March 7, 2007 Toyota ripped the covers off its Hybrid X at the Geneva Motor Show overnight with the reveal of a concept car that proposes a new design language for hybrid models, while also acting as an innovative technology showcase for future generation hybrid cars. Hybrid X is designed as a four-door, four-seat open-space concept and further extends the use of its Hybrid Synergy Drive.
Hybrid X follows the core values of the Toyota brand design philosophy under two consistent themes: J-Factor and Vibrant Clarity. J-Factor refers to the local and global acceptance of Japanese-inspired design and cultural form, while Vibrant Clarity is the design language used to express the J-Factor. Through Vibrant Clarity, designers will infuse future vehicles with a completely original identity and emotional intensity that will be uniquely identifiable as coming from Toyota.
Interior designer, Laurent Bouzige, says: “Hybrid X is conceived as a multi-sensory experience. There is a formal style in the shape of the vehicle and the material used but every other reaction is linked to the passengers’ senses of sound, smell, sight and touch through interactive ambience.”
The strongest form element of the exterior shape is the two ‘U’ shapes created by the massive upper glass frame area and the unconventional A and C pillars. When viewed from above this gives the impression of a vast X – hence the name of the concept, Hybrid X.
The U-shaped pillars allow the general shape of Hybrid X to achieve a superior aerodynamic form, which is further enhanced by smooth surface lines and the integrated rear spoiler.
At the same time, the glass area greatly enhances visibility to create an ‘open-space’ concept which ‘frames the vision’ in all directions, including up.
Access and innovation are features of the rear-hinged passenger doors which open electronically at the touch of a button. Dynamic hints of driving performance are provided by the customised 20-inch alloy wheels with ultra-low profile 225/40 R20 tyres.
The smooth, aerodynamic lines of the front are unbroken by headlamps. Instead, these are integrated into the dashboard and are now part of the car’s interior. These LED lamps are ‘intelligent’ and display graphic forms through animation, adopting the interactive concept of Hybrid X to communicate safety information to pedestrians or other drivers, such as safety distances, acceleration and braking.
Across the rear the energy-efficient LED lights form another U shape, reflecting the design signature of vehicle as a whole.
The driver can set the ambience within the car via an interface controlling the four senses of sight, sound, touch and smell. LED lighting systems within the car provide a variety of illumination and change in harmony with different musical backgrounds. A perfume diffuser fills the air with a gentle, relaxing aroma, while the use of many different materials and textures on the interior surfaces provides variety to the touch.
The drive-by-wire steering pad features a central screen that relays vital information to the driver about the energy flow path, fuel consumption and gear position. Interactive navigation and Bluetooth connectivity are provided by a second screen in front of the driver.
A third touch screen in the console controls the ambience settings, such as the entertainment and audio systems, lighting operation and air conditioning. A sensitive touch control on the steering pad allows the driver to switch the information displayed on the screens.
The space saving seats are formed using injected foam techniques, which make them comfortable and reduce weight. In order to further promote human interaction, the two independent rear seats can be swivelled by 12 degrees to let passengers enjoy the scenery or a more intimate tête-à-tête.
For now, it is clear Hybrid X is an innovative vehicle that conceives how Hybrid Synergy Drive technology can deliver economical, cleaner and more comfortable motoring. It is a step closer to Toyota’s vision of the ultimate environmental driving technology and its design will influence the entire Toyota brand and its hybrid models in the future.
Hybrid X has been created and developed by Toyota’s European styling centre, ED2, in the south of France. It proposes unconventional creative solutions that will themselves potentially become the signature points of a specific hybrid identity.
Hybrid X has the dimensions of a conventional family car with an overall length of 4,500mm and wheelbase of 2,800mm. The width is 1,850mm and height 1,440mm.