Filed under: Motorsports , Europe , Technology , Toyota , Specialty , Racing Toyota has polished up its TS030 hybrid Le Mans race car for the 2013 season. Once again, the machine uses a 530-horsepower 3.4-liter naturally aspirated V8 paired with a capacitor-based hybrid system with an additional 300 horsepower on hand. This year, engineers have tweaked the drivetrain to deliver more power and efficiency while bolstering reliability. The chassis has received a few updates of its own, though Toyota is keeping those changes under wraps for the time being. Fans can expect to see a new aerodynamic package at work on the prototype, and the chassis will conform to new regulations that increase the minimum weight of LMP1 cars by 33 pounds. Last year, the TS030 won three events over six races, but ran into a number of issues during the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans . The No. 8 Toyota suffered a spectacle of a crash that saw driver Anthony Davidson hospitalized with two fractured vertebra. And while the No. 7 car briefly held the lead over rival Audi , trouble in the pits and engine failure eventually saw that car sidelined as well.
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Plug-in Prius Concept – Click above for high-res image gallery Toyota has been showing off its plug-in hybrid Prius since it debuted in concept form at the 2009 Los Angeles Auto Show . The Japanese automaker is getting ready to deliver the 2012 production version, and we just found out that it will have some significant changes over the prototype versions we’ve seen so far. The 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle boasts two unique features; a selectable EV driving mode, and the ability to apply recaptured energy to the electric-only driving range. The selectable EV driving mode will be quite useful for trips requiring the use of a highway or that cover longer distances than simple in-town errand running. This will allow Prius PHEV drivers to conserve energy for electric-only jaunts. A button will allow you to turn the EV mode on or off. Any run-of-the-mill Prius hybrid uses regeneration to replenish the battery. In the protoptye PHEVs, no more energy can be recaptured and stored for later use than the regular non-plug-in model. That means there was no way to extend EV-only range without plugging back in. On the production version of the Prius PHEV, the car will be able to take advantage of that regenerated energy, and extend the time the car can spend in EV mode.