As surprising as the design of the FT-HS is, especially in terms of hybrid cars, the main draw to the concept is its high performance. While the gas engine inside 2010 Prius, for instance, produces only 98 horsepower, the projected power inside the FT-HS would come from a 400-horsepower hybrid powertrain, a significant upgrade. A 3.5-liter V-6 engine would fuel the car, which is apparently similar to the DOHC (dual overhead camshaft) 3.5-liter V-6 from the Lexus GS 450h.
The electric motor in the FT-HS would also provide more power than most people expect in a hybrid. Engineers expect to use a water-cooled, 650-volt motor that can produce as much as 197-horsepower at peak output. The battery powering the electric motor could be lithium-ion, which would weigh about half as much as the usual nickel-metal hydride batteries found in most hybrids today. The FT-HS will also use rear-wheel-drive, and the performance target for the vehicle's zero to 60 miles per hour (97 kilometers per hour) time is 4 seconds, which is less than half the time it takes for the typical hybrid car to accelerate to highway speeds.
Although Toyota originally announced in 2007 that the FT-HS would be ready for production by 2009, the company has yet to make further announcements concerning its development. In fact, fluctuating fuel prices and a poor economy in 2009 may have led to the demise of the FT-HS, according to Automotive News [source: Abuelsamid]. On top of that, there are many technical challenges in developing a hybrid sports car that are difficult to gauge because of so little information between the introduction of the FT-HS and now. If something does emerge, however, a sporty, mid-range hybrid car might be a good introduction for drivers who are unsure of the technology's performance issues. And if it does bring this car to market, Toyota hopes to sell the FT-HS somewhere in the middle $30,000 range.
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Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- Abuelsamid, Sam. "Fuel costs shift Toyota product plans, FJ Cruiser and new Supra dead." AutoBlog.com. Aug. 16, 2008. (May 26, 2009) http://www.autobloggreen.com/2008/08/16/fuel-costs-shift- toyota-product-plans-fj-crusier-and-new-supra
- Oldham, Scott. "Detroit Auto Show: Toyota FT-HS Hybrid Sports Concept." Edmunds Inside Line. Dec. 24, 2006. (May 26, 2009) http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Features/articleId=118933
- Toyota.com. "FT-HS - hybrid powertrain meets sports-car fundamentals." (May 26, 2009) http://www.toyota.com/concept-vehicles/fths.html