Toyota FT-Bh Concept teased ahead of 2012 Geneva Motor Show

Article by Anita Panait, on February 22, 2012

Toyota will unveil its fuel-efficient and low-emission small car FT-Bh concept at the Geneva Motor Show on March 6, 2012. Although the FT-Bh concept is as roomy as an average five-door supermini, the small car emits around 50% less carbon dioxide. The Toyota FT-Bh concept also weighs less than its city car cousin Toyota Aygo at less than 800 kg.

Toyota boasts of creating a lightweight yet efficient small car concept without using exotic materials or costly techniques.  Toyota plans to turn the FT-bh into a production model that would be built using economically viable production methods and technologies, which includes a down-sized full hybrid powertrain.

In creating the FT-bh concept, Toyota took a “total vehicle” approach, focusing on five areas of design and engineering to gain the highest fuel efficiency and lowest emissions: weight reduction, optimum aerodynamic performance, powertrain efficiency, thermal energy management and electricity saving.

The exterior of the Toyota FT-Bh concept has been designed under what is known as the “Ecomotion” theme. Under this style, aerodynamic performance is mixed in with emotive shapes in order to deliver better fuel consumption. The front section of the FT-Bh in particular utilizes elements from the Keen Look style and the Under Priority design DNA.

As such, the large undergrille takes up most of this section including the sculpted bonnet and the vertical headlamps. It is important to note that the vertical headlamps are incorporated to the concept car’s front wings. Meanwhile the rear is shaped like an arch giving it a low center of gravity and thus a more stable stance. Considering how the cabin manages to easily merge with this section, the addition of the corner elements that are chevron-shaped, and the rear bumper that has been uplifted allow for a style that maximizes aerodynamics.

No surprise then to know that the drag coefficient of the FT-Bh stands at Cd of 0.235. With the roof panels having that stretched fabric styling, it gives this model a sense of lightness. Highlighting this quality are the slim A-pillar and C-pillar that in turn optimizes the cockpit’s glazed area to not only enhance visibility but give the cabin a feel of having more space.

Overall, the concept car’s form is considered a novel approach when it comes to designing the bodywork as it is clear that the inspiration was derived from having air naturally flow above the exterior surfaces. The stretched fabric style is observed in certain panels like the roof. By being stretched across the fastening points, it showcases the lightweight composition.

This same stretched fabric panel style is also how the interior has been style. This is observed in the steering wheel, the seats, dashboard, and even how the center console is formed. Specifically, the center console has a concave shape which results in the cockpit being driver-focused.

It also helps with the sense of space and lightness. It goes without saying that the FT-Bh is not all about the design. This concept car also boasts of having a lower overall mass. By utilizing a good mix of magnesium, aluminum, and high-tensile strength, the model has its weight at around 786 kg, an estimated 25% lower compared to the 1.0-liter Toyota Yaris which is at 1,030 kg.

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