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  2015 Toyota Prius delayed as engineers strive for maximum fuel economy
The arrival of the 2015 Toyota Prius is likely to be delayed until the very end of next year with concerns over fuel economy to blame, according to Automotive News. Anticipation over the fourth-generation Prius hybrid is high, with a raft of changes to the gasoline-electric powertrain and ageing design expected to significantly boost both its desirability and environmental credentials. It was expected to launch during the second quarter of 2015. Toyota typically launches a ‘confirmation’ prototype roughly one year before a vehicle becomes available to the public. The Prius prototype is scheduled for some point around November with a plug-in hybrid version set to follow. Automotive News cites unnamed sources explaining that the company’s engineers want to maximise fuel economy and are tweaking aspects of the body and chassis in order to achieve that. The company has previously set a target of 55mpg combined for the new model – a 10 percent increase over the current car. The Prius was recently dethroned as California’s top-selling car, which will be a timely reminder to Toyota that there can be no mistakes with the new model. Class-leading thermal efficiency and a move to lithium-ion batteries instead of the current model’s nickel metal hydride unit are expected. While the Prius already has an impressively low drag coefficient, aerodynamics will also play an important role in reducing fuel consumption for the new model.

  2014 Nissan Leaf
Japanese automakers Toyota and Nissan have always done things a little differently. But when it comes to company strategies for meeting future transportation needs, each firm's approach couldn't be more different. Nissan is resolute on its decision to go electric. Toyota, on the other hand, believes hybrid cars and fuel cells are the way forward. And neither, according to Automotive News, is convinced by the strategy of the other. Hybrid AND electric, for now Notably, both manufacturers currently have hybrid and battery-electric models somewhere in their lineup. Nissan's electric vehicles are more prominent--it has sold the Leaf since 2010, and recently introduced the e-NV200 electric delivery van to the European market. Toyota currently offers the RAV4 EV. Its powertrain was developed by Tesla Motors--no stranger to electric technology--but Toyota has chosen to let its contract with Tesla run out after its initial three-year period, and has no replacement on the horizon.

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