Toyota asserts its commitment to hybrid vehicle technology starting with the development of its next generation Prius. The upcoming model will be the first among Toyota and Lexus vehicles that will make use of the improved hybrid powertrains – promising better fuel economy for a compact package.

The next Prius will use smaller electric motors with higher power output. It will also be constructed according to the Toyota New Global Architecture that gives a lower center of gravity and greater structural rigidity. The thermal energy of the gasoline engine will also improve from 38.5% to more than 40%.

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Likewise, Toyota is developing its Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV) intended for a 2015 launch. The company believes that the use of hydrogen as fuel is a practical solution to address issues on energy sources and emissions. Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive technology from the Prius is applied in the FCHV development, replacing the gasoline engine with a fuel cell and the gasoline tank with high-pressure hydrogen tanks.

The company has already unveiled its FCV-R concept at the 2011 Tokyo motor show but continues efforts to develop suitable hybrid models for today’s motorists. FCHVs are expected to reach full mass-market commercialization in the 2020s supported by further developments in the fuel cell vehicle technology.