How the Toyota FT-HS Works

Toyota FT-HS Design
The sporty look of the Toyota FT-HS steps away from the standard hybrid car design.
The sporty look of the Toyota FT-HS steps away from the standard hybrid car design.

The first thing that stands out about the Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept is the car's design. It doesn't look like any other hybrid car currently on the road. The FT-HS was designed by Calty Design Research, which is Toyota's design studio located in Newport Beach, Calif. The company originally introduced the car at the 2007 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Mich., as nothing more than a few sketches and some 3-D images, but working models have since emerged and some reports suggest the concept could go into production soon.

The FT-HS (which stands for Future Toyota Hybrid Sport) has a sporty, triangular profile, one that's similar in spirit to the Toyota Supra, the company's earlier sports car that's no longer in production. Calty apparently modeled the streamlined design with the look of a downhill skier in mind, where several individual aerodynamic parts are emphasized over an overall sleek design. The area under the headlights, for instance, swoops inward more dramatically than is typical, and a ridge that rises along the hybrid's lower door edge extends upward near the rear wheels.

The hybrid is a 2+2, meaning that it's meant for a driver and a passenger but two more can squeeze in the back if necessary. The FT-HS is quite large, actually -- nearly as big as a Corvette, measuring 170.3 inches (432.6 centimeters) from front to back, 73.2 inches (186 centimeters) wide and 50.8 inches (129 centimeters) tall. With the intent of placing focus on the hybrid technology, Calty made part of the engine visible through a hole in the hood.

Calty calls the interior of the FT-HS the "Solo Space," emphasizing the driver's importance and highlighting the driver's seat as a sort of cockpit. Much of the design suggests lightweight material; the seats consist simply of thin pads and the wheels (made of carbon fiber) are also lightweight to encourage a sporty, Formula 1 feel. The roof might also end up being retractable, sliding back to cover the backseat area, making it just a two-seat car.

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