2010 Detroit Auto Show: Toyota FT-CH Hybrid Concept Might Join Prius Family


Photo: Michael Graham Richard
Prius Might Become a Family, 8 New Hybrid Models Coming
Maybe the rumors that have been floating around for a long time were true... Toyota said during its press event at the 2010 Detroit Auto Show that they are considering turning the Prius brand into a family of vehicles. Things are still very hazy, but what we know is that the company plans to introduce 8 new hybrid models in the coming few years (new models, either dedicated or hybrid versions of existing gas vehicles, but not refreshes of existing hybrids), and that the FT-CH hybrid concept is one of the models under consideration right now. Read on for more details about it.
Photo: Toyota
FT-CH Hybrid Concept: A kind of teenage Prius (Slightly Awkward)
"The FT-CH is a concept that would address Toyota's stated strategy to offer a wider variety of conventional hybrid choices to its customers, as it begins to introduce plug-in hybrids (PHVs) and battery electrics (BEVs) in model year 2012, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCHVs) in 2015 in global markets."


Photo: Toyota

The "CH" in the name stands for "compact hybrid", and that's pretty much exactly what it is. In fact, if you mentally remove all the things that are obviously "concept" about it, it's pretty easy to imagine what a production version would look like. A kind of teenage Prius: "Compared to Prius, it is 22 inches shorter in overall length, yet loses less than an inch in overall width."


Photo: Michael Graham Richard

Hopefully, if the FT-CH makes it to production - under a better name - it will be significantly cheaper than the Prius and allow people who would like a hybrid but can't afford one to make the jump. This could be another hit for Toyota, at least until 100% electric cars and plug-in hybrids are inexpensive enough for the mainstream.

Of course, it's still better to not drive a car whenever possible (walk, bike, take transit, telecommute). But if you're going to drive, find the most fuel-efficient model that fits your needs.

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Tags: Detroit Auto Show | Hybrid Cars | Toyota | Transportation