Until recently, when hybrid powertrains began to be used in motorsport, the idea that a hybrid car could be sporty and fun to drive was almost unthinkable. As one of the pioneers of hybrid vehicles, Toyota is working to make hybrids acceptable for as many people as possible, including driving enthusiasts.
This is where the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R comes into play. It’s a study (for now at least) that combines the best of both worlds: the (unspecified) fuel economy and low emissions of a hybrid vehicle with the acceleration and thrills offered by a hot-hatch. Sporting a racing-inspired hybrid powertrain, the Frankfurt concept shows what could be achieved if hybrid technologies from the world of motorsport were applied to a road car.
Based on the Yaris 3-door, the study is powered by a highly tuned 1.6-liter petrol engine developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG), combined with two powerful electric motors to provide electric four-wheel drive capability. The 300hp 4-cylinder 1.6 turbo engine drives the front wheels, while each of the rear wheels are driven by a 60hp electric motor – the same as the one used in the standard Yaris Hybrid. Overall, the hybrid powertrain develops a system output of 420 hp.
The two electric motors work as electric generators during braking, and supplement the petrol engine while accelerating. The energy recovered during braking is stored in a super capacitor, just like in the TS030 Hybrid endurance race car. In the Yaris, the capacitor is located under the rear seat, where the production Yaris Hybrid’s battery is usually positioned. The super capacitor has a higher power density and a fast power charge/discharge speed compared to the battery and is therefore better suited to sporty driving on track.
There’s even a third 60hp electric motor, located between the engine and the 6-speed sequential gearbox that operates as a generator during deceleration to feed the super capacitor and during acceleration to directly power the rear electric motors.
The Yaris Hybrid-R sports an aggressive bodykit and a racing-inspired interior.
By Dan Mihalascu