Fabulous Toyota FT-1 Concept Is Ready to Drive January 14
- Stunning FT-1 Concept Vehicle Available January 14 as a Download for PlayStation®3 Exclusive Gran Turismo® 6
- Gran Turismo game engine used to pitch FT-1 concept to Toyota management
- High Performance FT-1 concept embodies Toyota’s vision for ultimate track-focused coupe
“Thanks to the amazing capability of the Gran Turismo game engine, gamers can enjoy a very real simulation piloting the ultra-high performance FT-1 on the tracks it was designed to master,” said Kevin Hunter, President of Calty Design Research, the group responsible for the FT-1design.
As part of the pitch process to top management that saw the FT-1 concept selected for construction and display on the international auto show circuit, Calty sought a way to help key executives (including Akio Toyoda) better experience the concept. Calty approached Polyphony about utilizing the Gran Turismo game physics to help create a driving simulator experience that could physically communicate the performance and emotion of the high-performance concept. For the day of design selection, the Polyphony team was able to bring the Toyota FT-1 to life in a virtual world that captured the excitement, passion, and performance conveyed by the concept model.
This exciting concept is a spiritual pacecar for Toyota’s future design direction. Penned by enthusiast designers at Toyota’s Calty Design Research facility in Newport Beach, California, the vibrant concept represents Toyota’s vision of the ultimate high-performance sports car. Its name is derived from Future Toyota (FT), and the number “1” as in ultimate. The unparalleled physics engine in GT6 will bring the FT-1 to life for a gaming community eager to get behind the wheel of this aggressive, track-focused, visionary sports car concept.
Gran Turismo continues to be at the forefront of development with the world’s most recognized automotive brands, pushing the racing simulator beyond gaming’s boundaries to affect the broader automotive industry as a whole. GT6, the latest iteration of the best-selling franchise, comes complete with the most realistic physics engine and massive online functionality, while offering a staggering collection of more than 1,200 of the world’s best cars and 37 tracks – with many of those cars coming first to GT6 thanks to unique partnerships like the one with Toyota.
“It’s always been a dream of ours to have our automotive partners use Gran Turismo in exciting new ways,” said Kazunori Yamauchi, creator of Gran Turismo and President of Polyphony Digital Inc. “The design team at Calty developed a stunning concept car and we were honored to work with them to render the car digitally for the concept presentation. The FT-1 is a forward-looking, technically advanced and beautiful concept car. We can’t wait to see fans’ reactions as they drive the vehicle and get to know it the way I was able to.”
Owners of GT6 will be the first to test-drive the FT-1 as a free online update beginning January 14. Upon downloading the latest update, a unique seasonal event featuring the Toyota FT-1 will be made available in the game. Receive a bronze or better in the FT-1 challenge at Laguna Seca and you will receive the car. Drivers will also be able to purchase the vehicle from the Toyota dealership in the simulator without having to complete the seasonal event.
In addition to the creation of the FT-1 in GT6, Toyota is also represented in the groundbreaking Vision Gran Turismo project. A celebration of the franchise’s 15th anniversary, the project invites leading brands to design their vision of the future of driving. The resulting concepts will be released exclusively on GT6 throughout the year.
‘Toyota Car of the Future’ On Sale Next Year;
Opens 2014 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
Two vehicles shared the stage at the Toyota press conference: The FCV concept, showing what the four-door mid-size sedan will look like in Radiant Blue; and the camouflage-taped engineering prototype used for extensive and extreme on-road testing in North America for more than a year. The prototype has consistently delivered a driving range of about 300 miles, zero-to-sixty acceleration of about 10 seconds, with no emissions, other than water vapor. Refueling of its hydrogen tanks takes three to five minutes.
“Hydrogen works beautifully with oxygen to create water and electricity and nothing more,” said Carter. “For years, the use of hydrogen gas to power an electric vehicle has been seen by many smart people as a foolish quest. Yes, there are significant challenges. The first is building the vehicle at a reasonable price for many people. The second is doing what WE can to help kick-start the construction of convenient hydrogen refueling infrastructure. We’re doing a good job with both and we will launch in 2015.”
For the last 20 years, Toyota’s investment in fuel cell R&D has been massive. Since 2002, Toyota has been testing and developing a series of prototypes in North America. In those 11 years – and more than a million miles – it has dramatically reduced the cost of building a fuel cell powertrain. In fact, Toyota estimates a 95-percent cost reduction in the powertrain and fuel tanks of the vehicle it will launch in 2015, compared to what it cost to build the original prototype in 2002.
The FCV represents a major engineering achievement, where the size and weight of its powertrain system was significantly reduced while maintaining an impressive total power output of more than 100kW. A fully-fueled vehicle will be capable of supplying enough energy to power a house for a week in an emergency. Engineers are currently looking to develop an external power supply device that could be used in this manner.
“There’s no doubt, that the success of this technology will depend less on the genius of the car, than on the ownership experience,” said Carter. “Cost is one thing, but convenience is another.”
Focusing on California, where the vehicle will be launched initially, Toyota has partnered with the University of California Irvine’s Advanced Power and Energy Program (APEP) to help map out potential locations for new hydrogen fueling stations.
The APEP spatial model considers a variety of data including R.L. Polk ownership of hybrid and electric vehicles, traffic patterns, population density, and so on. The model is based on the assumption that owners want to reach a refueling station within 6-minutes.
What the model produced was an initial cluster map that requires only 68 station sites in the San Francisco Bay area and Silicon Valley, as well as Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties. If implemented, the mapped system could handle a fuel cell population conservatively estimated by APEP at about 10,000 vehicles.
Already, California has approved more than $200 million in funding to build about 20 new stations by 2015, a total of 40 by 2016, and as many as 100 by 2024. To help guide the construction of new stations, the APEP model is being used by:
- the California Energy Commission,
- the Governor’s Zero Emission Vehicle Initiative,
- the California Air Resources Board,
- the U.S. Department of Energy
- and the California Fuel Cell Partnership.
“Stay tuned,” added Carter, “because this infrastructure thing is going to happen.”
While specific sales volumes will be announced closer to launch, Carter said that Toyota has revised initial market plans and requested additional vehicles. More information will be announced in the weeks and months ahead, including U.S. sales volume targets, the name of the vehicle and comprehensive specifications and performance data. Consumers interested in learning more about the Toyota Car of the Future can visit www.toyota.com/fuelcell.
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