Toyota’s promotion of its hybrids has been in full force since the start of the North American International Show (NAIAS), where it introduced its extended lineup based on the Prius, the world’s most successful hybrid. For the European market, Toyota will soon offer the Yaris hybrid. The carmaker has also released a teaser of the Prius+, a seven-seater MPV.
It is claimed that this model would be the first in Europe to have the seating capacity of an MPV and the benefits of a hybrid power train.
It’s likely that there will be a revamp for this system, which is based on the Hybrid Synergy Drive and was used on the Prius for many years. Toyota asserts that the Prius+ will offer the lowest fuel consumption figure of any MPV available on the market.
At NAIAS, Toyota presented the Prius v minivan, on which the Prius+ is expected to be based. The system offered a choice from among four driving modes: Normal, Power, Eco and EV. An Inside Line report states that the new Prius MPV will arrive in the market by 2012.
This model is included in the global expansion of the Prius line, which will include no less than 11 derivatives of the hybrid. Many believe that Toyota should have done this earlier, considering the declining consumer interest in the classic Prius.
Now, a more efficient Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) is expected to make vehicles consume less fuel and emit less carbon dioxide, factors considered as crucial to success. Not only that, HSD endows vehicles with the ability to offer fully electric driving, making it pleasantly applicable in urban settings.
When operating on all-electric mode, HSD delivers zero carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter emissions. Thereby, with HSD on board, every Toyota full hybrid offers the lowest possible cost of ownership and low running costs.
Not only that, thanks to their fuel efficiency and low carbon emissions, the Toyota hybrid could qualify for tax incentives in some countries, and be exempted from congestion charges in some cities. Furthermore, HSD boasts of low maintenance and remarkable durability.
In fact, the full hybrid powertrain features no conventional starter motor or alternator while the engine employs a maintenance-free timing chain and features no drive belts. Interestingly, the entire roof surface of the Toyota Yaris HSD concept has been mounted with solar panels, which provide independent power for the air-conditioning unit thereby increasing the fuel efficiency of the full hybrid powertrain.
However, the task of launching full hybrid technology into the B‑segment was met with a number of engineering challenges. For instance, the new powertrain design should be optimized to enable its installation within the concept’s compact yet efficient packaging design.
This is because such installation should not compromise system quality and performance, passenger comfort and cargo capacity. This inclusive repackaging of HSD technology should be able to cater to growing demand for urban-based family vehicles, sans a compromise on interior space or hybrid performance.