GM Holden Brings Diesel Astra to Australia
Virent Raises $7.5 Million in Funding Round Led by Cargill Ventures

Toyota Introduces Redesigned Estima Hybrid Minivan in Japan

Estima Hybrid G

Toyota announced today the nationwide sales launch in Japan of the completely redesigned Estima Hybrid minivan. (Earlier post.) The new Estima Hybrid offers fuel consumption of 5.0 l/100km (47 mpg US) on the Japanese 10-15 cycle and CO2 emissions of 116 g/km.

Toyota introduced the first Estima Hybrid in 2001 as the world’s first hybrid minivan with the first use of the E-Four (electric four-wheel-drive) system on a mass-production vehicle.

The new Estima Hybrid features an application of Toyota’s THS II system, optimized for use on a minivan, as well as an exhaust heat recovery system that uses thermal energy from the exhaust to heat engine coolant. This reduces engine warm-up time, which enables the engine to shut off earlier when idling, contributing to further improvements in actual fuel economy.

The hybrid powertrain consists of three main elements: the engine, the THS II front motor, and the E-Four rear motor.

The Estima hybrid uses a 2.4-liter engine—the smaller of the two powerplants offered with the redesigned conventional Estima—with enhanced intake and exhaust systems and enhanced engine control to increase engine speed and reduce friction for higher maximum output and better fuel efficiency. The engine delivers 110 kW (147 hp) of power and 190 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm.

The front motor offers 105 kW peak output and is coupled with a speed reduction gear to amplify torque. With the speed reduction gear, the front motor delivers maximum torque of 270 Nm.

The rear E-Four motor offer maximum output of 50 kW and maximum torque of 130 Nm. The E-Four motor assists the engine and front motor as needed and continuously optimizes the allocation of power between the front and rear wheels. The Estima hybrid offers an all-electric mode.

A 245V NiMH battery pack provides the energy storage. The variable voltage system of the power control unit uses a booster circuit to increase the voltage supplied from the battery to the motors from 245V to 650V, increasing the power output of the front and rear motors. The battery pack is mounted within the center console, enabling versatile seat arrangements, equivalent to those of a regular gasoline-engine Estima, and a comfortable interior space.

Emissions of both NOx (oxides of nitrogen) and NMHC (non-methane hydrocarbons) are 75% lower than the 2005 standards under the Approval System for Low-emission Vehicles.

Prices start at ¥3,633,000 (US$31,770), consumption tax included.

Estima Hybrid
THS II with motor speed reduction device Engine Displacement 2.363 liters
Maximum Power 110 kW (147 hp)
Maximum Torque 190 Nm
Front Motor Maximum output 105 kW
Maximum torque 270 Nm
Reduction gear ratio 2.478
Battery Rated voltage 245 V
E-Four Rear motor Maximum output 50 kW
Maximum Torque 130 Nm
Overall system Maximum output 140 kW (188 hp)
Fuel consumption 5.0 l/100km
(47 mpg US)
0-100 km/h 10.8 sec


shaun mann

How much $$?

what is the battery capacity and peak output?

the electric motors are powerful enough to achieve highway speeds, but how long could the batteries handle that kind of output?

looks pretty sweet, for a minivan.


Very nice!! Can ya plug it in and how far can ya go on one plug in? Obviously "NOT" but then, heh, ya gotta keep pluggin the PHEV concept -- no pun intended!!


Prices start at $31,770, consumption tax included.

Harvey D.

Good news Mike: Amazing, 5.0/l00Km (47 mpg)+ low 116 gm/Km CO2 for a four-wheel drive, high quality, fair size van!! Imaging what it could do with a quick charge 10 Kw to 20 Kw battery pack.

Will Toyota do the same with the re-designed 2008 RAV-4 and Matrix 4-wheel drive Hybrids?


Why aren't they launching it here in the US?

Rafael Seidl

Shaun -

the power numbers for the electric motors are maximum, not rated. Maximum power can be sustained only 20-30 secs depending on motor construction, due to the thermal inertia of the windings etc. After that, something will definitely melt, catch fire, smoke... Rated power is usually about 30% lower. I suspect that Toyota oversized the motors somewhat as a safety precaution.

Simple math will tell you that at 245VDC at the batery terminals, delivering 155 kW of motor power (assuming 90% efficiency for the motors and 85% for the inverter) requires a battery current of ~830Amps. I would be very surprised indeed if the NiMH battery pack were really sized to handle currents that large, considering the need for system longevity. Also, heat generation in the battery would be very substantial under such extreme loads.


A pitty, that you Americans are not allowed to drive Diesel cars for emission purposes. Even if they are Euro-4 compliant including particel filter.
In that case you have no other choice as to continue to comsume your 20 millions of crude oil per day.

At least there is ONE (overpriced) hybrid vehicle available.


Can someone convert the Japanese cycle to the American (EPA) cycle? Don't get too excited until that is done because the Japanese cycle rediculously overstates gas mileage.


Can someone convert the Japanese cycle to the American (EPA) cycle?

It depends, but around 1.4x - 1.5x EPA. Expect low-mid 30's EPA on this.

Gil Good

How does the Estima compare in size to the Siena?


Many people are talking about "peak of oil". A typical hysteria.

Lord Browne, the chief executive of BP, said that over the medium term, oil could drop as low as $40 a barrel as the world uncovers new sources of the precious commodity. He cited untapped oil sources in West Africa and other places, saying that it is quite likely that oil could go even lower over more time.

- Steve Forbes predicts that skyrocketing oil prices are just temporary and that a massive price collapse is coming that will bring oil down to $35 to $40 per barrel and dwarf the Dot-Com crash of 2000.
- British Petroleum recently reported that current oil reserves would last for at least half a century. And contrary to dire warnings that oil production has peaked and the earth is running out of oil, Daniel Yergin-chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates says there will be a large, unprecedented buildup of oil supply in the next few years.

Yergin says between 2005 and 2010 capacity to produce oil could grow by 16 million barrels a day-a 20% increase. At any given time, the oil industry has about a 30-year supply of "proven oil reserves." Unfortunately, a lot of people take the "30-year supply of proven reserve" figure to mean that we will run out of oil in 30 years.

I personally think, that this scenario is quite probable. Most people think, that's crazy...
If this comes true:
- inflation and therefore interest rates are coming down.
- stock market performance improves again
- further wealth is being created

And of course it is the death of "plug-in hybrids", diesels, ethanol, buthanol, cellulosic waste procedures, hydrogen, CTL and so on.


Don't worry edf. Steve Forbes has never made a correct prediction in his life.


Wow, looks like this bit of news was missed by most: the Estima hybrid appears to have an exhaust heat recovery system. So it appears this is the first production application of such a system on a Toyota vehicle.

This little detail basically cements speculation that the next Prius will have such a system.


@tovo: The "next Prius" will never exist. Didn't you read my posting? OIL will slump!!! Got it?

I'm already excited to by the new 07 Dodge Challenger with 6.1 Litre V8 425 hp Hemi engine. I only hope, that the $ keeps low. Wow!!


Oil back to 40$! Finally!
EDF: not only the 07 Challanger is a nice car, but also of interest is the Jeep Cherokee SRT8 with the same 425 hp engine. And also the Range Rover Sport with 4 litre V8 and 395 hp.

After I read today, that China's oil imports are already sinking (add to that the declinging demand from the US albeit history high oil stocks and recession looming) in tandem with higher production, maybe we will see next november 30$ in oil. Away with those ugly and overpriced hybrid carts.

It's a pitty, all those people buying Ethanol producer stocks, wind energy and all that stuff... loosing a lot of money. Oil is going to be cheap again. And that's good news for everybody.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)