What do Toyota hybrid vehicle engineers do in their spare time? Do they even have spare time?
There are a couple times a year that I really wish I’d taken that BMW Powertrains job, but even if I had, I’m sure my lack of appropriate credentials would have kept me out of the prototyping department. Toyota hybrid vehicle engineers have got what it takes, however, as well as access to the right toys and parts, and time, to put it all together. Apparently, while not working on more important things, some Toyota engineers shook up a box of hybrid synergy drive parts and dumped it onto an old Toyota MR2 chassis.
After some tweaking to make it all work together, the resulting Toyota TE-S800 Roadster is quite impressive. The Roadster is powered by a combination of the same 115 hp 1.5ℓ 1NZ-FE internal combustion engine (ICE), which powers the Toyota Prius c, and the 102 hp electric motor and battery from the Toyota Prius Plug-In. Even packed into the old MR2 chassis, the car weighs less than 2,000 pounds and, with a total 217 hp, accelerates from zero to sixty miles per hour in 5.8 seconds. Just for comparison, the 2005 Toyota MR2 Spyder was powered by a 138 hp 1.8ℓ i4, weighed 2,216 pounds, and accelerated from zero to sixty mph in, (wow!) a full second slower?
Another interesting thing I can gather from this setup is that it would have some pretty impressive fuel economy, even though nothing is said about the Toyota TE-S800 Plug-In Hybrid Vehicle’s fuel-sipping capabilities. The Toyota Prius c, from which is taken the ICE, weighs in at 2,500 pounds, better than 500 pounds more than the TE-S800, and gets 50 mpg. If the Toyota TE-S800 was ever to be built, it would probably get even better fuel economy than the Prius c, if driven responsibly.
Unfortunately, the Toyota TE-S800, when it was revealed at the Tokyo Auto Salon, didn’t receive a whole lot of press. It was, after all, just a project car. Still, wouldn’t a 55 mpg hybrid vehicle, that’s also fun to drive, be a great addition to Toyota’s already-impressive lineup of hybrid vehicles?
Image © mikichan1984 (YouTube Screenshot)