Transportation & Fuel Source Technology
Toyota Launches Completely Redesigned Estima Hybrid
Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) announced today the nationwide sales launch in Japan of the completely redesigned Estima Hybrid minivan through "Toyota" ("Osaka Toyopet" in the Osaka area) and "Toyota Corolla" dealers.
The Estima Hybrid was initially launched in 2001 as the world's first hybrid minivan, demonstrating new potential for hybrid vehicles. It achieved revolutionary fuel efficiency and lean exhaust emissions, and-through the world's first use of the E-Four (electric four-wheel-drive) system on a mass-production vehicle and an ECB (Electronically Controlled Brake) system-it provided exceptional maneuvering stability.
The new Estima Hybrid features the THS II*1, optimized for use on a minivan. The THS II was designed to achieve even better environmental and driving performance based on the concept of Hybrid Synergy Drive, which seeks to realize high fuel efficiency, low emissions, outstanding driving performance and quiet operation. As a result, the new Estima Hybrid boasts one of the world's highest fuel efficiency performances in its class*2, which is on par with a compact vehicle*3, and clean exhaust emissions. Furthermore, its dynamic performance surpasses that of other vehicles in its class, with high responsiveness characteristic of a hybrid vehicle, smooth, powerful acceleration and extremely quiet operation.
In addition, the adoption as standard of the E-Four system with high-output rear motor and the first use in a minivan of VDIM (Vehicle Dynamics Integrated Management), which integrates and optimally balances drive power, steering and braking, aims to take "fun to drive" to a higher level with greater maneuverability and cruising stability.
World's Highest Fuel Efficiency in its Class and Clean Exhaust Emissions
With the aim of reducing CO2 emissions, the new Estima Hybrid boasts a fuel efficiency of 20.0km/l (in the 10-15 test cycle outlined by the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport-MLIT), equivalent to that of a compact-class vehicle. In addition, fuel efficiency is more than 20% greater than the level called for by the Japanese 2010 standards*, and both NOx (nitrogen oxides) and NMHC (non-methane hydrocarbons) have been cut, achieving emissions levels 75% lower than the 2005 standards under the Ministry's Approval System for Low-emission Vehicles. These achievements mean the vehicle qualifies for incentives under the Japanese government's Green Taxation System. CO2 emissions under the 10-15 Japanese test cycle are just 116g/km (as measured by MLIT).
An exhaust heat recovery system has been adopted to recover thermal energy from the exhaust and use it to heat engine coolant. This reduces engine warm-up time, which enables the engine to shut off earlier when idling, contributing to further improvements in actual fuel economy.
*Specified by the Japanese Law Concerning the Rational Use of Energy.
By using Toyota's original comprehensive environmental impact assessment system known as Eco-VAS (Eco-Vehicle Assessment System), environmental targets were set in the development stage and a life cycle assessment was conducted to allow the reduction of CO2 emissions throughout all stages of the vehicle's life from production and use to disposal.
In addition to using materials with excellent recyclability, greater attention has been paid to the environment by, among other means, reducing VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions and the use of substances of environmental concern such as lead, mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium and others.
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