Hy­brid -drive tech­nol­ogy takes cen­tre stage as Toy­ota in­vests in the fu­ture, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

GOOD things come in threes for Toy­ota. Not con­tent to lift the wraps off one show car at the Mel­bourne Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre this morn­ing, the Ja­panese car­maker is re­veal­ing three new cars — the 1/X, the third-gen­er­a­tion Prius and the Hy­brid Camry Con­cept Ve­hi­cle.

Each in their own way presents Toy­ota’s vi­sion of the fu­ture, Toy­ota Aus­tralia mar­ket­ing chief David But­tner says.

‘‘It’s no co­in­ci­dence that all three cars have hy­brid-drive tech­nol­ogy,’’ he says.

The 1/X presents a vi­sion of the fu­ture; the Prius hy­brid and Camry con­cept hy­brid point to what’s around the cor­ner.

The Prius goes on sale later this year for less than $40,000 and the Camry hy­brid, to be built at Toy­ota’s Al­tona plant, will be in show­rooms next Fe­bru­ary.

The Camry hy­brid will be built along­side the petrol Camry and is tipped to cost $3000-$4000 more.

The third-gen­er­a­tion 1.8-litre Prius show­cases new tech­nol­ogy, in­clud­ing a so­lar-pow­ered ven­ti­la­tion and re­mote air­con­di­tion­ing sys­tem that works when the car is parked.

It will be Aus­tralia’s first car with C02 emis­sions be­low 100g a km.

The 1/X, pro­nounced one-Xth, gets its name be­cause it uses hy­brid- pow­ered tech­nol­ogy that has a frac­tion of the en­vi­ron­men­tal foot­print of to­day’s clean­est cars.

But­tner de­scribes it as a car for ‘‘post-2020’’.

Toy­ota is al­ready de­vel­op­ing its po­ten­tial, looking at sus­tain­able sea­weed as a source of ma­te­ri­als.

The 500cc rear-drive 1/X is made from car­bon fi­bre and weighs only 420kg, less than half the weight of a Corolla, but de­liv­ers sim­i­lar per­for­mance to the 1.8-litre petrol hatch.

‘‘But car­bon fi­bre is oil-based and oil is a fi­nite re­source,’’ But­tner says.

‘‘Post-2020 it is likely ve­hi­cles like the 1/X will be made of plant­based plas­tic, which has just been in­vented.’’

By 2020 Toy­ota has vowed to have a hy­brid pow­er­train avail­able across all its mod­els, from the Yaris right up to the LandCruiser.

The Mel­bourne Mo­tor Show starts at 5pm to­day at the Mel­bourne Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre.

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