Toyota’s Prius Prime is an updated take on the company’s popular hybrid, with more emphasis on the EV aspects of the vehicle, including a battery with double the driving capacity, and a few other tweaks that push the car closer toward the EV end of its dual identity, including an acceleration feature that lets the electric motor handle much of the pick-up when you first put your foot down.
Toyota first gave us a glimpse at the Prime at the New York Auto Show this March, but now it’s giving the vehicle its west coast debut at Disrupt SF ahead of the office full reveal, which is coming soon.
The Prius Prime’s tech bona fides lie both within the cockpit, and in the changes made to the overall body design and external components in order to help maximize efficiency for a hybrid with more electric boogaloo.
Some of those changes include redesigned lines for the body panels, which vehicle comms manager Nathan Kokes said were created in order to maximize the energy efficiency of the vehicle as much as possible. That means, according to Kokes, paying attention to how changes to the exterior impact aerodynamics at a micro level.
In addition to the panels for the car’s sides, this led to changes to the front grill, and a rear window that actually dips in the middle slightly to help air flow over and under the car in a way that creates as little drag as possible, which in turn leans to better battery life.
Inside, there’s a new 11-inch capacitive touchscreen panel that’s set into the dash vertically. It’s a very Tesla-like move and one that Kokes tells me Toyota has found resonates well with the Prius’ target demographic. Customers who care about the tech powering their car via the drivetrain and power source also put a high value on the tech available via the infotainment system, too.
Toyota plans to reveal the full range of trim options, pricing and availability details for Prime soon, as mentioned, but for now it does look like a potentially good option for that group of customers Kokes says it’s focused on with the Prius, who are curious about EVs but still want to keep a foot planted firmly in the traditional gas-powered car realm.