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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.


edf, would you please stop posting nonsense ? You can believe what you want. Like little children. But go play outside.


Uh, even with disregard to the utter stupidity of banking on BP and Forbes for accurate petroleum market projections, it should be pointed out that Toyota's been making hybrids happen since around Y2K.

The next Prius is going to happen. Toyota doesn't suffer from the same sad myopia that companies like GM do, which is why they're licensing their technologies to our industry amidst flagging domestic sales.

Try READING this site before posting this garbage, please.

fyi CO2

edf- take your short-term profit "hot wheels with a hemi" schemes somewhere else, this site is about SUSTAINABLE (greater than 30 to 50 years) mobility.

Rafael Seidl

It's indeed quite possible that oil prices will go down again, though $40 per boe would still be higher than the price in 2000. Investments that were previously uneconomical, such as the development of tar sands in Canada, are now being made and, are adding to the world supply of hydrocarbons (with all the attendant environemental damage). Same for remote gas fields + LNG/FT liquefaction or long pipelines. Older oil fields are being exploited with tertiary techniques such as CO2 and solvent injection. Etc.

If one of the major economies were to falter, the price of oil would fall for a while. That's just supply and demand in a cyclical industry. It would be foolish, however, to consider that an excuse for doing nothing. The present situation shows that the world is very susceptible to supply shocks and the political tensions/warfare they engender. Low oil prices are NOT good because they expose the US and other consumers to the whims of autocrats like Putin, Ahmadinedjad, Chavez, Ghadaffi et al.

That is precisely why consumer prices for energy should be kept high even if wholesale prices were to come down. Keeping prices high means taxing energy and cutting revenue/income taxes. This way, the economy stays focussed on energy efficiency. The hard part is getting politicians who grew up during the cold war to accept that its end has led us to a new situation that requires new thinking.

Bill Y

Innovations in the auto industry are being fueled (pardon the pun) by high fuel prices. The innovations are needed to reduce the impact of transportation on global warming.

We need a carbon tax, which would include transportation fuel, to provide assurance to the innovators that prices will not come down enough to strand the innovations. A carbon tax would also address the other 900 pound gorilla of US emissions, the coal burning power plant.


Edf: Suggest you wander over to The Oil Drum to posit your theories about oil prices. You will find a rather large number of people who can knowledgeably and ably engage your theories. The fact is, no one really knows if and how low oil prices will go, and it is naive to believe the like of BP and Forbes. You would also be naive to swallow emanations from Saudi Arabia purporting to show that peak oil is not a problem.

My guess is that there are a fairly high number of people who visit this site who own or would like to own hybrids or at least a car that gets very good gas mileage. I doubt if that desire has much to do with the price of gas. It certainly had nothing to do with my initial purchase of a Civic hybrid in 2002 and my subsequent purchase of a Prius in 2005. I have influenced others in my community to buy a hybrid and their decisions also had little to do with gas prices.

Admittedly, this proves little but I would suggest that if one cares just a little about the environment in which we and all other species, threatened and not, have to live, one will continue to take further steps to reduce one's energy impact.

You can of course buy and drive one of your beloved gas guzzlers right now. Why wait for oil to go down?. Get ahead of the curve; you can probably negotiate some very good deals on a high performance, low mpg car. You can do especially good purchasing an SUV in today's market.

It is rather mysterious that you frequent this site, unless of course you are just being sarcastic.

Harvey D.

Well said Bill Y: With elections looming, what are the odds for a carbon tax in 2006/2008?

A major drop in Oil price + climate changes may help to bring it about, but one can doubt that politicians will want to touch it. Voters and oil community reactions....


"With the speed reduction gear, the front motor delivers maximum torque of 270 Nm"

Is there a typo there? 270 Nm or 199 lbs-ft is without the reduction gear. With 2.478:1 SRU, it should make 493 lbs-ft torque.


With regard to edf, one age old 'net admonishment applies: Don't feed the trolls. He's just trying to rile people up. A troll is one of those rare things in this world-- a problem which if ignored, will in fact go away.


Harvey D:

You raise the recurring conundrum. That which will help solve the problem is politically unrealistic. That which is politically realistic will not solve the problem.

How do we solve this conundrum? We can't, really. However, we must keep pounding away regardless. If we only propose those things that are realistic, we guarantee our assignment to oblivion.

Once, civil rights for african americans was unrealistc. Social security was unrealistc. Child labor laws were unrealistic. Air pollution laws were unrealistc. The list is infininite.

When all else fails, sometimes our politicians do what actually makes sense.

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