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Toyota ES3
Toyota's ES3 (ES Cubic) concept vehicle is projected to achieve a remarkable 88 mpg (2.7l/100km) fuel economy with minimal hybridization that relies on ultra-capacitor storage.

Toyota ES3 Claims 88 MPG

Toyota reveals new 'environmental' vehicle at Tokyo Auto Show 2001

By EV World

Toyota continues to explore the edges of advanced automotive design, this time with its ES3 concept vehicle, powered by a combination of a 1.4 liter, common rail, turbo diesel engine, light-weight, aerodynamic design and what might be the first use of an ultra-capacitor-based regenerative braking/auto start system.

The ES3 uses an all-aluminum body frame and Toyota Super Olefin Polymer (TSOP) body panels and interior parts. Toyota developed TSOP to ease of vehicle recycling at the end of its service life. The company has even integrated a new biodegradable plastic made from sweet potatoes, along with fibers derived from flax and bamboo. According to Toyota's web site, the ES3 contains virtually no lead in its paint, lighting system and wiring harness.

The entire vehicle weighs a mere 1,616 lbs. (733 kg), yet seats four passengers in a vehicle that measures 11.5 feet in length (3.5m), 5.3 feet wide (1.6m) and 4.7 feet (1.4m) high.

Stylistically, it bears a slight resemblance to Honda's Insight, yet because it doesn't need to carry a large electric battery pack behind the front seat, it can utilize this space for two more passengers. Toyota claims the car has a designed drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.23. Actual measured Cd/A is 0.455.

The heart of the ES3's drive system is a direct injection, 1.4 turbo diesel mated to Toyota's belt-drive CVT - - similar to that used in the Prius. Other concepts borrowed from the Prius THS system include automatic idle stop and start to reduce emissions while the car is stopped. However, instead of relying on expensive secondary batteries for electric energy storage, the ES3 recaptures its braking energy in an ultra-capacitor, which is more suited for this application than storage batteries. Electric energy recaptured during braking is stored in the capacitor and then used to power the engine starter.

Some environmentalists may object to the ES3's diesel engine because of its past record as a rather dirty engine technology, which is considered "carcinogenic" in California. However, Toyota says that the incorporation of its latest catalytic converter technology has reduced NOx and PM (particulate matter) emission to LEV (low emission vehicle) levels, comparable to a modern gasoline engine, as measured by Toyota engineers.

The result is a comfortable, four-passenger vehicle with air-conditioned cabin, state-of-the-arts instrumentation and a projected fuel economy of a remarkable 88 miles to the gallon. Best of all, it utilizes proven technology, which should make the vehicle affordable for consumers and profitable for Toyota.

Toyota has not announced any plans to put the vehicle into commercial production. You can find more details and photos on the ES3 on Toyota's web site.

Times Article Viewed: 4186
Published: 24-Nov-2001

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