|Hybrid-X derives its name from the X-like shape created by the glass frame area. Click to enlarge.|
Toyota used the Geneva Motor Show to reveal the Hybrid X—a concept car that proposes a new design language for hybrid models, while also acting as an innovative technology showcase for future generation hybrid cars.
The X in the name refers not to a powertrain development, but to the design. A massive upper glass frame area and unconventional A and C pillars give the impressions of a vast X when viewed from above.
Toyota’s European styling center in the south of France, ED2, created and developed Hybrid X. Toyota suggests that the design proposes “unconventional creative solutions that will themselves potentially become the signature points of a specific hybrid identity.” Perhaps the next-generation Prius, or successor.
Toyota also showcased the FT-HS sports concept, first unveiled in Detroit, at the Geneva show. (Earlier post.)
The Hybrid X points towards the future of “eco-tech” driving. It offers families space and comfort in a stylish package, combining environmental performance with user-friendly advanced technologies. In complete contrast, the concept car FT-HS, or Future Toyota Hybrid Sports, presents Toyota’s vision of the 21st century sports car.
Hybrid X and FT-HS represent two poles of the hybrid spectrum, which define the frontiers for an array of Hybrid Synergy Drive solutions for the future. Our hybrid research and development is one tangible example of our policy of developing “the right car, for the right place, at the right time.” This means that the company continues to pursue a multi-track approach, developing improved diesel and petrol powertrains that are integral to Toyota’s environmental strategy.—Thierry Dombreval, Executive Vice-President, Toyota Motor Europe
|Toyota’s roadmap. Note the addition of the plug-in hybrid. Click to enlarge.|
In a backgrounder on its approach to the market, Toyota said that it is steadily moving forward with the development of hybrid systems as its core environmental technology, combining different power sources in ways that maximize the strengths of each. The Toyota group plans to double its hybrid vehicle line-up by the early part of the next decade and is targeting one million hybrid vehicle sales a year by the early 2010s.
Toyota also emphasized the importance of energy diversification (striking a note also taken by GM CEO Rick Wagoner in his speech at Geneva). Toyota briefly mentioned ethanol, gas-to-liquids (GTL) synthetic diesel, hydrogen, and battery technology as viable alternatives.
While all these alternative energy sources provide possible hope for the future, it is hybrid technology that holds the advantage. Hybrid can help maximize the merits of all energy sources, whether they are conventional, such as petrol or diesel, or alternative.
This explains why Toyota is committed to developing hybrid systems as one of the company’s core vehicle technologies, combining different power sources in ways that maximize the strengths of each and enabling new visions in innovative and environmental hybrid driving.
Toyota has sold close to 900,000 hybrid vehicles worldwide, with more than 650,000 of them Prius units. European sales of the Prius have topped 50,000.