Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Pair of big debuts ahead for Toyota

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YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Toyota has two important vehicles coming in 2015: the next-generation Prius hybrid and the company's first hydrogen fuel-cell car.

Satoshi Ogiso, a top Toyota engineer who helped develop the original Prius 20 years ago, said Wednesday the new Prius will get significantly better fuel economy than its current 5.6 litres per 100 kilometres. It will have an advanced battery, motor and gas engine combination that is smaller, lighter and cheaper than the current version.

Ogiso wouldn't reveal the fuel economy, but he's hoping to at least match the 10 per cent gains Toyota has gotten in the last three generations of Priuses. A 10 per cent gain would get the Prius to 5.1 L/100 K in combined city and highway driving.

"The challenge to continue to improve at this rate, to beat your own record, becomes very difficult but makes it all the more motivating," Ogiso told media at an event near Detroit. "I can tell you that we are very motivated to beat our record."

The new Prius will ride on a new, lower chassis to improve its handling and aerodynamics. It will also have a nicer interior. Ogiso wouldn't say how much it might cost, but a less expensive hybrid system could help bring down the Prius's $24,000 price tag.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 29, 2013 B7

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