Toyota FT-CH concept. Click image to enlarge
Toyota FT-CH concept
Detroit, Michigan – Toyota unveiled a small hybrid concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit today. Styled at Toyota’s European Design and Development centre in Nice, France, the FT-CH (Compact Hybrid) is 585 mm (22 in.) shorter than a Prius but less than 25 mm (1 in.) narrower. Small and manoeuvrable, the small hybrid car is designed primarily for city use. But in spite of its compact external dimensions, the FT-CH “was designed for maximum passenger comfort and interior roominess, with an imaginative sense of style,” says the company.
Lighter in weight and even more fuel efficient than Prius, the FT-CH concept would be priced lower than the Prius, thus appealing to younger, less-affluent buyers.
Toyota says they are developing a Prius family “marketing strategy” for North America that will require additional models to qualify as a family; among others, the FT-CH is a concept that is under consideration.
The FT-CH would address Toyota’s stated strategy to offer a wider variety of conventional hybrid choices to its customers, as it begins to introduce plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (BEVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) in 2015 in global markets.
“In the next decade or two, we will find ourselves in a position in which the supply of all liquid fuels will no longer meet the demand,” said Yoichi Tomihara, President of Toyota Canada Inc. “We must re-imagine the
automobile, a century after its invention, with powertrains that greatly reduce or even eliminate the use of conventional petroleum fuels. The electrification of the automobile is just one of many alternatives, and the most successful example of this to date has been the gas-electric hybrid.”