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