Supermini concept points to the future for Toyota's radical hybrid range
Matt Burt
19 March 2012

This Geneva motor show concept outlines Toyota’s vision of a hybrid family supermini for 2020. The FT-Bh, which stands for ‘Future Toyota B-segment hybrid’, offers a claimed fuel economy of 134.5mpg and CO2 emissions of 49g/km. It is powered by a two-cylinder, 1.0-litre petrol engine, developed specifically for the concept and mated to a special version of Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive electric motor, which is almost 90kg lighter than in the Prius.

The FT-Bh is a similar size to the Toyota Yaris, while the car’s shape is optimised for aerodynamic efficiency, with a 0.235 drag coefficient, which is below the current average for a supermini.

Whereas the 1.0-litre Yaris weighs 1030kg, the FT-Bh tips the scales at just 786kg thanks to the use of high-tensile steel, aluminium and magnesium in the construction process. Toyota has also focused on thermal efficiency, low driving resistance and a reduction in the amount of energy used by the car’s electrical components.

The FT-Bh has also been conceived as a CNG-powered car or a plug-in hybrid, with the latter producing 19g/km of CO2. Although the FT-Bh is a show concept, it has been developed using existing motor industry technology that would, in theory, enable it to be produced at a competitive price for a high-volume B-segment supermini.

Koji Makino, project manager for Toyota’s advanced vehicle project, said: “It could be produced, maybe in the 2020s, but at this moment the company hasn’t decided whether it will go into production. If there is demand, then we should build it.” It is more likely that the lightweight, fuel-efficient thinking behind the FT-Bh will be seen on future cars.

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