29 August 2013

Toyota has been researching and developing environmentally-efficient mobility solutions for more than 40 years. As a result, it has established a significant lead in the design and production of full hybrid powertrain technology.

Good to know

  • 23 full hybrid vehicles on sale in 80 countries and regions worldwide – four times as many as any other manufacturer
  • Cumulative global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids have exceeded 5.5 million units, of which more than 10 per cent are European sales
  • During the first four months of 2013, European sales of Toyota hybrids increased by 245 per cent compared to the same period in 2012, increasing market share from 61 to 75 per cent
  • In the first quarter of 2013 European Toyota and Lexus hybrid sales increased by 82 per cent
  • Auris, Yaris, Prius (including Prius Plug-in) and Prius+ occupy the top four sales positions in the European hybrid vehicles market

Toyota has not just maintained its leadership, it has extended it: with 23 hybrids (16 Toyota and seven Lexus) already on sale in 80 countries and regions throughout the world, Toyota offers customers a choice of four times as many hybrid vehicles as any other manufacturer.

Delivering excellent fuel and emissions efficiency without sacrificing cabin space, ease of driving or comfort, hybrids are now widely accepted by consumers as mainstream vehicles. This means they play an important role in the commercialisation of eco-cars.

The global sales of Toyota and Lexus hybrids reflect this development of public opinion: since the launch of the first Prius in Japan in 1997, cumulative sales have passed the five million mark, reaching 5.5 million units at the end of July 2013.

In Europe, driven by the success of Yaris Hybrid and Auris Hybrid, about 600,000 Toyota and Lexus hybrids have been sold since Prius was introduced here in 2000, accounting for more than 10 per cent of total global hybrid sales.

It took seven years for the first 100,000 European hybrids to be sold, but 2010 marked a tipping point, since when sales from all brands have accelerated sharply. During the last year alone, figures rose by around 96 per cent.

During the same 2012-2013 period, sales of Toyota hybrids in Europe rose by a remarkable 245 per cent, while in the 2012 calendar year Toyota and Lexus sold more than 110,000 hybrid vehicles in Europe, increasing the company’s European hybrid market share from 61 to 75 per cent.

Even though customers can now choose more hybrid models from other manufacturers, Toyota continues to strengthen its position. In the first quarter of this year its European Toyota and Lexus hybrid sales rose by about 82 per cent, equal to 21 per cent of the group’s total sales in the region.

The current European model line-up includes six Toyota and six Lexus full hybrid vehicles, with the Auris, Yaris, Prius (including Prius Plug-in) and Prius+ occupying the top four sales positions in the HV market, and Prius Plug-in outselling its nearest competitor by a factor of two to one.


Toyota will spearhead a new era in hybrid technology with its next generation Prius, promising further gains in fuel economy and reduced emissions. As part of its focus on its hybrid leadership and achievements at the Frankfurt motor show, Toyota has provided a sneak preview of the technical advances that will underpin future Toyota and Lexus hybrid models.

Emphasising Toyota’s continued commitment to auto industry leadership in hybrid, the next generation Prius will be the first in a broad range of Toyota and Lexus vehicles that will make use of a substantially improved family of hybrid powertrains.

These new powertrains will deliver significant improvements in fuel economy from a more compact package that is lighter in weight and lower in cost.

Their performance will reflect the significant advances Toyota is making in battery, electric motor and petrol engine development in its wider strategy to deliver electric vehicle power through hybrid, battery electric and fuel cell technologies.

In each of its three generations, Prius has delivered an average reduction of 10 per cent in its CO2 emissions. Toyota’s challenge is to continue to improve at this rate.

The next Prius will feature improved batteries with higher energy density, which means greater energy storage capacity within a smaller unit. Toyota, already a leader in advanced battery technology, has stepped up its research, development and production capacity for both nickel metal-hydride and lithium-ion, and will use each technology where appropriate in it expanding focus on vehicle electrification. It has also ramped up development of new battery technologies such as solid state and lithium-air, and devoted resources to chemistries beyond lithium, such as magnesium and other low-valence materials.

The next Prius will use smaller electric motors, but with a higher power density. The motors in the current model have four times the power density of those used by the original Prius back in 1999, and the improvement will be higher still in the next generation car.

The thermal efficiency of the petrol engine will improve, too, from 38.5 per cent currently to a world-best of more than 40 per cent.

The next Prius will be constructed according to the Toyota New Global Architecture, bringing a lower centre of gravity and greater structural rigidity, contributing to greatly improved driving dynamics.

A focus on raising aerodynamic performance will deliver an all-new exterior styling, with a larger interior and refinements in design, layout and ease of use.

The next generation Prius Plug-in is being developed in parallel with the standard Prius model. Toyota has learned from current Prius Plug-in customers that they would like a greater all-electric driving range and a more convenient charging solution. In response, Toyota is working on a new wireless/inductive charging system that produces resonance between an on-floor coil and an on-board coil to transmit power to the battery – simply put, this provides charging without the fuss of connecting a cable. Verification work on this system will be carried out in Japan, the USA and Europe during 2014.


Good to Know

  • More than three million Prius sold worldwide – the world’s most successful hybrid
  • First generation – 120,000 units sold, second generation – 1.2 million, third generation – more than 1.7 million to date
  • In three generations, powertrain cost reduced by two-thirds, output up by 30 per cent, fuel consumption down by 25 per cent, CO2 emissions down to 89g/km
  • 1,261 patents applied for relating to the third generation Prius

Prius, the world’s first mass-produced full hybrid passenger vehicle is by far and away the most successful hybrid vehicle in production, having already accounted for more than three million of Toyota Motor Corporation’s 5.5 million global HV sales (up to the end of July 2103).

Initial sales aspirations for Prius were modest, with plans to sell 300 vehicles a month. But such was the interest shown by customers in both Japan and the rest of the world even before the new car reached showrooms, that figure was quickly increased, first to 1,000, then 2,000 units a month.

The first generation model was launched in Japan in 1997, reaching Europe and the USA slightly later. Just 120,000 were sold worldwide, but market acceptance grew rapidly, leading to the second generation model (introduced in 2003) amassing 1.2 million units. The current, third generation Prius, now in the middle years of its life cycle, has already sold more than 1,680,000 units.

This brings the total number of Prius sold in 60 countries and regions around the world during the last 16 years to more than three million.

Over the course of these three generations, Toyota has reduced the cost of the Prius’s full hybrid powertrain by two-thirds, increased its power output by around 30 per cent, lowered its fuel consumption by 25 per cent, and reduced its CO2 emissions from 114g/km to just 89 g/km (EU combined driving cycle).

In addition, reflecting progress worthy of the vehicle’s name (derived from a Latin word meaning ‘to go before’), Toyota has so far applied for no fewer than 1,261 patents relating to the third generation Prius.


Good to know

  • Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) is the ideal technology with which to address the energy reserve and environmental issues of the immediate future
  • 5.5 million TMC hybrid sales have saved 13 billion litres of fuel and 37 million tonnes of CO2 emissions compared to equivalent, conventionally powered vehicles
  • Toyota has the lowest fleet-wide emissions in Europe, which at 104g/km exceeds its 2015 target four years ahead of schedule

With further developments in synthetic and biofuels, diverse energy sources and battery technology paving the way for several types of eco-car to coexist in the future, Toyota believes it is important to follow more than one path towards sustainable mobility.

However, while fossil fuels remain the leading source for automotive energy, Toyota is convinced that its Hybrid Synergy Drive® powertrain is the most appropriate technology with which to address the energy reserve and environmental issues of the immediate future.

The multi-award-winning Hybrid Synergy Drive is a full (series/parallel) hybrid capable of operating in both petrol and electric modes, as well as a combination of both. It combines the fuel efficient, low emissions benefits of a series hybrid with the acceleration performance that distinguishes a parallel hybrid, while at the same time avoiding any of their respective disadvantages.

Unlike a series hybrid system, in which an electric motor alone drives the wheels using electricity generated by engine power, HSD can use both the electric motor and the engine as a driving force. Moreover, unlike a parallel hybrid system, in which the power of both motor and engine drives the wheels, HSD can generate electricity during electric motor operation.

Toyota estimates that its hybrid vehicles have so far saved approximately 13 billion litres of fuel compared to the amount used by petrol engine-powered vehicles of a similar size and power.

Every Hybrid Synergy Drive-powered Toyota also generates ultra-low CO2 emissions. Toyota Motor Europe (TME) offers the highest percentage of products generating less than 100g/km of CO2, with eight models, including six that produce less than 95g/km.

Figures published in 2012 by the European Commission and European Environment Agency show that fleet-wide emissions for TME stood at 103.6 g/km, the lowest in the European auto industry. This figure marks a decrease of 5.5g/km on 2011’s performance and is 24g/km ahead of the 2012 European Commission targets for Toyota.

Rankings from the 2012 report are based on the 65 per cent lowest emission vehicles from each manufacturer. Calculations based on 100 per cent of each manufacturer’s vehicle range will come into effect in 2015. TME has already exceeded its 2015 target, three years ahead of time.

In Germany, the Toyota and Lexus hybrid fleet has already achieved the 95g/km European Union 2020 CO2 emissions target for passenger cars. A recent study published by Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt-KBA) records fleet-wide CO2 emissions for TMC hybrid vehicles at an average of just 91.1g/km.

To date, Toyota’s global sales total of 5.5 million hybrid vehicles has resulted in approximately 37 million fewer tonnes of CO2 emissions than would have been generated by petrol engine vehicles of similar size and driving performance.


Good to know

  • At 16 years old, hybrid technology is still young
  • TMC will introduce 15 new or updated hybrids by the end of 2015
  • Modular HSD system readily adaptable for use in Plug-in Hybrid Vehicles (PHV), Electric vehicles (EV) and Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHV)
  • Increases in performance and functionality, reduced system size and lower costs will boost hybrid sales in the near future

Toyota began a three-year product launch cycle in 2012 which will see the introduction of 23 new or updated hybrid models by the end of 2015, including a Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV). Fifteen of these introductions are still to come.

Despite the significant improvements in both the performance and efficiency of Hybrid Synergy Drive achieved over the course of three Prius generations, Toyota recognises that its hybrid technology is still young – just 16 years old – and anticipates considerable further system development and evolution.

Toyota has positioned its hybrid powertrain as the core technology for the development of various types of environmentally efficient vehicles. The system was specifically designed to be modular, so it is readily adaptable for use in Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), Electric vehicles (EVs) and Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicles (FCHVs). To that end, the company has placed an emphasis on the development and production of key components such as motors, inverters, batteries and electronic control units

Today, hybrids are already widely accepted as mainstream vehicles because they offer significant improvements in fuel economy and reduced emissions without requiring owners to modify their driving technique or change the way they use their vehicles.

Toyota anticipates that further increases in performance and functionality allied to reduced system size and lower costs will make hybrid vehicles increasingly easy to launch and sell in the near future.


Good to know

  • TMC full hybrid powertrain offers smooth, sophisticated, relaxed and stress-free driving experience
  • Switchable EV mode generates zero CO2, NOx and PM emissions
  • Real world Toyota HSD system tests reveal that up to 60 per cent of commuting journeys can be made with the petrol engine switched off

Every Toyota hybrid offers owners a smooth and sophisticated, relaxed and stress-free driving experience thanks to the everyday usability, driving comfort and remarkable quietness of Toyota’s multiple award-winning powertrain.

Full hybrid technology equips the vehicle with instant power, impressive, seamless acceleration and the quiet operation of all-electric drive, combined with leading levels of fuel efficiency and emissions.

The full hybrid drive system’s seamless, E-CVT (electric continuously variable transmission) gives drivers a fully automatic driving experience.

Powered by the hybrid system battery, the electric motor works in tandem with the petrol engine to boost acceleration during normal driving. In addition, the electric motor can power the driven wheels when the vehicle is operating in EV mode, generating zero CO2, NOx and PM tailpipe emissions.

In normal mode, the full hybrid system can operate on electric motor power alone at vehicle speeds up to 43mph/70km/h (Prius+ for example), the petrol engine smoothly starting in higher speed ranges when its output is required.

The powertrain is specifically designed to eliminate the need for the petrol engine as often as possible during city driving. Real world tests of Toyota’s HSD system reveal that up to 60 per cent of any commuting journey is undertaken with the petrol engine off.

This not only results in zero emissions driving, but also offers drivers the quietness of electric motor propulsion. Moreover, the electric motor’s ability to deliver maximum torque from zero rpm provides significant benefits during urban driving.

The eco-driving experience of every TMC full hybrid is further enhanced with a choice of alternative, switchable, ‘on-demand’ drive modes which can be selected to further increase driving efficiency, performance and fuel economy.

These drive modes also incorporate comprehensive eco-driving support for those who want to develop even more environmentally efficient driving techniques.


Good to know

  • Full hybrid technology combines low maintenance, insurance and running costs with high reliability and residual values
  • UK study reveals 20 per cent savings on daily, monthly and annual running costs compared to diesel engine competitors
  • Designed for low maintenance and outstanding durability, full hybrid drive offers up to 25 per cent reductions in service, maintenance and repair costs
  • Highly competitive insurance rates, and 15 per cent better residual values than both petrol and diesel rivals

TMC’s full hybrid technology offers customers an unparalleled combination of low maintenance, insurance and running costs with high reliability and residual values, representing outstanding value for money.

According to a recent UK study focusing on the new Toyota Auris Hybrid Touring Sports, customers can save some 20 per cent in their daily, monthly and annual running costs compared to those of diesel engine competitors.

Extremely low combined cycle fuel economy promoted fuel savings of around 18 per cent in the same study. Best in class CO2 emissions bring significant, pan-European tax incentives and exceptionally low running costs which are likely to be subject to further reductions with hybrid exemption from future congestion charging plans in major European cities.

TMC’s full hybrid powertrains have been specifically designed for low maintenance and outstanding durability. They have no need of a conventional starter motor or alternator. Engines are equipped with a maintenance-free timing chain and no drive belts whatsoever.

Due to the efficiency of the Electronically Controlled Braking-Regeneration (ECB-R) system, brake pads can have a life expectancy of more than 60,000 miles.

Standard size tyres not only cost less, but the weight distribution of TMC hybrid vehicles significantly reduces wear, with typical durability exceeding 30,000 miles.

With a proven reliability record garnered over more than 35 billion miles of driving worldwide, the high quality hybrid battery is designed to last the car’s lifetime. Rigorously assessed for performance and durability, it is covered by a five-year, 100,000-mile warranty.

Exhaust system life expectancy is more than five years thanks to its high stainless steel content, and the LED headlamp bulbs have a 20-year lifespan.

Combining exceptional component longevity with lower parts pricing and reduced labour costs resulting from shorter service times, every TMC full hybrid benefits from significant reductions in service, maintenance and repair costs; the UK’s Auris Hybrid Touring Sports study citing a saving of 25 per cent.

With proven Toyota quality and Hybrid Synergy Drive reliability exemplified through both the Prius’s consistently high ‘Lowest Problems’ JD Power ranking and its remarkably low warranty costs, TMC hybrids not only achieve highly competitive insurance rates, but also consistently better the residual values of both petrol and diesel rivals; by 15 per centin the case of the Auris Hybrid Touring Sports.


Good to know

  • Three-year Plug-in Hybrid trials involving 33 partners, 70 plug-in hybrids, 112 charging stations and 145 charging points
  • Prius Plug-in Hybrids travelled more than four million kilometres, with an average recorded annual mileage of more than 19,000 kilometres
  • Recharging mainly at work (60 per cent) and at home (37 per cent), average recharge cost of only €0.30, including taxes
  • For a 75-minute average recharge, drivers spent one-third of their time in all-electric EV mode, with a 46 per cent reduction in fuel consumption
  • Maximum savings achieved: 69 per cent fuel consumption, 61 per cent CO2 emissions and €1,400 per annum running costs

The start of Prius Plug-in Hybrid global sales in 2012 followed an extensive Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) leasing project around the world during the past five years.

The European Prius Plug-in Hybrid limited lease project started in Strasbourg, France, at the end of April 2010 with a full-scale, three-year demonstration in sustainable mobility involving 33 partners, 70 plug-in hybrids, 112 charging stations and 145 charging points.

Vehicles, as well as recharging and driving profiles, were rigorously monitored. Toyota equipped all plug-in hybrids with monitoring devices, and one-third of them with data loggers accurately measuring vehicle performance and driving profile.

French energy provider EDF and Toyota carried out driver surveys. EDF and its subsidiary, SODETREL, monitored the charging stations, as well as checking and maintaining both the public and private stations.

With the conclusion of the three-year trial period in April 2013, the vehicles had collectively travelled more than four million kilometres, with an average recorded annual mileage of more than 19,000 kilometres.

Recharging their vehicles an average of 1.1 times per day for an average 75 minutes, drivers spent one-third of their time driving in all-electric EV mode, and realised a 46 per cent reduction in fuel consumption over that of conventional vehicles.

Recharging quickly became a reflex action, mainly at work (60 per cent) and at home (37 per cent). Devices incorporated in the rechargers automatically delayed recharging until late at night, to take advantage of lower-cost energy tariffs.

EDF developed a dedicated website to display energy consumption costs, confirming the average recharge cost was only €0.30, including taxes. Drivers recharged more regularly and with increased ease once they knew the cost involved.

The study revealed that those plug-in hybrids that were recharged most frequently spent more time in all-electric drive mode and consumed less fuel. Compared to an equivalent petrol-powered vehicle, the reduction in fuel consumption of a plug-in hybrid recorded during the demonstration was: –

  • about 69 per cent for drivers who recharged 1.6 times a day and drove in EV mode for 60 per cent of the time
  • about 52 per cent for drivers who recharged once a day and drove in EV mode for 23 per cent of the time
  • about 33 per cent for drivers who rarely recharged (once every five days) and practically always drove in hybrid mode

The per-kilometre running cost of a plug-in hybrid decreased the more regularly it was recharged. Compared with a petrol engine vehicle of similar performance covering about 20,000km a year, the demonstration showed that: –

  • drivers who recharged 1.6 times a day saved up to €1,400 a year
  • drivers who recharged once a day saved up to €1,200 a year
  • drivers who recharged once every five days benefited from savings of up to €800 Euros a year

Of course, the more the plug-in hybrid was driven in EV mode, the greater the measured reduction in CO2 emissions. Compared to petrol engine vehicle of similar size, the plug-in hybrids achieved CO2 reductions of:

  • 61 per cent for drivers recharging 1.6 times per day
  • 49 per cent for drivers recharging once a day
  • and 32 per cent for those who drove almost entirely in hybrid mode

The CO2 emissions of a plug-in hybrid are some 20 to 54 per cent lower than those of a diesel vehicle of similar performance.

Through the exhaustive data and extensive user feedback collected from the drivers in Strasbourg, Toyota was able to develop the production Prius Plug-in, with an increased EV range of 25km.

This choice not only provides the best compromise between mileage, performance, footprint and weight in relation to the price of the car, but it also covers the daily transport needs of 80 per cent of Europeans.

By February 2013, the 2012 Prius Plug-in production model had sold more than 36,000 units worldwide; 1.5 times the annual sales of the first Prius in 2000.

Toyota continues to develop the plug-in hybrid in order to make it more accessible to the public at large, at an affordable price and with an even easier recharging procedure.


Good to know

  • First Toyota hydrogen fuel cell production car to be launched in 2015
  • 4-door sedan with no packaging compromises and a range of more than 500 km
  • Featuring the latest generation Toyota fuel cell stack with the world’s highest power density of 3.0 kW per litre

Toyota believes the Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle offers the best solution to the challenges of energy sources and emissions, with hydrogen as an ideal, ultra-clean fuel. It has already overcome some of the historic barriers to developing a marketable fuel cell vehicle and is closing in on its goal of achieving a driving range and performance comparable to conventional petrol and diesel engines, but with no harmful tailpipe emissions.

Toyota applied its successful Hybrid Synergy Drive technology – the power system used by Prius and its other full hybrid production models – in its FCHV development, replacing the petrol engine with a fuel cell and the conventional fuel tank with high-pressure hydrogen tanks. The FCHV uses the same electrical components as a full hybrid powertrain, as well as a 21kW battery to store energy recovered by its regenerative braking system.

Having first unveiled its FCV-R concept at the 2011 Tokyo motor show, Toyota has continued to make progress towards its planned introduction of an affordable FCHV saloon model in Japan, the USA and Europe by 2015. Development of the production model has seen a focus on significant cost reduction, durability, reliability and improvements in well-to-wheel CO2 emissions.

The FCV-R concept is 4,745mm long – 35mm longer than an Avensis saloon – 1,510mm high and 1,790mm wide. Tested by Toyota (in line with official Japanese JC08 criteria) it has achieved a maximum driving range of about 420 miles, producing no CO2, NOx or particulate matter emissions. The only by-product of the hydrogen fuel cell when driving is water vapour.

Creating a car that’s a practical proposition for today’s motorists has required particular attention to the design of the fuel cell and the hydrogen fuel tank. Toyota has succeeded in downsizing the fuel cell stack by achieving the highest fuel cell power density yet – 3.0kW per litre. A marked increase in the fuel cell stack’s energy efficiency has allowed for the size of the vehicle’s fuel tank to be reduced, so that the latest design features two tanks rather than the four originally envisaged. This also allows different materials to be used, which has a positive impact on overall costs.

The twin fuel tanks and the fuel cell stack are located beneath the vehicle floor, which means there is no impact on the cabin and load space.

Toyota expects FCHVs to reach full mass-market commercialisation during the 2020s, by when it aims to be selling tens of thousands of vehicles annually. This market growth will be supported by the wider roll-out of fuel cell vehicle technology; the development of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure that will bring filling stations within easy reach of greater numbers of people; and cost reductions that go hand-in-hand with a maturing technology.

Technical evolution

Good to know

  • The world’s highest fuel cell stack power-output density of 3.0 kW per litre
  • Approximately half the weight and size of fuel cell stack currently used in the FCHV-adv  
  • Cold starts now possible at -30°C

Toyota’s fuel cell stack technology has consistently enjoyed performance leadership, the company having launched its R&D programme in 1992. Since then it has secured significant improvements in every aspect of FCHV operation.

As mentioned above, the fuel cell to be used in Toyota’s production FCHV currently achieves the world’s highest power output density at 3kW per litre. Compared to the fuel stack Toyota deployed in its 2008 FCHV-adv model, the new unit has twice the power density while being half the weight and half the size.

The progress made in energy efficiency is also revealed in the vehicle’s range, which, according to Toyota test data (in line with the official Japanese 10-15 test cycle), has improved from about 205 miles to more than 350 miles. At the same time, the fuel cell has a greater operating range, with the use of new materials in its construction making cold start possible at temperatures as low as -30°C.

Cost issues have also been tackled, with the current fuel cell system, including the stack and high-pressure hydrogen tank, one-tenth the cost of that used in the FCHV-adv. Toyota aims ultimately to reduce this by a further 50 per cent. Currently a vehicle price tag of less than £70,000 is thought attainable, but Toyota is working to reduce costs even further before bringing its first model to market.

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