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Toyota’s greatest contribution to automotive technology in the past 25 years has been the hybrid powertrain. The company was one of the first automakers to introduce a mass-produced car propelled by a gasoline-burning engine and a battery-powered electric motor. This hybrid electric vehicle (HEV) was the Prius sedan, launched in 1997. Since then, Toyota has made a hybrid powertrain an option in many of its vehicle lines.

Now, Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) is set to add to its hybrid stable with the introduction of the RAV4 HEV. The new model adds a self-charging hybrid powertrain to the more angular, trucklike design of the RAV4 launched in 2019.

The RAV4 HEV is dubbed a “full” hybrid, since it can drive on electric power alone, unlike “mild” hybrids where an electric motor merely assists in propulsion. The hybrid system switches to the electric motor whenever possible. It turns off the gasoline engine during coasting or idling, and captures energy when the car is braking. The result is a rated fuel efficiency of 17 km/liter.

This is a nearly 30 percent improvement over the previous hybrid, and around 2.5 times the efficiency of the gasoline model. Combined with a 55-liter fuel tank, the RAV4 HEV will be capable of going almost 1,000 km between fill-ups. RAV HEV is expected to be powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder gasoline engine paired with an electric motor driving the rear wheels. Combined system output is an expected 218 hp.

The clever part of this system, dubbed Toyota Hybrid System II, is that it allows for a fully electronic on-demand all-wheel drive system. The electric motor drives the rear wheels only when needed for added traction or performance. The newly developed battery unit is compact enough to fit under the rear seat. The car’s EV mode allows for all-electric motoring for a short distance when the batteries are sufficiently charged.

The new RAV4 HEV is expected to be equipped with Toyota Safety Sense. This combines active safety features such as pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, lane departure alert, lane tracing assist, and blind spot monitor. RAV4 HEV will be the fifth hybrid in Toyota Philippines’ lineup. It follows the Prius, Corolla Altis HEV, Corolla Cross HEV, and the recently launched Camry HEV. It also gives customers a choice between two crossover HEVs.

RAV4 HEV will be priced at P2.157 million. It will be available for reservation starting Jan. 17.

“The rapid succession of Toyota’s HEV model introductions in the country is an indicator that Hybrid cars are now mainstream. Filipinos are ready for energy efficient mobility options with less emissions, and Hybrids offer choices that are practical and ready to use in our existing infrastructure and road conditions,” said Sherwin Chualim, TMP’s First Vice President for Vehicle Sales Operations.

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