Despite the company's affinity for hybrid electric powertrain, Toyota's technological eggs are not placed solely in one basket. In fact, the automaker doesn't expect hybrids to even account for 20 percent of its global volume by 2020. As a result, the company's expanding its interests to refining the internal combustion engine, notably via direct fuel injection and turbocharging.
Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota’s executive vice president in charge of R&D, told Automotive News that, "in the next five years, the general trend is downsizing of engines and the use of turbochargers."
He must have been referring specifically to Toyota, because downsizing and turbocharging is a general engineering trend that's been underway for the better part of the past decade. Companies such as Volkswagen, Audi, Ford, Hyundai, and Mazda to name a few have been using direct injection and turbos for years to increase fuel economy.
Uchiyamada-san also explained that he foresees Toyota using the new engine tech across its range -- meaning you'll see it rolled out in everything from a Corolla to a Crown --, and that stop/start systems and variable valve timing improvements will also be a part of the solution.
If Toyota's renewed focus on conventional engines tells us anything, it's that there's no one single solution to improving fuel economy and curtailing emissions while keeping manufacturing costs low. Finding the best combination of technology for every application is key to Toyota's -- or any automaker's -- future success.
Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)