Toyota unveiled its new five-door hatchback FT-bh hybrid concept at the Geneva Motor Show this week. The futuristic concept, a next generation Yaris, eschews high-tech solutions in favor of minimal design and weight reduction to boast an unheard of 112 miles per gallon.
Holistic design over technological edge
The moniker “FT-Bh” is an acronym for “Future Toyota B-segment Hybrid.” The vehicle uses a holistic design approach instead of soon-out-of-date technology to achieve its end of emission and fuel reduction. Toyota says the five keystones of its design were powertrain efficiency, mass reduction, thermal-energy management, electrical efficiency and optimized aerodynamics.
The design’s sloping roof and unencumbered sides allow air to be directed around the front and cling to the car until it is flicked off sharply by the stunted rear end. The absence of door handles helps reduce friction and adds to the aerodynamic flow of the vehicle. Likewise, mounted cameras replace the normal air-catching side mirrors.
Yaris on a diet
The FT-Bh, at less than 1,800 pounds, weighs a full 25 percent less than the current Yaris models. The reduced weight, achieved greatly by minimizing the interior trim and fixtures, lowers the center of gravity to just slightly more than 21 inches. That and the 0.235 coefficient of drag should make for some very impressive handling.
Fuel emission reduction
Toyota says the FT-Bh will reduce fuel emissions to less than half of those expelled by the current Yaris models. However, lest it be accused of not solving the world’s air quality problems with just its concept car, Toyota added in a press release:
“Only through the mass-production of an affordable ultra-low emissions vehicle can sales volumes be large enough to make a genuine contribution to the real world reduction of total vehicle CO2 emissions on a global scale.”
Under the hood
The new concept carries a long-stroke 1.0-liter Atkinson-cycle two-cylinder engine with a 13:1 compression ratio. A lithium-ion battery pack handles the duties for its energy-conserving momentum. The automaker says a natural gas and a plug-in version could be forthcoming.
Could come to future showrooms
The Japanese automaker insists that, more than a concept, the FT-Bh could very much resemble the next generation of Yaris. With this unveiling, and the NS4 it showed in Detroit, it’s clear Toyota is interested in staying at the leading edge of commercial auto design as the market adapts to meet the demands of a rapidly changing world.
The NS4 in Detroit
The NS4 hybrid plug-in, shown earlier this year in Detroit, hinted at a new-generation Prius with a computerized control interface and around-view camera system instead of external mirrors.
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