Toyota has developed the first leisure craft in Japan powered by a parallel hybrid system. The hybrid boats will be studied in Tokyo’s waterways from July 2018 to March 2021. It should come as no surprise that the carmaker is experimenting with new hybrid vehicles, as its Prius is the world’s best-selling hybrid electric car.
Toyota is lending its hybrid boat, the Ponam-28V, to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government at no charge. According to the press release from Toyota, the government will use the boat to assist in routine maintenance of piers and other port facilities at the Port of Tokyo. In addition, the Ponam-28V will be used for special visits to Tokyo Bay during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, wherein many of the competition venues will be located along the waterfront.
Toyota’s new vessel will also serve as a platform for canal tours at the Port of Tokyo for both residents and visitors alike.
With the combination of an electric motor and internal combustion engine, the Ponam-28V’s parallel hybrid system promises a comfortable cruising range. In EV mode, the boat gains greater efficiency, fewer emissions, and low noise levels.
The Tokyo government will send feedback of the boat’s performance to Toyota for analysis. This data can be used to improve the current hybrid system as well as aid in the progress towards future models and systems.
The Ponam-28V has sibling vessels in the form of the Ponam-31 and Ponam-35. The numbers in each model name indicate their respective lengths: 28, 31, and 35 feet. The Ponam-28V features a 3-liter gas engine paired with a 36 kW electric motor. The latter is powered by an 11 kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery pack. The internal combustion engine puts out about 260 horsepower, while the electric motor provides about 50 horsepower. Maximum torque measures close to 260 pound-feet.