Toyota is buckling down to develop new transmissions, engines with reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, and even improve their hybrid systems. Starting next year, the automaker will start introducing their new powertrain units and this rollout will continue through 2021.
Listed in Toyota’s latest news release is a 2.5-liter direct injection, inline-four gas engine that’s designed with improved thermal efficiency and energy loss reduction in mind. Thanks to high-speed combustion technology and a variable control system, we can see a thermal efficiency of 40% in gas engines and 41% in hybrids.
Then there are the new 8-speed and 10-speed automatic transmissions. To reduce minimize energy loss and increase efficiency, they are designed to be more compact and lighter than similar conventional transmissions. By using a new technique to process gear tooth surfaces, they managed to lower the coefficient of friction when the gears engage. Toyota claims that the Direct Shift-10AT gear changes are “among the world’s quickest” even though the number of gears have been increased compared to the Direct Shift-8AT. On top of all this, the new transmissions’ lower center of gravity will improve straight-line and cornering stability.
As for Toyota’s hybrid and plug-in hybrid technology, the plan is to improve fuel economy at high speeds in rear-wheel-drive vehicles and use the plug-in hybrid’s electric motor to provide direct driving power in addition to acting as a generator. Also, plug-in vehicles will get a large-capacity lithium-ion battery for a pure electric drive range of about 37 miles or more.
Overall, Toyota plans to release 17 versions of nine engines, 10 versions of four transmissions, and 10 versions of six new hybrid systems by 2021. By then, 60% of their vehicles sold annually in Japan, United States, Europe and China will feature the new powertrains.