Toyota details its triple-motor, super capacitor-powered Yaris Hybrid-R


August 27, 2013

Independent 60-hp motors power each rear wheel

Independent 60-hp motors power each rear wheel

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Toyota has revealed the full powertrain details of the Yaris Hybrid-R concept that it teased a few weeks ago. The intriguing concept uses a 420-hp 4WD driveline that's derived from racing. In an interesting twist, Toyota uses a combination of super capacitor and motor-generator, in place of the battery pack that typically powers the motors in contemporary hybrids.

Toyota says that the super capacitor has a higher power density than an NiMH hybrid battery, along with faster charge/discharge speeds. This makes it suitable for the fast bursts of boosting power needed, both in the TS030 Hybrid race car and in the Yaris Hybrid-R, which Toyota envisions as a track-focused hot hatch. The super capacitor is charged via regenerative braking provided by the dual rear electric motors.

Each 60-hp motor is mounted at a rear wheel. These aren't electric mode, fuel economy-boosting supplements, but performance-enhancing boosters designed to quicken acceleration. In this capacity, they assist the 300-hp 1.6-liter four-cylinder turbo "Global Race Engine". That engine is mounted up front and works through a 6-speed sequential gearbox.

By mounting electric motors at each rear wheel, Toyota has developed a system that can split the torque, increasing cornering and handling capabilities. The automaker explains this more concisely than we can hope to, so we'll leave it to it:

"Depending on the radius of the curve, the system can send more torque to the outside rear wheel allowing higher cornering speeds into the corner (middle-speed curves), apply more braking force to the inside wheel (fast curves), or even brake and accelerate each wheel independently (slow curves) to adjust the yaw effect for a better line, to limit steering angle, and understeer."

As Toyota mentioned in its original teaser, the Yaris Hybrid-R has two driving modes, one for road and one for track. In road mode, the super capacitor powers the electric motors for boosts up to 10 seconds in duration. The combined power of the electric motors is slashed to 40 hp. In track mode, the motors shoot their full 120 horses out for up to five seconds, providing short, potent bursts.

The Hybrid-R has a third 60-hp motor, a non-drive unit. Located between the engine and the transmission, this motor is purely a generator, sending power to the super capacitor during deceleration and acting as a traction control device. In the latter role, the motor-generator sends power directly to the rear motors in cases where engine power and torque threaten to overwhelm the front tires and destabilize the car. The excess torque is converted into electric energy and routed to the rear wheels.

A 420-hp Yaris hybrid hot hatch with racing technology seems like the quintessential "never going to build it" concept car, but equally strange things have been known to happen. At the very least, you can look forward to moving beyond sketch and onwards to real, live photos when it debuts at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.

Source: Toyota

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work. All articles by C.C. Weiss

Please Toyota... Im begging you! MAKE THIS CAR!

I always thought generator cars would be a great alternative to save on fuel with a constant fuel intake that is very minimal. But then through in 420 HP Combined Electric Motors with AWD small car.... Sounds like a Win, Win, Win


Brilliant! Finally they get it! Figures it's called a never will build it car. But it actually will be part of many in the future. Make a camper van with this tech and regen shocks and millions will want it. VW has missed the boat. A diesel option would be nice.


I have been against any car with a battery, hybrid, Electric, volts....

THANK FULLY someone figured out that chemical batteries or even mechanical batteries are simply not suited for transportation.

I am so happy to see another car utilizing capacitors.

I wonder what happened to Hydraulic Hybrid Technology.

IF they had made one of these car instead of wasting billions of tax payer dollars on the volt we would have a much better world.


I've NEVER seen a Toyota before that I've liked. This interests me though...


Build it! The suggestion of vans or campers getting a boost to highway speeds is a good one. But forget diesel, PLEASE! - diesel particulates (mostly controlled) and nitrous oxide emissions (not so much) are making more pollution and danger to the sick and elderly in big cities than IC vehicles. The idea lacks merit, as only steady-state running seems to be good for diesels, variations of up or down speed seems to be the cause of most pollution.

The Skud

This is something so outside the box, I'd expect it to fall into their Scion line but, either way SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!

Brett Horne

So you smoke your tires off at the lights for five seconds and spin out of control, then quietly roll away at snail's place because you don't have any power left.

As a positive, this thing is viable because super caps are cheap and proven. The only money burners are the high power electric motors.

Give me a car with: 1. Supercharged 2.0 from the Cateraham 620 2. Modified Xtronic 3.6l rated CVT from Nissan 3. Four in wheel motors from the PML Electric Mini QED

It will be called the Super mini nissan, or SMINI, and it will be awesome.


the problem is, that nerds believe to save the world with more tech in bigger cars. The answer to fuel saving is more and more of less and less. Less weight, less speed, less hp.


@worf2 : True.

That's why I drive a SANDMAN bike or a TWIKE whenever I can, and a Toyota LandCruiser when I must.

Bart Viaene

Nairda, Yeah, after the capacitors are discharged your "only" left with 300hp.

worf2, The only way that low power, low velocity, small vehicles will become mainstream is if it's government mandated. I don't see that happening in the US.

Siegfried Gust

The skud is wrong about diesels- they now can pass emissions tests and are way better than in the past- besides they way we rate is wrong - if I can get 50-60 MPG+_ way less fuel is being used than the American guzzlers. Do you think the Europeans have not figured this out. I went up mountains for days in a small diesel there and would have been lucky to get one day here with any American car.


High-density capacitors are the future of motive power. Its funny that Chinese derived lithium has been the focus of western government sponsored programs to advance plug-in electrics when, in reality L-ion/L-ipo batteries have several fatal flaws including cost, weight, deformation, heat related operating problems and combustion upon exposure to air. They may have been the best we had at the time (6 years go) but that's primarily due to government "experts" falling in love with the idea of potential employment increases attached to well-lobbied green tech operations which they hoped would replace legacy industries (read: jobs shipped off to China by domestic corporations run by short-sighted "CEOs of the year").


Last time I was in the UK I had the pleasure of thrashing a Passat 2.0 tdi round Scotland for two weeks, charging off the line with the massive torque and punching past slow traffic. It was great to drive and I mostly drove fast. Not horribly illegal, but never hanging around. When I turned it in I had averaged 45 miles per US gallon (56 per UK gallon) and covered nearly 3500 miles. The only time I smelled diesel was behind an old truck. That car would pull 6th gear from 30 mph. Round town it had the rev range and torque to drive in 2nd, 3rd or 4th most of the time, there just wasn't any pressing need to change. Even Ford in the US is now offering the ecoboost engines with turbo charged direct injection they get significantly good gas mileage. So it's all very nice that Toyota is trying to foist these expensive and complex hybrids on the US, but they have neglected their normal engines that most people buy. My friends in the UK expect near 30mpg from the Land Cruiser diesel as well as 480 ft.lbs of torque. I feel like we are being mugged when I can only squeeze 18mpg out of the anemic v6 in the current 4Runner. I want a car for today, the future will come when it's practical.


If you are only going to have a launch system why use the expensive, rare earth element requiring electric motors? A hydraulic launch system will provide the same capability costing less without the potential explosion if the charged capacitors are shorted.


@skud: Study up on diesel, you're embarrassing yourself. VW's TDIs are the cleanest ICE vehicles available. They're also biodiesel-ready. The new Passat is the roomiest, quietest, most comfortable vehicle we tested and we're averaging 42mpg (70% hwy/30% city) so far this summer with AC blasting almost the whole time. And every VW owner says the mpg will keep getting better with age. Not to mention that 500k miles is a reasonable life expectancy for a well-maintained diesel. (Buying fewer cars is green.)

As for this Toyota, wtf? Is everybody suddenly a drag racer wannabe? How does it contribute to the solution? That's a rhetorical question for all you who don't acknowledge there's even a problem.

Fritz Menzel

I want one!

Jon Smith

Don't supercaps cost 2x or even 3x lithium batteries?!? This is NOT the killer-solution for widespreading of EVs!!


@ worf.

They will not save the world if no-one will buy them. Nobody wants a slow car. I certainly don't. Nobody would spend money on them.

Michael Wilson

Nice Job Toyota...I see tremendous applications in this hybrid propulsion design for aerospace, specifically general aviation. This hybrid propulsion system slightly modified could certainly contribute to short takeoff aircraft and even VTOL (vertical takeoff & landing) craft that have eluded the aero industry for ages.

These targeted application of a similar architecture and power source could drastically reduce air/ground traffic congestion, reduce emissions and noise footprints with "electrics" used for takeoff/landings and power recouped during decelerations air/ground and braking. There is a lot of incredible technology out there, it just has to be synthesized, converged and applied harmoniously for specific applications to achieve game changing paradigm shifting results and market acceptability for the masses.

Obviously if power reported with fuel usage is accurate, smaller power systems "could hit" the 100mpg mark with safe acceptable performance.

On the other hand, integrating add on technologies or enhancing devices could push power higher and at unprecedented specific fuel consumption levels that far exceed what Big Aerospace has pushed on the aviation community to date. It’s time to Innovate and deliver on these stunning concepts, hardware, software, computer & software capabilities to "move" humanity forward to safe, reliable, efficient, responsible and affordable transportation modalities.

My own just happen to be aircraft but there are others that are equally intriguing to develop and manufacture. The operative words for us all is...”Just Do It” and deal with Bureaucrats, Red Tape and "Nay Sayers" later if at all or leave them behind and on the ground.

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