Unveiled at Detroit, this mid-sized hybrid concept – potentially aimed at world-market introduction by 2015 – indicates how Toyota sees future mobility, with particular emphasis on connectivity and how we interact with the vehicle.
The NS4’s next-generation plug-in hybrid powertrain improves on current performance in all areas, from weight to economy and charge time. But its most striking thing is perhaps immediately obvious: its looks, with styling that could point the way to a new take on style for Toyota.
Make the connection. Toyota says connected vehicles are the third-fastest growing technological device behind smartphones and tablets. That’s prompted the company to team up with the likes of Microsoft and Intel. In the NS4, a Human-Machine Interface (HMI) provides a user interface – we used to call them controls – built around a multi-touch screen with the look and feel of a smartphone. Besides information, multimedia and vehicle controls, this interface controls air conditioning, audio, battery-charge and navigation. It is also capable of learning and adjusting to driver preferences.
Virtual instruments are complemented by virtual rear-view mirrors: these have all been replaced by cameras. The resulting panoramic rearward view shows up on a special wide dash-mounted screen.
Touch of glass. Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that matters. Four new glass technologies are integrated into the windscreen and front triangle, door, and rear windows. The idea is to improve driver visibility, fuel range and electric driving mode efficiency:
– Hydrophobic coating. Fluorine-coated glass causes raindrops to form into semi-spherical shapes, helping to improve visibility and eliminate drops. The same glass is used on the car’s roof solar panel.
– Anti-fog film. A resin material provides anti-fogging characteristics and increased durability.
– High UV absorbing inner-layer. Removes 99 per cent of harmful UVA and UVB rays.
– Anti-solar film with radio-wave transparency. Reduces internal vehicle temperature and improves electronic device functionality.