Rumour has it that a petrol-electric hybrid variant of the Toyota 86 sports car is nearing an "advanced" stage, though a productionised version is still far from a certainty.
Unlike that other Toyota hybrid, the Prius, the 86 hybrid is widely expected to utilise a KERS-type system to deliver a momentary boost in power to supplement the internal combustion engine.
However in an interview with British outlet Autocar, Toyota's senior manager of drivetrain engineering Koei Saga said that a multi-mode hybrid set up derived from Toyota's other road cars coud also be adapted to the 86.
Citing the Japanese automaker's experience with the Prius range of vehicles, Lexus hybrids as well as its Le Mans hybrid race car, Saga told Autocar that engineering a sporty hybrid set up would not be a great challenge for the automaker.
The extra weight of a hybrid's high-voltage battery pack would also be offset by the dynamic benefits of mounting that weight low in the chassis, he said.
But although work is already well underway, don't expect to see a hybrid 86 in your local Toyota showroom any time soon - it has yet to be given the go-ahead by Toyota's management.
Yet Saga is confident that should the nod be given, it won't take long for the technology to transition from prototype to production.
"The development work is quite advanced now, so if the green light is given, we are ready to do it," Saga told Autocar
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