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Toyota's vision: a hyper hybrid

2012-01-12 08:01

BRIGHT FUTURE: Toyota's NS4 presents the automaker's latest vision for the future.

DETROIT, Michigan - Toyota has revealed its “vision of the future” as a plug-in hybrid concept called the NS4 that has a special focus on connectivity and safety.

The NS4's power train has smaller components and is lighter than other systems to reduce overall fuel economy, improve acceleration and to achieve a greater battery-only driving range.

The concept also signals a new styling direction for Toyota.The  NS4 shows off a trapezoidal grille with a floating lower spoiler and stand-out daytime running lights. The rear light clusters "wrap dramatically around the sides of the vehicle". There’s also talk, but no pictures, of "swan-wing" doors – are those similar to gullwing doors, we wonder?


Leaving the sheet metal behind, Toyota also talks of its “special alliances with technology leaders” such as Microsoft and Intel, recognising that modern users see their cars as another communication hub in their lives.

Toyota NS4 concept

BIG TECH: Toyota has teamed up with technology leaders on its NS4 concept.

The NS4 concept uses a human-machine interface (HMI) centred on a touch screen with the look and feel of a smart phone. Described as “simple” and “intuitive”, the system is intended to convey information quickly while minimally distracting the driver.


The HMI will also control aircon, audio and satnav functions, monitor battery power and "lear" the driver's preferences to anticipate his or her response in various environments and situations.

Toyota NS4 concept

COLLISION AVOIDANCE: The NS4 concept's safety technology promises to be top-notch, too.

Additional safety features include a pre-collision system with lane departure and pedestrian collision avoidance technologies. The system uses millimetre-wave radar and stereo cameras mounted on the front of the vehicle to detect and react to lane deviations, pedestrians and other vehicles. If a collision is imminent it will try to avoid other vehicles, road-side obstructions and humans by braking and manipulating the steering.

The pop-up bonnet automatically rises to cushion a pedestrian's impact.

Other cool NS4 technologies use cameras instead of rear-view mirrors; the camera images are displayed on a fascia-mounted screen.

The NS4 is on show at the 2012 North American International Auto show in Detroit.

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