At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit Toyota has unveiled the FT-CH dedicated hybrid concept, which expresses the company’s strategy to offer a wider variety of full hybrids, in addition to the introduction of plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (EVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) in 2015 in global markets.
The CH stands for compact hybrid. The concept can best be defined by comparing it with the mid-size class Prius.
"The FT-CH captures the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment; sized right to be nimble, responsive and maneuverable."
The FT-CH was styled at Toyotaâ€™s European Design and Development (EDÂ²) centre in Nice, France. Compared to Prius, it is 22 inches shorter in overall length, yet loses less than an inch in overall width. In spite of its compact external dimensions, FT-CH was designed for maximum passenger comfort and interior roominess, with an imaginative sense of style.
EDÂ² designers looked to capture the vivid, high-energy appeal of what has come to be called the 8-bit generation. Popularized in the early 80â€™s, 8-bit microprocessor technology dominated the budding home video game industry.
The direct reference to the 8-bit generation is meant to be fun and innovative, colourful and stylish, with strong appeal to young buyers.
Lighter in weight and even more fuel efficient than Prius, the concept specifically targets a lower price point than Prius, thus appealing to a younger, less-affluent buyer demographic.
In the early 2010s, Toyota plans to sell a million hybrids per year globally, a majority of those in North America.
To accomplish this, Toyota will launch eight all new hybrid models in the USA over the next few years.