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Frankfurt show: Toyota hatches mighty mouse

R for race: Toyota’s Yaris Hybrid-R is a one-off show car, but some of its technology might show up elsewhere in Toyota’s range.

Yaris Hybrid-R puts electrifying power into Toyota’s everyday shopping cart


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4 Sep 2013

TOYOTA has dipped into its Le Mans hybrid race technology to transform its Yaris light hatchback into a 313kW supercar to showcase future petrol-electric production technologies.

To be shown at next week’s Frankfurt motor show, the one-off Yaris Hybrid-R employs three electric motors and a race-bred 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder engine in an all-wheel drive format promising startling performance in a tiny package with almost four times the power of a conventional 80kW 1.5-litre Yaris.

The super-hot hatch, which was recently teased ahead of its Frankfurt debut, is unlikely to go into production, with Toyota Australia manager public relations Mike Breen telling GoAuto: “It is definitely show only.”

Instead of batteries to store electricity like a conventional hybrid such as the Prius, the Hybrid-R boasts super capacitor power storage, as developed for the Toyota Motorsport TS030 hybrid race car at Le Mans.

Toyota says the fast charge-discharge performance of the super capacitor is perfect for track driving, delivering short bursts of power.

The direct-injected turbocharged petrol engine is Toyota’s Global Race Engine, developed for the World Rally Championship and World Touring Car Championship.

Producing “more than 224kW” of power and 420Nm of torque, the engine is linked with a 45kW electric motor and six-speed sequential transmission driving the front wheels.

Two more electric motors – each generating 45kW – power the rear wheels in a system described by Toyota as “intelligent electric four-wheel drive”.

Combined, the three electric motors can supply a 90kW burst of power for acceleration up to five seconds. The electric power delivery continues for an extra five seconds before the super capacitor is depleted.

When the engine power exceeds the ability of the front wheels to grip the road, the front electric motor can convert the excess energy into electricity for storage in the super capacitor for later use.

As well, the electric motors capture energy under braking, but the super capacitor cannot be charged from a power point like the lithium-ion batteries in Holden’s Volt.

The Yaris Hybrid-R’s electric motors can vary the amount of torque delivered to each rear wheel, providing what Toyota says is the electric equivalent of a torque vectoring differential.

The driver can select from two driving modes – track or road – with the former supplying a full burst of electric boost for enhanced acceleration.

However, Toyota has not revealed performance figures such as a 0-100km/h sprint time or top speed, not has it revealed fuel consumption performance.

In road mode, the electric motivation can supply all-electric driving for a short distance, such as when parking.

In keeping with its wild performance potential, the Yaris has been pimped with a suitably sporty body kit including a race-style front fascia with a wider grille and two large air scoops, flared fenders, 18-inch alloy wheels, roof-mounted spoiler and large rear diffuser.

Front brakes employ six-pot callipers, while inside, the Hybrid-R boasts Recaro sports seats and alloy pedals from the Toyota 86 sports coupe.

The gear stick for the race-style sequential gear shift is located high near the steering wheel so the driver needs to move the gear-change hand only a short distance from the steering wheel to swap cogs.

This hottest Yaris also offers Toyota’s newly developed CAN-Gateway ECU system that not only allows drivers to record track data from real laps and compare it with virtual laps done on the latest GranTourismo game but also transfer data from the game to the car to potentially anticipate the driving conditions of each track.

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