Toyota has revealed the first details of its new FT-Bh concept car that debuts at the 2012 Geneva Motor Show in March. A radically lightweight hybrid supermini, the Toyota FT-Bh concept promises CO2 levels around 50% lower than the current class average.
The name stands for Future Toyota B-segment hybrid. Which is commendably no-nonsense even if it is also rather underselling the proposition – a spacious five-door supermini that weighs under 800kg.
Achieving low weight is easy enough if you turn to exotic – expensive – materials such as carbon fibre and magnesium, but Toyota has chosen to use “commonplace, economically viable production methods and technologies.”
These technologies include a “downsized” full hybrid powertrain – presumably even smaller than the already downsized version in the Toyota Yaris Hybrid that also gets its debut at the 2012 Geneva show – and optimised aerodynamics.
Here Toyota claims to have made an astonishing 30% gain. Although at this stage it hasn’t said what aerodynamic benchmark it was working from.
Like Mazda’s “Skyactiv” method with the new CX-5, Toyota has taken a “total vehicle” approach to the FT-Bh concept in order to achieve that 50% CO2 reduction – so in addition to the low weight, aerodynamics and powertrain efficiency, it has also focused on thermal energy management and electricity saving.
With only two teaser shots released so far, what we don’t know at this stage is what on earth it actually looks like. But our initial perspective suggests the word ‘weird’ may prove appropriate.
But following on from the appealing Toyota NS4 concept and the gorgeous Lexus LF-LC concept at the 2012 Detroit Motor Show, not to mention its most exciting production car in years, the GT 86 coupe, it seems the Japanese giant is really on a roll.