In 2003, Toyota brought out the
Alphard Hybrid van for sale in Japan. It uses a 2.4 liter, four cylinder engine,
a continuously variable transmission (CVT) and 4WD, similar to the Toyota Estima
Hybrid van introduced in 2001 in Japan.
Like the Estima, the Alphard
Hybrid uses two electrical motors, one in the front mated to the engine and
transmission, and a second in the rear driving the rear wheels. This design may
offer an advantage over conventional 4WD systems, which have all wheels directly
coupled, with the resulting complexity, and wear and tear issues.
The hybrid battery used has
greater output than previous hybrid batteries.
A first is a two way air
conditioner with it's own motor. It can be driven by the engine or drive itself
when the engine has shut off at a stoplight.
The Alphard Hybrid
provides 1,500 watts of AC electrical power for home appliances.
Features available on some
DVD voice navigation system
Blind Corner Monitor
Back Guide Monitor with color
Radar Cruise Control
(warns the driver if he drifts t0o close to the next lane)
Another example that the Japanese ALWAYS get to play with the cool toys first;)