Toyota debuts sporty coupe, Prius C and more at Tokyo show
Photo credit: TOYOTA
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TOKYO -- Toyota Motor Corp. will debut production versions of its Scion FR-S sporty car and Prius C at this month's Tokyo Motor Show, making its exhibit likely one of the most closely watched ones of the show.
Toyota will also showcase the production version of its Prius Plug-in Hybrid and close-to-market concepts of its iQ electric vehicle and a new fuel cell-powered sedan.
The sporty car will be sold under the Scion nameplate in North America but will debut at the Tokyo show as a Toyota. The company hasn't announced its Japan-market name.
The vehicle is the rebadged sibling of the Subaru BRZ sporty car, which also will be unveiled in production form in Tokyo. Both cars are expected to enter production early next year. Toyota did the exterior design, while Subaru supplied the boxer engine and will assemble the car at its plant in Gunma, Japan.
The Prius C, as it will be known in North America, makes its world premiere as the Toyota Aqua for the Japanese market. It goes on sale here next month and will hit showrooms in the United States next year.
The Prius C, a subcompact hatchback based on the Yaris platform, will get 35 kilometers per liter (82 mpg) under Japan's testing cycle, which does not directly compare with the EPA's.Expect a much lower mpg number in the United States.
The car comes in just under 13 feet long, seats five and is powered by a 1.5-liter engine mated to a new, lightweight Toyota hybrid system. Photos show a Yaris-style front, a Prius-like roofline and an all-new wavy side-panel treatment that curves up and over the rear wheels.
Toyota says the Aqua/Prius C's new hybrid system includes a new inverter, motor and battery. All told, the hybrid drivetrain weighs about 88 pounds less than that in the standard Prius.
The Aqua/Prius C is expected to get an electric-only cruising range of 15 miles and fuel economy of more than 57 kilometers per liter (134 mpg) under Japanese standards.The car will be built by Toyota's Kanto Auto Works Ltd. affiliate in Iwate prefecture in northern Japan.
The company opted for Aqua as a stand-alone name in Japan, rather than a Prius-derived name, in an attempt to create a new base of hybrid customers for vehicles notched one size-class below the Prius family of vehicles.
It is just the opposite in the United States, where Toyota wants to leverage the reputation of the Prius nameplate to drive sales of the new compact Prius C.
Photo credit: TOYOTA
Prius Plug-in Hybrid
Toyota will continue the Prius theme at the Tokyo show with the debut of the production version of the Prius Plug-in Hybrid due next year. The version going on sale gets its lithium ion battery from a different supplier than the leasing models already being tested worldwide.
The preproduction leasing plug-in rode on batteries from Primearth EV Energy Co. Toyota hasn't publicly identified the new supplier. But Japanese media say it is Sanyo Electric Co.
Toyota owns 80.5 percent of Primearth, with consumer-electronics giant Panasonic Corp. holding the other 19.5 percent. In 2009, Panasonic bought Sanyo.
The new battery is smaller than the preproduction one in order to provide more luggage space.
Another global debut: The FT-EV III, the latest in a line of electric vehicle concepts based on Toyota's iQ minicar. This car goes on sale next year in the United States as a Scion.
The pint-sized hatchback can travel 65 miles on a full charge, a range good enough to cover the daily driving of 93 percent of Japanese drivers, Toyota says.
Because it has a smaller battery than electric-car rivals such as the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi i, the FT-EV III can recharge its battery in about half the time, Toyota says. That comes to about three to four hours under a 200-volt system, compared with eight hours for the Leaf, Toyota says.
Photo credit: TOYOTA
Fuel cell concept FCV-R
Toyota's final world debut will be the FCV-R, a close-to-market vision of the hydrogen-powered, fuel cell sedan Toyota plans to start selling in 2015.
This four-seat concept takes heavy styling cues from the Lexus HS-250h hybrid. The fuel cell unit is located beneath the driver and can power the car for 700 kilometers on a single tank.
Press days for the Tokyo Motor Show are Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
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