While hybrid car technology was once seen as a boring-but-effective method of improving gas mileage, automakers the world over are waking up to the performance potential of gas-electric hybrids. Toyota in particular is reportedly building a hybrid version of its GT86 sports car with a hybrid drivetrain that boosts both power, and fuel economy.
At the Geneva Motor Show Toyota revealed a convertible version of the GT86, and AutoCar talked with chief engineer of the GT86 Tetsuya Tada. While plenty of discussion has focused on supercharging or turbocharging the GT86 (known in America as the Scion FR-S) to increase its power, Tada acknowledged that a hybrid drivetrain solution was also on the table.
According to Tada, an electric hybrid system could increase power without affecting fuel economy in a bad way, while maintaining the purity of this new Toyota sports car. The GT86 is not meant to be a raw powerhouse vehicle, but a lightweight corner carver. Hence its 200 horsepower naturally aspirated boxer engine.
But what about the weight of the hybrid system? Tada claims Toyota’s racing division, TRD, can shave about 100 kgs off the weight of the GT86 with some lightweight parts, so the hybrid system would not add anything (but cost, of course) to the car. Rumor has it Toyota is also contemplating using the GT86 as a basis for a next-generation Toyota Supra with upwards of 400 horsepower…also from a hybrid drivetrain. This isn’t the first rumor we’ve heard of a hybrid Toyota sports car either. Finally, a hybrid sports car for the common man!
Finally, Toyota seems to be breaking out of its stoic, boring mold, and delivering cars people really, really want to drive. Keep it up!