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by Tim Beissmann

The Toyota FT-Bh concept has been unveiled at the Geneva motor show, giving us an insight into Japanese brand’s next-generation hybrid design philosophy and powertrain technology.

The FT-Bh concept (short for ‘Future Toyota B-segment hybrid’) is a lightweight, petrol-hybrid that previews the manufacturer’s vision for motoring in the second half of this decade.

The FT-Bh’s combination of an ultra-lightweight body, piercing aerodynamic design and a super-frugal powertrain means it uses just 2.1 litres of fuel per 100km and emits 49g/km CO2.

That makes it about three times more efficient than most small cars, and almost twice as eco-friendly as the Toyota Prius. Toyota has also envisioned a plug-in hybrid version of the of the FT-Bh concept, and believes that car would produce just 19g/km CO2 – equivalent to fuel consumption of 0.8L/100km.

The front-wheel-drive Toyota FT-Bh concept is powered by a 1.0-litre two-cylinder petrol engine, an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery.

At 3985mm long, 1695mm wide, 1400mm tall and with a 2570mm wheelbase, the four-seat FT-Bh surprisingly has similar dimensions to the Toyota Yaris, despite appearing much longer.

The widespread use of high-tensile-strength steel means expensive materials like carbon fibre are not required, while high-expansion foam improves interior thermal management, meaning many components can be made lighter than normal.

The end result is a total weight of 786kg – more than 200kg lighter than the Yaris.

The FT-Bh concept inherits elements of Toyota’s next-generation “keen look” design language; the dominant themes being three-dimensionality, a prominent badge, and an inverted ‘U’ shaped open bumper. The vertical headlights integrate into the wheel arches creating a streamlined appearance that continues along the bullet-shaped body, tapering away to the prominent rear and unique squiggle taillights.

The interior embraces the “tensional force” theme with tautly stretched materials and surfaces. The dashboard features a centre display located deep in the dashboard that shows rear views from three cameras, while the rear-view mirror displays smart information about nearby vehicles, road signs and other objects.