| TOKYO, April 10
TOKYO, April 10 Toyota Motor Corp is
introducing a new series of engines that will boost vehicle fuel
efficiency by at least 10 percent, as carmakers strive to
improve performance against a backdrop of rising fuel costs and
tighter emissions controls.
Toyota will introduce 14 engine models in the new series
over the next two years, starting off with 1.0 litre and 1.3
litre gasoline engines, it said in a statement on Thursday.
The world's biggest car maker by sales volume has for years
focused on gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains as a way of
improving fuel efficiency, but outside Japan conventional
engines remain much more popular than hybrids.
Rivals such as Ford Motor Co, Volkswagen AG
and Honda Motor Co have focused more on
small engines with added features such as turbochargers.
"We have been prioritising hybrids but there are still
customers seeking cars that are not hybrids," said Shouji
Adachi, an engineer in Toyota's powertrain planning department.
"Meanwhile other car makers without hybrid technology are
becoming more competitive in that area and we need to do
something about that," Adachi said.
The launch comes at a sensitive time for Toyota's image
after it announced this week its second-largest recall ever
targeting more than 6 million vehicles globally.
Hybrid vehicles, including the Prius, accounted for around
14 percent of Toyota's global sales in 2013, with most of that
coming from Japan.
Toyota said the new engine range would draw on technology
gained from gas-electric hybrids, but would also use a number of
other innovations to improve performance.
Gasoline-driven cars currently utilise at most around 35
percent of the fuel's energy, with the rest lost mainly to heat
and friction. To improve that, Toyota has used techniques such
as making the engine combustion more rapid by controlling the
amount and the speed of the air that goes into the combustion
In its new 1.0 litre and 1.3 litre engines Toyota improved
peak thermal efficiency to between 37 and 38 percent, it said.
In future the group aims to boost peak thermal efficiency to
40 percent and more, Adachi said.
(Editing by David Holmes)