Toyota Reveals New “Fun To Drive” Engine, Transmission, And Hybrid Systems

Toyota has revealed a series of new modular-design engines, transmissions and hybrid systems with a focus on reducing weight and increasing efficiency.

The new powertrain range has been designed as an integral part of the Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform program, which debuted beneath the fourth generation Prius, and will make their production debut starting with a new-model next year.

Lithium-ion hybrid battery

Lithium-ion hybrid battery

Initially Toyota will introduce a new 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol engine (top of page) as part of an engine line-up that will grow to include nine engines available in 17 variations.

The 2.5-litre unit boasts high-speed combustion with variable control and a range of undisclosed new technologies that allow for “ample torque” at all engine speeds. Thermal efficiency rates have also been improved to over 40 per cent.

This new petrol engine will be available as both a full-petrol and petrol-electric unit, with Toyota also having redesigned its hybrid technology, calling the Toyota Hybrid System II (THS-II).

The new hybrid system features reduced size and weight, with a focus on minimising powertrain losses.

Multi-stage THS-II

Multi-stage THS-II

The new hybrid has been developed to work with both front- and rear-wheel drive layouts and can operate intermittently at high speeds, further increasing efficiency.

Plug-in hybrid systems haven’t been overlooked either with a new dual-drive mode allowing the petrol and electric motors to work together for more powerful driving. A larger capacity lithium-ion battery capable of delivering over 60km of driving range has also been developed.

Toyota will eventually offer 10 variations of six hybrid powertrains.

Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic

Direct-Shift 10-speed automatic

Toyota also unveiled a new Direct-Shift eight-speed automatic for front-wheel drive cars and a new Direct-Shift 10-speed transmission for rear-wheel drive vehicles.

Both new transmissions feature low-friction gear tooth surfacing and clutch packs that reduce friction losses by 50 percent compared to a six-speed automatic.

Toyota boasts gear change times amongst the world’s quickest for the 10-speed auto, with both transmissions providing close-ratio gearing optimised for a wide range of use in each gear at low to mid speeds providing lag-free acceleration.

A total of four new transmissions will eventually form the new powertrain range including a new type of CVT.

Combined engine and transaxle assembly

Combined engine and transaxle assembly

Toyota promises the new powertrain units will start with the launch of a new-model vehicle in 2017. While the company hasn’t disclosed which vehicle that might be, the all-new Camry to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show is a frontrunner to receive the 2.5 litre engine and eight-speed automatic, as well as offering a version of the THS-II hybrid system.

A full-range rollout will continue until 2021, with 60 percent of the Toyota and Lexus range available with the new powertrain systems by that time, resulting in a forecast 15 percent reduction in CO2 emissions.

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