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Toyota Prius, Hybrid Camry and 1/x

...the Japanese carmaker is revealing three new cars, the 1/X, third-generation Prius and Hybrid Camry Concept Vehicle.

Each in their own way presents Toyota's vision of the future, according to Toyota marketing chief, David Buttner.

"It's no coincidence that all three cars have hybrid drive technology," he said.

The 1/X presents a vision of tomorrow while the Prius hybrid and Camry concept hybrid point to just what's around the corner.

The Prius goes on sale later this year for under $40,000 and the Camry hybrid, to be built at Toyota's Altona plant, hits showrooms next February.

The Camry hybrid will be built alongside the 2.4-litre petrol Camry and is expected to cost between $3000 and $4000 more.

Using the Camry sedan as the base, the HCCV gets more streamlined aerodynamics to improve fuel economy.

The third-generation 1.8-litre Prius showcases some new technologies, including a solar-powered ventilation and remote air conditioning system that works when the car is parked.

The car will also be the first car in Australia with C02 emissions below 100grams a kilometre.

The 1/X, pronounced one-Xth, gets its name because it uses hybrid-powered technology that has a fraction of the environmental footprint of today's cleanest cars.

Buttner describes it as a car for "post 2020".

Toyota is already developing the car's potential, looking at sustainable seaweed as a source of materials.

The 500cc rear drive 1/X is made from light-weight carbon fibre and weighs just 420kg, less than half the weight of a Corolla but delivers similar performance to the 1.8-litre petrol hatch.

"But carbon fibre is oil based and oil is a finite resource," he says.

"Post-2020 it is likely vehicles like the 1/X will be made of plant-based plastic, which has just been invented."

Buttner says the car is realistically a decade away but some of the innovations could make it to market earlier.

Toyota expects to replace the carbon fibre body with one made of plast-based plastice, called eco-plastic.

By 2020 Toyota has vowed to have a hybrid powertrain available across all its models, from the Yaris right up to the LandCruiser.

* The Melbourne Motor Show starts at 5pm on Friday at the Melbourne Exhibiton Centre.


The 2009 Melbourne International Motor Show...


Neil McDonald
Contributing Journalist
Neil McDonald is an automotive expert who formerly contributed to CarsGuide from News Limited. McDonald is now a senior automotive PR operative.
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