Fuel cell and hybrid technologies: Toyota focuses on alternative energy
The Toyota Hybrid-R concept car will be propelled by 400 hp. (Photo: Toyota)
Published Monday, August 19, 2013 6:59PM EDT
Toyota, aiming to maintain its notoriety as an innovator in the hybrid vehicle field, will present a new concept car, the Yaris Hybrid-R, at the Frankfurt Motor Show this September. The vehicle is based on the same technology as the Toyota TS030 prototype, which raced in this year's Le Mans 24 Hours competition. The manufacturer will also show off its latest strides in the field of zero-emissions fuel cell vehicles.
Toyota's stand at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show will be almost entirely devoted to hybrids. The Japanese manufacturer will highlight new technologies and solutions in the field, including those implemented in the Yaris Hybrid-R concept car.
Based on a 3-door Yaris, the Hybrid-R combines two electric motors with a high-performance 1.6 L Global Race Engine (GRE) created by Toyota Motorsport, reaching a total of 400 hp. Several of the Hybrid-R's key technologies were implemented in the Toyota TS030, which stood the test of both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the Le Mans 24 Hours race. The Hybrid-R has the distinction of being as suitable for the road as it is for the racetrack thanks to a dual mode control feature, allowing drivers to change settings to ensure optimal performance for either type of drive.
Toyota has been marketing hybrid vehicles for nearly two decades, since 1997, and its hybrid range currently includes 23 models. The brand sold 1.2 million hybrid vehicles worldwide in 2012, in large part thanks to the international success of its Prius range. Between now and the end of 2015, Toyota plans to market a total of 16 new hybrid models, including some updates to previously released cars and some entirely new vehicles.
A zero-emissions solution
In addition to its research into hybrid technologies, Toyota is doubling down in its efforts to perfect zero-emissions technologies, such as fuel cell vehicles, which it hopes to market in 2015. To this end, the manufacturer is collaborating with BMW to develop a battery system that will equip a future sports vehicle.
At the last Paris Motor Show, Toyota Europe's Executive Vice-President Karl Schlicht informed Relaxnews that this project was already in the pipeline: "An initial fuel cell hybrid vehicle should be ready soon ... This is why BMW teamed up with us." In parallel, the two constructors aim to expand their research into lithium air batteries, which have a far greater energy density than the currently more widely used lithium-ion batteries.