TRANSPORTATION TUESDAY: Toyota’s Lightweight 1/X Concept

by , 04/08/08

toyota, 1/x, hybrid, ultra-lightweight vehicle, lightweight car, fuel efficient car, concept car, transportation tuesday

It seems like every other day now that a car company announces a new concept that is redefining what it means to be an environmentally friendly vehicle. However, when Toyota says it, we tend to take a closer look. It was Toyota, after all, that created the Prius, the standard to which all subsequent hybrid vehicles are measured. The Toyota 1/x concept, which recently appeared at the Chicago Auto Show, is Toyota’s latest attempt at redefining what a green vehicle means. And to them, it is all about making it weigh less.

toyota, 1/x, hybrid, ultra-lightweight vehicle, lightweight car, fuel efficient car, concept car, transportation tuesday

The name 1/X refers to the reduced amount of weight, emissions and fuel consumption that the vehicle has compared to that of other similar vehicles in its class. It is made from a carbon fiber reinforced plastic frame, that is quite strong but much lighter than conventional framing system. The shape of the vehicle is a result of a desire by Toyota’s designers to create a smaller space, that would have a feeling of openness. It has the same amount of space as a Prius, yet weighs about a third.

The roof is transparent, heat and noise insulating, and made from a bio-plastic derived from kenaf and ramie plants. The seats of the vehicle are extremely light, yet, according to Toyota, quite comfortable. The entire front of the vehicle is clad in an LED lighting system that provides a soft glow, illuminating the entire front surface of the vehicle. And, due to the light weight of the vehicle, the 1/X’s wheels are smaller and thinner than those of a regular vehicle. They have even reduced the amount of water splashed by the tires when traveling on wet surface.

The 1/x is meant to operate at a fuel efficiency that is double that of the Prius. It comes with a plug-in hybrid unit and a small fuel-engine. This design, combined with the lightness of the car means that it can travel for over 600 miles on a four-gallon tank of fuel. Overall, a pretty impressive technology package from Toyota.

+Toyota 1/X Concept Makes North American Debut At 2008 Chicago Auto Show

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  1. pnonso April 11, 2008 at 12:46 am

    @dick nellis:

    You would be correct if E85 was 85% gasoline and 15% ethanol. I believe, however, that E85 (“Ethanol 85″) is 85% ETHANOL and 15% gasoline. The 15% gasoline helps vehicles start in cold weather where conventional ethanol would not.

  2. organicgrid April 10, 2008 at 1:12 am

    I would actually drive this, nice.

  3. dick nellis April 8, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Have you checked your Gas Milage lately? Every body that I talk to says their gas milage is dropping. I always believed that ethanol was the way to go. But now New York requires that all motor fuel contain ethanol. I’m learning from experience that it doesn’t work. For every mile I drive, I’m burning almost 45% more fuel on the mix of ethanol/gasoline. My MPG was around 26 miles per gal, now it is around 18 MPG. Think of all the pollution that this creates. Even if ethanol is lower in pollution per gallon burned, a 45% increase in consumption would not be offset by a small reduction per gallon of fuel.

    I found this government web site, which shows the fuel economy for the 2008 vehicles. On page 23 (page 25 in the pdf file) it lists the expected fuel milage for vehicles using E85 fuel (85% gasoline and 15% ethanol), and the expected fuel milage for the same vehicles using gasoline without ethanol.

    The expected milage of any one of these vehicles is so much greater using Gasoline than the E85 ethanol that it offsets all possible benefits of using the ethanol fuel. For example the first vehicle on the page is a Chrysler Sebring Convertible with a 2.7 V-6 engine and automatic transmission, it gets 18 MPG city and 26MPG highway on Gasoline and 13 MPG city and 19 MPG highway on E85 ethanol fuel. Driving 1000 miles in the city on Gasoline this vehicle would use 55.55 gallons of Gasoline, while on E85 fuel it would use 76.92 gallons of E85. At 85% Gasoline and 15% ethanol, it has used 65.38 gallons of Gasoline AND 11.53 gallons of ethanol. This is 17.696% more gasoline that when it uses gasoline only. And it is 38.8469% more fuel that when it uses gasoline only. We could save 17% on our use of gasoline if we removed the ethanol and just burned straight gasoline. That doesn’t include the ethanol we are burning.

    Using E85 instead of Gasoline this vehicle has increased total fuel usage by 9.83 gallons of Gasoline and 11.53 gallons of ethanol, increased the cost per gallon, depleted a valuable food source raising the price of food around the world, and increasing the amount of pollution in the atmosphere. But on the positive side it has increased the Oil Company’s profits and increased the local governments gasoline tax and sales tax revenues. The internet is a great tool for finding data, if the web site can be trusted. The next web site is also a government web site, so I think it is reliable. “Gasoline Production and Imports (Million Barrels per Day)” This shows that we used about 8.806 million barrels of gasoline per day in March of this year. At 55 gallons per barrel 8.806 x 55 = 484.33 million gallons of gasoline per day. That is 484,330,000 gallons per day. If we removed the ethanol and saved 17% on gasoline, we would need 82,336,100 fewer gallons every day. At $3.28 per gallon, the public could spend $270,062,400.00 per day on other things. This does not include the cost of the ethanol additive! We got the lead out, how do we get the Ethanol out?

  4. Jazspin April 8, 2008 at 3:31 pm

    I saw this there! It’s pretty badass looking – like what would happen if James Bond went green. I wonder how different the actual version will end up being from the concept, however. New eco-friendly vehicle development is always good though!

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