The Toyota Hybrid System (THS) is a technology developed by the Japanese automaker Toyota, which combines a conventional gasoline engine with an electric motor to provide enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced emissions. It was first introduced in the late 1990s, and since then, it has been continuously refined and improved to meet the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles.
History and Development
The development of the Toyota Hybrid System can be traced back to the 1990s, when Toyota began experimenting with hybrid powertrains. The first Toyota hybrid model, the Prius, was launched in Japan in 1997 and later in other markets, including the United States, in 2000. The Prius was an instant hit and helped to establish Toyota’s leadership in hybrid technology.
Since the launch of the Prius, Toyota has continued to refine and improve its hybrid technology, with the latest version of the THS being more compact, lighter, and more powerful than earlier versions.
Toyota has also expanded the availability of its hybrid technology, offering it in a range of different models and segments, from compact cars to SUVs.
Different Versions of the THS
There are several different versions of the Toyota Hybrid System, including:
- THS I: This is the first generation of the Toyota Hybrid System, which was introduced in the first-generation Prius. It was a simple and basic hybrid system, with a small electric motor and a nickel-metal Hydride (Ni-MH) battery pack.
- THS II: The second generation of the THS, which was introduced in the second-generation Prius, was a more advanced and sophisticated system. It featured a more powerful electric motor, a larger battery pack, and a more efficient gasoline engine.
- THS III: The third generation of the THS, which was introduced in the third-generation Prius, was a major evolution of the hybrid system. It featured a smaller, lighter, and more powerful electric motor, a more compact battery pack, and a more efficient gasoline engine.
- THS IV: The fourth generation of THS, which is currently in use, is even more advanced and sophisticated. It features a compact and powerful electric motor, a smaller and lighter battery pack, and a highly efficient gasoline engine.
Toyota Models available with THS
A number of Toyota models now offer the THS, including:
- Prius: The Prius is Toyota’s flagship hybrid model and has been offered with the THS since its launch in 1997. The latest version of the Prius features the THS IV, which provides enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
- Camry Hybrid: The Camry is Toyota’s best-selling sedan, and the Camry Hybrid offers the THS to provide improved fuel economy and reduced emissions.
- Corolla Hybrid: The Corolla is Toyota’s best-selling compact car, and the Corolla Hybrid offers the THS for improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
- RAV4 Hybrid: The RAV4 is Toyota’s best-selling SUV, and the RAV4 Hybrid offers the THS for improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
- Highlander: A midsize three-row crossover SUV available since the 2001 model year.
- Crown: A four-door fastback sedan sort-of-thing that looks great but almost defies description!
- Other 2023 model-year Toyota that are available with some form of THS under the hood include the bZ4X, Sequoia, Venza, Sienna, and even the full-size Tundra pickup truck in its i-FORCE MAX format.
How the THS Works
The Toyota Hybrid System combines a conventional gasoline engine with an electric motor to provide enhanced fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.
The gasoline engine provides the primary source of power, while the electric motor provides additional power when needed and can also recharge the battery pack.
When the vehicle is accelerating, the electric motor provides additional power to the wheels, supplementing the power from the gasoline engine. When the vehicle is decelerating or braking, the electric motor acts as a generator, recharging the battery pack.
Although Toyota has chosen to give a unique name to its hybrid powertrain technology, there’s nothing that really sets it apart from the competition. In the long run, however, if reputation is anything to go by, THS is likely to turn out to be among the most reliable hybrid systems available up to this point.
If you are interested in buying a new or used Toyota and you want to get familiar with Toyota features and terminology, check out this article that covers 14 Toyota technology features.