The latest new products from Toyota, such as the 2014 Corolla, feature distinct new sheet metal but almost nothing new under the hood, an issue that the brand is working diligently to solve.
Speaking with Automotive News, Koei Saga, senior managing officer in charge of drivetrain R&D said that Toyota is working on new turbocharging technology along with large displacement Atkinson cycle engines. New hybrid battery tech is also in the works alongside a new hydrogen fuel cell drivetrain.
One of the first examples of these new engines will find its way into the Lexus NX, a small crossover that is set to use a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder. However Saga doesn’t believe that turbos will proliferate the Toyota lineup, and that larger displacement Atkinson cycle engines are actually a more efficient answer.
When it comes to hybrid technology, Toyota still uses nickel-metal hydride batteries unlike most other OEMs who now use lithium ion. The next generation of Prius, due out in 2015, will use a combination of both batteries according to Saga, but the company is actively investigating lithium ion for sole use in upcoming products.
Fuel cell technology is also coming soon from Toyota, as the brand has plans to launch a hydrogen-powered vehicle in 2015. Developments in fuel cell technology will allow Toyota to sell its new hydrogen vehicle for between $50,000 and $100,000, and by 2020, for a comparative price to that of the brand’s hybrid vehicles.
New transmissions are also coming. The 2014 Corolla launched with a new CVT unit this year that is likely to spread to Toyota’s other small vehicles. When asked about a CVT for the Camry however, Saga said that a new automatic transmission is due, not a CVT.
[Source: Automotive News]
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