Friday, November 20, 2009

Toyota Alphard Hybrid

Source by: http://www.hybrid-vehicles.net/toyota-alphard-hybrid-minivan.htm

The Toyota Alphard Hybrid Minivan is the sixth hybrid vehicle offered by Toyota (rolled out in 2003) and only in the Japanese market at this time.

The Toyota Alphard Hybrid Minivan sports the Toyota Hybrid System-CVT (or THS-C as they like to call it) including a 2.4-litre gasoline engine, front and rear electric motors, a continuously variable transmission (CVT), high-output hybrid battery pack and an E-Four electric four-wheel drive system.

According to Toyota, "The E-Four electric 4WD system provides better driving performance by using power from the rear-wheel drive motor to optimize electric power distribution to all four wheels according to driving conditions. It provides additional drive power when needed, such as when accelerating from a standing start or on slippery surfaces."

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Toyota goes on to say the it's the "E-Four electric 4WD system that regulates a rear-mounted, rear-wheel-propelling electric motor and coordinates electric power distribution to all four wheels. An ECB (Electrically Controlled Brake system) provides efficient wheel-by-wheel brake control."

The full-size Alphard Hybrid Minivan qualifies as an Ultra-Low Emissions Vehicle (ULEV), achieving levels 75-percent lower emissions than the Japanese government's 2000 benchmark. The 2.4-litre gasoline engine has been developed specifically for use in Toyota's hybrid systems and features a high-expansion ratio cycle that raises efficiency and reduces friction.

The Alphard Hybrid uses "by-wire" technology, that monitors brake pedal pressure and vehicle speed in order to calculate the optimum hydraulic pressure. By-wire works with the E-Four to maximize the collection of kinetic energy from braking for conversion into electric power.

The Alphard Hybrid Minivan can generate up to 1,500 watts and is equipped with standard 100-volt AC power outlets, allowing a wide range of appliances to be used, such as laptops and emergency lights. The electrical outlets can also be used to recharge items such as power-assisted bicycles and electric carts, adding a new dimension to leisure activities.

The Alphard Hybrid also offers some advanced safety features not seen on other hybrids. In fact, standard on the "G edition" and optional on standard grades are ( with a G-BOOK compatible DVD voice navigation system):

1. Blind Corner Monitor, which indicates the approach of other vehicles or pedestrians from the left and right
2. Back Guide Monitor with a color CCD camera and voice-guidance function, which uses signals from a steering sensor to calculate the likely reverse path during reversing and display it on the monitor screen
3. Lane-monitoring system that uses images from the Back Guide Monitor camera to measure the lateral distance to white or yellow lines on major highways and triggers an alarm when the distance falls below a pre-set level
4. Radar Cruise Control, which uses laser radar sensors and steering sensors to keep track of the vehicle's lane and any preceding vehicle and ensures that a safe distance is maintained in accordance with vehicle speed

In addition, optional on all grades is a built-in electronic toll collection unit that allows for quick tollgate pass-through (only available with a navigation system).
The Alphard Hybrid achieves approximately 42 mpg and boasts an insulated body and newly developed two-way compressor that is incorporated in the motor to optimize the use of the air conditioner, conserving fuel. The Alphard Hybrid's specially developed windshield glass also reduces the amount of solar radiation penetration. In addition, the roof and roof panels contain an insulating material to reduce cabin temperature, which helps conserve energy when the air conditioner is operating.

While only available in Japan, the Toyota Alphard Hybrid Minivan is worth checking out for those traveling to this location. The Alphard's sister vehicle, the Sienna Hybrid will most likely be the first hybrid minivan introduced into the U. S. marketplace though the schedule has not yet been announced. Toyota's smaller hybrid minivan, the Estima Hybrid is also only in Japanese markets and will likely not be rolled out to the larger marketplace anytime soon.

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