Tuesday, January 1, 2008


The world’s first hybrid-powered sports car, the Toyota FT-HS Concept. This front-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car is projected to accelerate from 0-to-60 in the four-second range. That impressive result is achieved through a powerful 3.5-liter V6 engine coupled to a 21st century sports hybrid system. With this hybrid powerplant, Toyota is shooting for a total power output of about 400 hp. Other performance features include a lightweight, carbon fiber Kevlar roof which incorporates an aerodynamic longitudinal depression down its center, and a speed activated wing that elevates during high velocity driving.

The FT-HS’s styling is certain to cause a stir as Toyota refers to it as a combination of “perfect imbalance.” So-called “freeform geometrics” integrate fluid surfaces with hard corners, promoting airflow and reducing turbulence, which Toyota claims increases stability in high speed driving (translation: freeform geometrics is fancy terminology for functioning aerodynamics). “Integrated component architecture” is next in the design philosophy. This entails showing what needs to be seen–tail lamps spanning the width of the vehicle–and hiding what does not, al-la-retractable spoiler. Ultimately, the FT-HS styling goal is to achieve “subtractive mass”, which is a minimalist style that is not only lightweight but also looks lightweight, according to Toyota. The sharply sloped roof is actually a retractable hardtop, though rather than folding up, like metal origami, into the trunk, the roof slides back and then drops behind the front seats. That effectively turns the Hybrid Sports Concept into a two-seater.

The concept’s interior is said to be modeled after a driver’s cockpit , but also offers structural functionality. A carbon fiber beam replaces the space normally occupied by the instrument panel, offering structural rigidity as well as a place to suspend the driver’s controls. This beam adds to body stiffness, necessary when cruising with the open-top roof system stowed in the rear. Long live T-tops.

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