By January 5, 2013 Read More →

The new Toyota Avalon Hybrid

Toyota Avalon’s Hybrid Synergy Drive uses a 2.5-liter four-cylinder employing the Atkinson cycle to postpone closure of the intake valves and delay the compression cycle, helping reduce intake and exhaust energy losses to improve fuel efficiency. Engine efficiency is further enhanced by using a roller-rocker valvetrain, a variable output oil pump, and an electric water pump to reduce frictional losses. The engine also features VVT-i on the intake side and a revised combustion chamber shape for the Atkinson application. The gasoline engine alone is rated at 156 horsepower at 5,700 rpm.

The efficient Atkinson cycle four-cylinder is attached to a hybrid application transaxle that acts as a power-split device between the gasoline engine and the two high output electric motors housed in the transaxle. The transmission operates similarly to a CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission), but it houses a planetary gear arrangement that allows for switching between, and even combining propulsion sources (power split device). The transaxle also houses the open differential. One of the motor/generators (MG1) is driven by the engine and functions as a starter and generates electrical power to operate the second electric motor/generator (MG2) and charge the hybrid battery. The second motor (MG2) operates independently to help the gasoline engine and deliver smooth application of electric power from a standing start and when accelerating. The regenerative braking supplied by the MG1 motor also helps slow the vehicle while recovering lost energy and converting it to electricity that is returned to the battery. The electric motors are rated at 105 kW total, and the total system output for the Avalon’s Hybrid Synergy Drive is rated at 200 horsepower. The Avalon Hybrid will accelerate from 0 to 60 in about 8.0 seconds.

The Avalon Hybrid has an EV Mode, ECO Mode and SPORT Mode, with indicators appearing on the color display of the meter cluster. The EV Mode utilizes the battery energy to propel the vehicle using only the electric motor for about one mile at speeds of up to 20 miles per hour when conditions are ideal. The ECO Mode prioritizes fuel-efficient driving by reducing throttle response and energy consumption from the HVAC system to conserve energy. The Sport Mode helps create greater throttle response and acceleration, and a more positive steering feel through the EPS. The structural weight management of the Avalon design benefits the Avalon Hybrid as the premium sedan tips the scales at only 3,585 lbs., which is only 124 lbs. heavier than the gasoline model. Reduced weight, clean aerodynamics and an efficient Hybrid drivetrain combine to give this sedan a combined 40 mpg EPA-rating (40 city/39 hwy). Taking the Avalon’s 17-gallon fuel tank into consideration, the Avalon Hybrid can offer amazing range from one tank (theoretically, up to 680 miles considering the EPA-rated fuel economy).

The hybrid model is distinguished by blue-trimmed Toyota emblems at the front and rear of the vehicle. In addition to unique hybrid badges located on the trunk lid, front doors and a hidden exhaust outlet.


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