Toyota Motor Corp. (Nagoya, Japan) will debut its new Toyota Highlander Hybrid gasoline-electric mid-size sport utility vehicle (SUV) at the 2005 Montreal Auto Show in January 2005. The 3.3 L, V6-equipped Highlander Hybrid will be powered by another new version of Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain. The system was specifically developed to meet the load-carrying requirements of a mid-size SUV.
The new system features a larger-capacity battery and a new high-speed electric motor that will deliver more power than Toyota's current-generation Prius hybrid-electric automobile. With total peak-system power projected at approximately 270 HP, the new system will improve upon the V6 Highlander's less-than-eight-second, zero kph to 100 kph acceleration.
The Highlander Hybrid uses a regenerative braking system to further boost system efficiency. When the vehicle is coasting or the brakes are applied, the electric motor functions as a generator, capturing kinetic energy that would normally be lost as heat through the brakes and converting it into useable electricity to recharge the batteries.