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The Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R concept may look a little silly, but as the saying goes, itís whatís inside that counts.
Under the 3-door Yarisí custom bodywork is an all-new hybrid system, which is believed to preview a future road-going system in an upcoming performance car.
Under the hood is a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine, which doesnít sound exciting until you realize itís turbocharged and built to motorsports specifications. The new Global Race Engine (designed for use in future motorsports series) delivers 300 hp and is then assisted by an intelligent AWD system by two rear-mounted electric motors.
Each electric motor producers 60 hp for a combined total system output of 420 hp. Both electric motors generate energy under braking and store the energy in a super capacitor, rather than a battery. This system mimics that found in the TS030 hybrid race car that competes in the World Endurance Championship, rather than using a conventional battery pack to store energy, like in the Prius. That energy can then be used during acceleration.
Compared to a standard nickle-metal hydride battery, a super capacitor system has more energy density and can charge and discharge much more quickly. Itís ideally designed for motorsports, as well as for track driving.
In the Hybrid R concept the super-capacitor can deliver 40 additional horsepower in 10 seconds bursts for standard road use, while a track mode offers the full 120 hp boost for five seconds at a time.
In addition to all of this electrification, a third 60 hp electric motor is included and sits between the engine and 6-speed sequential transmission. It acts as a generator, and can actually charge the super-capacitor under acceleration when the power available exceeds the grip of the front wheels. Essentially it acts like a high-tech traction control system, sending excess power from the front wheels to the rear wheels.
This not only maximizes energy usage, but delivers superior grip.
A further benefit to the system is that the rear electric motors can distribute power individually, helping the car rotate through a corner in much the same way as an electronic limited slip differential.
While just a concept for now, the Yaris Hybrid R Concept could foreshadow the technology of future Toyota sports cars.