Hybrid Synergy Drive (HSD) is a set of hybrid car technologies developed by Toyota and used in that company's Prius, Highlander Hybrid, Camry Hybrid, Lexus RX 400h, and Lexus GS 450h automobiles. It combines the characteristics of an electric drive and a continuously variable transmission, using electricity and transistors in place of toothed gears. The Synergy Drive is a drive-by-wire system with no direct mechanical connection between the engine and the engine controls: both the gas pedal and the gearshift lever in an HSD car merely send electrical signals to a control computer.
HSD is a refinement of the original Toyota Hybrid System (THS) used in the 1997ÃƒÂ¢â€šÂ¬2003 Toyota Prius. As such it is occasionally referred to as THS II. The name was changed in anticipation of its use in vehicles outside the Toyota brand (Lexus).
When required to classify the transmission type of an HSD vehicle (such as in standard specification lists or for regulatory purposes), Toyota describes HSD-equipped vehicles as having E-CVT (Electronically-controlled Continuously Variable Transmission).