Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R concept (2013) at Frankfurt motor show

Published: 27 August 2013

Toyota has released fresh information regarding its 414bhp supermini concept ahead of its debut at next month’s Frankfurt motor show.

The Yaris Hybrid R drivetrain features Toyota Motorsport’s 1.6-litre racing petrol engine to power the front wheels and twin electric motors generating 60bhp apiece to run those at the back, giving the car all-wheel drive and a combined output of up to 414bhp. The car also makes use of a supercapacitor inspired by Toyota’s TS030 Hybrid Le Mans racer – energy generated under heavy braking is stored and can be quickly deployed to the rear wheels for an extra burst of power.

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Haven’t we heard this already?

Mostly yes, but Toyota has gone into greater detail about precisely how its latest concept functions under the bonnet. For instance a third 60bhp motor is located between the engine and six-speed sequential transmission, operating as a generator which feeds power to the supercapacitor during deceleration. Sounds very Back To the Future – where’s the Mr Fusion reactor, Toyota?

Under heavy acceleration – if the front wheels can’t cope with the power and torque coming from the turbocharged four-cylinder engine – it again works as a generator, sending excess torque to the rear motors as electrical energy, a form of traction control designed to boost acceleration and control rather than simply limit engine power. It’s this sort of speed-enhancing tech that’s set to make future hot hybrids more fun to drive, hopes Toyota.

What else is new?

The Hybrid-R’s rear electric motors also serve as generators when the car is braked, a function which can be used to alter the torque distribution and improve handling.

By independently switching between functions, the system can send more torque to the outside rear wheel while simultaneously applying braking force to the inside, limiting understeer and adjusting the yaw effect when cornering. If the torque vectoring tech sounds familiar, it’s because ultimate hybrids like the Porsche 918 Spyder use a similar set-up.

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