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12 Jun 2006 | International News :

Tokyo, Japan - 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 clean 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.

1. Hybrid System Optimized for Minivan Use THS II with Motor Speed Reduction Device

• The THS II features a front motor speed reduction device that amplifies the torque from the front motor, efficiently conveys drive power, achieves smooth and powerful acceleration and contributes to the reduced size of the motor.
• The variable voltage system of the power control unit uses a booster circuit to increase the voltage supplied from the battery to the motors from 245V to 650V, increasing the power output of the front and rear motors.
• In addition to the higher speed and output front motor, the engine output has been increased to boost overall system output, providing dynamic performance with power to spare, going beyond its class.
• The hybrid system battery features improved cooling effectiveness and higher output. Installing the battery within the center console allows for versatile seat arrangements, equivalent to those of a regular gasoline-engine Estima, and a comfortable interior space.

2. High Fuel Efficiency, Low Emissions, Outstanding Driving Performance, Quieter Ride

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.

Outstanding Driving Performance

• The combination of a high-output, high-efficiency 2.4-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine with two high-performance motors provides the superior responsiveness characteristic of a hybrid vehicle with smooth, powerful acceleration that exceeds that of a conventional front-wheel-drive gasoline engine vehicle in the same class.

Acceleration during passing: 40-70km/h in 4.2 seconds (as measured by TMC)
Acceleration from start: 0-100km/h in 10.8 seconds (as measured by TMC)

Quiet Ride

• Road noise and engine noise have been reduced by the use of more sound-absorbing materials, the optimal distribution of vibration-controlling and sound-blocking materials and the use of noise-reducing windshield glass. Combined with the Estima Hybrid's ability to operate as an electric vehicle when starting up and operating at low speeds or with a light load on the powertrain, the result is a quiet ride, clearly distinct from that of a conventional gasoline-engine vehicle.

3. Increase in Driving Pleasure through Greater Maneuverability and Cruising Stability

• The E-Four (electric four-wheel-drive) system's high-output rear motor assists the engine and front motor as needed and continuously optimizes the allocation of power between the front and rear wheels, delivering levels of power and drivability under bad-weather and slippery conditions that are found only in a four-wheel-drive vehicle.

• The first VDIM used on minivans comes standard. It stabilizes the vehicle before it reaches a critical state by coordinating control and achieving an optimum balance among drive power, steering and braking, thus allowing higher preventive safety and dynamic capability.

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