Jul 25

Now Toyota Plugs-in Too

 

prius_plug.jpg

Today Toyota Motor Corp. announced that they have developed a plug-in hybrid car based on the Prius. The car is called the Toyota Plug-in HV (name definitely not as cool as “the Volt”) and is slated for testing in the U.S. and Europe. The vehicle does not use lithium-ion batteries but rather relies on lower energy density Nickel-Metal Hydride batteries. Due to this limitation, the car can only go 8 miles on a full charge, despite a “trunk-full” of batteries.

Also, unlike the current Prius, the test car can drive electric-only at all speeds, and not just low velocities.

This news attests to the importance of the plug-in paradigm, the not-yet-ready nature of lithium-ion battery packs, and the staunch competition that GM and it’s Volt will face.

Source: Reuters

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2007 at 10:25 am and is filed under Competitors, PHEV. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

COMMENTS: 12


  1. 1
    Ziv

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (11:03 am)

    Hopefully this will encourage GM to accelerate their plans to sell the Volt, even if they use a battery that allows a bit less than a 40 mile range. Even a limited range, i.e. 8 miles, will allow a substantial amount of people to commute all electric. And more importantly, it will allow a huge increase in gas mileage by allowing us to plug in at night, and drive most of the way to work all electric, and hopefully recharge at work. And this is NiMH, wait til the LiIon batteries come on line!


  2. 2
    Ken

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (1:10 pm)

    Yes, why does the goal HAVE to be 40 mile? Why can’t they start with 8 and improve it along the way as battery technology improves?


  3. 3
    AES

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (1:20 pm)

    This sounds like a science experiment that Toyota has put together, rather than a finished product. Sounds like they just put in a bigger electric motor and a bigger battery pack, and changed the software to make the car electric-only.

    Putting the battery pack in the trunk isn’t going to help with rear crash tests, by the way. That pack placement may have also been a factor in not equipping the next Prius with lithium-ion batteries. Call me a GM fanboy, but I’ve always thought the centerline battery placement strategy (which is the same in both the EV1 and Volt) was properly brilliant.


  4. 4
    Matt986

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (2:59 pm)

    The goal of 40 miles is great, because it means the MAJORITY of commuters can accomplish their daily commute without having to burn any gas. It’s a good goal, and I think GM shouldn’t lower that bar. If you want something sooner, go buy a Prius.

    In the mean time…

    http://money.cnn.com/2007/07/24/autos/porsche_hybrid/index.htm?cnn=yes

    THAT would look great parked next to my Boxster!


  5. 5
    Steven B

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (4:44 pm)

    Something interesting about this development (I didn’t notice it being mentioned) is that this advanced Prius may be a series-hybrid design like the Volt. I’m keen on the Volt for its full-functioning plug-in EV ability with the 40 mile EV-only range, but pure electric drive is also a winner. Electric motors are superior than internal combustion, and in a series-hybrid design the ICE can run at optimum efficiency at all times and be downsized. Even if it were to have no plug-in capability (which would put it at a potentially severe market disadvantage) a series-hybrid electric drive vehicle would be awesome! It would mean high-torque output from start and high fuel economy numbers. Awesome!


  6. 6
    Matt986

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (4:59 pm)

    Steven,

    I believe this next gen Prius is the same as before – when the battery is drained, the ICE drives the wheels through a planetary gear between it and a transmission. It also runs the motor as a generator to regenerate at the same time. This is not a series arrangement, it’s still parallel.

    It is a good step forward that it has some electric only range, and can be recharged at home. I’m wondering if they’d be able to get a significantly better range if the went with a LiIon battery.

    Of course, I think if this is the best that Japan comes up with to compete with the Volt… they’re going to lose the market.


  7. 7
    kent beuchert

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (6:57 pm)

    Toyota really is fumbling on the plg-in. They are simply replicating the aftermakert conversions of the Prius (even up to the removal of the spare tire) to do two things – get some PR by claiming that they need to “test” these vehicles in various countries to “understand the preferences of the various people.” What a crock – with an 8 mile electric range, I can confidently predict the first complain of these “testers.” The second complaint will be the fact that the cobbled-up Priuses only can go 60 MPH in electric mode (the VOLT can do 120). The next complaint will be the lack of a spare tire. Now, can anyone tell me what in the world is going through those Toyota engineers’ minds to make them believe that they will learn
    anything important by putting out there a car that won’t be very much like the final
    product? The recharge times will be different also – they will be much shorter for the “tester” car. None of this makes any sense unless you understand that Toyota is trying desperately to shift the green spotlight back on them. Their plug-in is a crappy design — the Prius was designed as a dual propulsion vehicle, with transmission, elaborate controls, etc. – this is not a good design for a plug-in.


  8. 8
    Mario M

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (7:26 pm)

    If there’s one thing that the Japanese have proved over the years it’s that they are great innovators (as opposed to being great inventors). Even if GM puts out the Vault in 2010, I think the Japanese car manufacturers will roll out a competitive vehicle in two to three years, if not sooner.


  9. 9
    Brian

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (8:35 pm)

    As Kent said, I don’t think the Prius is a good candidate for plug-in technology as it is currently designed. A “series hybrid” (EV with on-board generation) like the Volt is a much more elegant solution.


  10. 10
    H. Hulseman

     

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    Jul 25th, 2007 (11:17 pm)

    A series/parallel hybrid may be a better solution for those who frequently drive long distances, because direct drive may deliver better gas mileage. I own a Prius and I think the Prius needs more battery in any case.

    I am very excited about the Volt and agree that the Volt will no doubt be superior for an urban drive pattern.


  11. 11
    RP

     

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    Aug 22nd, 2007 (6:35 pm)

    You guys are comparing a Prius that went on sale in 2006 with a Volt that *may* go on sale in 2009-2010.

    Everyone is waiting for Lithium Ion batteries to get cheap enough to use. Why do you think the Tesla costs $80,000?

    Toyota can’t go live with Lithium Ion today, the price would scare everyone.


  12. 12
    watch burn notice

     

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    Oct 28th, 2009 (1:14 am)

    burn notice is the best because of Fiona