Advanced Vehicle Technology
Someday in the future, we imagine the perfect eco-car. It's what inspires our zero-emissions goal and our drive toward zero impact on the environment. And because of the variety of alternative fuel sources out there, we believe there will be more than one solution. Whether it's electricity, hydrogen or biofuels, we are investing today to advance the vehicles of tomorrow.
As part of our commitment to achieving sustainable mobility, we are accelerating development of Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEVs). In late 2009, we will begin global delivery of 500 Prius PHEVs for testing purposes, including 150 that will be placed with U.S. lease-fleet customers. These vehicles will be used for market and engineering analysis. Lease-fleet customers will monitor the performance and durability of the first-generation lithium-ion battery, while offering real world feedback on how future customers might respond to the plug-in process.
HYDROGEN FUEL CELL HYBRIDS
We believe that hydrogen holds great potential as a clean, renewable fuel. Our goal is to bring a Fuel Cell-Hybrid Vehicle (FCHV) to market by 2015. To get there, Toyota researchers are continuing to develop and test FCHVs powered by hydrogen fuel cells. In mid-2008, the U.S. Department of Energy, Savannah River National Laboratory and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory approached Toyota to participate in a collaborative evaluation of the real-world Toyota Highlander Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle - Advanced (FCHV-adv). The FCHV-adv achieved an estimated range of 431 miles on a single fill of compressed hydrogen gas, and an average fuel economy of 68.3 miles/kg (approximate mpg equivalent). While fuel cell technology has advanced significantly over the last few years, infrastructure must be in place for hydrogen powered fuel cell vehicles to become a reality for consumers.
We are also continuing development of Electric Vehicles (EVs) with plans to produce a small, urban commuter battery-electric vehicle in 2012. At the 2009 North American International Auto Show, we debuted the FT-EV concept vehicle. The FT-EV has an estimated range of 50 miles. Toyota sees electric vehicles playing an important role as city commuter vehicles, especially where car-sharing and municipal charging is readily available.
NATURAL GAS HYBRIDS
Compressed natural gas is one of many alternative fuel applications being explored in Toyota's broad sustainable mobility research and development strategy. As a transport fuel, natural gas is a clean and safe gasoline alternative. The CNG Camry Hybrid concept vehicle, displayed at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show, highlighted the versatility of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system and its ability to improve efficiency with a variety of fuel types.