Toyota’s FT-Bh gasoline-electric hybrid concept debuts in Geneva

Article by Anita Panait, on March 6, 2012

Toyota Motor Corp. has unveiled its latest small gasoline-electric hybrid concept car, the FT-Bh, at the 82nd Geneva International Motor Show.  Toyota developed the FT-Bh as an ultra-fuel-efficient concept car that would compete in the B segment under the theme of "ecomotion," a term derived from “eco” and “emotion.”

The concept is aimed at creating a production car that boasts of being highly responsive and having nimble operability. Aside from its operational ease, the FT-Bh boasts of consuming only 2.1 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers under the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), and emitting a carbon dioxide level of just 49 g/km, which is less than half the current average for B-segment vehicles.

These had contributed to the significant reduction of the FT-Bh weight. These permitted the installation of a more-efficient powertrain and led to reduced air resistance too. Toyota had fitted a small fuel tank together with a lithium-ion battery under the rear seat, giving the concept a low center of gravity.

Cars with a low center of gravity often boast of an improved driving performance. Toyota also made sure that the FT-Bh is provided with an aerodynamic architecture that exudes performance.

It features a bullet-shaped body with sleek proportions. The concept’s tapered rear body and slightly curved rear-end further reduce air resistance.

The concept’s long roof is merged seamlessly with the windshield, while allowing the narrow pillars to maintain high visibility. The FT-Bh benefits from the elements of Toyota's next-generation "Keen Look" styling, which features vertical lamps integrated into fenders and a large lower grille.

Toyota also displayed two alternative concepts at the Geneva Motor Show -- a compressed natural gas (CNG) hybrid variant with cabons dioxide emissions of 38 g/km; and a plug-in hybrid version with CO2 emissions of just 19 g/km.

For the FT-Bh concept, Toyota wanted a model whose overall weight would be lower compared to the 1.0-liter Yaris by 25%. Since the Yaris has a total mass of 1,030 kg, this meant the concept car should weigh around 786 kg.

To do this, the brand needed to use a mix of magnesium, aluminum, and high-tensile steel. One issue that needed to be resolved was the fact that the hybrid powertrain was heavier compared to the standard 1.0-liter in the Yaris. In fact, the powertrain increases the concept car’s weight by about 60 kg. This meant that the weight of the other components had to be reduced like that of the electronics, interior trim, chassis, and bodyshell.

Overall, the weight that needed to be lowered was around 340 kg, which is 33% of the weight of the Yaris. To make this possible, engineers at Toyota knew that they needed to lower the weight of both the chassis and body by 33%. Powertrain and electronics needed to be lowered by 27% with the body-in-white mass lowered by around 20% to 25%.

Finally, the trim and the parts of the interior would have to be halved. However, the engineers also had the understanding that even if the weight was reduced, the performance and, more importantly, the safety should not be compromised. The main task in reducing the weight was to do so for the parts of its cabin. This is because for this part of the vehicle, it results in what is known as a ripple effect.

What this means is that when this feature has its weight lowered, the rest of the vehicle’s components are likely reduced as well. Let’s suppose that the applied load of the suspension and the body structure is lowered, this meant that the corresponding parts could be downsized. Further, because of this reduction, it would also mean that the needed engine displacement could be lowered.

Thus not only is weight saved but there’s even thermal energy loss. The reduction of the weight can also be seen in the interior design of the FT-Bh concept and the minimalist approach implemented. It reveals minimum changes in its structure. Meanwhile, the designers made use of components that are lightweight but have high torsional stiffness.

With these two, the interior is able to deliver remarkable ergonomics and amazing functionality while having the least weight. Lowering the weight also meant that the FT-Bh concept would have a center of gravity that is lower, in fact at around 541 mm. This meant better braking and handling that showed agility and better response. Of course, it also meant production costs would be lowered ensuring that if this concept car does go into production, it will be more affordable to a large customer demographic.

Press Release

Toyota FT-Bh Concept

Making its World Premiere at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show, the Toyota FT-Bh concept is an ultra-light, sub-800 kg, full hybrid vehicle designed to lower fuel consumption and minimise emissions for an affordable B-segment family car.

Clearly expressing the Under Priority design language and Keen Look styling of Toyota's next generation vehicles, the FT-Bh has the dimensions of a B-segment vehicle. It is 3,985 mm long, 1,695 mm wide and 1,400 mm high, with a long wheelbase of 2,570 mm.

The new concept's design is driven by 5 key pillars targeting optimum fuel efficiency and minimised emissions: Mass Reduction; Driving Resistance in the form of aerodynamics and tyre rolling resistance; Powertrain Efficiency; Thermal Energy Management and Electricity Saving.

Combining a highly significant reduction in weight for a car of this class with painstaking aerodynamics, a rigorous reduction in driving resistance and a frugal yet highly efficient full hybrid powertrain, the Toyota FT-Bh concept is projected to deliver an average fuel consumption of just 2.1 l/100 km and CO2 emissions of only 49 g/km.

The FT-Bh targets CO2 emissions which are less than half those of the current 1.0 litre Yaris. But only through the mass-production of an affordable ultra-low emissions vehicle can sales volumes be large enough to make a genuine contribution to the real world reduction of total vehicle CO2 emissions on a global scale.

Aimed, therefore, at maximum affordability, the techniques and thought processes demonstrated in the concept's design do not involve the use of exotic, expensive materials or complex procedures, but only those already commonplace to the automotive industry.

Moreover, the goals of light vehicle weight, a low centre of gravity and maximum powertrain efficiency are beneficial not only in terms of low fuel consumption and emissions, but also in offering a more responsive, agile and engaging driving experience.


Styled under the 'Ecomotion' theme, the Toyota FT-Bh concept's exterior design combines emotive shapes with an extremely high level of aerodynamic performance to achieve ultra-low fuel consumption.

Its form inspired almost entirely by the natural flow of air over the exterior surfaces, the concept represents a new approach to bodywork design. Key panels such as the roof are formed to represent fabric stretched taut between fastening points, reflecting their ultra-lightweight composition.

Inheriting elements of Toyota's Under Priority design language and Keen Look styling, the front of the vehicle is dominated by a large undergrille, a powerfully sculpted bonnet and vertical headlamps integrated into the front wings.

The stretched fabric styling of the roof panels adds a feeling of lightness to the vehicle. This is further emphasised by ultra-slim A- and C-pillars which maximise the glazed area of the cockpit for improved visibility and perceived cabin spaciousness.

The FT-Bh's arch-shaped rear creates a stable stance with low centre of gravity. With the cabin merging seamlessly into the rear of the vehicle, an uplifted rear bumper and crisp, chevron-shaped corner elements, the styling optimises aerodynamic performance, contributing to a low drag coefficient of only 0.235 Cd.

The stretched fabric panel design theme is continued throughout the car's interior styling, and is readily apparent in the form of the centre console, dashboard, seats and steering wheel. The concave form of the centre console creates a driver-focused cockpit whilst maintaining a feeling of both lightness and spaciousness.

Reduced Overall Mass

Fabricated in a combination of high-tensile steel, aluminium and magnesium, the Toyota FT-Bh concept targets an overall mass reduction of some 25% over the 1,030 kg 1.0 litre Yaris, bringing its total weight down to just 786 kg.

Because the hybrid powertrain is marginally heavier than a conventional 1.0 litre engine, the overall mass reduction required of the bodyshell, interior trim, chassis and electronics is actually some 340 kg, or 33% of the Yaris' weight.

Conversely, the FT-Bh's full hybrid powertrain adds some 60 kg in weight to the concept.

Toyota engineers have identified reduction targets of 33% for the body and chassis -with no detriment to safety performance- and 27% for the powertrain and electronics. With a body-in-white mass reduction of 20-25%, key to achieving a total mass reduction of over 30% is a reduction in the weight of interior parts and trim by approximately 50%.

This is reflected in the minimalist interior design of the Toyota FT-Bh concept, which features the minimum of structure and lightweight components of high torsional stiffness to combine superior ergonomics and functionality with the lowest possible weight.

Such a large saving in the weight of cabin parts has a highly significant 'ripple effect' in weight reduction throughout the rest of the vehicle. For instance, it reduces the applied load on both the body structure and the suspension, allowing for a commensurate downsizing of components. It also leads to a reduction in the required engine displacement, saving both weight and thermal energy losses.

Further benefits of such a substantial reduction in vehicle mass include a lower centre of gravity -just 541 mm- for more responsive, agile handling and powerful braking, and a reduction in production costs, making the vehicle more readily affordable to a larger cross-section of customers.

Lowered Driving Resistance

Measures to save fuel by reducing the road load of the Toyota FT-Bh concept are focused on aerodynamics and a tyre rolling resistance coefficient reduction. Minimisation of the aerodynamic coefficient of drag and the vehicle's particularly small frontal area target a resistance reduction of 25%. And the use of low rolling resistance tyres accounts for a significant improvement in fuel efficiency.

The concept is a comprehensive study in next generation aerodynamic techniques. It features air curtain intakes to the frontal extremities, air-stream alloy wheels, airflow-disrupting door mirrors replaced by cameras, handle-less electric latch doors, a pagoda roof with a dropped rear section, and a sharply cut rear end section incorporating an air outlet slit and an underfloor spoiler to smooth the flow of air away from the rear of the vehicle.

In combination, these measures lower the FT-Bh's coefficient of drag from a B-segment average of about 0.29 Cd to just 0.235.

The new Toyota concept highlights several cyclical 'efficiency benefit sequences' made possible by the synergy between aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.

For example, if fuel efficiency is improved, then the powertrain generates less heat, and the cooling system can be downsized. This allows for a reduction in the amount of cooling air necessary, allowing the front of the vehicle to be changed. This change lowers the coefficient of drag, in turn leading to a further improvement in fuel efficiency.

The fuel tank provides a further example: if fuel efficiency improves, the fuel tank can be downsized. Downsizing the fuel tank allows the amount of air that flows under the rear of the car to increase, which decreases resistance. Aerodynamic drag is reduced, leading to an additional improvement in fuel efficiency.

The concept rides on narrow, large diameter, 145/55R18 low rolling resistance tyres, which make a further significant contribution to lowering the FT-Bh's road load and driving resistance with no loss of grip or traction.

High Efficiency Powertrain

The Toyota FT-Bh's full hybrid drive system is a masterpiece of powertrain downsizing. Almost 90 kg lighter than the Prius' HSD system, it features substantial weight savings to every component of the drive-line.

The petrol engine is 38 kg lighter than that of the Prius. And the lithium-ion battery pack weight is almost half that of the Prius' nickel-metalhydride battery.

The lightweight, 2-cylinder, 1.0 litre Atkinson cycle petrol engine combines high efficiency with a low thermal capacity. Combustion efficiency has been maximised through the adoption of a long stroke, a high, 13:1 compression ratio, a next generation D4 injection system with a high fuel-injection pressure, a larger Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) system with cooling and a high tumble port design.

Ultra-low friction measures have been applied to the axis receivers, timing belt and electric water pump, and painstaking thermal energy management involves the use of a low heat capacity, reduced cold friction and the careful control of heat flow to regulate engine oil and water temperatures.

As a result, this remarkable powertrain achieves an average fuel consumption of only 2.1 l/100 km, and CO2 emissions of just 49 g/km.

A combination of light vehicle weight and hybrid power offers FT-Bh drivers a return to the fundamental pleasures of city driving. The concept's light, 786 kg kerb weight maximises responsiveness to both throttle and brake inputs, while the hybrid powertrain's electric motor produces maximum torque from a standstill to provide nimble drivability in traffic.

Reinforcing the adaptability of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive® technology to alternative energy sources, the FT-Bh also serves as a study for even greater fuel efficiency in the mid-term future through the potential installation of two alternative powertrains: a compressed natural gas hybrid (CNG-HV) version with CO2 emissions of only 38 g/km, and a Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) version emitting just 19 g/km of CO2.

Thermal Energy Management and 50% Electricity Saving

The Toyota FT-Bh targets improvements in the recovery of thermal energy and a 50% reduction in electricity consumption.

Using the twin strategies of a reduction in demand for heat and a reduction in heat loss, further stringent measures are applied within the interior. The FT-Bh uses lighter cabin components that have a smaller thermal capacity or a high degree of thermal insulation. Carefully zoned air-conditioning targets only occupied areas of the cabin, and any remaining waste heat -already minimised due to the ultra-high-efficiency hybrid powertrain- is effectively used.

The current draw from the FT-Bh's LED headlamps, interior lighting and other electrical components has been drastically reduced, lowering power consumption to 50% of that of conventional cars. The glazing construction has been designed for maximum thermal efficiency, and even the concept's pearl white, matte-finish heat-reflecting paint possesses excellent thermal insulation characteristics.

If you liked the article, share on:



A small but terrible one. Fiat’s performance division may not have one of the most eye-catching cars at the exhibit stands, but the latest racy compact vehicle would be a...
by - March 27, 2017
Size doesn’t matter. Even with only a lone car at its stand, Bugatti bags the award for having the best exhibit at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show. The CPG or...
by - March 24, 2017
Back during the early of part of the year, Hyundai Motor Company became part of the Hydrogen Council which was officially launched during the 2017 Davos World Economic Forum. The...
by - March 21, 2017
Four thousand, three hundred and sixty. Nope, it’s not just a number. Koenigsegg showed off all its rivals at this year’s Motor Show as its three cars have outputs that...
by - March 20, 2017
Just like the previous years, the Geneva Motor Show has been a host to various concept debuts. This year is not an exception. Joining the lineup is Aston Martin debuting...
by - March 19, 2017

Youtube Channel

Tip Us
Do you have a tip for us?
Did you film an important event?
Contact us
Subscribe to our newsletter!