This 2013 concept Yaris is not a direct precursor to a production model – which makes sense when you consider that the Yaris in the US is a non-hybrid. That segment is owned by the Prius C. But the cars clearly share much of their chassis and overall technology, so lets just focus on the mechanical upgrades shown by the Hybrid R technology.
Engineered by TMG in Germany, the Yaris Hybrid R runs a racing 1.6-liter turbo four in front, plus three 60-horsepower electric motors providing AWD via the back axle. One of the electric motors is in front, while two are on the back axle providing a max of 420-horsepower and a sprint time of just 4.0-seconds to 60-mph.
This is not just some kind of tuned Prius. The tech here leverages super-capacitors to relay stored electric power in a flash of huge boost. This is closest in spirit to the tech utilized by the Toyota TS030 Hybrid and TS040 Le Mans racer. So even though it is a Yaris in name, this tech shows two important things:
— it shows where the mindset of TMG is in bringing track tech to the streets
— shows huge potential for a future high-performance car, namely the future Supra.
Overall, very exciting tech wrapped in a sexy supermini shell.
2013 Toyota Yaris Hybrid R
Based on the Yaris 3-door, the Yaris Hybrid R concept hybrid powertrain configuration combines the powerful 1.6L gasoline Global Race Engine with two powerful electric motors to provide an ‘intelligent’ electric four-wheel drive capability.
Brussels, Belgium – The front wheels are driven by a 300hp 4-cylinder 1.6 turbo engine with direct injection specifically developed by Toyota Motorsport GmbH (TMG) according to the rules of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) for a Global Race Engine to be utilized in various motorsport disciplines.
At the rear, each wheel is individually powered by a 60hp electric motor – the same as those used in the standard Yaris Hybrid.
Taken together, the hybrid powertrain system develops a total system output of up to 420 hp. The two electric motors work as electric generators during the braking phase, and supplement the petrol engine during the accelerating phases.
Just like in the TS030 HYBRID, the energy recovered during the braking phase is stored in a super capacitor. Compared to the standard NiMh hybrid battery, the super capacitor has a higher power density and a fast power charge / discharge speed. It is perfectly suited to the requirements of sporty driving on track, which requires brief and immediate bursts of power.
Nevertheless, level of power depends on the duration of energy delivery desired. In road mode, the super-capacitor releases the energy recovered under braking for a maximum duration of 10 seconds per charge and the total power of the two electric motors is reduced to 40 hp. In track mode, the rear electric motors reach a combined maximum power of 120hp for up to 5 seconds per charge, reflecting the higher frequency of braking and acceleration events during circuit driving.
Advanced traction control
A 3rd 60hp electric motor, located between the engine and the 6 gear sequential transmission, operates as a generator in two different cases: during deceleration to feed the super capacitor and during acceleration to directly power the rear electric motors.
The latter will only happen when the engine power and torque exceed the grip potential of the front wheels. The generator behaves like an advanced traction control system, redirecting the torque as electric energy to the rear wheels, to boost the acceleration and improve the handling rather than to simply limit the engine power.
Rear electric motors – one per wheel – can greatly influence the Yaris Hybrid-R handling characteristics during cornering by altering the distribution of torque between the left and right rear wheels.
Each motor can be used independently as a generator or a motor to achieve the same effect as an intelligent torque vectoring differential.
Depending on the radius of the curve, the system can send more torque to the outside rear wheel allowing higher cornering speeds into the corner (middle-speed curves), apply more braking force to the inside wheel (fast curves), or even brake and accelerate each wheel independently (slow curves) to adjust the yaw effect for a better line, to limit steering angle, and understeer.
Tom Burkart is the founder and managing editor of Car-Revs-Daily.com, an innovative and rapidly-expanding automotive news magazine.
He holds a Journalism JBA degree from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Tom currently resides in Charleston, South Carolina with his two amazing dogs, Drake and Tank.
Mr. Burkart is available for all questions and concerns by email Tom(at)car-revs-daily.com.