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Filed under: Concept Cars, Hybrid, Geneva Motor Show, Europe, Toyota

If what Toyota tells us about the FT-Bh is true, it's not some futuristic fantasy, but a design study that points to what a next generation Yaris hybrid might look like. With an unbelievably low, sub-1,800-pound curb weight and a 0.235 coefficient of drag, the FT-Bh uses minimalist design rather than sci-fi technology to achieve 112 miles per gallon.

The FT-Bh packs a two-cylinder, one-liter gas engine that runs on the Atkinson cycle, and uses lithium-ion batteries for it's hybrid drive system. Toyota says a compressed natural gas hybrid and a plug-in hybrid version would also be possible.

But what's really impressive about the FT-Bh is its massive weight reduction. Toyota says it managed to reduce the mass of the car by 25 percent when compared to the current Yaris. Much of that came in the interior parts and trim, which weigh half that of the production car. Toyota says that this drastic diet also makes possible a low center of gravity - just over 21 inches - that helps improve the FT-Bh's handling.

While the FT-Bh may look a little weird - we're reminded of how odd the Prius looked before we'd gotten used to the shape - this may well be what the next generation of hybrids will look like. While Toyota has thrown out some branding buzzwords to describe the FT-Bh's "Ecomotion" theme (or is that "Under Priority" design language? or "Keen Look" styling?) the bottom line is that it's all about aerodynamics. This is why the FT-Bh uses cameras rather than side-view mirrors and doesn't have door handles. It's also why the front end has those "air curtain" intakes and there's an underfloor spoiler in the rear.

While we certainly wouldn't expect to see something so radical roll off a production line next year, as the company shows more concepts like this and the NS4 it showed at Detroit, it seems that Toyota wants its next hybrid designs to be as revolutionary as its first.

Check out our galleries of live and official photos, and see below for the full press release.Continue reading Minimalist Toyota FT-Bh Concept boasts 112 miles per gallon

Minimalist Toyota FT-Bh Concept boasts 112 miles per gallon originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 07 Mar 2012 15:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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