Toyota - Sportivo Coupe
TOYOTA SPORTIVO COUPE BREAKS NEW GROUND
Toyota Australia today unveiled the Sportivo Coupe, a concept car that demonstrates new styling, interior dynamics and high tech approaches to road safety.
The Sportivo Coupe introduces near horizon concepts and technologies that demonstrate Toyota Australia’s Melbourne-based design, engineering and prototyping capabilities.
Its creation included input from 14 to 18 year-olds, providing a unique insight into the personal mobility priorities of the next generation of car buyers.
Toyota Sportivo Coupe went from concept to reality in under 30 weeks. It strikes out in new directions from the X-Runner vehicle unveiled at the 2003 Melbourne Motor Show.
Built on the Toyota modular platform, the Sportivo Coupe incorporates a completely fresh approach to styling and interior dynamics.
It also presents new concepts for how we will use cars in the future and challenges century-old technology such as metal number plates.
"Toyota is very excited about this concept car and the ideas it contains," Toyota Australia executive director sales and marketing Dave Buttner said while launching the car at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
“We wanted to develop a vehicle that was based on the locally manufactured Camry, but which focused more on younger people.
“And we wanted to display to the world the capabilities of our local Toyota designers and engineers, as well as local suppliers, and to grow their expertise.
“The Toyota Sportivo Coupe does all those things and is an absolute credit to everyone involved with the project.”
Groups of teenagers in Melbourne and Sydney attended market research clinics to provide the designers with an insight into the key influences in their lives.
Many of the electronic systems developed for the Sportivo Coupe reflect the way young people live and how they accept personal responsibility as drivers.
The conventional licence plate is replaced on Sportivo coupe with the licensed driver's I.D., the person responsible for use of the vehicle.
This allows governments and regulatory bodies the opportunity to deal directly with the person responsible for the operation of the vehicle regarding speeding fines, toll charges and even parking fines.
An innovative electronic speedometer relies on signals from speed advisory signs to display the speed limit at all times in the car, with the speedo re-configuring itself with the new limit positioned at the 12 o’clock position for instant and easy visual reference.
Mobile telephone and GPS technology enables the driver to keep in touch and meet with friends via a portable touch screen tablet.
The Sportivo Coupe was created by a young but experienced design team at Toyota Style Australia, headed by 29 year-old Nick Hogios.
Hogios and the team designed the eye-catching coupe with extensive use of glass panels and unusual dihedral doors that hinge upwards instead of outwards.
The vehicle was designed entirely by CAD (Computer Aided Design) and went straight from CAD to prototype tooling, bypassing industry-standard clay models.
Toyota's locally built 2.4-litre VVT-i engine has been turbocharged to produce around 180kW of power.
A five-speed manual gearbox was adapted from the Toyota RAV4 to suit the four wheel-drive application which is used in this vehicle.
A high performance brake package incorporating an electronic park brake was developed by PBR.
“This car is all about breaking the mould for Toyota Australia,” project manager Rob Allen said.
“We felt that, if we were going to look at younger people, we would focus on a group that was yet to emerge as car owners, but who would be influential in the future.
“We also wanted to grow the expertise of Toyota Australia engineers and designers, so it was very important to bring together the total resources of Toyota and its key suppliers to achieve a program of this complexity.”
TELEMATICS PLAY KEY ROLE IN TOYOTA SPORTIVO COUPE
Toyota has used state of the art telematics in the new Sportivo Coupe to automatically display the personal electronic licence number of the driver at the wheel.
Toyota’s T-Link electronic system is designed to inform rather than control the driver.
"Telematics are going to be a key part of our future," project manager Paul Beranger said.
“This powerful technology is a major step in how we are going to use motor cars in the future.
“The technology of mobile phones in cars is now 15 years old.
“The technology of wireless phones in cars is now becoming quite common and in the future there will be more integration of external communications into the car.
“This will be for safety reasons, for efficiency reasons and for a better life.
“Some of Toyota’s Sportivo concepts will challenge governments and motoring authorities – not in a confrontational way, but by showing what is possible in the future and how this technology can benefit society as a whole.”
Using the power of mobile phone and GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) technology, the Toyota Sportivo Coupe provides a glimpse into a future where the driver and passengers will receive vital driving information and be able to communicate with friends via a touch screen.
It all starts with the driver’s licence, which is a mobile phone-style SIM card that would be embedded with a host of data.
The licence not only allows the driver access to the car, but also provides individual settings for driving position, radio stations, phone numbers, GPS tracking data for friends and even engine power output.
Engine power could be reduced - or increased – depending on the driver’s experience and licence grades.
The licence could also log distances or driving hours so that, for example, the time spent on P-plates could be determined by individual experience rather than the current three years, just as pilots are assessed on flight time.
Looking ahead to an era in which further driver education is an accepted norm, the licence would remind the driver when it is time to enroll, just as the car is able to inform the owner when it needs to be serviced – and even book itself in to the local dealer service centre.
Each driver’s personal responsibility for taking control of the car is reflected by the automatic display of their personal electronic licence number at the rear of the car as well as the electronic display of P, L or handicap plates. This replaces the traditional owner's metal licence plate.
Speeding fines, motorway toll charges and even parking fines will then be sent directly to the responsible driver rather than the car owner.
The car owner can program the car to accept only certain drivers and limit access to the various systems such as the phone or movies.
Suspended drivers would be prevented from driving at all.
When an approved driver approaches the Sportivo Coupe, the car recognises the driver and ‘wakes up’ from its sleep mode by illuminating a number of lights and preparing for action. The instrument binnacle hoods even rotate into position like eyelids opening.
Toyota Australia’s vision for future motoring also encourages the use of transponders throughout the road system so that the prevailing speed limit can be displayed in the vehicle at all times in all weather and light conditions.
This would assist road safety by ensuring that drivers know exactly what speed zone they are in, especially with the increasing use of variable speed limits.
It is essential for drivers to be fully and accurately informed in this era of increasing electronic surveillance.
The Sportivo Coupe also uses an innovative digital speedometer that reconfigures its analogue-style display dial so that the prevailing speed limit is always located in the 12 o’clock position.
At the same time, the graduations are changed for more accuracy near the limit and a band of red tells the driver at a glance if he or she is over the limit.
The driver’s eyes can therefore be kept on the road more to concentrate on driving.
Young people like to keep in touch and arrange to meet, so the Toyota Sportivo Coupe uses GPS ~Friend Finder~ tracking to see where friends are through icons on a screen and allow the occupants to navigate electronically to a central meeting point.
“The technology we are showing in this car would not be owned by Toyota,” Mr Beranger said.
“Effectively, Toyota’s innovative technical concepts would be the property of the regulators and industry.
“The options we are presenting here could be progressively introduced over the next five to 10 years and industry would work collaboratively with government to make it happen.”
STYLE COUNCIL WINNER MAKES HIS MARK
Collaboration between a team of young Toyota Australia designers and a group of Australian teenagers determined the styling of the Sportivo Coupe concept car.
The final exterior design was penned by 29 year-old Nick Hogios, the inaugural winner of Wheels magazine’s Young Designer of the Year award in 1999.
His original concept was selected by a group of 14-to-18 year-olds in market research clinics conducted by Toyota's styling team.
Hogios describes his design theme as "soft robotic".
The Sportivo Coupe’s unique paint finish, in a soft silver colour, was selected to give the appearance of a piece of modern electronic equipment like a computer, mobile phone or MP3 player.
“We set out to get the Toyota brand back in the minds of young people,” said Hogios.
“Other manufacturers are using motor sport and V8 engines. But the Australian youth market is increasingly responding to small capacity, forced-induction engines – especially if they perform well and sound good.
“From the research we did with the kids, they told us that it was important to have space for friends. They didn’t want a big box like a van that carried lots of people – they wanted something low and sporty.
“The original concept was a bit too van-like, but the kids liked the way the side glass blended into the front of the car, so we emphasised that and made the tail more swoopy on the final design.
“They loved the strip fog light at the front under the bumper and the use of LED illumination, which uses rows of small but very bright light sources.”
The designers took their inspiration from initial research clinics with selected teenagers, who enthusiastically provided their opinions on a wide range of lifestyle images.
“The first objective was to find out what 14-18 year-olds like in popular culture and, although there were some differences between the research groups we did in Melbourne and Sydney, many clear trends emerged,” Hogios said.
“In terms of style, they like clean and bold. They are also very brand literate and they go for quality brands, like Diesel and Panasonic.
“They are quite conservative in many ways. They prefer more sophisticated colours than we expected, like grey and silver and light blue.
“In terms of driver controls, they prefer a manual gearchange rather than racing-style adaptive shift paddles and a round steering wheel rather than a jet fighter-style unit because they feel more in control.
“With the speedo, we’ve developed a traditional analogue look, but it’s actually digital in order to achieve the unique functions.”
A key feature of Hogios’ design is the “dihedral” 45-degree opening doors that open up as well as out, taking part of the roof with them.
The door-opening mechanism is based on that used in the Toyota Sera coupe – which acclaimed designer Gordon Murray acknowledged was the inspiration for his million dollar McLaren F1 supercar.
“Toyota developed those doors for the little Sera and McLaren copied it – now we’re taking it back,” Hogios declared.
While there are rigid side-intrusion protection panels behind the side glass, small “apex windows” just above the sills allow the occupants to look out at the road to get a feeling of movement.
Wheels are a vital part of any car design and Robert Young designed the biggest six-spoke rims he could find tyres for – 21-inch diameter units made especially for the Sportivo Coupe by Australia’s alloy wheel design guru, Kevin Drage.
SPORTIVO COUPE INTERIOR IS A FRIEND-FINDER
The technology that plays such an important role in youth lifestyle has been incorporated into the interior of the Toyota Sportivo Coupe concept car.
Toyota’s designers created a primarily driver-centric cockpit area and supplied vital driver-related information through electronic displays to maximise driver convenience and control, while also providing a comfortable social environment for the other occupants.
Australian teenagers use the latest communication techniques to stay in touch with each other, so the Toyota designers created an environment in the car that brought together an internet chat room, GPS satellite tracking and a mobile phone SMS service - without compromising road safety.
The result is the Sportivo Coupe’s unique Friend-Finder facility.
Friend-Finder enables people in the car to locate their friends, using the portable touch screen display panels that dock in the front and rear of the car. They can then organise to meet at a central location and track each other’s progress to that location.
With integrated Bluetooth technology, they can also talk to one another without even taking their mobile phones out of their bags.
"The key to the interior is the technology and the social aspect," interior design leader Pete Jones said.
“The interior passenger area has been shaped to create a social environment, allowing access and interactivity with the information and entertainment in the car.
“From what we understand about the way young people travel, they don’t necessarily travel very far, so we didn’t need to make an overly complex interior with lots of cup-holders or heaps of storage. It is relatively open space.
“Designers are always trying to get interior gloss levels down to zip, but we have a little bit of sheen to show up the nice shapes. There’s definitely no vinyl because kids want quality materials, nice shapes and comfort, and nothing too clever just for the sake of being different.
“We’ve tried to keep the lighting fairly subdued because the entertainment and communication activity is concentrated around the screens.
“We’ve got some really subtle lighting from the underside of the console.
“When you enter the car, it welcomes you and the lighting actually runs right up the spine of the car. It matches the exterior lighting, which warms up and comes to life when you approach the car.
“It’s as though it gets excited and says, ‘Let’s get going’.
“The passenger seats are what I would call reclined luxury; super comfortable and trimmed in Ecsaine, a material which provides the look, touch and comfort of suede.
The driver’s seat is unique, with extra side support and a four-point harness emphasising the responsibility of vehicle control and focusing on the task of safe driving.”
SPORTIVO COUPE IS READY TO ROAR
The Toyota Sportivo Coupe concept car uses the same Toyota Modular Platform as the built-in-Australia Camry.
It has one significant difference to the locally built Camry platform, having all-wheel drive.
Australian engineers replaced all the mechanical components to accommodate a manual gearbox.
Most of the drivetrain is adapted from the Toyota RAV4, including the five-speed gearbox, differential and driveshafts.
Powering the Sportivo Coupe is a turbocharged version of the 2.4 litre 2AZ-FE engine introduced with the Australian-built Camry launched in 2002.
Melbourne-based Automotive Performance Solutions installed the Garrett GT25 turbocharger that features the latest water-cooled technology and roller bearings for faster ~spool up~ response and improved durability.
Power output has increased by 60 percent from 112kW to 180kW at 5500rpm.
Torque is 305Nm at 4500rpm, an increase of 55 per cent over the standard engine’s 218Nm. A flat torque curve provides strong response throughout the rev range, with 90 per cent of peak torque available from 2500 to 6000rpm.
A custom fabricated exhaust manifold leads into a free-flow performance exhaust with dual outlets.
PBR International, which makes the brakes for high-performance cars around the world such as the Chevrolet Corvette, produced massive 380mm diameter ventilated and cross drilled rotors and six-piston calipers for the front and 355mm rotors and four-piston calipers for the rear.
Made especially for the vehicle, the brake package provides the Sportivo Coupe with the stopping power to match its performance.
The suspension is fully independent all round, with sports dampers and upgraded coil springs fitted at the front and rear.
The six-spoke wheels were designed at Toyota Style Australia by Robert Young and Malcolm Baulch and cast in Adelaide under the watchful eye of alloy wheel guru Kevin Drage.
Measuring 21"x9” at the front and 21”x10” at the rear, they feature blue central ‘spiders’ that fit over the hubs and match the car’s blue glass treatment.
Dunlop Australia utilised its global resources to find the most suitable high performance tyres available, super-low profile SP Sport 9000 tyres made in Germany.
AUSTRALIA FLEXES LOCAL DESIGN MUSCLE
Toyota Australia’s local design and engineering resources are on show with the Sportivo Coupe concept car, underlining the ability to create innovative vehicles to suit the Australian environment and conditions.
Toyota’s design facility, known as Toyota Style Australia (TSA), is an integral part of Toyota's product development division and produced the vehicle entirely in-house with the assistance of key product engineers.
It is the second local concept car built by TSA since it was established just two years ago, following on from the X-Runner that appeared at the 2003 Melbourne Motor Show.
The Executive Director, Purchasing and Engineering of Toyota Australia, Max Gillard, said that Toyota Style Australia was created because the company needed to be able to identify local taste and have input into future mainstream designs from Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC).
"TMC designs cars for a global market, but the Australian market is different to other markets in a number of respects," Mr Gillard said.
“A key point is the influence of the fleet market in Australia and the particular requirements to meet the needs of that market, but there are also issues of colour and fabric choices that are important with Australian buyers of all types.
“We want to be involved in the design and development of our core models like the Camry to ensure that specific areas are tailored for local taste and content.
“Toyota Style Australia is not a ~ground-up~ design facility, but we do want the expertise to take a core design from TMC and adapt it to ensure Australian taste is reflected in the final design and appropriate model differentiation is achieved where necessary.
“The long-term goal is to become an established part of TMC’s global design team and there is an obvious opportunity for us to focus on the Asia-Pacific region and be involved in the design of vehicles, not only for Australia, but also other Asia Pacific markets.”
TSA is managed by Australian design veteran Paul Beranger, who was responsible for the two acclaimed aXcess Australia concept cars in the 1990s.
The operation involves a team of 22 and utilises studios, workshops and a paint booth sub-leased from international design house EDAG at Dingley in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs.
Mr Gillard said that the company would consider a permanent facility for TSA in the future.
“The future is looking very positive and projects like the Sportivo Coupe are important in showing what we can achieve in this country,” Mr Gillard said.
“Concept cars like this are also important to us because they are used to hone the skills of our engineers as well as the designers.
~Although we have no immediate plan to produce the Sportivo Coupe it is our policy that concept cars are designed and engineered so that they are technically feasible. The Sportivo Coupe is more than a showpiece, rather it is an engineering reality.~
MARKET RESEARCH UNLEASHES YOUTH PERSPECTIVE
Toyota Australia involved almost 60 young Australians in research clinics before finalising the design of the Toyota Sportivo Coupe show car.
It is believed that this is the first time in Australian automotive history that research has been conducted with such a young audience.
The clinics were conducted in Melbourne and Sydney before the first concept drawings were created and then repeated to assess reaction to the various concepts.
Toyota Style Australia – the design arm of Toyota Australia – sought to break the mould on how the company is perceived and to introduce younger Australians to the Toyota brand through exciting niche-focused models.
"Toyota knows it has to increase its awareness level with young people in Australia and part of our future strategy is to grow the Sportivo brand image," TSA manager Paul Beranger said.
“We didn’t just want to do a dressed-up Camry, but rather something that would appeal to 14 to 18 year-olds and their unique lifestyle.
“In focusing on that group, we sought to understand exactly what those kids saw that was important in their lives and what were the key influences in the way they ran their lives, then how they would like to use a product like a car in the way they existed.
“We focused on that age group primarily because they are very influential at the moment in terms of product design and brand awareness.
“They are our next generation of car drivers and we therefore believe there is an opportunity for them to champion new technology and be completely comfortable with its introduction over the next five to 10 years.”
The teenagers at the clinics were shown hundreds of mostly non-automotive images to gauge their feelings about the world and the products in their lives.
With regard to their views on driving, it was found that they are very comfortable taking responsibility for the way a car is used, as evidenced by the use of “designated drivers” when a group of P-platers is going out to party.
“Our research formed the basis of a range of design concepts for the car that they then reviewed and it was ultimately from that second research clinic that we developed our final concept,” Mr Beranger said.
“These city kids want to move around in groups, to meet in clusters and share experiences.
“They want to use the car as social space where they can congregate and communicate, and they are very conscious that the driver of that car is totally responsible for the vehicle, the occupants and their safety.
“So Toyota is emphasising the positive attitude that currently prevails with young people.”
These drivers of the future – who have grown up in an electronic age of heavy remote speed camera enforcement measures and electronic tollway charging systems – are accepting of new technology that assists their lifestyle as well as monitoring it.
At the same time, the Toyota designers noted a conservative streak that placed an emphasis on quality, efficiency and “keeping it real”.
For example, the young people researched generally showed a preference for authentic materials and conventional controls such as a round steering wheel, a central manual gearshift and analogue-style instruments.
They indicated a preference for a ‘drivercentric’ cockpit where the driver is free from distractions and able to focus on the primary task of safe driving, but in which the passengers could take advantage of the latest electronic entertainment and communications systems.
TOYOTA SPORTIVO COUPE HAS WORLD-FIRST SPEED ZONE RECONFIGURATION
The Toyota Sportivo Coupe features an innovative speed zone reconfigurative speedometer that in the future would make it easier to keep the car within the speed limit at all times.
With regulators across the country increasing their focus on speed surveillance, it has become increasingly important for drivers to be aware of their exact speed and of speed limits – especially with more variable speed limit areas being introduced.
Like most great designs, the self-adjusting speedo is quite simple in concept.
At all times the prevailing speed limit is located at the 12 o’clock position on the dial – or Top Dead Centre in motor racing and aviation parlance.
At the same time, the calibration of the speedo changes as the car approaches the speed limit so that the graduations are more widely spaced and therefore more accurate.
The driver therefore requires only a quick glance to see if he or she is driving under or over the limit.
An increasing band of red also alerts the driver when exceeding the speed limit.
This can only be accomplished using a TFT LCD speedo, but the actual design replicates that of a conventional mechanical speedo preferred by most drivers.
The speed limit is also displayed in the centre of the speedo.
Before such a breakthrough concept can be introduced to the real world, governments and road authorities would need to introduce transponders that would send out the appropriate signal for cars to receive.
It would be a vast undertaking on a state level, let alone national or international, but it could be introduced progressively.
"It wouldn’t have to happen overnight," Toyota Australia’s design manager Paul Beranger said.
“For example, phase one could be the introduction of transponders on all electronic signs on roads where the speed limit changes through electronic means.
“So it could start to apply in an urban environment where there is more likelihood of significant and constant speed-changing signage. It could operate on freeways where you go from an 80 zone to a 100 zone, then progressively extend throughout the road network.
“Toyota is demonstrating with this car that the technology is available to put the system into a car and to read external information through the use of telematics.”
TOYOTA SPORTIVO COUPE GOES STRAIGHT FROM COMPUTER TO REALITY
The Toyota Sportivo Coupe is the first car built by Toyota Australia to be designed entirely on computer.
In fast-tracking the project to make it a reality in less than 30 weeks, the Toyota Style Australia design team used virtual design to bypass the usual step of creating full-size clay models.
Clay models are the traditional industry-accepted method of verifying a design and for getting sign-off by senior management.
"Conventional 3D hard models have great detail and surface quality, so you can see exactly what you are getting, but they are very time-consuming and costly," TSA design manager Paul Beranger said.
“With the Sportivo Coupe project we decided to look at future methods of car design - because increasingly the use of the traditional clay model is being replaced by virtual design.
“That gave our designers and engineers the opportunity to work together for the first time on virtual design and therefore begin to understand the technology and to identify some of the difficulties interpreting the data.
“Using large screen projection reviews, we were able to go straight from electronic visual design tools into tooling and then to making parts.”
Mr Beranger said the virtual design process worked very well. It identified issues and counter-measures for a full-scale production program done in this way.
“There’s no doubt our designers and engineers learnt a lot from this program. We achieved a very high level of design and surface development with the virtual design,” Mr Beranger said.
“I believe we will be progressively moving towards virtual design of a complete body in the next one or two generations of production cars that we design.”
The Sportivo Coupe design team produced just two physical models that were machined from CAD data in polystyrene foam, to validate the electronic data.
The first was a 30 percent scale half model that is placed against a mirror to create the appearance of a whole car, and the second was a full-scale version.
Mr Beranger said that the front end proportions were changed after viewing the first model to improve the balance between the front and the rear of the car.
Minor changes were later made to the wheel arch flares and roof section after viewing the second, full-scale foam model.
“We were 80 percent happy with the first model, 95 percent happy with the second and now we’re 100 percent happy with the finished car,” Mr Beranger said.
YOUNG DESIGN TEAM SHOWS THE WAY
Toyota Style Australia turned to its young designers to create an exciting concept vehicle for the 2004 Melbourne Motor Show.
These designers undertook research clinics with 14 to 18 year-olds to create a vehicle that reflects the youth lifestyle – the Toyota Sportivo Coupe.
Exterior design leader Nick Hogios, 29, is arguably the brightest young automotive designer in Australia. He won the inaugural Wheels Young Designer of the Year award in 1999 and then joined Ford, where he worked on the BA Falcon project before moving to Toyota.
His exterior styling assistant on the Sportivo Coupe project was 35 year-old Robert Young, a Hong Kong native with a passion for soccer who moved to Australia in 1986.
Young has a background in consumer product design and worked overseas for four years with Aiwa styling audio-visual products.
In 2000 he designed a kettle for Kambrook Australia that won a design award and is now displayed at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney.
Interior design leader Pete Jones, 37, has had an outstanding career since shining as a student – finishing dux of industrial design at Melbourne's Monash University and winning a Design Institute of Australia award for an over-toilet shower chair.
He was the lead exterior stylist of Toyota Australia’s first concept car, the Avalon-based X-Runner that starred at last year’s Melbourne Motor Show.
The youngest member of the team is 25 year-old Australian-born interior designer Anthony Cheung, another industrial design graduate from Monash with a passion for cars.
Cheung worked in Japan on a transport design project for Isuzu and has also designed a big 4WD eco-tourism vehicle powered by liquid nitrogen for use in the Amazon rain forest.
The team was supported by colour and trim designers Danny Lazzari and Marisa Marazita to integrate the key exterior and interior features through the use of colour, gloss and texture.
SPORTIVO COUPE BODYWORK MADE BY SYDNEY-TO-HOBART RACE WINNERS
The same people who built Skandia, the winning yacht in the 2003 Sydney to Hobart ocean race, produced the carbonfibre bodywork of the Toyota Sportivo Coupe concept car.
The Mornington boat builders produced the main body section as a single shell using the latest technology developed for yacht racing.
The complex doors, bootlid and bonnet sections are made from the same ultra-tough carbonfibre material.
All the components were produced straight from CAD surface data provided by Toyota Style Australia without using a full-scale clay model for final dimensional verification.
The lightweight Sportivo Coupe body shell was delivered as a single structure to Toyota Style Australia’s workshop and assembled to the chassis like a giant slot car.
It was bonded to a tubular steel frame that had been fabricated onto the Toyota Modular Platform using the same CAD data used to make the body and glass surface panels.
The five main body sections, 17 carbonfibre interior panels and 14 exterior blue acrylic panels all came together and fitted with minimal adjustment, which is a tribute to the accuracy of the tolerancing of the complex CAD data.
Style Australia fabrications manager Tony Floyd said the finished body was painted in a unique "low reflect" satin finish developed by PPG in Toyota Style Australia’s own paint booth at its Dingley facility.
The painting process required a totally dust-free environment because even the smallest imperfection would have been visible in the final satin finish.
RECORD-BREAKING SOLAR CELLS HELP POWER SPORTIVO COUPE
World-leading solar cell technology developed in Australia has been incorporated into the Toyota Sportivo Coupe concept car to help power some of its innovative electronic systems.
Solar panels built into the roof are used to power the unique LCD rear licence number plate and to drive extractor fans that keep the interior cool in the heat of an Australian summer.
With so many battery-powered functions in the vehicle, including tablet PCs in the front and rear, it was essential to control interior temperatures – even when the car is parked.
The non-profit Aurora Vehicle Association developed the solar panels in conjunction with RMIT University.
Aurora was formed by a group of young volunteers in 1980 to develop highly efficient prototype vehicles.
Aurora has contested all six biennial World Solar Challenge races from Darwin to Adelaide. It won the 1999 race and finished second on another three occasions.
The organisation’s sun-powered machines hold a number of world records, including the longest solar car journey – 13,054km around Australia in 24 days.
The Sportivo Coupe uses 100 solar cells that cover an area of 1770 sq cm on the roof of the vehicle.
The cells provide passive energy to the main 12-volt battery and keep it charged when the vehicle is parked.
Toyota Australia Product Development Engineer Jason Gomes said it was vital to use solar energy in such an advanced high-technology vehicle.
"This vehicle uses a lot of powered devices such as LCD screens that generate heat and need to be kept cool," Mr Gomes said.
“The solar panels are located under the glass panels that form part of the roof.
“The external glass panel provides three benefits – glass helps to absorb light energy, it protects the delicate solar cells and provides a smooth aerodynamic surface.”
Mr Gomes said that the solar-powered extractor fans significantly reduce the interior temperature of a parked car, making it more comfortable for the occupants as well as protecting the equipment.
SUPPLIERS BRING VALUABLE EXPERTISE TO SPORTIVO COUPE PROJECT
Toyota Australia utilised the depth of expertise of many of its local suppliers to enhance the Sportivo Coupe concept car.
Many of the suppliers took the opportunity of trying out new and prototype technologies, sometimes at their own instigation and sometimes with prompting from the inventive vehicle designers.
Project manager Rob Allen had the task of co-ordinating and integrating the technologies of dozens of Australian supplier companies with the design and engineering departments of Toyota Australia.
"Toyota has a deep commitment to its suppliers and treats them more as partners, so we worked very closely together,~ Mr Allen said.
“Their involvement in this project helps train them in the Toyota way and allows them to trial their ideas for future projects.
“This particular project also gave them and us the challenge of developing the entire car on computer, so we had to work out the processes involved in going straight from CAD to producing finished components, which was good experience for the future."
The major suppliers to Sportivo Coupe were:
Australian Arrow (AAPL)
Toyota’s creative designers and engineers threw Australian Arrow some huge electronic systems challenges and the company turned them into workable reality. These included the passive access system, advanced body electronics and no fewer than 10 specially developed lighting control modules for the vast quantity of LEDs in the car.
The company employed some new receiver, transmitter and antenna technologies specially adapted for the Sportivo Coupe. The state of the art body electronics module uses innovative advanced fuseless technology.
AAPL is a wholly owned subsidiary of Yazaki Corporation in Japan, which employs over 100,000 people in 27 countries and has a turnover in excess of US$7 billion. The Australian operation has sales in excess of AUD$230 million.
Safety is a top priority for Toyota Australia, even when it builds a one-off concept car. Autoliv has developed an innovative driver's seat-mounted retractable harness in conjunction with Toyota for the Sportivo Coupe.
This innovative harness is a four-point racing type, with the anchorages and retractor systems incorporated into the seat back.
Autoliv is the world’s leading car occupant restraint company, operating in 29 countries with 35,000 employees and sales of US$4.4 billion.
Think of brakes in Australia and you think of PBR, which has grown from a purely Australian operation to supply manufacturers all over the world. Two-thirds of GM vehicles built in the United States feature PBR technology and the company now employs 1600 people and has sales of over $900 million.
For the Sportivo Coupe, PBR’s technical centre in suburban Melbourne produced a high performance braking system that includes enormous ventilated cross-drilled discs (380x32mm front and 355x26mm rear). The mighty aluminium monoblock calipers (6-piston front and 4-piston rear) use the latest single-pad per piston technology that results in better performance and durability.
The car also uses the innovative electronically actuated park brake system known as “ePark”, which enables the designers to improve cabin design by replacing the conventional handbrake lever with a small button on the centre console.
Having been established in Australia since 1893, Dunlop knows all about local tyre supply, but the company had to search far and wide for a tyre to fit the dream. Sportivo Coupe designers wanted the biggest diameter wheels they could possibly find – and with different widths and profiles front and back to produce a muscular and aggressive plan view shape.
Using its extensive global links, Dunlop found the solution in its German subsidiary, where versions of the acclaimed SP Sport 9000 high performance tyres are manufactured – 245/35ZR21 at the front and 285/30ZR21 at the rear.
Dunlop is marketed and manufactured by South Pacific Tyres, Australia’s largest tyre manufacturer and supplier.
Siemens VDO Automotive
It was the task of Australia’s leading provider of instrument clusters to produce the innovative unit in the Toyota Sportivo Coupe, using the latest computerised rapid prototyping techniques and the electronics expertise gained through 46 years of operation in Australia.
Siemens VDO worked closely with graphics designer Stephen Van Elst at 2WC, a division of the SEE marketing group. Between them, they refined the world-first concept of a speed zone configurative speedometer initially conceived by the Toyota designers.
Siemens VDO Automotive is recognised within the group for its innovation and excellence. The Melbourne technical centre is the engineering centre of competence for the Asia-Pacific region.
Hella, which has been at the forefront in the rapidly changing world of automotive lighting and electronic control systems, took up the challenge of producing a wide range of innovative LED lighting systems in the Sportivo Coupe.
With support from Osram, the company produced 20 separate lamps for the concept car, containing the latest generations of high brightness LEDs from OSRAM Opto Semiconductor. The distinctive appearance of each lamp shows their suitability for automotive applications in working with a light source that is still in its automotive infancy.
Hella Australia was established in 1961 as the German company’s first manufacturing operation abroad. It has grown to 512 employees working under a roof area of 32,700 square metres developing, designing, prototyping, testing and producing world-class lighting systems for all Australian carmakers. Hella Australia provides support to other Hella companies in the Asia Pacific regions.
Tight space restrictions in the Sportivo Coupe’s engine bay required DENSO’s local manufacturing plant, Australian Automotive Air, to engineer and produce a compact and lightweight thin-wall aluminium radiator for the Sportivo Coupe on a very short lead-time.
The company also developed and manufactured the air conditioner condenser, cooling fans and custom made hoses and tubes for the project, showing the type of commitment that won Toyota Supplier of the Year awards in 1994, 1999 and 2000.
DENSO Corporation, established in 1949, develops a wide range of automotive components around the world and employs 90,000 people in 31 countries.
Toyota Tsusho (Australasia)
Creating the right cabin environment was a major consideration in the design of the Sportivo Coupe, so colour and trim designers Danny Lazzari and Marisa Marazita turned to long-time supplier Toyota Tsusho for the perfect fabric colours and blends.
Toyota Tsusho has a manufacturing subsidiary company, Australian Fabric Laminators, and a joint-venture company called Autofab, which manufactures automotive circular knits for local and overseas clients. Both facilities are located in suburbs of Melbourne.
Established in Australia in 1971, Toyota Tsusho (Australasia) has 102 employees and is wholly owned by Toyota Tsusho, which has 124 offices worldwide and is part of the Toyota Group. The local operation produces a wide range of products generating sales of over $200 million and exports about two-thirds of its output.
DuPont is one of the longest-running companies in the world, having celebrated its 200th anniversary in 2002, so there is no questioning the value of its experience in providing the interior plastic coatings to the Sportivo Coupe.
With colour being applied to a variety of surfaces inside the concept car, it was essential for DuPont to achieve and appreciate the difficult task of colour harmonisation. The company’s extensive automotive experience ensured that the appropriate colours and finishes were formulated and supplied to achieve the designers' critical standards.
DuPont operates in more than 70 countries, employs around 85,000 people and is a world leader in science-based technologies covering a wide range of industries. Its Commercial Vehicle and Key Accounts division based in Melbourne handled the Sportivo Coupe applications.
One of the distinctive features of the Sportivo Coupe’s interior is its eye-catching and comfortable ‘suede’ seat upholstery provided by Reatex Automotive, an importer and niche marketer of textiles to the local industry for 15 years.
The upholstery is actually made from a material called Ecsaine, which provides the look, touch and comfort of suede while overcoming the cleaning difficulties that prevent the use of natural suede in cars.
The new artificial suede was developed by Toyota in conjunction with Toray Industries in Japan to meet Toyota quality standards and is treated to reach the fire retardant standard for the automotive industry.
SEWS Australia (Sumitomo Electric Group)
With so many new and complex electronic systems contained within the Sportivo Coupe, the electrical wiring provided a considerable challenge that was accepted by SEWS Australia’s engineers, who assisted the Toyota engineers to develop, test and fit the complex systems.
The Australian company was established in 1999 specifically to support Toyota Australia’s local manufacturing. It is a joint venture between two Japanese giants – Sumitomo Electric Industries and Sumitomo Wiring Systems.
Sumitomo Electric Industries was founded in 1897 and has become one of the world’s leading forces in research and development of high-technology products and systems while Sumitomo Wiring Systems is a leading manufacturer of wiring harnesses in Japan.
Among the most important aspects of the Sportivo Coupe concept are the information, entertainment and communication systems, which involve a high degree of interactivity with the driver and occupants. The company given responsibility for the advanced interactive animations and installations was 2WC, a member of the SEE life differently group of companies.
From their studio in Port Melbourne, project manager Paul Staubli and 2WC senior art director Stephen Van Elst, who comes direct from a stint designing the next generation of telematics for Jaguar, worked in collaboration with Toyota Style Australia’s designers on the conceptual development and engineering of the fully animated digital driver instrumentation, including the innovative reconfigurative speedometer.
The animated portable PC ‘infotainment’ screen features advanced telematics and includes customisable interfaces for satellite navigation, audiovisual (DVD, MP3, digital radio) as well as video, voice and text.