Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How the Toyota PM Works

        Auto | Concept Cars

Alessandro Volta
Toyota is honoring Alessandro Volta by naming the first high-performance hybrid vehicle for the famous inventor.
Toyota is honoring Alessandro Volta by naming the first high-performance hybrid vehicle for the famous inventor.
Photo courtesy Toyota

Alessandro Volta invented the electric battery in 1800. Toyota is honoring Volta by naming the first high-performance hybrid vehicle in his name. The Volta is powered by a V6 with an electric motor on each axle. The engine provides 408 horsepower and allows the car to travel 435 miles (700 km) on a 13.7-gallon (51.86 liter) tank.

To prove that hybrid technology can be used in a high-performance vehicle, the Volta can go from 0-60 mph (95.56 km/hour) in 4 seconds and reach a top speed of 155 mph (249 km/hour). It won't compete with Lamborghini or Ferrari with that top speed, but it uses a lot less gas.

The first high-performance hybrid means business; the Volta can go from 0-60 mph in a mere 4 seconds.
The first high-performance hybrid means business; the Volta can go from 0-60 mph in a mere 4 seconds.
Photo courtesy Toyota

The body of the Volta is made of carbon fiber and can seat three people abreast. The car also features drive by wire technology -- a computer actually operates the components that move the wheels, activate the brakes and so on, based on input from an electronic controller. This is the same control system employed in modern fighter jets as well as many commercial planes. The drive-by-wire system allows the passengers to reposition the steering wheel and pedals in front of any one of them.