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Toyota's environmental engines diversification strategy
From Optimal Drive and Hybrid Synergy Drive
To PHV, FCHV, FT-EV and field testing with EDF

Toyota Plug-in Hybrid technology: tests are conducted in Japan, the United States and Europe on a new Toyota PHV.

Toyota Plug-in Hybrid technology: tests are conducted in Japan, the United States and Europe on a new Toyota PHV.

APN

23 March 2009.

Like most other automakers, Toyota's environmental strategy is not restricted to one technology or another, but diversified, as no one can really anticipate long in advance which technology will be blessed by the necessary convergence of world politics, economics, stable access to energy resources and other determining factors to favour it over another technology.

Since diversification is the name of the game, Toyota is focusing first on the simultaneous development of the Optimal Drive and Hybrid Synergy Drive, in addition to other technologies.

Toyota's current and future plans are presented in the following sections, based on the carmaker's own terminology and definitions.

They cover the Optimal Drive and Hybrid Synergy Drive, the Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV), the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV), the Future Toyota Electric Vehicles (FT-EV) Concept and the new joint road-trials in France with Electricité de France (EDF), for testing Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs) with an advanced charging infrastructure.

 Toyota Optimal Drive

Introduced at the 2008 Paris Motor Show, the Toyota Optimal Drive approach concentrates on reducing petrol (gasoline) as well as diesel engines weight and mechanical losses while enhancing combustion efficiency to increase performance, fuel economy and lower emissions, by focusing on three main angles:

- Reduction of powertrain weight through the use of lightweight and compact engine components and transmissions. Toyota says that thanks to its lightweight resin cylinder head cover and intake manifold, the 1.33 litre petrol engine in the small Yaris weighs 13kg less than the 1.4 VVT-i engine it replaces.

Valvematic: optimisation of valve timing and lift across the widest possible engine revolution band.

Piston with valves: Valvematic controls valve timing (for opening and closing) and lift (how much the valve opens).

Valvematic includes variable valve lift control.

Valvematic: optimisation of valve timing and lift across the widest possible engine revolution band.

- Minimisation of mechanical losses through the reduction of friction. This aspect covers revised roller rocker technology with new camshaft profiles for friction reduction in the valve gear, enhanced bore circularity and lightweight, coated pistons reduce friction in combustion chambers, increased engine block rigidity, the use of a water jacket spacer as well as low-viscosity oil further reduce mechanical friction.

The adoption of Valvematic is a further development of VVT-i, (variable valve timing) with new roller rocker technology, smaller and lighter pistons, low viscosity oil and new six-speed manual and Multidrive transmissions.

- Maximisation of combustion efficiency is achieved with high compression ratios (11.5:1 in petrol / gasoline engines), refinement of intake port and combustion chamber design and the introduction of oil jet piston cooling. All Verso diesel engines benefit from an upgraded fuel injection system.

Newly developed Valvematic technology further improves performance through the optimisation of valve timing and lift across the widest possible engine revolution band. Toyota says its Valvematic can reduce CO2 emissions by up to a quarter, whilst generating 20% more power than VVT-i.

On the diesel side, Toyota’s D-4D common rail technology reduces intake mixture temperature, allowing for a higher compression ratio and the generation of increased torque. Every D-4D unit in the Toyota range has now been upgraded with advanced Piezo high-pressure injectors to further improve combustion efficiency. Performance and fuel efficiency are further enhanced through a range of advanced Multidrive and 6-speed manual transmissions.

Additionally, a newly refined Stop & Start system automatically switches off the engine of some models when the vehicle is stationary, reducing fuel consumption by up to 15% under urban driving conditions.

 Hybrid Synergy Drive

As the name suggests, Hybrid Synergy Drive technology represents Toyota's hybrid approach, and is due to become more widely available across the Toyota product range. It provides full series/parallel hybrid drive capability, allowing operation in either petrol or electric modes alone, or in a combination of both. It gives the energy-saving, zero emissions, quiet electric motor benefits of a series hybrid, combined with the enhanced performance benefits of a parallel hybrid.

New Toyota Prius: front view.

Prius, the world’s most widespread hybrid.

The new generation Prius features a revised Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which gives lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions with increased power. But beyond the Prius, Hybrid Synergy Drive will serve as a core technology applicable to all future Toyota models.

The Hybrid Synergy Drive platform is adaptable for the development of both a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) and a Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV).

Toyta Hybrid Synergy Drive in the Prius hybrid car.

Hybrid Synergy Drive technology provides full series/ parallel hybrid drive capability, allowing operation in either petrol or electric modes alone, or in a combination of both.

With the launch of the Prius in 1997 (2000 in Europe), Toyota introduced the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Since then, Toyota has sold more than 1.7 million hybrid vehicles globally (including 1.2 million Prius, the world’s most widespread hybrid), with more than 180,000 hybrid vehicles in Europe. European sales of the Prius stand at almost 130,000, with sales of more than 41,000 in 2008 alone.

Already manufacturing hybrid vehicles in China and the United States, Toyota intends to expand overseas production to include Thailand and Australia, with the global target of selling one million hybrid vehicles (all models) per year by the early 2010s..

 Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV)

Tests are currently being conducted in Japan, the United States and Europe on a new Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV).

This plug-in hybrid functions as an electric vehicle on short trips and as a conventional hybrid when travelling longer distances. As with Hybrid Synergy Drive vehicles, the PHV runs on both a petrol powered internal combustion engine and an electric motor.

Plug-in hybrid functions as an electric vehicle on short trips and as a conventional hybrid when travelling longer distances.

Plug-in hybrid functions as an electric vehicle on short trips and as a conventional hybrid when travelling longer distances.

What sets the plug-in apart from current hybrids is an increased battery capacity that enables a longer electric-only cruising range, and a battery charging function that allows users to fully recharge the batteries externally, using an ordinary household electrical supply, in less than two hours.

The Plug-in Hybrid’s enhanced EV mode offers significant driver benefits. Compared to the Prius, the PHV is able to run more often in petrol-free, electric only mode, thus reducing CO2 emissions even further. Targeting the fleet market in Japan, the United States and Europe, Toyota will introduce a Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle equipped with a lithium-ion battery by 2010.

 Toyota and Electricité de France (EDF)

Last Wednesday, Electricité de France (EDF) and Toyota announced a major step forward in their joint road-trials in France, involving Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHVs) with an innovative charging infrastructure.

About one hundred units of a next generation PHV equipped with lithium-ion batteries will be leased for three years to selected companies and partners in the Strasbourg (East of France) area, starting from the end of this year.

Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles testing in the UK.

Electromotive: Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles testing in the UK.

Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles: normal plug to recharge the battery anywhere.

A Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle uses hybrid technology but with a battery that can be recharged using a standard electrical plug. Toyota Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles testing started in France in the autumn of 2007 and were expanded to the UK last year.

The project has received financial support via the Research Fund managed by the French Environment and Energy Management Agency ADEME, following a call for projects on low-emitting vehicles.

This programme is part of a global Toyota project that will also be deployed in Japan and the USA from the end of 2009.

Toyota's objective is to investigate further the technology and performance of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles, while EDF's objective is to evaluate different operational options for the charging infrastructure. The joint goal is to broaden the general public's understanding and acceptance, in preparation for broad commercialisation in the future.

In the context of the EDF-Toyota partnership, European road trials of Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles started in France in the autumn of 2007 and were expanded to the UK last year.

The vehicles will use an innovative charging system which is able to ensure safe charging, communication between the plug and the vehicle, identification of the vehicle and invoicing of energy.

For this demonstration, EDF and its subsidiary Electricité de Strasbourg (ES) will participate in a technical and financial partnership with all stakeholders, which will set up several hundred charging points at users' homes, at the facilities of partners, in public parking lots and on public roads.

A Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle uses Toyota's hybrid technology but with a battery that can be recharged using a standard electrical plug. Toyota's PHV is practical for both short distances, as it can be driven as an electric vehicle, and for longer distances, where the PHV works as a conventional hybrid vehicle, providing the benefits of hybrid technology, including low fuel consumption and emissions, with efficient driving performance.

The EDF Group is the leading electricity producer in Europe. In France, it has mainly nuclear and hydraulic production facilities where 95% of the electricity output involves no CO2 emissions. The Group is involved in supplying energy and services to more than 38 million customers around the world, including more than 28 million in France.

 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV)

Fuel cells produce electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen (stored in the vehicle) and oxygen (from the air), while emitting only water.

A fuel cell structure comprises electrodes and polyelectrolyte films sandwiched between separators. When hundreds of cells are stacked together, the result is a fuel cell ‘stack’, known as an FC stack.

Toyota began work on FCHVs in 1992, developing its own hydrogen fuel cells and high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks. The company applies its own hybrid drive technology to FCHV development, replacing petrol engines with fuel cells.

FCHV-adv: single-fill-up range of some 830 km (515 miles).

FCHV-adv: single-fill-up range of some 830 km (515 miles).

The world’s first production fuel cell vehicle, the Toyota FCHV, was introduced to the market in 2002 and obtained type certification in 2005. It was fitted with a fuel cell stack in place of the petrol engine in the hybrid drive system.

Toyota’s next generation fuel cell hybrid, the FCHV-adv (featuring a newly designed, high-performance Toyota FC Stack fuel cell), received vehicle-type certification from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport on 3 June 2008.

FCHV-adv offers a 25% improvement in fuel efficiency and, through the use of Toyota-developed, 70Mpa high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks, has a single-fill-up cruising range (or autonomy) of approximately 830 km (515 miles), which is more than twice the cruising range of its predecessor, the Toyota FCHV.

Furthermore, the FCHV-adv can operate in –30 degrees Celsius, greatly improving its cold weather performance.

 Future Toyota Electric Vehicles (FT-EV) Concept

Through the development of its hybrid, RAV4-EV and e-com vehicles, Toyota has accumulated an important depth of knowledge and engineering capability in the field of eco-vehicles.

The new FT-EV concept is a fully electric vehicle based on the Toyota iQ’s highly compact, 4-passenger platform.

The new FT-EV concept is a fully electric vehicle based on the Toyota iQ’s highly compact, 4-passenger platform.

The world's largest car manufacturer (since overtaking General Motors to this position last year, with global sales of 8,972,000 units) expects demand for short distance commuter vehicles to increase in the coming years, and the new FT-EV concept is a fully electric vehicle based on the Toyota iQ’s highly compact, 4-passenger platform. Its electric motor generates 45 kW and 160 Nm at 2690rpm, with a top speed of 110km/h, a range of 80 km before recharging and a zero emission rating.

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