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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Toyota plans electric Tesla Roadster rival [VIDEO]

Toyota is planning an all-electric sports car to rival the Tesla Roadster as part of a host of new performance models planned in the coming years.

Naohiko Saito, Toyota’s handling guru, has said the electric powertrain previewed in the Toyota 2000GT EV at the Goodwood Festival of Speed is “an early part of the development process involved in refining the technology”. He added that the technology would be seen first in a city car before being developed for a sports car.

That could involve mating a manual gearbox to the electric drivetrain, something which is being developed in the 2000GT EV. It channels power through an electric motor and works in conjunction with an inverter that alters torque levels being sent to the wheels depending on the ratio chosen.

Hiroyuki Ogawa, Toyota’s advanced drivetrain engineering chief, said there was “a desire to use a manual gearbox in our electric and hybrid sports cars”.

He added the CVT gearbox was “efficient but not fun”, and the manual ’box “promises much better feel for the driver”. A production manual hybrid from Toyota is at least three years away, he confirmed.

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