Tokyo will test Toyota's new hybrid boat during 2020 Olympics
Hybrid-electric powertrains aren't just for cars.
Andrew KrokReviews Editor / Cars
Cars are Andrew's jam, as is strawberry. After spending years as a regular ol' car fanatic, he started working his way through the echelons of the automotive industry, starting out as social-media director of a small European-focused garage outside of Chicago. From there, he moved to the editorial side, penning several written features in Total 911 Magazine before becoming a full-time auto writer, first for a local Chicago outlet and then for CNET Cars.
Toyota isn't just working on hybrid cars. It's also built a hybrid-electric boat as part of a feasibility study, and it'll loan the boat to Tokyo's government for use during the 2020 Olympics.
The automaker (er, boatmaker?) claims this is Japan's "first leisure craft with a parallel-hybrid system." A parallel-hybrid system means both the gas engine and electric motors provide motive force.
In this specific case, the boat packs a 256-horsepower gas engine and a 48-horsepower, 258-pound-foot electric motor. The battery isn't terrifically large, offering up 304 volts from a total capacity of 11 kWh, which is about 1.5 times the capacity of the battery in the Toyota Prius Prime.
Toyota is using the boat to conduct a feasibility study on hybrid boats, which will run from July 2018 to March 2021 in Tokyo. Part of this study involves lending the boat to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. It will be used for pier maintenance and canal tours at the Port of Tokyo. The boat will also have a special role in 2020, visiting the venues for the 2020 Olympics and Paralympic Games.
The study will figure out if hybrid boats are beneficial enough to pursue. Tokyo's government will collect data on performance and convenience for Toyota. The electric motor offers lower emissions and noise levels while increasing fuel efficiency, but if doesn't provide enough improvement, it will be a hard sell.