TOKYO — When Toyota improves the fuel economy of its future hybrid vehicles, it won't be simply with updates to their batteries and motors — it will also be through advanced software and connectivity.
Toyota has made a breakthrough in a predictive efficiency function that helps optimize the switching back and forth between gasoline-electric hybrid driving and full-electric drive mode.
The new technology will debut in the plug-in hybrid version of the next-generation Lexus NX crossover that arrives this year. Toyota calls the system Predictive Efficient Drive.
The innovation paves the way for a more-sophisticated geofencing technology the automaker is developing to eke further gains by automatically turning hybrid mode on and off.