March 2, 2011
The Toyota hybrid and electric car family just keeps getting bigger–this time with two little babies.
Following up on its introduction of a larger Prius-based microvan at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show–the Prius V–Toyota has added another new hybrid to its arsenal with the debut of the Yaris HSD subcompact at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. The company also used the stage in Geneva to announce more details about its upcoming iQ-based all-electric city car.
When the Yaris hybrid goes on sale in Europe in 2012, it will be the most affordable hybrid the company has offered to date. Toyota says that by the mid-2020s it aims to build hybrid versions of every vehicle it sells in Europe.
Although it was a bit of an engineering challenge to fit both the gas and the electric drivetrains required of a hybrid into the diminutive frame of the Yaris, Toyota says it was able to reduce battery size and weight for minimal impact on interior space and still maintain the benefits of an efficient hybrid system.
While Toyota indicates the Yaris HSD is intended for the European market, the company introduced a subcompact hybrid concept at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show–the Prius C–that it says will likely lead to a similarly-Yaris-sized and affordable hybrid for sale in the U.S. sometime in 2012.
In addition to the Yaris HSD unveil, Toyota’s iQ-based electric car made its European debut in Geneva. A conventional fuel-powered version of the iQ is already on sale in Europe, and a Scion-badged conventional iQ will hit the U.S. market at the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, Toyota says trials of the all-electric iQ will begin in Europe, the U.S. and Japan later in 2011.
About the same size of a Smart ForTwo, the iQ falls squarely in the realm of cars intended for short urban trips. Given its size, it should come as no surprise that Toyota is billing the electric iQ as a solution for “short range sustainable mobility.”
With a 0-60 mph time of about 14 seconds and a range of about 65 miles on a full battery, the electric iQ prototype won’t feel at home on the highway, but has just enough performance to work in the city.
NICK CHAMBERS is a "next generation" car enthusiast, recognized for his green automotive coverage in Gas 2.0, The New York Times, Popular Mechanics, HybridCars.com and PluginCars.com. In addition, he’s been syndicated in Matter Network, AP and Reuters.