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Toyota and Lexus secret hybrid cars revealed
03 September 2008 11:50
CAR Online has compiled a secret dossier of all the hybrid petrol-electric cars under development at Toyota and Lexus. Today we can reveal a new wave of eco-friendly plug-in hybrids – with confidential details of the next Prius and all the new models that will build on the success of Toyota and Lexus battery cars.
There will be a new family of Prius hybrid models, as previously reported in CAR, as well as a new Lexus RX hybrid, sportier batter-powered cars and a top-secret petrol-electric Lexus hatchback. Read on for the full story...
So what is Toyota's big vision with its hybrid cars?
Never change a winning formula, is the message. The Prius remains the world´s best-selling hybrid passenger car by a huge margin. The Lexus RX400h
practically owns the hybrid crossover market. So why mess with the recipe?
Encouraged by this strong demand, Toyota will launch the Prius III at the Detroit auto show in January 2009. A new Lexus RX450h will be unwrapped at the Sema show in November 2008 this autumn. And a new baby Lexus hybrid is tipped to put in a surprise appearance at the autumn 2008 Los Angeles show or at Geneva 2009.
New third-generation Toyota Prius hybrid: the lowdown
Challenged by Honda, which is determined to crack 100,000 annual sales with its next, cheaper hybrid model (scooped by CAR this week
), the Prius III offers more of the same: an oddball design, a space-age cockpit and a nickel metal hydride battery pack which costs only €850 plus VAT (£700) should it ever need to be replaced.
Why does the new Toyota Prius retain the old kink-in-the-roof look? Because it shouts 'I am an environment-conscious driver'. Because it´s the number one customer feelgood factor. And because the Japanese believe the Prius has icon potential just like the Porsche 911
But this time round, there will be a whole family of Prius models. So in 2010 we'll see an MPV Prius and in 2011 a seven-seater XXL wagon. The Prius people carrier looks like a cross between a VW Touran, Golf Plus and Caddy Maxi; the Prius estate like a Toyota Avensis wagon.
Just how clean will the new Toyota Prius hybrid be?
While the current Prius manages 104g CO2/km, the follow-up model is good for 95g/km in Normal mode and just 89g/km in extra-cost Eco guise. It will – at a stroke – move the green car goalposts again, then.
And if that's not clean enough, about one year after the base model arrives in Europe in June 2009, Toyota will roll out the even more efficient – and more expensive – lithium-ion version. Then in 2011, all Prius III models will be available in plug-in configuration, allowing a longer range on zero-emissions battery power.Click 'Next' to read about future hybrid Lexus models