The New Toyota Alphard Hybrid

Alphard MPV debuts in Japanese market

Toyota’s continued development of clean and fuel-efficient power systems has yielded the market launch of its sixth hybrid-powered vehicle, the Alphard Hybrid. A full-size MPV for the Japanese market, the Alphard uses the Toyota Hybrid System-CVT (THS-C). This comprises a 2.4-litre petrol engine and front and rear electric motors with a Super CVT continuously variable transmission and E-Four electric four-wheel drive system.

The E-Four system controls a rear-mounted electric motor that drives the rear wheels and controls the distribution of electric power to all four wheels. An electrically-controlled brake system (ECB) delivers efficient braking to each wheel individually for superior handling and safety. Using "by-wire" technology, it monitors brake pedal pressure and vehicle speed to calculate the optimum hydraulic pressure and works with the E-Four to maximise the collection of kinetic energy from braking for conversion into electric power.

The E-Four system is also supremely fuel-efficient: its ability to recover energy from each wheel helps the Alphard Hybrid to achieve around twice the fuel economy level demanded by the Japanese 2010 standards. Consumption is further aided by the car’s aerodynamic design, reduced operating resistance in each element of the powertrain and a new air conditioning system that uses a two-way compressor with its own built-in motor.

The Alphard Hybrid qualifies as an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV), achieving levels 75 per cent below the Japanese government’s 2000 benchmark. The 2.4-litre petrol engine has been developed specifically for use in hybrid systems and features a high-expansion ratio cycle that raises efficiency and reduces friction.

continues... | Part Two

Published : 04/08/03 Author : Melanie Carter

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