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Toyota FT-HS Points To The Future Of Hybrid

Toyota FT-HS ConceptThe FT-HS concept car shows Toyota plans to keep pushing the hybrid envelope in terms of efficiency, performance, style – and fun.

Toyota Australia’s senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner said hybrid technology is amazingly flexible and a key plank in the pursuit of sustainable mobility.

“We think it’s time to have more fun with hybrids – and that’s what the FT-HS is all about,” Mr Buttner said.

“Toyota is already at the forefront of technologies being mooted for Formula One in the near future, such as regenerative braking and the reuse of waste engine heat.

“Such developments will help boost the public’s demand for efficiency and enable these advanced technologies to find their way into street cars like the FT-HS.”

In July last year a hybrid Toyota racing car convincingly won the Tokachi 24-hour endurance race in Japan – the first victory of its type for a hybrid-powered vehicle.

“The success of the Supra HV-R hybrid GT was part of the on-going development of hybrid technology for future mass-production vehicles,” Mr Buttner said.

“It also helps provide insight into how to make hybrid systems smaller, lighter and more efficient and the potential of hybrid systems in motorsport.”

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has been researching and developing environmentally advanced vehicles, particularly petrol-electric hybrids, for more than a decade.

The world’s first mass-produced hybrid car, Prius, was launched in Japan in 1997 and in Australia in 2001.

The one-millionth Prius is expected to be sold in the second quarter of this year, including more than 8000 in Australia.

Global cumulative sales of Toyota hybrid vehicles have exceeded 1.3 million, which is estimated to have reduced CO2 emissions by five million tonnes.

Toyota’s goal is to achieve hybrid vehicle sales of one million units annually as soon as possible in the early 2010s.

In a recent statement TMC president Katsuaki Watanabe said hybrid is a core technology for the company’s research into petrol, diesel, electricity and alternative fuels as it moves towards developing the ultimate eco-car.

In June 2005 the Toyota FCHV (fuel cell hybrid vehicle) obtained vehicle certification in Japan – a first for a fuel-cell vehicle.

Toyota is also conducting verification tests in Japan, the US and Europe for plug-in hybrid vehicles that can be recharged from a household socket.

Last month, TMC said it planned to commence sales of lithium-ion battery-equipped plug-in hybrid vehicles to fleet customers in the US and elsewhere by 2010.

In the near future, Toyota intends to offer a newly developed clean-diesel V8 engine as part of its goal to make diesel engines as clean as petrol engines.

In addition to the nickel-metal hydride batteries used in the Prius, TMC and its partner Panasonic are developing lithium-ion batteries, which offer greater energy and output.

TMC is also developing cellulosic ethanol using its specialised biotechnologies.

TMC has openly pursued a policy of broadly sharing its environmental technologies.

In 1999, TMC and General Motors signed a five-year technical agreement aimed at speeding the development of “next-generation” vehicles and vehicle technology for electric, hybrid and fuel cell vehicles.

In 2002, TMC and Nissan concluded a basic agreement on the long-term, continuous transaction of hybrid systems, including technical cooperation.

In 2004, TMC and Ford concluded a licensing agreement for hybrid system patents. TMC hybrid system control technology patents, among a number of TMC patents resulting from TMC’s hybrid system development, were licensed for use in Ford’s own hybrid system.

Source: Toyota

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