius was introduced in 2003 and the next redesign came out six years later. Toyota has sold more than 5 million hybrid vehicles globally since the launch of the Prius.

The fourth-generation Prius will include batteries with higher energy density, or the relationship between the battery’s output and its dimensions, Ogiso said. He said Toyota has stepped up research, development and production capacity on both nickel-metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries.
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