Italdesign-Giugiaro and Toyota have collaborated to produce a stunning new concept for the Geneva Motor Show. It features the new Lexus RX400h’s hybrid powertrain, combined with a carbon fibre chassis and sports car body engineered and produced by the famous Italian style and development company.
With a top speed of 250 km/h, 0-100 km/h acceleration in a scorching 4.03 seconds, and a range of some 700 km, the Toyota Alessandro Volta concept car proves it is possible to offer high performance in a car whose green credentials are unimpeachable. The car is named after Alessandro Volta, the Italian scientist who discovered the battery.
The hybrid powetrain is mounted in a midship position, as the front wheels are powered by the second electric motor, generating 4-wheel traction without the need for a transmission shaft. Consequently, the vehicle’s flat floor permitted Italdesign to house three passengers in a 4.3-metre long coupe which is slightly narrower than 2 meters.
The Toyota Alessandro Volta is a styling exercise aimed at exploring new applications of the Hybrid synergy Drive technology. Toyota is proud to have collaborated with the prestigious Italdesign-Giugiaro on a concept that further demonstates the potential and flexibility of the Hybrid Synergy Drive technology.
Toyota furnished to Italdesign-Giugiaro a derivative of its ultimate hybrid system, the one adopted on the Lexus RX 400. On the Volta, the 3.3 liter V6 petrol engine is fitted behind the rear axle and not connected directly to the wheels. Indeed, motion is ensured by two electrically powered engines, one per axle thereby securing all-wheel drive and enhanced safety .As such, this mechanical layout paves the way to eliminating the traditional transmission and gearbox longitudinal encumbrance.
Housed under the lightweight, carbon-fiber chassis are the batteries weighing 154 lbs (70 kg). ”Without doubt, 70 kg of batteries represent a significant increase in weight. However, it should be recalled that an all-wheel drive for a mid/upper range model caps 100/120 kgs. As such, resorting to the hybrid has paved the way towards creating a compact, light and socially responsible sports car with allwheel drive,” says Fabrizio Giugiaro.
‘As a rule, Fabrizio Giugiaro confirms, a sports car with a central engine expands lengthwise: engine, drivetrain and suspension push through significant weight and occupy significant space to the detriment of passenger legroom. With Alessandro Volta, we have confirmed the same performances attaining better weight distribution and more comfortable seating. Indeed, thanks to the flat floor, I set my mind to building a decidedly innovative interior geared towards the 3-seat offering and a flexible steering wheel and pedal board clamping.”
As a result of adopting the By Wire technology, the pedal board and steering wheel can slide along strips, whether to the right, center or left.
Also for the Volta, Italdesign-Giugiaro went beyond the shell, utilizing its testing and engineering department to design the carbon fiber chassis, the push-rods and the mechanisms regulating pedal/steering column block traslability, whilst its prototyping construction workshops to finailize the styling model and operational prototype.
”With the Volta – Fabrizio Giugiaro concludes – we have reconciled top performance with low gas emissions and noiseless operation. And when one drives through a historic town center, a supercar of this genre does not fret at low speed: at 20/30 km/h, the driver can switch to the absolutely silent electric engine. Sheer pleasure from the historic town center to the racetrack”
Story by Italdesign-Giugiaro S.p.A. & Toyota Motor Europe S.A./N.V., edited by Supercars.net