As promised, Toyota introduced its FT-HS hybrid sports car concept in Detroit at the North American International Auto Show. (Earlier post.)
The car is a front-engine, rear-drive, two-plus-two 400 hp (298 kW) sports car with a projected zero-to-60 acceleration in the four-second range. Toyota’s Concept Planner in charge of the project, Chiharu Tamura, started with the GS 450h powertrain as the basis for the FT-HS.
(At Toyota, a Concept Planner is in charge of a concept until the company makes the decision to produce it; at that point, a Chief Engineer takes over.)
The GS 450h combines a 3.5-liter V6 engine with a new compact, high-output, permanent magnet electric motor that drives the rear wheels. The transmission utilizes an advanced two-stage motor torque multiplication device for the Electronic Continuously Variable Transmission (ECVT) motor, delivering responsive and seamless acceleration with no power loss. (Earlier post.)
The GS 450h offers a combined system output of 339 horsepower, and zero-to-60 acceleration of 5.2 seconds.
|The FT-HS hood features a scalloped channel highlighting the hybrid engine and branded with “Hybrid Synergy Drive”. Click to enlarge.
Tamura began working with the GS 450h powertrain, exploring ways to lighten the weight, and in so doing, he said, “the world changed”—albeit in an as yet publicly unspecified way. The FT-HS retains the 3.5-liter V6 engine, but couples it with what Toyota is calling a sports hybrid system.
As a result, the combined FT-HS system produces 18% more power and the car accelerates 23% faster than its GS 450h parent.
The combination of the lighter weight of the vehicle achieved through design and styling innovations (subtractive mass and aerodynamics) and the changes in the powertrain give the mid-priced FT-HS the position of “a true attainable exotic with 21st Century performance,” according to Kevin Hunter, the Vice President of Calty Design Research.
Toyota, which has worked on the FT-HS for about a year, has not announced any plans to commercialize the concept.