Toyota’s FT-CH is aimed at making hybrid cars attractive to youth.
“The concept specifically targets a lower price point than Prius, thus appealing to a younger, less-affluent buyer,” Toyota Motor Sales US president Jim Lentz said at the unveiling in Detroit. “It captures the spirit and functionality of a car that thrives in the inner-city environment; sized right to be nimble, responsive and manoeuvrable.”
The FT-CH -- CH for "compact hybrid" – was penned at Toyota's European design center in Nice, France, and is about 56cm shorter and but only about 2cm narrower. Lentz said the car is also lighter and more fuel efficient than the current Prius, but only an inch narrower.
The concept will likely turn into a production model that will help spearhead Toyota’s plans to develop the single-model Prius into a family of hybrids, with eight new cars coming “over the next few years,” Luntz said. "The strategy is still taking shape and obviously will require additional models," Lentz said. "The FT-CH is a concept that we are considering."
“The issue of range is also a challenge to overcome. Even at 100 miles (160km), battery-electric vehicles as a primary mode of transportation do not yet offer what most consumers see as true mobility. Toyota believes these are hurdles that will be cleared.”