Toyota Shows ICE in Hybrids Has Long Way to Go

Toyota’s fourth generation Yaris shows that ICE technology will be on the road for some time yet in its role in modern hybrid systems.

That’s because its latest 1.5-liter gasoline engine claims a whopping 40% increase in thermal efficiency while working in tandem with the car’s self-charging hybrid system. This equates to a 15% hike in power and a 20% boost to fuel economy.

The hybrid version of the Yaris introduced in 2012 was the world’s first full hybrid B-segment model and has sold more than half a million models. This new generation car has been tested in congested urban European environments including Rome, Paris and Darmstadt and Toyota claims its technology can operate for 80% of the typical journey time with zero emissions.

Its three cylinder ICE powerplant features variable valve-timing, measures to reduce internal friction and mechanical losses and enhance combustion performance claiming the world’s fastest combustion speed, supporting high torque at low engine speeds and fuel efficiency. It is also fitted with a balance module, which helps reduce engine noise and vibration.

The hybrid part of the powertrain has a new dual axis structure that reduces its size by 9% allowing a low-loss geartrain with smaller overall dimensions that improves performance and fits within the new GA-B chassis platform. This system also uses a new more powerful lithium-ion hybrid battery, giving increased output that enables quicker vehicle acceleration. The battery is 27% lighter than the nickel-metal hybrid battery it replaces.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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