NAIAS: Toyota FT-CH Compact Hybrid Concept

Just as expected, this year’s North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) marked the debut of several innovative concepts, from manufacturers coming from around the world. In Toyota's case, the center stage was taken by the FT-CH compact hybrid concept, which is part of the carmaker’s North American marketing strategy to offer various conventional hybrid choices to its customers.

The company has already announced their intention of introducing plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (BEVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) in 2015 in global markets.

The FT-CH is 22 inches shorter in overall length compared to the Prius, yet loses less than an inch in overall width. According to its creators, the vehicle is “sized right to be nimble, responsive and maneuverable.” The car is meant to be fun and innovative, colorful and stylish, with strong appeal to young buyers.

Moreover, lighter in weight and even more fuel efficient than Prius, the concept reportedly targets a lower price level than Prius. However, Toyota did not reveal any technical details or when is the FT-CH going to enter mass production.

“Within the next 10 to 20 years, we will not only reach peak oil we will enter a period where demand for all liquid fuels will exceed supply,” said Jim Lentz, TMS president. “A century after the invention of the automobile, we must re-invent it with powertrains that significantly reduce or eliminate the use of conventional petroleum fuels."

"One of many alternatives is through what is commonly called the electrification of the automobile.  By far, the single most successful example of this has been the gas-electric hybrid.
It’s a package Toyota dealers and customers have been asking for,” added Lentz.
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