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Toyota's green future. Image by Toyota.

Toyota's green future
Toyota previews next-gen hybrid and fuel cell technology.
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The 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show is to play host to Toyota's next-generation hybrid and fuel-cell technology; continuing the advances the brand has already made with environmentally-friendly fuelling methods.


Toyota tells us that a lighter, smaller and more efficient hybrid system is to debut in the next generation Prius. To achieve this, every single aspect of the powertrain has been tweaked. Let's start with the electric motors themselves. The units used in today's Prius are four times more powerful than the ones used in the original 1999 model; and are set to become even smaller and yet more powerful for the next-generation version. Battery technology has also improved, as their higher energy density means they can store more power but in a much smaller space. Furthermore, the petrol engine that runs alongside the electric motors has been made more heat efficient.

The next Prius has also gone through a styling overhaul, with Toyota improving aerodynamics as well as increasing cabin space, while making the car's infotainment systems easier to use. Handling is said to have been improved, too.

While none of this really sets the ground alight, Toyota's next goal most certainly will as the company seeks to achieve wireless charging with the new plug-in hybrid Prius. Initial ideas point towards a floor-mounted coil and an on-board coil that would transmit power to the battery, but this technology isn't scheduled for testing until next year.

Fuel-cell technology

Also on display at Frankfurt will be the Toyota FCV-R - the company's first fuel-cell hybrid car that aims to be on sale in 2015. The concept is a four-door saloon measuring larger than the company's Avensis; however this model has a theoretical range of 420 miles, a real-world cruising range of more than 300 miles, and emits nothing but water vapour along the way.

To make the FCV-R a viable proposition for today's motorists, the company has also managed to effectively reduce size of the fuel cell stack as well as improve its efficiency. This means that the FCV-R achieves the highest fuel cell power density to date - at 3.0kW of power per litre - and contains just two of the predicted four tanks. These are mounted under the floor of the car, meaning that cabin space is unaffected.

Toyota also claims that the new model could be sold for around £70,000, but there are aims to reduce this as well.

Anything else?

All this and more will be showcased on the Toyota stand at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show that opens on 10th September.

James Giddings - 4 Sep 2013

2013 Toyota future tech. Image by Toyota.2013 Toyota future tech. Image by Toyota.      - Toyota road tests
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