Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Concept Car 2008

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Yeah, it’s just a concept car, but this one might find its way onto the highway. It’s the 400hp Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept, set to roll out on January 7 at the Detroit Auto Show. What really caught our eye was the Electric Tesla-like numbers of zero-to-60 in 4 seconds, and one big figure that’s actually smaller than expected: Toyota is shooting for the mid-$30,000 price range.

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Even though we like the Toyota Prius, it is kind of dorky looking. Maybe elements of this design could be incorporated into the next Prius. This is something we could live with. Check out six more wicked pics:

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The Detroit auto show is a huge theater, a Las Vegas-like stage where carmakers do their best to thrill and amaze a world audience. Toyota will step up this year and present its FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept, a futuristic sports car that would be powered by a 400-horsepower hybrid powertrain.
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Of course, the Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept is just a concept, little more than a container for the overheated dreams of a bunch of designers at Calty Design Research, Toyota’s design studio in Newport Beach, California. In fact, what you see here is only a two-dimensional animation, a computer-generated image of the show car that Toyota will roll out at the Detroit auto show on Sunday, January 7, 2007.

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Whatever, it’s enough to get us thinking about the next Toyota Supra, which the automaker feels it needs to compete with Nissan’s one-two high-performance punch of the 350Z and the coming Skyline GT-R.
Introducing a Prius on steroids
“We feel there’s a hole in our lineup,” says Kevin Hunter, the vice president of Calty Design Research. “Toyota hasn’t had a sports car since the Supra was dropped in 1997. We need some emotional punch in our lineup, a halo product.”

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Toyota envisions that punch to be a rear-wheel-drive Hybrid Sports Concept (HSC) that develops 400 horsepower. “It’s a new kind of sports car for the 21st century,” adds Hunter. “Eco and emotion in a sports car concept with a performance target of 0-60 mph in about 4 seconds and a price tag in the mid-$30,000 range.”

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A 3.5-liter V6 engine would deliver most of the thrust, and it doesn’t require too much brainpower to connect the dots to the DOHC 3.5-liter V6 in the Lexus GS 450h, which already makes 292 hp at 6,500 rpm. You wouldn’t have to look too far to find an electric motor to deliver the rest, because the water-cooled, 650V electric motor used in the GS 450h makes 197 hp at peak output, though this is just for seconds at a time.

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The Calty designers, who have been working on the FT-HS for an entire year, are even willing to suggest that once the future arrives, a hybrid powertrain will be necessary to achieve the feeling of ultrahigh-performance that you want in a sports car. In a fuel-efficient future, a jolt of acceleration from an electric motor might become the equivalent of an injection of nitrous oxide into your gas-powered engine.

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All this has overtones of ecological friendliness, of course, but as the buzz about global warming and greenhouse gases becomes a part of daily life, Calty’s designers remind us that a hybrid powertrain will have a certain quotient of respectability that you won’t find in a supercharged big-block V8. The FT-HS is even painted white because white is not only a pure motorsports color, but it’s clean which, Hunter tell us, supports the car’s hybrid message.

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Scribbled on June 19th 2007 in robson.m3Rlin.org, Toyota
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