Toyota is unveiling its first full hybrid model for the European market at this week’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The Auris HSD is a gas-electric hybrid hatchback ready to roll into the streets of London, Glasgow and other UK hubs by fall 2010. Toyota plans a first run of the Auris HSD in European factories by summer 2010 with additional runs possible with high demand. The Auris HSD takes the next step in Toyota’s green vehicle portfolio with nods to electrical, solar and traditional power.
The Toyota Auris HSD features a 1.8-liter gas engine, a NiMH battery pack and a 60kW electrical motor for fuel efficient operations. The Auris HSD pumps out 98 horsepower from this hybrid system, which is enough power for occasional forays onto the motorway. Toyota notes that the Auris HSD reaches 62 miles per hour from a dead stop in 10 seconds to alleviate concerns about acceleration. As the Auris HSD evolves over the next few years, Toyota may pump up the power to attract consumers in North America and Asia.
Motor show visitors will be intrigued by the Auris HSD’s three driving modes. The ECO mode reduces power and shuts down the engine at full stops to reduce fuel consumption. The Auris HSD’s Power mode puts aside fuel mileage to focus on engine power to hit high speeds in a hurry. The EV Mode is an experiment by Toyota in limited all-electric drive in a production vehicle, allowing drivers to travel 1.25 miles at a speed up to 31 miles per hour.
Toyota did not end its search for reduced fuel consumption and emissions with an advanced drive train. The LED front and rear headlights reduce electrical use while keeping the Auris HSD visible at night. The flattened front and rear bumpers reduce drag when the Auris HSD achieves high speeds. Toyota installed soundproofing in the cockpit to turn noisy rides on busy streets into quiet commutes. The Auris HSD shows Toyota’s interest in solar energy with a set of panels installed in the dashboard. These panels may only produce enough power for heating, air conditioning and mobile phone charging but Toyota is looking ahead to solar recharging of battery packs in future models.