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Toyota FT-EV concept unveiled at Detroit auto show 2009

By Ben Pulman

Motor Shows

10 January 2009 20:00

This is Toyota’s new FT-EV concept, the first of three eco-friendly cars being unveiled at the Detroit motor show over the next few days, the other two being the all-new third-generation Prius and the hybrid-only Lexus HS250h.

What’s this Toyota FT-EV concept all about then?

The FT-EV is Toyota’s way of confirming that it will build a battery-electric vehicle (BEV) in 2012, but it’s also using the concept to promote its other environmentally friendly vehicles.

The FT-EV concept is built on the iQ’s platform, and designed for commuters with daily journeys of less than 50 miles. The production car due early next decade will be designed with the same aims in mind.

Further details will be announced on the concept in the next few days, but the iQ has received a makeover inside and out, with new exterior bodywork including a blanked-off grille, while the interior features digital screens that allow drivers to monitor their energy consumption. 

‘This kind of vehicle, electrified or not, is where our industry must focus its creativity,' said Irv Miller, Toyota Motor Sales group vice president.

What about these other environmentally friendly vehicles?

Following on from the CNG Camry Hybrid concept and the Lexus RX450h production car unveiled at the 2008 LA auto show, Toyota has announced two more hybrids, as part of the company’s plan to sell over one million hybrids by the middle of the next decade.

Up first is the new Prius, and Toyota has confirmed there will be a plug-in version launched in late 2009. Just 500 vehicles will be built for research purposes, with 150 of these cars being leased to U.S. customers. The plug-in (PHV) Prius will feature lithium-ion batteries, while the regular version of the new third-generation Prius makes do with nickel-metal hybride batteries.

‘Future customers will have high expectations for these emerging technologies,’ said Miller. ‘This Prius PHV fleet program is a key first step in confirming how and when we might bring large numbers of plug-in hybrids to global markets. Our business is no longer about simply building and selling cars. It is about finding solutions to mobility challenges today and being prepared for more daunting challenges in our very near future.’

Come back to CAR Online on Sunday when the new Lexus HS250h will be unveiled, and Monday when we’ll see the third-generation Toyota Prius. And keep coming back to CAR Online over the next few days as we report live from the Detroit auto show, bringing you all the important news and new cars.

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