Next-gen Toyota Prius to offer electric AWD?

September 29, 2015

Toyota’s next-generation Prius will reportedly introduce an all-wheel-drive system for the first time.

Higher trim levels will be available with the feature, likely powered by a second electric motor added to the rear axle, according to an alleged staff manual published by Japanese site Minkara and translated by IndianAutosBlog.

All-wheel-drive could be an attractive option for buyers in snowy locations. The technology is also expected to improve driving dynamics, which will also benefit from a lower center of gravity, a wider stance, suspension refinements and improved torsional rigidity.

The all-wheel-drive system reportedly carries a fuel-efficiency penalty, reducing mpg by approximately 10 percent. In contrast, Tesla Motors achieves longer range in its dual-motor Model S variants, despite extra weight, by managing the front-rear power split to run each motor in a more efficient state.

Toyota has achieved an estimated 10-percent increase in mpg for the front-wheel-drive Prius, pairing a 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle engine with a single electric motor. Power figures and official EPA mpg estimates have not yet been announced. An ‘Eco’ variant with even better fuel efficiency will eventually be added to the lineup.

More details will likely be announced in the near future.

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