Toyota Showcases New Hybrid Concept, Prius “Family” Plans

The kickoff of the annual North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit today finds Toyota out the gate early with an announcement about what might be the next hot thing in eco-cars from the manufacturer of the popular Prius hybrid: the FT-CH dedicated hybrid concept.

Toyota says this concept design, styled at Toyota’s European Design and Development (ED²) center in Nice, France, “is a concept that would address Toyota’s stated strategy to offer a wider variety of conventional hybrid choices to its customers, as it begins to introduce plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (BEVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) in 2015 in global markets.” The company is going heavy for hybrid – it is developing what it calls a Prius family “marketing strategy” as well as plans for “eight all new hybrid models over the next few years” that “will not include next generation versions of current hybrids; instead, they will be all new dedicated hybrid vehicles, or all new hybrid versions of existing gas engine models.”

image via Toyota

image via Toyota

As for the FT-CH concept, which is actually being considered as a production model, Toyota says compared to the Prius, “it is 22 inches shorter in overall length, yet loses less than an inch in overall width.” The CH stands for compact hybrid, with the car designed to capture “the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment.” It is lighter in weight and “even more” fuel efficient than the Prius and is targeted towards a lower price point for a “younger, less-affluent buyer demographic.”

I am the editor-in-chief and founder for EarthTechling. This site is my desire to bring the world of green technology to consumers in a timely and informative matter. Prior to this my previous ventures have included a strong freelance writing career and time spent at Silicon Valley start ups.