SPIED: Possible Toyota Tundra Hybrid
Could Toyota be working on a Hybrid Tundra? Our sources say yes. One of our spy photographers recently captured a Toyota Tundra prototype driving the streets in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The photographer followed the Tundra for at least 3 miles. At two different stoplights he could hear the familiar Hybrid Synergy Drive hum coming from the truck. At 25 to 35 mph the engine would kick on.
One of the notable things on this Tundra prototype: the narrow tires. A Tundra spied back in January had regular-size tires. Also on the Tundra is a street sweeper-type piece disguising its rear axle and suspension. We noticed an additional piece of plastic that runs almost the length of the bed underneath, completely shielding any side view of the underside. The truck also has the regular black camo disguising the normal badging and body lines. This tells us Toyota is going to great lengths to prevent anyone from seeing underneath. We can speculate the Tundra has some sort of prototype suspension and axle consistent with a possible Hybrid Synergy drivetrain.
The Hybrid Synergy Drive System is technology used on Toyota's vehicles. The technology allows the vehicle to run on the electric motor only and combines an electric drive and planetary gearset. There is no direct mechanical connection to the engine and controls. Information is sent via the vehicle's computer system. The computer controls the power coming from the engine and electric motor and adapts it to different driving conditions the vehicle is experiencing for the greatest efficiency and performance.
A source at Toyota says the Tundra will use a version of the company's 3.5L turbocharged V-6 engine in combination with an electric motor. The truck is also rumored to have a lithium-ion battery system.
Photos courtesy of Spiedbilde.