• Nov 19th 2008 at 5:58PM
  • 23
Click for high-res image gallery of the Toyoat CNG hybrid Camry

Toyota isn't holding a press conference at the LA Auto Show this year, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have anything to show. The Prius purveyors have built a CNG-fueled Camry hybrid. According to Toyota spokesperson Jana Hartline, the purpose of the CNG hybrid is to demonstrate the versatility of Hybrid Synergy Drive. The car gets 50% better fuel efficiency than the last production CNG vehicle offered by Toyota, which was based on the 2000 Camry. Hartline explained Toyota has no immediate plans to produce either CNG or CNG hybrid vehicles, but the company is looking at all alternatives for the future.



LOS ANGELES, Nov. 19, 2008 – Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc., today highlighted the versatility of its Hybrid Synergy Drive® system by showing a compressed natural gas (CNG) Camry Hybrid concept vehicle at the 2008 Los Angeles Auto Show.

"In the near future, growing demand for liquid petroleum simply and effectively will exceed supply," said Chris Hostetter, group vice president, TMS Advanced Product Strategy. "Before that occurs, automakers must look to vehicles powered by alternative fuels. We believe CNG will be one of those alternatives."

The current CNG benefits are amplified by rapidly changing market conditions and an increase in consumer environmental awareness. As a transport fuel, natural gas is a clean and safe gasoline alternative. It can potentially reduce U.S. dependency on foreign oil and reduce vehicle operating costs. Currently more than 99 percent of natural gas used in the U.S. comes from domestic & other North American sources. Proven worldwide natural gas reserves are estimated to last until 2100 and have the potential to last until 2200 through improved advanced production methods.

Natural gas also produces lower particulate emissions, nitrous oxide (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), carbon dioxide (CO2) and non-methane organic gases (NMOG), and less CO2 per unit of energy when compared with gasoline. In addition, it has a higher flash point (ignition temperature) than gasoline, can run at a higher compression ratio and is quickly dispersed into the atmosphere, should a leak occur.

The CNG Camry Hybrid concept was designed by the TMS Advanced Product Strategy group and built by Metal Crafters of Fountain Valley, Calif. To convert the stock Camry Hybrid to a CNG vehicle, the gasoline fuel system was replaced with a CNG system including two CNG tanks installed in the spare tire well area.

The exterior of the vehicle also received some sporty 'concept' touches. A sleek custom front fascia and front bumper cover eliminate the grill opening, while a custom rear bumper covers the tail pipe and visible exhaust system. The vehicle is fitted with 19 x 7.5 alloy wheels and Bridgestone Potenza 225/35ZR19 run-flat tires to accommodate the lack of a spare tire. The overall ride height is lowered while new side body skirts and "Compressed Natural Gas Hybrid" graphics complete the unique look.

In 1999, Toyota marketed a CNG-powered four-cylinder Camry to fleet customers in California. Due to relatively low gasoline costs at that time, customers were not attracted to a vehicle that required special refueling techniques and a limited refueling infrastructure. The program was discontinued a year later. Today there are less than 1,000 CNG refueling stations nationwide, with less than half open to the public.

"Toyota believes CNG has huge potential, both in the U.S. and globally," said Hostetter, "but CNG is just one of the many alternative fuels we're exploring in our ongoing advanced technology research and development."

2.4 liter, 4-cylinder engine with Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive®
Gasoline fuel system replaced with CNG system

City/Highway/Combined = 32/34/33
(Gasoline Camry Hybrid = 33/34/34)

NET HORSEPOWER (Engine + Electric Motor + Generator + Power Storage)
170 hp

Two (2) Lincoln composite Type 4 tanks - plastic liner with carbon fiber wrapped exterior
Tanks installed in spare tire well area
Maximum 3,600 psi

Proposed 8 gallon gasoline equivalent

250+ miles

Overall Length: 191.2
Overall Width: 71.7
Overall Height: 57.5
Wheelbase: 109.3
Wheel Size: 19 x 7.5 alloy wheels

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is a very old convertion technology. Here in my country (Argentina) we've been using CNG for 20 years. Is very common for used and new cars to perform a convertion to CNG. That means a tank is located in the trunk and a high pressure system delivers the gas to the engine. It coexists with the traditional fuel, and you can switch anytime you want to fuel and CNG. In the last two decades only few accidents happened, mostly for non authorized convertions (you have to check the system once a year - mandatory). I used to have an old Ford Falcon 221ci and the cost of running it on GNC was 75% less that with fuel. But Natural Gas is still non-renewable resource. From my point of view this is yet another transition from petrol fuel to a definitive energy solution (call it H2, fuel cell, electricity). Cheers!
      • 6 Years Ago
      i can't believe i am saying this, but i actually like those headlights....
        • 6 Years Ago
        Um, it's a black housing / clear side marker version of the current Camry headlight. Not exactly going out on a stylistic limb are ya? lol
        • 6 Years Ago
        It'd be awesome if they were on the SE.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thats HOT looking!!!! This should be a refresh of the next camry!!!.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Man, I'm all for CNG and all its advantages, but the idea of riding around with two 3,600 PSI pressure vessels in the back makes me quite damn nervous, regardless of the flammability of their content...
        • 6 Years Ago
        Psh, don't be a pussy.
        • 6 Years Ago
        what, you wouldn't want your kids sitting in the back seat, on top of those tanks?
        • 6 Years Ago
        Okey, in Pakistan, CNG the most popular method of fuel your vehicle (infact I can't recall the last time i saw a car without a cng kit in it). My own car has a gas tank, yes it may give you the creeps (especially when fueling, makes a weird whooshing noise), but trust me, its okey, i have never heard of a gas tank exploding, so that should not scare you
      • 6 Years Ago
      Looks "better" with the new paint and wheels, the body modification still looks so tacked on though -


      I like how Toyota "recycle" their show cars - how "green"!
      • 6 Years Ago
      Eww. Can I unsee that please?

      Front fascia is disturbing; reminds me of Keanu Reeves in the Matrix when he got his mouth taken away by Smith while being interrogated.

      I'm a cab driver in San Francisco where we use a good number of CNG taxicabs. Cabs here are required to have full-size spares, though it looks like putting one in this Camry's trunk (especially a 19-incher... thanks!) would eat up a good portion of what's left.

      Most Crown Victoria CNG conversions have the tank in the trunk directly behind the rear seat. This leaves the spare tire well open but does impair trunk space. I often have to put bags for airport fares in my front seat. I know cabbies who have had to turn down $300+ fares from San Francisco to Monterey because a CNG cab couldn't hold a family and their bags...
      • 6 Years Ago
      this camry looks sweeeeeeeeeeet!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        the first camry saved to my picture folder ;)
      • 6 Years Ago

      A good looking Toyota.

      I'm going to go drown myself in my own piss.
      • 6 Years Ago
      When will someone harness methane gas? Then we can fart our way to work.
        • 6 Years Ago
        It does kind of look like the face of your avatar. Bulging eyes, flat face... Sleestack FTW.

        Actually, Hitmonlee comes to mind.
      • 6 Years Ago
      at least PAINT a grille.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The absence of grill is kind of the point of the mod...
        • 6 Years Ago
        The mod to the FRONT FASCIA, you know, the whole grill-less look, on purpose...
        • 6 Years Ago
        I thought the mod was that it takes Natural Gas.

      • 6 Years Ago
      HOT CAMRY!!!! =O

      Where did this come from?? can i get those rims??

      The drop the rims everything is HOT

      Love the camry
      • 6 Years Ago
      Except for the Grill everything looks pretty cool.
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