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Toyota’s Latest Hybrid is…a Boat?

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Toyota PONAM-28V

Electrified vehicles are becoming the norm faster than ever before. As the brand behind the first mass-produced hybrid car and the face of hybrid vehicles around the world, Toyota is always one to keep your eyes on. So, what’s the latest from the Japanese automaker’s hybrid department?

Oh. It’s a boat.

Called the PONAM-28V, the boat is, according to Toyota, the first parallel hybrid boat in Japan. Believe it or not, fuel economy and emissions are also important factors in the boating world, which makes the PONAM a bit of a gem.

Under the hood—err, deck—is a 256-horsepower internal combustion engine paired with a 48-horsepower electric motor that also produces 258 lb-ft of torque. There’s also an 11-kWh lithium-ion battery that allows the boat to operate in electric-only mode, which makes it eerily quiet.

Hybrid King: 2017 Toyota Prius

This isn’t the first time Toyota electrifies something other than cars. Last year, Toyota revealed it has been working on fuel cell buses that can act as generators, which will be used to transport athletes during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

The 28-foot PONAV boats will serve a similar purpose. Toyota will lend the boats to the Tokyo Metropolitan Government at no charge, where it will be used to provide transportation and canal tours during the Olympics as well as conduct maintenance at the Port of Tokyo facilities.

Toyota will study and experiment with the boats from July 2018 to March 2021. After then, the automaker might actually deign to build them for the public.

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