Smart, cute and new technology to satisfy any European considering the worlds smallest 4-seat car.
Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG
– Dec. 21, 2008
2009 European and Asian Toyota iQ.
While the US auto manufacturers wrangle with an industry wide 35 mpg CAFE’ by 2020 (27 mpgUS per the 08 EPA in actuality), Europe and Asia are not waiting. Although their debate is not about a fuel economy average exactly, it is about CO2 emissions. Given the consumption of a single gallon of gasoline leads to a touch over 19 pounds of CO2 emitted from the oil being pumped from the ground to the consumption in a vehicle we are all familiar with, CO2 emissions and a vehicles fuel economy are held in lockstep by the chemistry and physics of consuming fuel in an internal combustion engine.
In December 1997, the first planetary Global Warming Emissions agreement called the Kyoto Protocol was agreed upon by many major nations of the world. This group of nations included Japan and the Europe Union. US, China and India on the other hand were back pedaling for economic growth reasons.
The objective of the Kyoto Protocol is to achieve “stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.” By February 2005, the details of the treaty were put into practice and many of the world’s largest automobile manufacturers were beginning their transformation to extremely high fuel economy vehicles. Toyota turned out to be one of the leaders… Overseas.
With “Environmental sustainability” the new paradigm, Toyota set out to create an ascetically pleasing, fun to drive and low emissions vehicle specifically to meet the needs of many Europeans and Asians. The result was an eye catching vehicle less than 3 meters in length that achieves extraordinary fuel economy while powered from a conventional gasoline ICE.
Meet the all-new, 4-seat iQ
1.0L VTT-i gasoline engine – 68 HP and 77ft-lbs@4,800 RPM w/ a 0 – 60 time of 14.6 seconds. Combined with the high ratio 5 speed manual transmission, the 3-cylinder inline unit delivers fuel economy of 54.7 mpgUS combined on the NEDC.
1.4L D-4D diesel engine – 90 HP and 137 ft-lbs@1800-3200 RPM w/ a 0 – 60 time of 11.7 seconds. With the included tall geared 6-speed manual transmission, the diesel achieves 58.8 mpgUS combined on the NEDC.
1.33L VTT-i gasoline engine w/ possible Start/Stop scheduled for June 2009 – Preliminary specifications include 101 HP and 72.5 ft-lbs@3,800 RPM plus a possible 6-speed manual transmission. Performance and MPG ratings will be announced closer to its actual availability.
Along with the fuel efficient 1.0L and future 1.33L gasoline plus 1.4L diesel engine options, an instantaneous and averaging FCD, Eco driving indicator and Gear Shift Indicator informing the driver when to up shift or downshift all help the owner drive his or her iQ in an environmentally friendly manner.
At just 9.8 ft long, 5.6 ft. wide and 4.9 ft. tall, the iQ engineering focus was on miniaturization without losing interior capacity and utility.
The iQ engineers had to reconsider the locations of various vehicle components rather than simply re-designing parts to a smaller size. The result is a small yet spacious and high quality vehicle similar in size to that of a standard compact here in the US that is expected to achieve a top 5-star crash test rating on the new Euro NCAP.
“iQ had to have a similar size to an A-segment car, its performance would have to surpass the B-segment, and interior and exterior quality being on C-segment level,” said Hiroki Nakajima, iQ Chief Engineer.
How Toyota did it.
iQ’s six major space-saving innovations
- Front-mounted differential -- The forward placement of the differential in front of the engine means the distance from the tip of the bumper to the accelerator pedal could be reduced by 4.7 in.
- Center take-off steering gear -- A central take-off steering gear that is positioned higher and further back in the engine bay. This is made possible, because the steering rack tie rods are connected to the centre of the steering rack.
- Flat under-floor fuel tank -- The fuel tank is an ultra-slim 4.7 in. height under floor unit. This allows the rear wheels to be placed 17.3 in. further forward. In addition the rear shock absorbers cleverly slope backwards to stop them encroaching on rear seat space.
- Ultra-slim seat design -- The slim seat backs release a further 1.57 in. of rear passenger room at knee height. With an all-new frame structure, the slimmer seat designs save space and weight saving 2.2 pounds per seat.
- Ultra-compact heater/air conditioning unit -- The overall size of the heater/A/C system has been reduced by 20% freeing up even more cabin space. A smaller blower fan, improved air flow by and a more compact air filter made this possible.
- Asymmetric dashboard design -- This design simply adds additional room. The passenger side dash traditionally housed the large A/C unit has been reshaped allowing an extra 5.1 inches of passenger legroom compared. In addition, the conventional glove box as been removed but can be replaced by a detachable briefcase if necessary.
On top of the major space/size saving designs listed above, Toyota located the gearshift and parking brake almost side by side and the fuel tank was flattened and located mostly under the under the front seat floor so more room was made available to rear seat passengers. With the newly created room in the rear, a hidden tray under the rear seats was created so objects can be stowed without intrusion into the rear seat cabin space.
Like most new Toyota’s available today, the iQ is not lacking in the area of passenger protection.
Standard equipment on all iQ’s include Anti-lock brakes (ABS), Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), Traction Control (TRAC) and Vehicle Stability Control (VSC).
Along with the active control, the iQ’s structure was designed to maximize safety in the event of an actual collision in 6-unique ways.
- The iQ’s engine was placed towards the rear of the engine bay, giving more room for an energy absorbing structure at the front of the front side members.
- The location of the front tires right at the front of iQ gives valuable initial protection in the event of a frontal collision.
- Using the suspension member side rail in addition to the standard collision area formed by the front side member, the total energy absorption capacity has been increased.
- Attaching the rear part of the front suspension member to the body in four places, the load from the front side members can be transmitted to the cross member.
- Body strength was increased even more by connecting front side members and rocker together directly.
- Strengthening across the dashboard area means impact forces toward the cabin are distributed more evenly and effectively.
Unique to the segment and to the automobile world is a total of 9-airbags as standard equipment. The list includes a driver front and knee airbag, twin chamber passenger airbag, front seat cushion airbag (the front passenger seat cushion airbag inflates under the passenger’s thigh to spread and reduce the impact to head and chest by reducing the movement of the hip during a possible collision), front side airbags, side curtain airbags and another first, rear window airbag.
Rear window passengers airbag.-------------------
Front seat passenger thigh airbag.
The iQ is the first model in the market to feature a rear window airbag given the small space between the rear window and possible occupants. If a rear impact occurs, first the airbag deploys between the roof panel and roof headlining, then it deploys further from the rear edge of the roof headlining along the rear window to protect the passenger’s head.
“3flex purchase experience”
An interesting marketing scheme called 3flex was created highlighting the iQ’s assumed low total cost of ownership.
The three different packages allow the customer to either make a monthly payment only, monthly payment plus either servicing or insurance or monthly payment plus servicing and insurance (Inclusive package). Along with the three packages, the customer has the choice to continue driving their iQ for a further 12 months, exchange for a new or upgraded iQ, or return their iQ.
I suspect the additional advanced engineering, innovative features and Japan manufacturing site (currency translation is killing Japan Inc. right now) of the iQ, Toyota did not want to compete head to head with the French manufactured, Daimler designed and engineered Smart Fortwo on price. With the unique lease program, Toyota can hide much of the higher upfront costs within the 12-month lease program while taking into account Toyota’s usual higher resale to mask the actual differential.
6 Innovations: iQ vs. Yaris.-------------------------Toyota iQ advertising short.