Toyota confirms hybrid-powered GT-86 is in the works

 Scion FR-S

When the Honda CR-Z hit the road a few years ago, the concept of a sporty hybrid was laughable. The CR-Z was neither sporty nor was it especially fuel-efficient. It clearly missed both marks, leaving most of us scratching our heads.

Times have changed.

With the historic unveiling of the Ferrari LaFerrari and the McLaren P1 heavy-hitting hybrids, sporty production hybrids are finally realistic.

Chief Toyota engineer, Tetsuya Tada, confirmed in an Autocar interview last week that the brand is hard at work playing with Toyota GT-86 variants, which is sold in the U.S. as the Scion FR-S. Chief among them is a hybrid version.

While it’s been long rumored that Toyota was playing with turbo and supercharged versions of its GT-86, “but an electric motor assistance solution is also possible, and would bring benefits that forced induction does not.” Tada said, speaking to Autocar at Geneva last week.

The benefits are clear, when you think about it. A turbo or supercharger can add power, sure, but typically at higher RPMs. A hybrid, on the other hand, could fill out low-end torque with electric motor assistance as well as adding more weight lower in the car.

Toyota has been obsessed with keeping the center of gravity as low as possible in the GT-86. It’s quite excited about the potential to improve upon that weight balance while also adding power.

“Our TRD tuning department has found it easy to take 100kg out of the curb weight, and have developed certain under-body fins and plates that can be employed to alter the dynamic balance of the car, to increase or reduce oversteer at medium and high speeds. They have quite a pronounced effect,” Tada added.

So will the refreshed Scion FR-S have a hybrid powerplant under the hood? Quite possibly. Since Toyota has met and exceeded its sales goals, buyers should expect to see the convertible concept version unveiled at Geneva last week, the FT-86 Open, and a souped-up powertrain added to the mix for 2015.

Cars

The Polestar 2, Sweden’s answer to the Tesla Model 3, begins taking shape

Volvo sister company Polestar has released a teaser image to give us our first look at the 2, its second model. Polestar tells us the 2 will arrive as a four-door fastback with a 400-hp electric powertrain and about 300 miles of range.
Cars

Volkswagen’s hot-rodded T-Roc R is ready to shred its tires to confetti

Volkswagen released a teaser sketch to preview a hot-rodded SUV named T-Roc R. Insiders suggest it will be closely related to the mighty Golf R, meaning it will pack a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at about 300…
Cars

Maserati is prepared to fight for a piece of the electrified supercar segment

The Alfieri concept Maserati shown in 2014 is on track for production. It will offer three drivetrain options, including hybrid and electric variants, and it will take just two seconds to reach 60 mph from a stop in its quickest…
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Cars

The hottest of all Mini hatches is coming with a Batman-approved design

The Mini John Cooper Works GP concept first seen at the 2017 Frankfurt Motor Show will go into production in 2020, Mini has confirmed. The John Cooper Works GP is the ultimate performance version of the Mini Cooper.
Cars

Report: Amazon and General Motors may invest in electric pickup company Rivian

General Motors and Amazon may invest between $1 billion to $2 billion for minority stakes in U.S. startup Rivian, an all-electric truck company, Reuters reports. Rivian introduced the R1T pickup at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto show.
Cars

Ford F-150 recall: Fault could cause vehicle to downshift into first gear

Ford is recalling 1.48 million F-150 vehicles over a potential fault that could cause it to suddenly downshift into first gear. The automaker said it's currently aware of five accidents related to the issue.
Cars

Honda’s Urban EV is shaping up to be a high-tech, high-style electric city car

Honda will travel to the 2019 Geneva Auto Show to unveil a close-to-production prototype that previews an adorable, city-friendly electric car. The Urban EV will offer about 155 miles of range, and its interior is a tech lover's dream come…
Cars

Audi’s Geneva-bound Q4 E-Tron concept will give us a glimpse of the future

Audi has released a trio of teaser sketches to preview the Q4 E-Tron concept. Scheduled to make its debut at the 2019 Geneva Auto Show, the design study takes the form of an electric SUV with a muscular design and a tech-filled interior.
Cars

Tesla’s Dog Mode lets good Samaritans know that Fido’s A-OK

Tesla's latest over-the-air software update adds two features called Sentry Mode and Dog Mode. Sentry Mode records footage and alerts the owner if someone breaks in, while Dog Mode runs the A/C so owners can safely keep their dogs in their…
Cars

Rock out in the carpool lane with Singing Machine’s Carpool Karaoke microphone

Carpool Karaoke fans can count down the days till summer. That's when Singing Machine's Carpool Karaoke microphone will be available. Connect the Carpool Karaoke Mic to your car radio to make your next road trip a mobile karaoke party.
Cars

Bentley Bentayga Speed surpasses Lamborghini Urus as world’s fastest SUV

The Bentley Bentayga Speed has wrested the title of world's fastest SUV from its cousin, the Lamborghini Urus. But the Bentley is just 1 mph faster than the Lamborghini. It requires 626 horsepower to achieve that top speed.
Emerging Tech

With CabinSense, cars will soon know who’s riding in them and respond accordingly

What if your car could know who's riding in it and customize the entertainment and safety options accordingly? That’s what's promised by the new CabinSense in-car Occupancy Monitoring System.
Outdoors

General Motors cycles into a new market with its first-ever ebikes

When General Motors launched a public campaign last year to name its new ebike brand, many wondered if Bikey McBikeface might win out. But it didn't. Instead, it's called Arīv, and the two bikes are up for pre-order this week.