Published On: Thu, Feb 19th, 2015

The New 2016 Toyota Prius And The Future Of Hybrid

The Toyota Prius has very much become a victim of its own success. It has been a strange journey for the world’s most audacious and revolutionary little car. At first it was snubbed by the world’s motoring community. Car enthusiasts refused to believe that anything could replaced the roar of a combustion engine. They were convinced that electric power could never produce the speeds and power that made driving special.

Toyota CH-R Concept

The environmental community were big fans, however. And it is this group that really forced the change. The Prius, of course, was the first vehicle to feature a hybrid engine. It was a step towards a petrol and diesel free motoring future. Toyota harnessed the power of an electric motor to power its car. Strangely enough, electric motors were first considered by Henry Ford himself. Ninety years ago, Ford’s first concept for the car involved an electric engine. It was how cars were supposed to be.

Unfortunately, the technology was simply not powerful enough to work. It would cost too much to develop and was simply unsustainable. And so the combustion engine was born and dominated the next century of driving. At the turn of the 21st century, Toyota turned back to the electric origins and introduced the Prius. It presented an entirely new direction for the driving world. It was a bold move as the combustion engine was finally coming into its own. The combustion engine was helping cars hit 200 miles per hour and break new barriers.

The Toyota Prius came along and presented a new picture of the future. It helped answer the questions that were arising from governments and concerned citizens. How do we slow down global warming? The climate issue became a hot topic over the last decade and built ground among the general public. Action was needed and Toyota were the first car company to take the plunge.

That’s not to say it was entirely successful, at first. They launched the Prius in Japan before bringing it to American and European shores. When it did make its way West, it wasn’t an instant hit. It took ten years for the company to even make a profit on the car. Slowly, celebrities and Hollywood A-listers began driving the Prius. Not only that, but fuel prices soared and the market hit the rocks. Drivers wanted cheaper fuel options fast. The Prius had its defining moment and hit mainstream appeal.

The technology improved and other car companies followed suit. And this is where Toyota fell down. Now, in 2015, the Prius has begun reporting diminishing figures. This is why it has become a victim of its own success. Just as hybrid engines came in to their own, the model that started it all, fell. First of all, every other car manufacturer slowly caught on to what was happening. They started to build competitors. Better competitors. They built faster, more reliable and longer lasting hybrids.

The Ford C Max Hybrid hit the roads and decimated Prius sales. It sits in the same market space and outperforms the Prius in almost every way. In addition to that, fuel prices plateaued and became a little more affordable. Traditional engines were developed to be cleaner and more efficient. Many traditional engine cars now rival the Prius’ fuel consumption.

With all this in mind, it’s time for something new. Toyota knows this and is already planning its next step. There are whispers of a new model coming in 2016. Toyota are holding their cards very close to their chest, but a few details have emerged. There are whispers of a new, more powerful lithium ion battery which will outperform the old model.

Most importantly, Toyota are aiming for a ten percent increase when it comes to miles per gallon. The elusive figure will make it one of the top performing fuel consuming cars on the planet. It’s almost certain that the Prius will get a facelift too. The sportier Ford C Max has set the trend here. In addition to that, the BMW i8 has set the tone for hybrid power models. It is fast, futuristic and stunning to look at. Toyota will have to step up its game in the looks department.

Toyota have changed the motoring world. That much is easy to see. Hybrid cars are the future. They are more cost effective, and (when we get it right) more powerful. Some of the fastest cars in the world are now hybrid models.

On a day to day level, hybrids are the clear choice for the future. Although they cost a little more at the dealer, their financial benefits are abundant. The fuel savings are the first and most obvious cost cut. Drivers spend much less money at the pump and will get much more from their tank of petrol. Secondly, hybrid cars depreciate much slower than their traditional cousins. Our friends at Scotland Car Buyer tell us that they consistently value hybrids higher than traditional models. The powerful fuel economy means that they hold on to their value for longer. While they may cost a little more to purchase, you make those savings later on.

The once untouchable world of supercars and SUVs are even finding a place in the hybrid market. The hybrid engine was designed to combat the problems of 4x4s and super powerful cars. Instead, engineers are finding a use for these two engines to harness more power. The Porsche 918 Spyder is a hybrid supercar and one of the fastest vehicles in the world. Ferrari, McLaren and BMW each have their own hybrid supercars in their arsenal too.

Hybrid technology is the future. In fact, it’s the present and it’s only growing stronger. Unfortunately, although Toyota created the waves, they are losing pace. The reinvention of the Prius for 2016 could be just the thing they need to get back in the game. We have every faith in Toyota and we are looking forward to the first official details to emerge. Until then, we’re happy to feast on these exciting leaks of information!