When the all-new, North American designed and engineered 2013 Avalon goes on sale later this year, consumers will be able to choose between a V6 gasoline powertrain and Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive. The efficiency offered by the new hybrid model will help the all-new premium mid-size sedan achieve an EPA-rating of 40 mpg combined.
The new Avalon will feature a full power-split hybrid system. Coupled with reductions in vehicle weight and improvements in aerodynamics, Toyota expects the Avalon Hybrid will achieve impressive fuel economy ratings.
Considering the Avalon is a large version of the Camry, it is not surprising to find that the Hybrid version of the Avalon shares a lot of its components with the Camry Hybrid.
The Avalon Hybrid features a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine (known internally as the 2AR-FXE), a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a pair of electric motor/generators within the transaxle. A power-control unit located in the engine compartment houses an inverter, a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter (raises voltage to a maximum of 650 volts) and the hybrid-drive ECU, which governs the seamless operation of electric-motor power application and regenerative braking. The power control unit relies on liquid cooling to maintain an efficient temperature.
The Avalon Hybrid achieves a total system output of 200 horsepower and offers three modes of operation: EV, ECO and SPORT. In addition to its aforementioned 40 mpg combined rating, the EPA says the Avalon Hybrid will achieve 40 mpg in the city, and a 39 mpg on the highway.
The 2013 Avalon Hybrid offers an EV mode that, under certain conditions, allows the vehicle to operate solely on electric propulsion. EV mode can be engaged, provided other conditions are correct, for up to one mile at speeds up to 25 mph, providing an all-electric option that is convenient in residential areas or parking garages.
The ECO drive mode engages the gasoline motor, but reduces throttle response and HVAC output to help improve overall efficiency.
The SPORT Mode takes full advantage of the new Avalon’s dynamic character, improved chassis, and enhanced suspension by altering the engine’s throttle response and enhancing steering feel.
The Avalon’s hybrid’s battery pack is comprised of 204 cells and is located in the vehicle trunk behind the rear seats, while still providing ample trunk space. The scroll casing for the battery cooling system’s blower fan has been designed to produce extremely quiet and efficient airflow, helping reduce interior noise and elevating refinement. The power-control unit, located in the engine bay, houses the inverter, DC-DC converter.
The hybrid transaxle in the new Avalon contains two high-output electric motor/generators, a power-split device, an open differential and the final drive ratio. Motor/Generator 1 (MG1) is used to start the gasoline engine and generate the energy that is returned to the battery to power the system. Motor/Generator 2 (MG2) is primarily responsible for electric drivetrain propulsion and regenerative braking. The hybrid vehicle transaxle also incorporates a flywheel-damper design that helps reduce noise and vibration during engine engagement.
The new 2013 Avalon is the product of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan’s exterior and interior design was conceived by a youthful, talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc., facilities in Southern California and Michigan.
The car’s engineering development was led by a group based at the Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focus, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at the Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) facility in Georgetown, Ky.