The Next Prius?

March 7, 2007 at 5:40 pm | Posted in Fun Outdoors, Technology | Leave a comment

Many Prius industrial design elements are present in the Toyota Hybrid X concept car, which should lay to rest claims that the Prius was created only to test hybrid technology before being used in other platforms like the Camry and Highlander. In a sense, the Prius is the iPod of the automotive world.

However, what may be revolutionary about the new design is the impact on manufacturing and assembly. The design seems to have decoupled the frame/chassis from other elements of the car. I can imagine a black box that encompasses the drivetrain, front axles, electronics, controls, and dashboard simply sliding into the front of a chassis; the location of the headlight is very telling. In the back can be a similar module holding the fuel system, battery and rear axles. The car then becomes much simpler to assemble with these basic elements:

  • Chassis
  • Front/engine module
  • Back/fuel module
  • Interior

No doubt with their world-class manufacturing capability, this idea will only keep Toyota ahead of the competition.

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