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Toyota's future affordable and green?

We're not quite sure what's up with the sad face, but the new FT-Bh Concept from Toyota could signal a rather happy future for hybrid fans looking for a more affordable entry into the 'green' market.

At least there's nothing remotely conservative about the design and while you're unlikely to hear the word 'pretty' in the same sentence as its name, the word 'cute' is sure to prop up. Perhaps Toyota is trying to create a Beetle for the green era?

The Toyota FT-Bh Concept is slightly longer than a Yaris, yet weighs less than 800kg.

We certainly get that impression after sifting through the information pack. Although there's no word on whether it'll be produced or how much it would cost, the fact that Toyota refers to it as 'affordable' speaks with clear intent.

The company has also gone into some detail about its technical basis, its powertrain mating a two-cylinder 1-litre petrol engine to an electric motor to allow the full hybrid to achieve combined fuel consumption of just 2.1 litres per 100km and a CO2 emissions rating of 49g/km - almost half that of a Prius.

This is also achieved via weight saving, thermal energy management and high aerodynamic efficiency. In fact, despite being slightly longer than a Yaris, the FT-Bh weighs less than 800kg. This was achieved through a combination of high-tensile steel, aluminium and magnesium.

This car, says Toyota, also uses economically viable technologies and manufacturing methods and its hybrid system could be adapted for natural gas and plug-in hybrid versions.

It certainly seems like Toyota is thinking in realistic terms here: “Toyota recognises that a real-world reduction of total global vehicle CO2 emissions can only be brought about if an affordable, ultra-low emissions vehicle can be manufactured and sold in sufficiently high volumes.”

That made it important that the concept did not require exotic, expensive materials or complex manufacturing procedures, but used instead only those that are already commonly available in the motor industry.

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