Determined to hold on to its position as the world’s bestselling brand, Toyota Motor Corporation has, at the ongoing Paris Motor Show, revealed some of the forthcoming attractions it is preparing to thrill the world of Motoring with.
THE ALL-NEW TOYOTA C-HR
The all-new C-HR (Coupe High-Rider) designed to stand out both within the Toyota line-up and in the crossover market, represents Akio Toyoda’s determination to allow greater stylistic freedom and promote creative engineering to deliver eye-catching designs and more driving pleasure.
It remains remarkably true to the general features seen on Toyota’s concept cars that attracted much public attention at the Paris motor show in 2014 and at the Frankfurt show the following year. Its coupe-like lines are testimony to its designers’ resolve to create a stand-out style for Toyota and establish a new direction among mid-sized crossovers.
Toyota is targeting a clear and singular customer profile, people who are predominantly driven by emotional considerations, who want individuality and seek to be the first to try new experiences and products. Style and quality are essential qualities in any purchase they make and their car serves as an extension of their personality.
Inspired by what he learned in meeting with this type of customer, C-HR Chief Engineer Hiroyuki Koba focused firmly on their requirements throughout the development process, setting high benchmarks for design and perceived quality.
The Toyota C-HR’s unique character demonstrates the flexibility that the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) gives to developers in the key areas of design, powertrain and dynamics, enabling them to deliver a new, fresh take in what has become an increasingly commoditised crossover segment.
A new design direction for the crossover segment
The Toyota C-HR’s distinctive styling brings a new dynamism and sensual quality to the crossover market in its combination of a coupe-like upper body and the powerful underpinnings of an SUV.
The model was developed under the concept “Sensual Speed Cross” and features a diamond-shape architectural theme. Prominent, projecting wheel arches at each corner emphasise the vehicle’s strength and rigidity and the modulated structure combines a powerful lower body and raised ground clearance with the slim, sleek cabin profile of a coupe.
Viewed from any angle, the combination of faceted, gemstone-like shapes with fluid surfaces and elegantly integrated detailing creates a delicate balance of precision and sensuality.
The front represents a further development of Toyota’s contemporary design language, with a slender upper grille flowing from the Toyota emblem into the sleek extremities of the headlamp units, then wrapping fully around the front corners.
The prominent rear light clusters stand proud of the tapering bodywork – on some versions using LEDs and lightguides to create an expressive illumination signature.
In a new departure for Toyota, C-HR’s interior follows a “Sensual Tech” design concept, combining high-tech functionality with a sensual, fashionable style. The cabin is airy and spacious, with a focused area around the driver.
The warm and welcoming feel has been supported by layered architecture for the instrument panel, which extends into the door trim and features stylish details and a piano black panel. It creates a contrast between sensual surfacing and crisp lines to project a fresh yet comfortable feel.
Together with the asymmetric centre console, this brings all controls within easy reach of the driver, while keeping relevant switchgear accessible for the front seat passenger.
Toyota has targeted class-leading sensory quality, aware of the fact that C-HR customers will also be considering premium brand models. To support this, it brought its European Sensory Quality team into the vehicle’s design process at the earliest stage yet.
Working closely with the designers, the SQ team has focused on component quality and consistency of grain, texture, shape, colour and illumination in every element, even down to the radii of the stitching grooves in the seats.
C-HR’s engine range is designed to deliver exactly the kind of fluent, engaging driving behaviour its target customers are looking for. Globally the C-HR will be offered with both petrol and hybrid powertrains.
South African destined models will only be offered with a 1.2-litre turbo petrol engine. It develops 85kW and 185Nm, with CO2 emissions from 125g/km and excellent combined cycle fuel economy. It will be available with a six-speed manual gearbox or CVT automatic, and front or all-wheel drive (depending on market requirements).
The TNGA platform, with its low centre of gravity and multi-link rear suspension, has proved an ideal starting point from which to ensure that all the chassis features could be designed to respond immediately and naturally to the driver’s actions. Koba-san has been engaged in each dynamic assessment and decision, ensuing that his vision of “response, linearity and consistency” is fully realised.
In particular, the steering has been designed to be perfectly linear, which, together with the optimum limitation of rolling motion, gives C-HR remarkable driving precision for a crossover. Limiting body movement, which affects tall cars in particular, also has a direct influence on comfort. Even on secondary roads, the car remains remarkably composed and accurate, contributing to a confident and enjoyable drive.
PLUG-IN POWER FOR PRIUS
The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid combines all the attributes of the fourth-generation Toyota Prius with a class-leading all-electric driving range and a series of highly innovative technologies.
Toyota was the first car manufacturer to offer the world Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) technology. With the launch of the second generation Prius Plug-in Hybrid, it is taking a further step towards its goal of reducing its whole-fleet CO2emissions by 90 per cent* by 2050, a target that will also be supported by hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicle technologies.
Toyota’s new PHV is a powerful response to customer feedback on the original Prius Plug-in. It is not just an evolution of the latest generation Prius; it is a significant vehicle in its own right.
It features sophisticated technology breakthroughs, including a Dual Motor EV drive, a battery warning system and – in two world-firsts – an EV range-extending solar roof and gas injection heat pump automatic air conditioning.
The new Prius Plug-in Hybrid has an EV driving range of more than 48 kilometres – double the distance achieved by its predecessor – and represents a major advance in efficiency, driving performance, innovation and styling.
The latest generation of Toyota’s PHV technology is at the heart of the new Prius Plug-in Hybrid. Effectively it offers customers two cars in one: a more sophisticated full hybrid powertrain and an EV all-electric driving capability that has twice the range of the previous Prius Plug-in.
The significant increase in EV driving range is based on technological improvements in three key areas: battery development; maximised EV driving performance; and increased battery recharging speed.
In a world-first, the automatic air conditioning is powered by a gas injection heat pump, capable of heating the cabin without having to start the engine, even when external temperatures drop as low as -10°C. This minimises the impact heating the car’s interior has on the EV driving range.
The heat pump is far more efficient than engine heating or high-power electric water heaters, being able to warm the cabin efficiently using heat absorbed from the outside air. The gas injection mechanism mounted on the pump gives the system its ability to operate even when outside temperatures are low.
Striking, stand-alone styling
The new Prius Plug-in shares the same Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform as the latest Prius, but its striking, highly aerodynamic design builds on the Prius’ profile with new styling elements that evoke the advanced technology that is present beneath the skin.
In a powerful evocation of Toyota’s contemporary design themes, the front of the car is instantly distinguishable from the standard Prius because of its prominent acrylic grille treatment and thin, ultra-compact four-LED (adaptive) headlamp units.
A comprehensive aerodynamics package plays a central role in reducing fuel consumption, and helps attain a 0.25 drag coefficient.
The car builds on the efficient aerodynamic styling of Prius, adopting a lower height roof and rear spoiler, a larger area of underbody covers, front and rear bumper corners profiled to rectify airflow, the “double-bubble” rear screen and aero stabilising fins built into the rear combination lamps.
In addition, Prius Plug-in features a shutter in the front grille which automatically opens and closes when necessary to optimise the flow of cooling air into the engine compartment, reducing air resistance. When the engine is cold, the shutter remains closed to suppress airflow and reduce engine warm-up time, contributing to lower fuel consumption.
Advanced technology for greater efficiency
Every aspect of the advanced technology deployed in the new Prius Plug-in has been designed to improve the efficiency of the PHV powertrain and to promote and an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
This includes the successful development of the solar roof technology first seen on the Auris HSD concept in 2010. Prius Plug-in’s roof can incorporate a large solar panel which generates electricity to the charge the hybrid system battery.
When the vehicle is parked, but not connected to a charging socket, the solar roof charges a solar battery, which when fully charged, delivers a pumping charge to the main hybrid battery.
Solar charging can increase the car’s EV driving range up to maximum of around three miles every day – the equivalent of 620 miles of all-electric driving in a year.
*Prius Plug-in is still under study for local introduction
TOYOTA FCV PLUS
Fuel cell vehicles may offer the prospect of eco-friendly transport, but even if they become commonplace in the future, they will not be the only energy users. Toyota aims to add a new sense of purpose to the automobile by turning fuel cell vehicles from “energy users” into “energy makers”.
The Toyota FCV Plus, making its European debut at the Paris motor show, is a fuel cell vehicle that has made this transition and is capable of contributing to society by serving as part of the electric power-generating infrastructure.
A car with three different roles
Using the FCV Plus to convert clean hydrogen into electricity can help protect the environment and serve as an important means of addressing energy security issues.
As well as using the hydrogen fuel contained in its on-board tank, the Toyota FCV Plus can also generate electricity from hydrogen stored outside the vehicle. The car can thus be transformed into a stable source of electric power for use at home or away.
When parked, the Toyota FCV Plus can provide electricity stored on board to other vehicles and to local power grids, acting as part of the local infrastructure.
The car’s fuel cell stack can be removed and re-used as an energy generator, going beyond the traditional functions of a vehicle. Put to different uses around the world, these stacks could make a significant contribution to local communities.
A compact city commuter
Miniaturising the Toyota FCV Plus’s fuel cell stack and other components in its fuel cell system has helped make it a light and compact vehicle that’s ideal for city use.
Fuel efficiency is enhanced by advanced aerodynamics that extend to the underside of the vehicle as well. Built-in wireless battery charging panels on the rear wheels and under the front floor allow for intelligent external charging of other vehicles or infrastructure. Words and symbols can be displayed on the windscreen and rear window to help others recognise the vehicle’s operating status.
The drive components have been downsized and positioned out towards the vehicle’s four corners to achieve a layout that maximises interior space. The compact fuel cell stack is located between the front wheels and the hydrogen fuel tank is behind the rear seats. Together with the adoption of in-wheel motors in all four wheels, this allows for the Toyota FCV Plus to have the overall length of a compact car but with a cabin that is as long as that of a large saloon.
The concentration of functional parts at the front and rear means that this next generation fuel cell package creates an optimal weight balance and excellent all-round visibility.
The interior trim and seats use the same advanced 3D procession and other techniques that give the car its exceedingly light and highly rigid skeletal structure.