Toyota NS4 Plug-In Hybrid Concept teased ahead of 2012 Detroit Auto Show

Article by Christian A., on December 20, 2011

Besides the new Lexus concept, Toyota will also bring its own hybrid concept at the 2012 Detroit Auto Show. Dubbed NS4, the new concept promises to be an advanced plug-in hybrid concept but the details stop here. The Japanese manufacturer released only a teaser of the new concept showing the headlight but also a new design language, which will probably be seen on the future Toyota vehicles. More details to be revealed!

Press release: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), today revealed the NS4 advanced plug-in hybrid concept vehicle at the 2012 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit. The NS4 signifies Toyota’s vision for future mobility with a focus on connectivity and the human interface. Toyota engineers were challenged to design a new mid-sized concept for potential global market introduction by 2015.

The NS4 concept is a dedicated plug-in hybrid, separate from the Prius family, designed with future mobility requirements in mind. “In this digital age, cars are becoming another spoke in the wheel of our electronic connectivity,” said Jim Lentz, TMS president and chief operating officer.

“NS4 demonstrates Toyota’s take on the human connection to the car with technology that considers both emotional and rational relationships, person-to-car and car-to-society.” NS4’s advanced powertrain targets a next-generation Hybrid Synergy Drive plug-in system featuring reductions in component size and weight with improved overall fuel economy, better acceleration and longer all-electric range, while maintaining a short charge time.

The new Toyota NS4 is loaded with the latest safety systems like adaptive driving beam (ADB) headlights, blind spot monitor (BSM), and the next-generation pre-collision system (PCS). Oncoming drivers and pedestrians are usually prone to vision-impairing glare from typical headlamps, and ADB headlights could help prevent this by employing a camera mounted behind the front grille and partial shielding inside the headlights. ADB headlights also allow drivers to maintain near-high beam illumination for enhanced visibility during night drives.

BSM, meanwhile, employs a sub-millimeter wave radar to detect a vehicle in the adjacent lane. Once such vehicle is detected, BSM provides alerts through visual indicators mounted in the upper dash. On the other hand, PCS combines pedestrian collision avoidance and lane departure technologies in order to detect potential collisions under certain circumstances and then helps avoid them.

PCS employs millimeter-wave radar as well as stereo cameras placed on the front to detect and react to lane departure, pedestrians, and other vehicles. In case of possible collision, PCS will apply brakes and induce steering maneuver to avoid other vehicles, pedestrians and road-side obstructions. The NS4 also features a pop-up bonnet structure that could automatically raise the rear part of the hood to expand space underneath. This means, during a front collision, head injuries on pedestrians could be reduced.

This innovation has been tested and verified through conventional crash-test dummies as well as through Toyota's Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) finite element model. In addition, the new Toyota NS4 boasts of employing four new glass technologies for the windscreen, front and rear windows – all working to enhance driver visibility while improving fuel economy and mileage efficiency during electric driving mode. One of these technologies is the anti-fog' coating that employs high performance resin material with anti-fogging attributes and higher durability.

It also features anti-solar film with radio-wave transparency, which helps lower internal vehicle temperature while improving electronic device functionality. Another glass technology employed on the NS4 is the high ultraviolet (UV) absorbing inner-layer that gets rid of 99 percent of harmful UVA and UVB rays. Lastly, the NS4 employs rain-resistant 'hydrophobic' coating, which is fluorine coated glass that forms rain drops into semispherical shapes to eliminate rain drops and thereby enhance visibility.

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