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Hybrid sensation

Source: Howstuffworks.Com
Saturday, February 09, 2013

When you hear the team hybrid vehicles, one would think of a small car with electric motor and a gasoline engine inside. Hybrid are slightly smaller than most of the other cars because most manufacturers really want to push the fuel efficiency angle in their design, and the less weight on a vehicle.

So, chances are they'll think of a pickup truck. Although there have been a couple of attempts at introducing a hybrid truck concept into the auto market, including a hybrid version of the 2005 Silverado from General Motors, big trucks with an emphasis on fuel economy and hybrid technology simply aren't too visible.

But Toyota, has introduced a new hybrid truck called the Toyota A-BAT, which stands for "Advanced Breakthrough Aero Truck."

The interesting new hybrid truck was developed at Calty, a company research facility in Newport Beach, California. The mention of the Toyota Prius should come as no surprise, the A-BAT has a similar look and feel to its smaller cousin, and you'll find much of the same technology under the truck's hood.

With a different function comaprted to Toyota's Hybrid Prius for everyday commuters, the A-BAT has the ability to carry heavy loads. This might be especially enticing to eco-minded homeowners who are looking for a vehicle that has the space necessary for certain home improvement projects. The added bonus is the A-BAT has fuel economy and lower emissions.

An opposite image most people have in their heads when they think of the large utility vehicles currently on the road.

So what does Toyota have in store for the A-BAT?

The A-BAT doesn't look like any of the older pickup trucks on the road. Instead, the vehicle's design follows recent aerodynamic trends you'll find on several newer pickup trucks, including the Honda Ridgeline and the Chevy Avalanche.

In the A-BAT design, the exterior body panels that frame the edges of the rear cabin area don't fall straight down in a vertical line toward the bed of the truck.

Instead, a narrow line continues and connects further down the bed, giving the truck an improved aerodynamic design by creating smoother air flow.

The designers specifically used what they call "Vibrant Clarity," Toyota's design ethos, when they drew up plans for the A-BAT. And if you placed a Toyota Prius next to the Toyota A-BAT, you'd notice they're using this philosophy often.

The A-BAT and the Prius both share the same basic trapezoidal shape when you look at them from the side.

This unexpectedly long body design for a pickā€”up truck might make it look as though there's no room in the A-BAT's cargo bed for transporting things, but the truck's interior is customisable for either more passengers or additional bed space.

The inside begins as a four-person setup, and on the outside, a relatively small 4-foot (1.2-meter) bed.

However, with a series of sliding platforms and an open tailgate the A-BAT can transform into a truck with a two-person cab and an 8-foot (2.4-meter) long truck bed.

This means a long day of hauling four by eight sheets of plywood back and forth is possible, but a camping trip with the whole family isn't out of the question, either.

There's also a sliding roof panel that can move toward the front of the truck to accommodate taller objects, along with another sliding drawer underneath the truck bed for more storage.

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