Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Toyota goes hybrid mad

While some car makers are putting all their efforts into extracting more efficiency from the turbodiesel engine, the Toyota empire is clearly devoted to the petrol-hybrid, as a host of new hybrid vehicles are set to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Show later this month.

On Toyota's stand, pride of place will be given to a full hybrid version of the Auris hatchback, the first mainstream model to be fitted with the Hybrid Synergy Drive for Europe. Although the show car is tagged a 'concept', a production model won't be far behind, as Toyota has committed to deploying its hybrid technology across the range.

Toyota HybridAlso on hand will be a plug-in concept version of the Prius hybrid. Although the new Prius can already operate on electricity alone, this variant will be optimised for running on battery power. It will suit drivers commuting short distances each day, as its batteries can be charged overnight by plugging it into the mains - or into an on-street charging point when they exist.

Next year, 150 prototype examples of the plug-in Prius will be leased to select fleet drivers in a bid to assess the car's real-world usefulness.

Over on the Lexus stand (the luxury arm of Toyota), a compact concept will be unveiled, previewing Lexus's answer to the BMW 1 Series and Audi A3. In show car guise at least it will be a full hybrid, complementing the revised Lexus GS 450h and LS 600h luxury hybrids also on display.
Toyota Hybrid

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