Toyota furnished to Italdesign-Giugiaro a derivative of its ultimate hybrid system, the one adopted on the Lexus RX 400. On the Volta, the 3.3 liter V6 petrol engine is fitted behind the rear axle and not connected directly to the wheels. Indeed, motion is ensured by two electrically powered engines, one per axle thereby securing all-wheel drive and enhanced safety. As such, this epoch-making mechanical layout paves the way to eliminating the traditional transmission and gearbox longitudinal encumbrance.
Indeed, operating electronics enable the power transmitted by the electric motors to the wheels to be modulated, thereby rendering superfluous the gear/clutch unit. Housed under the lightweight, carbon-fiber chassis, designed and engineered by the Italdesign Giugiaro technical department, are the batteries, weighing 70 kg. Result: significantly leaner weight, balanced and encompassed between the axles, 408 HP output, top speed limited at 250 km/h with acceleration from 0 to 100 km coming in 4.03 seconds.
The Volta sets the innovative content of the hybrid drivetrain in classic supercar livery: compact volumes, downward flattened trim, tapered bonnet, minimum rear overhang and truncated tail. The dragon-fly winged doors are upward hinged in the front riser. Ample aeration in the grill design, slanting lamps fitted in the fender motive on an upper plane to the 'aquiline' route followed by the bonnet's center point. In the body side, a sturdy belt band yet again stretches upward to the rear wheel shaft enabling two 'claw-marks' to be grazed as air intakes, whilst fitted in the Grecian motive traced on the horizontal-base traverse allowing glimpses of the carbon fiber chassis, are two thermal engine exhaust pipes.
The body side and the upper tail merge and flow upward towards where the roof and rear window meet: from there is triggered a rather singular truncated tail profile, surmounted by the spoiler's embossed motive protecting the optic unit. The tail's lower band allocates the engine's cooling air outlets.
As a result of adopting the By Wire technology, the pedal board and steering wheel can slide along strips, whether to the right, center or left. This did not translate into having to adopt a bench seat, but paved the way towards creating extremely ergonomic and sophisticated sliding seats, thereby ensuring personalized driving comfort. A sturdily built driver, for example, can move the seat away from the door or a three-seating arrangement can be obtained for two adults with one child sitting in the middle. Even with three passengers, the interior offers more sitting and legroom than in normal sports coupe models.
In order to obtain maximum driving seat adaptability, Fabrizio Giugiaro also turned a keen eye to dashboard design. Dashboard information has been stripped down to the essential: speedometer, speed indicators and fuel level confirmed; temperature indicators eliminated; navigator and stereo Toyota interfaces installed.
Also for the Volta, Italdesign-Giugiaro went beyond the shell, utilizing its testing and engineering department to design the carbon fiber chassis, the push-rods and the mechanisms regulating pedal/steering column block traslability, whilst its prototyping construction workshops to crystallize the styling model and operational prototype.
Other than the petrol propulsor, also drawn from the collaboration with Toyota are the electric engines, the batteries and all operational management electronics plus the expertise gained in an avant-garde specialty.
Company press release, last updated before 12 / 01 / 2004
This car must go into production, with an increase in issues about the environment, high performance gas guzzling cars will have to cease someday, and this car right here would be an amazing start to a hybrid high performance series of supercars, WOW. Of course my hopes aren't getting up, because the sad reality of bizarre concept cars like this one is that they are only for the company to experiment with and try new gadgets and technology. But I pray that this, or something quite similar will someday hit the streets. It will be pricey because of the Italdesign tag, and I can't see toyota ever bringing a car to the market with a high price tag. I imagine they will simply take styling cues from italdesign and create their own supercar just so it will be more affordable for a greater chunk of the population. Damn it would sure be nice to see this someday, great job Italdesign and Toyota, team effort!!