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Toyota Broadens Scope of Environmental Technologies

January 12th, 2009
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Toyota says it plans to launch an urban commuter battery electric vehicle by 2012 after taking the wraps off its Future Toyota Electric Vehicle (FT-EV) concept car at the North American International Auto Show.

The decision to show the Toyota FT-EV in Detroit signals Toyota's intention to broaden the scope of its advanced alternative-fuel vehicle development.

"Now, more than ever, while we are so focused on the pressing issues of the moment, we cannot lose sight of our future," said Irv Miller, Toyota Motor Sales group vice president, environmental and public affairs.

"Nowhere is this more important than with our industry's duty and commitment to provide true sustainable mobility with vehicles that significantly reduce fuel consumption, our carbon footprint and overall greenhouse gases."

The FT-EV concept shares its platform with the revolutionary-new iQ urban commuter vehicle. Already a huge hit in Japan, the iQ is lightweight and seats four passengers in comfort and security, while delivering exceptional fuel economy, sporty performance, unique refinements and a fun, youthful image.

Toyota's FT-EV concept imagines an urban dweller, driving up to 80km between home, work and other forms of public transportation, such as high-speed rail.

Although, for now, the FT-EV remains a pure concept, it represents a natural pairing of product strategies.

Mr Miller said last year's spike in the price of petrol was no anomaly.

"It was a brief glimpse of our future. We must address the inevitability of peak oil by developing vehicles powered by alternatives to liquid-oil fuel, as well as new concepts, like the iQ, that are lighter in weight and smaller in size," he said.

"This kind of vehicle, electrified or not, is where our industry must focus its creativity."

Although battery electric vehicles and new smaller vehicles like the iQ will be a key component of Toyota's sustainable mobility strategy, the conventional petrol-electric hybrid, like the all-new third-generation Prius, is considered Toyota's long-term core powertrain technology.

Last year, Toyota announced it planned to sell one million petrol-electric hybrids per year during the early 2010s. To accomplish this, Toyota will launch as many as 10 new hybrid models by the early 2010s, in various global markets.

Also, last year, Toyota announced it would roll-out a large number of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) to global fleet-lease customers in 2010. That schedule has been moved up.

Beginning in late 2009, Toyota will start global delivery of 500 Prius PHVs powered by lithium-ion batteries.

The first-generation lithium-ion batteries powering these PHVs will be built at Toyota's PEVE (Panasonic EV Energy Company, LTD) battery plant, a joint-venture production facility in which Toyota has 60 per cent equity.

During its development, the new Prius was designed and engineered to package either the lithium-ion battery pack with plug-in capability, or the nickel-metal hydride battery for the conventional petrol-electric system.

The 500 PHVs arriving globally in late 2009 will be used for market and engineering analysis. Fleet-lease customers will monitor the performance and durability of the first-generation lithium-ion battery, while offering real-world feedback on how future customers might respond to the plug-in process.

"Future customers will have high expectations for these emerging technologies. This Prius PHV fleet program is a key first step in confirming how and when we might bring large numbers of plug-in hybrids to global markets," Mr Miller said.

"Our business is no longer about simply building and selling cars and trucks. It is about finding solutions to mobility challenges today and being prepared for more daunting challenges in our very near future."

FT-EV Preliminary Specifications & Target Performance

Item FT-EV (Preliminary)
Dimensions Overall Length (mm/in) 3050/120
  Width (mm/in) 1680/66
Height (mm/in) 1500/59
Wheelbase(mm/in) 2000/78.7
Number of Seats 3 + 1
Battery Type Lithium-ion
  Energy Capacity 11 kWh
Charging Time (hr) 100V-120V: 7.5Hr 
200V-240V: 2.5Hr **
Performance Power Output 45kW
  Torque 160Nm
Cruising Range (target) 50 miles (80km)
Top Speed (target) 70 mph (112kmh)

** Charging Capacity 4kW 

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