The next generation Toyota Prius will be offered in both front- and all-wheel drive versions, and there will be a choice between nickel metal hydride and lithium-ion batteries.
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Koei Saga, director in charge of drivetrains at Toyota, spoke to Automotive News last week about the new Prius.

During that interview Saga stated that the fourth generation Prius will have, like the ones before it, a nickel metal hydride battery as standard. Up-scale versions would however be available with a lithium-ion battery pack that will offer a greater electric-only driving range.

While lithium-ion batteries are used extensively in electric vehicles, as well as on rivals' hybrids, the only Prius variants to use the newer, but more expensive technology, are the seven-seat Prius V and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid which isn't sold in Australia.

Saga said of the possibility of all-wheel drive: "I think we will possibly do it". Currently the Prius is only available in front-wheel drive.

Toyota Prius first three generations

It's expected that the new car's hybrid system will be smaller and lighter, not to mention more fuel efficient, than the current drivetrain. According to Saga, "The batteries will be renewed. Everything will be revised. And I think we will come up with a fuel economy that will surprise everyone."

Toyota is pulling out all the stops to ensure that its green halo car is a home run. As such, production of the new Prius has been pushed back from the third quarter of 2015 to December 2015.

The new Prius will be the first vehicle to use the Toyota New Global Architecture that will underpin a wide variety of models from the Japanese automaker. With a high degree of parts commonality between various model ranges, the new modular system will enable Toyota to carry out its desire to offer a hybrid drivetrain option in each of its vehicle lines.