Toyota unveils plug-in hybrid, to test on roads
A Toyota Motor Corp.'s employee holds up a three-prong plug for a photo during the unveiling of a plug-in hybrid vehicle in Tokyo July 25, 2007. The vehicle, certified for public road-use by Japan's Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport, is able to travel at a maximum speed of 100km (62 miles) per hour and Toyota estimates the vehicle to run 13km (8 miles) under electric vehicle mode by charging three to four hours with an ordinary electric wall socket. (Yuriko Nakao/Reuters)
Toyota unveils plug-in hybrid, to test on roads
By Chang-Ran Kim, Asia auto correspondentWed Jul 25, 1:30 AM ET
Toyota Motor Corp. unveiled a "plug-in" hybrid car based on its popular Prius model on Wednesday, saying it would test the fuel-saving vehicle on public roads -- a first for the industry.
But the world's biggest automaker said the car, called the Toyota Plug-in HV, was not fit for commercialization since it uses low-energy nickel-metal hydride batteries instead of lithium-ion batteries believed to be a better fit for rechargeable plug-in cars.
Unlike earlier gasoline-electric hybrids, which run on a parallel system twinning battery power and a combustion engine, plug-in cars are designed to enable short trips powered entirely by the electric motor, using a battery that can be charged through an electric socket at home.
Many environmental advocates see them as the best available technology to reduce gasoline consumption and global-warming greenhouse gas emissions, but engineers say battery technology is still insufficient to store enough energy for long-distance travel.
"It's difficult to say when plug-in hybrids could be commercialized, since it would depend largely on advances in battery technology," said Executive Vice President Masatami Takimoto, in charge of Toyota's powertrain technology, told a news conference.
I have sat in one of these my aunt owns one, too tiny for me I would rather drive an armored car !
I wonder what's the latest news on this one. I don't mind the looks or the size of it. I would fit just fine in it. But that 8 mile range is crap. What the heck is that about?
Actually, knowing now from my XM-2000 that it takes 5 (albeit smaller) batteries just to propel me and it around, I can imagine that for a larger car with extra people and cargo that it's going to take a lot more oomph to do the same.
I'm one of those holdouts who refuse to buy another car unless it's fully electric or a plug-in hybrid. And so I wait...
I am 6' 4" and 228 lbs and drove it for several days (the non-plug-in - same size) in the state of Hawaii and it kicks a^&** !!
True, at first you miss some freedom to move your left elbow, but the car smartly makes up for it in other ways that well compensate for the cabin size.
It produces over 300 foot pounds of torque (A TOYOTA 6 cyl pickup does about 180 by comparison) and the electric engine had to be limited (=tamed) to not burn the tires or break any kind of bolt, simply because of its high torque at low rpm.
I did not drive conservatively and had to enter a lively populated highway frequently with (nearly) screeching tires and when the gas ran out, I had gotten a real life MPG of 50 !!
They're not kidding, these guys and they have my greatest respect for kickin everyone else's behind. (In the car industry, I mean)
.....But that 8 mile range is crap. What the heck is that about?
Kringle, it's just an indicator that the battery pack seems to be about 4 times more energetic than in the current version of the Prius.
I actually ran out of gas and was able to drive down said highway to the nearest gas station at around 50 mpH to refuel....it actually died right in front of the gas station.
Try pushing a Prius on a street that even has the slightest uphill angle to it:
Forget it, 2 guys me and my buddy who owns the car, could not do it.
Heeeere goes the canister...hahaha...
So then we thought about the battery being empty and the tank being empty, what do you do now?
Guess what: It started within 1 second! They seem to use an additional 12V battery to do the starting.
Distance driven on Volts only: about 2.
Well, now you can do 8, that is cool. You don't want to do this at all too much but it gives you simply more E-support while driving and will increase the MPGs by a good amount.
It's a logical next step for them and I don't really understand why they wait to get one of those A123 batterie packs and use it for the Prius....
Buying a car like this right now is the right statement to the oil industry and makes them less powerful, even byt he small amount of money that you re-direct to sustainable forces within the world's industry. It even shifts the balance within Toyota's catalog as they will produce more hybrids because you just kinda voted for this-- with your wallet.
I completely agree that when we can, we need to vote with our wallets. Although many argue that traditional capitalism, Adam Smith style, is dead in America, I believe some of the basic fundaments of supply and demand persist and thus, we can influence the products made available to us by corporations by either selective purchasing or refusal to buy.
It's not just a coincidence that Toyota is my favorite car brand, this brand happens to amaze it's customers through innovation and progress, the one thing I like is that these cars are not just about the looks. Toyota Parts is also something worth considering.