|CT 200h powertrain. Click to enlarge.|
Lexus will bring the CT 200h premium compact hybrid to the US market in early 2011 as the first dedicated hybrid vehicle in the premium compact segment. The sporty five-door will be on display 31 March through 11 April at the 2010 New York International Auto Show. The new CT 200h debuted at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show in early March and will join the HS 250h as Lexus’ second dedicated hybrid. (Earlier post.)
The CT 200h is powered by a 1.8L Atkinson cycle four-cylinder gas engine with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) and Lexus Hybrid Drive technology. The CT 200h’s Lexus Hybrid Drive technology features two motor generators. Each performs specific functions and can operate as both a motor and generator.
|The CT 200h at the Geneva Auto Show. Click to enlarge.|
The engine-driven generator can charge the battery pack or provide additional power to the drive motor as needed. The drive motor is driven by electrical power from the hybrid battery pack or generator and provides motive force for the front wheels. The NiMH battery pack is located under the rear cargo area within the wheelbase for optimized balance.
The electric motor, generator and power split device are all housed in one highly compact casing the size of a conventional gearbox, with drive to the front wheels provided by Lexus Hybrid Drive’s quiet and smooth shift-by-wire, electronically controlled continuously variable transmission (E-CVT).
The CT 200h will also be equipped with four drive-modes: Normal, Eco, Sport and EV.
Normal mode has an essentially linear throttle response that gives naturally progressive power while the Power Control Unit (PCU) limits drive voltage to a maximum of 500 volts.
The Eco mode adjusts air conditioning settings and the throttle for the best possible fuel economy.
For an enhanced fun-to-drive experience, Sport mode, a first for the Lexus hybrid line-up, can be selected. Sport mode provides more direct Electric Power Steering (EPS) settings and throttle while the PCU boosts drive voltage to a maximum output of 650 volts. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC) are less intrusive when Sport mode is selected, allowing for more lively driving.
In EV mode, under certain circumstances, the vehicle can be driven up to one mile using only the electric motors. (At the Geneva show, Lexus claimed the CT 200h could drive for up to 2 km (1.2 miles) at speeds of up to 45 km/h (28 mph) in all electric mode.)
The sporty premium compact hybrid will also feature an ECO driving indicator that illuminates when the vehicle is being operated in an environmentally sensitive manner.
Like all Lexus vehicles, CT 200h will be equipped with many standard active safety features including an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), TRAC and VSC. The four-channel, four-sensor ABS helps reduce stopping time and improves control while braking. EBD monitors all four wheels during braking and varies brake pressure to each wheel based on driving conditions and available traction.
During hard braking the BA system helps boost braking force when the driver does not apply enough pressure to the brake pedal. BA intervenes when the system senses that the driver’s action indicates an emergency-stopping situation and allows the driver to benefit from more of the vehicle’s full braking power.
TRAC helps optimize traction by working with the Electronic Throttle Control System (ETCS), ABS and VSC to help prevent the drive wheels from spinning while accelerating under slippery conditions.
The VSC system is designed to help identify when the tires experience lateral slippage during cornering, or turning on slippery road surfaces. VSC responds by applying the brakes and reducing the throttle to help keep the vehicle on track. VSC works in concert with ABS and TRAC systems on slippery or dry road surfaces.
For superior driving dynamics, particular attention has been paid to structural rigidity through the optimization of weld points, and the reinforcement of the wheel mounts, steering gearbox mount, steering column assembly, and the suspension members. To help minimize unnecessary engine movement and achieve a precise steering feel, the front engine mounts have unique lateral stabilizers.