2011 Toyota Yaris LE

Rear right blue 2011 Toyota Yaris LE Car Picture

The Unexpected Power Behind the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R

by Timothy Thompson

So you think you can't get any real power from a hybrid vehicle? Think again. Specifically, think about the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R. This concept vehicle is one idea that will bring the best of both worlds to true automotive enthusiasts.

Power and Then Some

The Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R starts with a 1.6 liter, four-cylinder engine. Not impressed? Make that a direct fuel injection turbo engine. Okay, now you have 300 horsepower to hit the road with. However, the description indicates 420 horsepower, so where does this come from and how does it work?

The turbo engine is powering the two front wheels. Like any normal car, the Yaris also has two rear wheels. Both of these wheels have their own power from individual 60-horsepower electric motors. The total output from this hybrid powertrain gives you 420 screaming horses.

The all-wheel drive (AWD) is also an intelligent system. The rear motors work independently, providing the needed amount of power. The system functions much in the same way as a limited slip differential, to give you control to go along with the power.

Four Engines and a Super Capacitor?

The Yaris is beginning to sound like something from "Star Trek." The difference is that this vehicle is real. Yes, there really are four engines. The third electric engine is between the six-speed transmission and the turbo engine. This engine serves as a generator to both charge the super capacitor and provide power to the rear wheel motors.

When the intelligent AWD senses the need for more rear power, the third engine kicks in to provide the torque required for handling and acceleration. The super capacitor system comes from the Toyota TS030 Le Mans vehicle. With increased power density, the system provides fast burst of power with rapid charging and discharging.

Some reviewers say the new Toyota Yaris concept car looks a bit funny. "Different" is a more accurate description. Does it really matter? The other driver will only see you for a few seconds before you go screaming past them while still getting the efficiency of a hybrid. Who is laughing now? The Hybrid-R design does allow for full electric motor use for short distance, low speed driving.

Want to Learn More?

Unfortunately, Toyota is not talking very much, but you can check out a press release. Edmunds will give you plenty of facts about any model year Toyota Yaris, but not this one. If you wanted to check out the older models, the Drivetime site enables you to filter by specifics and location.

While the future of the Yaris concept car is not clear, Toyota is making portions available now. You can get the CAN-Gateway engine control unit (ECU) on the Toyota Scion FR-S. The reality is that the Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R will not be under this year’s Christmas tree. However, when automakers come up with powerful and efficient designs in concept vehicles, those concepts will eventually be incorporated into a vehicle that can show up in your driveway.

About the Author:
Timothy Thompson is a DIY master and father of three from Staten Island.

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