Toyota engineers could improve thermal efficiency to as much as 40 percent for the next Prius, according to reports out of Japan.
Nikkei Technology reports that the 2016 Prius will better the outgoing model by around 1.5 percent, and the first generation Prius by three percent.
Thermal efficiency is a measure of how well an engine converts the energy available from its fuel source (petrol, in this case) into ‘usable’ energy.
If Toyota can achieve 40 percent from the engine in the next Prius, the powerplant would boast the world’s best thermal efficiency rating.
The efficiency gain comes through an improved exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system, which will be wound up from 21 percent in the current Prius to 28 percent for the all-new model.
To achieve this, Toyota has modified the engine air intake to ‘disrupt’ the flow through the cylinder and increased the combustion speed over the current model.
The shape of the piston top has been changed for the new model, and ignition energy to each spark plug will increase 186 percent to overcome the resulting ignition problems.
Further efficiency gains are expected to come from an eight percent improvement in cooling loss over the outgoing model.
The all-new model was reportedly delayed at least once (perhaps twice) due to styling issues, after Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda promised ‘more emotion’ in future models and sent the design team back to the drawing board.
The 2016 Toyota Prius hybrid is expected to be unveiled at the Tokyo Motor Show during the Australian spring, including a new plug-in version.
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