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Geneva show: Two new Toyota FT-Bh teasers

Light side: Toyota claims its FT-Bh concept is as spacious as a five-door Yaris but weighs around the same as a Smart ForTwo.

Toyota continues pre-Geneva drip-feed with more pictures of light-sized FT-Bh hybrid

Toyota logo23 Feb 2012

By HAITHAM RAZAGUI

TOYOTA has issued two teaser images of its FT-Bh lightweight hybrid concept that will be unveiled at Geneva on March 6, following the sketch it released early last week.

Despite weighing less than 800kg – similar to a Smart ForTwo – the FT-Bh (which stands for Future Toyota B-segment hybrid) is claimed to offer interior space matching that of a five-door light car such as the Yaris, but emit 50 per cent less CO2.

The company claims it has achieved a 30 per cent gain in aerodynamic performance for its concept, consistent with the low-slung coupe silhouette hinted by the initial sketch and the sleek, heavily stylised headlights in one of the teaser images.

A closely-cropped picture of the concept’s rear, with its wiggly neon tube-style tail-lights, reveals what appears to be a curvaceous take on the split-glazed rear window of the Prius hatch – an aerodynamic feature based on the Kamm tail that started appearing on race cars in the 1940s.

8 center imageLeft: Smart Forvision concept.

Toyota says the low weight, slippery aerodynamics and resultant efficiency of the FT-Bh were achieved without resorting to exotic materials or expensive production techniques.

In addition to improved affordability (or profitability), simplifying the production process also reduces the investment required to produce a car in factories around the world.

Part of the project’s aims was to use existing, economically viable production methods and work was done to optimise efficiency of the car’s downsized hybrid drivetrain – saving both petrol and electricity – and manage thermal energy.

The issue of thermal management was explored by city car specialist Smart with its Forvision concept that appeared at last year’s Frankfurt motor show, which reduced the amount of energy used to heat or cool the car’s interior.

Unlike the back-to-basics approach of the FT-Bh, Smart’s concept was a showcase for new technologies developed by chemical industry giant BASF and featured innovations in heat shielding, insulation and transparent solar cells that double as a sunroof.

As GoAuto has reported, the FT-Bh will be displayed at Geneva alongside recent high-tech Toyota concepts including the coupe-like NS4 sedan that previews the next Camry’s styling, the hydrogen fuel cell-powered FCV-R and the outlandish, futuristic Digi that replaces traditional interior and exterior surfaces with customisable digital displays.

The production 86 rear-drive sports coupe and Yaris hybrid will also be making their European debuts at the Swiss show.

Although the 86 is confirmed to arrive in Australia mid-year, the Yaris hybrid will not be imported. Instead, the Prius C hatch will be Toyota’s hybrid light car entry in this market from April.

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