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Auto blogFri, 11 Apr 2014 12:45:00 EST
Toyota brought its new i-Road, a three-wheeled, all-electric low-speed vehicle that debuted in 2013 at the Geneva Motor Show, to the Capitol for some of our elected officials to test out. As easy as it is to forget that politicians are people, too, it was refreshing to see a human side to many of them as they zipped about one of the Capitol's many meeting rooms.
We'd say their reactions were surprisingly positive. Of course, some were just down there because Toyota is a big presence in their respective districts, but the bulk of the senators and representatives seemed like they just wanted to zip about the makeshift indoor course on the leaning trike.
Take a look below at the video from Bloomberg.
The Toyota Yaris Hybrid-R Concept has been teased already, offering up little glimpses and details of the Frankfurt-bound vehicle. And while those few, shadowy shots have been great, we've really wanted to know how this hatchback would deliver its promised 400-plus horsepower. Under hood sits a 1.6-liter, race-derived, direct-injection, turbocharged four-cylinder that powers the front wheels. Sounds peachy, but with 414 horsepower splashed across the page, we're going to need something more than a 1.6-liter, turbo four.
A supercapacitor, developed from the Toyota TS030 Hybrid Le Mans racer sits in place of a hybrid's traditional battery packs. The benefit, according to Toyota, is that power can be more rapidly absorbed and discharged than in a traditional battery system, like nickel metal-hydride.
The gas engine is joined by a trio of 60-horsepower electric motors. Two of the them power the rear wheels, while the third sits between the engine and the six-speed, sequential gearbox. Developing the same amount of power as the rear-axle motors, this centrally located motor channels power to the race-derived supercapacitor during braking, and ships extra grunt to the rear wheels under acceleration when the front wheels start to lose grip. Besides the distributive power of the central motor, the rear electric motors can adjust the amount of torque flowing to each wheel, much like a differential.
Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will be in showrooms sooner than planned, the Japan Times reporting that production will commence in mid-December with the sedan following "by the end of this year." No reason was given for the new timeline; Toyota has been saying all along that we'd see it in 2015.
The company is said to be "considering" production volume of "dozens of... vehicles per month" at a "likely" price of eight million yen, which is $78,030 US. That is well in line with the numbers thrown around last year, when the target was somewhere between $50,000 and $100,000. Then late last year, during our first drive of the FCHV mule, we wrote that "the official quote... [is] that a price of 'less than 10 million yen is ideal.'"
That alleged $78K is a sizable sum to be one of the early adopters on the hydrogen fuel cell wagon train, but with things moving around so much - and with Toyota publicly citing hydrogen fuel cells as the future - there's plenty of reason to be cautious about that number.