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Friday, March 27, 2009

Toyota's Hybrid Camry Concept Vehicle unveiled

Toyota has premiered its HC-CV (Hybrid Camry Concept Vehicle) ahead of the 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show in Australia. Using the same continuously variable transmission layout as a Toyota Prius, the new Hybrid pairs a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and battery pack, with the familiar Camry exterior lines tweaked in favor of aero efficiency.

The HC-CV is basically a body kitted Camry with the emphasis on aero efficiency. The front gets sharp lines, vertical fog lamps, larger lower opening and a streamlined upper grille. The sharp corners indicate aerodynamic efficiency, although sharp corners are more commonly found on the rear end of a vehicle to improve clean air separation. The "aero" theme continues along the side skirts, which flow into the rear diffuser, giving a sporty, functional appearance. The flat rear spoiler further enhances aero efficiency. The front fog lights and rear taillights are all LED lamps.

The new car is the second Camry to have a hybrid option as it follows the Hybrid Camry currently produced and sold in Japan and America. During spirited driving, the petrol and electric engines work together to provide 143kW of power. However when at a standstill or under light acceleration the car runs on battery power alone, with the battery being recharged via brake regeneration. If the US Camry hybrid version in any indication, the Australian based Camry Hybrid should get 7.1L/100km — a normal manual four-cylinder Camry uses 8.9L/100km.

Plans for the new hybrid was announced by Toyota Australia in June 2008 when it received $70 Million in taxpayer dollars for the project. Toyota plans to build 10,000 Camry Hybrids per year and the production version will be Australia’s first locally produced hybrid.

The premiere marks the start of a 12-month countdown to the car's launch and according to the company's senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner, the concept being shown in Melbourne "is a strong pointer to the hybrid Camry we will manufacture right here in Australia from early next year."

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