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Toyota 1/X Plug-In Concept Makes North American Debut At 2008 Chicago Auto Show

Toyota brought its 1/X (pronounced “one-Xth”) plug-in hybrid concept vehicle (earlier post) to 2008 Chicago Auto Show (6-17 February) for its North American debut. The Toyota 1/X concept made its world debut at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

Comparison of 1/X Concept and Prius Specifications
 1/X ConceptPrius
Total length (inches) 153.5 175.0
Width (inches) 63.8 67.9
Height (inches) 55.5 58.1
Wheelbase (inches) 102.4 106.3
Curb weight (lbs) 926 2,890
Seating capacity 4 5
Engine displacement 500 cc 1,497 cc
Battery chemistry Li-ion NiMH

The hybrid powertrain in the ultra-lightweight 1/X combines a home-rechargeable lithium-ion battery pack with a 500cc flexible-fuel engine in a system that is 1/4th of the total weight of the Prius powertrain. The result is a vehicle with the possibility of traveling more than 600 miles on a small four-gallon tank of fuel and achieving acceleration performance equivalent to that of the Prius.

The 1/X features an aerodynamic ultra-lightweight design that maintains the interior space of the Toyota Prius hybrid and is approximately one-third the weight of the Prius. Its 926-pound curb weight is partially achieved through the use of a light but very strong carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) throughout the body frame.

The aerodynamic shape of the 1/X and unique cabin design result in smaller pillars, allowing passengers more visibility and helping to create a greater sense of openness and freedom with its outer surroundings for driver and passengers. The CFRP material is lighter and stronger than traditional metals, creating a shock-absorbing like structure with cross-sections that help absorb energy during an impact.

The 1/X roof is produced from a bio-plastic made from environmentally-responsible material derived from kenaf and ramie plants. The result is a roof that improves heat insulation, emits less carbon dioxide, increases the amount of light entering the cabin, and reducing noise.

On the inside, the 1/X employs four ultra-lightweight seats made of polyester fiber that is knitted three-dimensionally for added comfort. The material functions like a spring or damper that helps create a cushion-like feel for all occupants.



Small correction to first comment: Audi A3 is steel.

Audi A2 is Aluminium - 1.2 TDI back in 1999 weighed just 850kg same as a 1960s sport car like Lancia Fulvia.

Aluminium is very cost effective when recycling cf steel.

The A2 managed 2.88litres/100km or around 93mpg (UK)

Cd 0.25 and real space inside for 4 6 foot adults plus bags

It ceased production in 2005 to make way for gas guzzling Q7 and bigger A4, A5 and A6

fred schumacher

The Audi A2 demonstrated the achilles heel of aluminum. It transmits too much vibration. All the road tests I read of the A2 complained about vibration. That's why the car didn't sell and was taken out of production.

Thermosets can't be recycled. Europe has legislated 95% recyclable autos, so the question of carbon fiber bodies is moot. The auto industry is a steel-stamping industry whose product happens to be automobiles. Steel is emminantly recyclable. Lower weight will have to come through morphology-the shape and structure of autos. One possibility is to use the concept of a torsion box to carry the structural loads of the vehicle. Torsion boxes are light, stiff and strong. An airplane wing is a torsion box.

There are some ideas in this concept car that can be scaled up for production: 500 c.c. is a good size for a recharging gen-set engine; light-weight suspension seats to replace the heavy ones that are standard now; better insulation to reduce cooling and heating load; reducing passenger capacity from 5 to 4 to reduce width and improve side-impact protection.

Roger Nordquest

There is already a nice derivative for weight vs. crash survivability. Ford F450 diesel pickups at 8000# will leave a lasting impression on something this light. Even if the outside shell is indestructable, the G loading alone is pretty high. This is getting close to what a mosquito and a school bus feel when they collide.

fred schumacher

Roll-overs are 5% of accidents and 40% of deaths. Most roll-overs happen to high center of gravity vehicles like trucks and SUVs. If mass were the primary indicator of safety, we would all be driving semi-tractors.

Europe's vehicle fleet is smaller than America's and gets nearly twice the fleet fuel economy average, and, yet, America's per-mile death rate is 50% higher than Europe's, even though Europeans drive more aggressively than Americans.

Honda has shown that the primary requirement for safety is an intact passenger compartment with plenty of room between the occupants and intruding collision artifacts. I believe Honda has the greatest number of 5-star accident survivability rated vehicles while at the same time producing the lightest average vehicle fleet.

One way to increase collision intrusion space, while retaining outside dimensions, is to go to a 4-seat format and place the seats right next to each other instead of maintaining a traditional gap between the seats.



You're forgetting that European driver education is far more strict than here in the USA, so because European drivers are better trained they tend to get into less accidents on average due to better knowledge of how to drive in adverse conditions.

The best solution right now for lighter autos is a combination of using more high-strength steels and aluminum alloys.


I used to think that the "space frame" with plastic body panels like the Fiero and Saturn had some merit. It seemed like the space frame was a crash cage and the vehicle could be made lighter and still safe. The Fiero might not be a good example, that was mid 80s, but the Saturn had sedans and SUVs. I never really looked at the crash ratings. Saturn has gone away from that design and now makes heavier vehicles that may not be all that much safer.

Henry Gibson

TH!NK, carbon fiber and plastic permanently sequester carbon from the atmosphere...hg...


Indeed, to consider a carbon-fiber "nonrecyclable" makes no sense. It can be incinerated for its energy, or it can, as Henry suggested, be used to sequester carbon forever (for all intents and purposes). In any case, it certainly is hard to believe that the energy used to make it wouldn't pay off over the 8 to 12 year life of an automobile especially considering 200K miles life and doubling the standard 35mpg economy.

rob hartzell

gm makes many prototypes. sometimes they make electric cars that you can lease. Crucially though, they have trouble making innovative cars that people can buy for a reasonable price AND hold up in real world environments. remember the lean machine? or the Ultralight? . Tantalizing. So what did they sell? The chevette and the vega. // Also compare just the body style of the volt with the small station wagon like body configuration of the Toyota prototype. I'd rather have the lightweight Toyota more stuff carrier. Or the diesel Verso. Maybe the biggest deal though is GM's secret weapon they arent even really aware they have: OPEL. Have you seen european diesel powered Opels? Great body styles, great mileage, heavy euro market penetration. It's just that you can't buy one here. Wie schade meinen freund.

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