Tokyo Motor Show Report: Toyota

Toyota’s theme for the upcoming 42nd Tokyo Motor Show is “Fun to Drive Again.” However, with four alternative fuel vehicles sharing the giant Japanese automaker’s spotlight, it seems very serious about the future of hybrid, electric and fuel cell vehicles.

Much of the early attention Toyota has garnered for its Tokyo display centers around the flashy Prius AVOS – the Automatic Vehicle Operation System – which is a self-driving version of a Prius that can come to its driver when summoned, avoid obstacles in its path and safely park itself.

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image via Toyota

Toyota will also put the bright lights on its new plug-in Prius one more time before the car starts rolling into showrooms in 2012. The $39,000 car features a lithium-ion battery paired with an inline, four-cylinder engine which together generate 134 horsepower. While the Prius will never be described as quick (zip to 60 in … a … very … modest … 11 seconds) the fuel efficiency number of 87 mpg is pretty exciting.

Toyota also plans to take the wraps of a four-seater electric vehicle, the FT-EV II. The micro car features funky joystick controls and Toyota sees it as a city car suitable for short-distance trips. The FT-EV II is expected to launch in early 2012

By 2015, Toyota plans on launching the FCV-R. The midsize sedan is being marketed as a practical, family-sized vehicle with a twist: it’s powered by hydrogen fuel cells. The company says the car will have a range of close to 450 miles.

Steve Duda lives in West Seattle, WA with three dogs and a lot of outdoor gear. A part-time fly fishing fishing guide and full-time writer, Steve’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Seattle Weekly, American Angler, Fly Fish Journal, The Drake, Democracy Now! and many others.