Toyotas redesigned, fourth generation Prius makes its global debut at the Frankfurt show this month

Toyota's redesigned, fourth generation Prius makes its global debut at the Frankfurt show this month

Toyota has released the first official teaser photograph of its next generation Prius hybrid ahead of the car's global reveal scheduled for the Frankfurt show on 15 September.

According to just-auto's PLDB, this fourth generation Prius might have been previewed by the Toyota NS4 concept, a five-door hatchback with a petrol two-litre + electric motor hybrid powertrain that premiered at the Detroit show in January 2012.

This new model is expected to be one of the first vehicles to be based upon TNGA (Toyota New Global Architecture). Production is due to commence in December, with the car's global debut expected at Frankfurt this month.

The plug-in variant is due to enter production in October 2016. Both nickel-metal hydride and lithium ion battery options are expected to be offered, as is all-wheel drive.

Toyota has registered 'Prius Prime' as a trademark in the USA but it is not yet known if this will be used for a future Prius derivative.

The next Prius PHEV is due to enter production in October 2016.

In August 2013, Toyota issued a media release which contained the following information in reference to the next Prius Plug-in Hybrid: "Toyota is working on a new wireless/inductive charging system that produces resonance between an on-floor coil and an on-board coil to transmit power to the battery – simply put, this provides charging without the fuss of connecting a cable. Verification work on this system will be carried out in Japan, the USA and Europe during 2014".

"The image heralds the next chapter for the world's best-selling hybrid vehicle," Toyota said in a statement.

The second C-HR Concept hybrid crossover also will make its global debut in Frankfurt.

Sales worldwide of the new Prius will start later in 2015 or early 2016. Toyota's Australian unit has already confirmed a 'down under' launch for the first quarter of next year.

Toyota has now sold over 8m hybrid vehicles, including over 3.5m of the Prius line.

The most recent 1m sales, which include Toyota and Lexus brand vehicles, took just 10 months.

The global tally is headed by Japan with 3.89m cars, North America (2.79m) and Europe (930,000).

The best-selling models are Prius (3.5m), Prius c [Aqua in Japan] (1.08m), Prius v [Prius α in Japan, and Prius+ in Europe] (582,400) and the Camry (528,300).

Toyota Australia said it had sold over 77,500 hybrids to date. Its locally built Camry leads with 33,250 deliveries, followed by the Prius hatch with almost 20,000 sales. It also sells the Prius c city car and Prius v seven-seater. Badged Prius +, the latter is a popular choice of taxi companies in Europe and the UK.

Toyota estimated owners of its hybrid vehicles around the world have so far saved 22m kilolitres of petrol - enough to fill 8,800 Olympic swimming pools - compared with the amount of fuel that would have been used by petrol vehicles of the same size.

Toyota also claims its hybrids have saved about 58m tons of CO2 emissions compared to the performance of the same number of equivalent, petrol-powered vehicles.

Hybrid remains Toyota's core technology in its development of alternative powertrains. Recent developments include the release of the Mirai - the world's first production hydrogen fuel-cell sedan - in Japan, the US and Europe.

The company has also used its hybrid know-how in motor sport with the TS040 Hybrid winning the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship.