Toyota U-squared urban utility concept inspired by Maker Faire [w/video]

Toyota U-squared urban utility concept inspired by Maker Faire [w/video]

September 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Minivan/Van , Technology , Work , Toyota , Design/Style There’s a quiet revolution happening in US cities. People want to mix an urban lifestyle with a connection to nature and appreciation for craftsmanship. The result of all of this is folks pursuing things as varied as urban farming, home brewing and the whole maker movement. Toyota thinks it has the perfect concept for these intrepid customers with its new Urban Utility – or, U-squared, not U2 like the band – concept that it is debuting during a panel discussion hosted by Make: magazine in San Francisco and debuting publicly on September 20 at the World Maker Faire in New York City. The Urban Utility concept can best be described as a modern take on the old panel van. Designers from Toyota’s Calty Design Research center in California interviewed Maker Faire participants to find out what its users want from a novel vehicle like this. “Toyota saw an opportunity for a new approach to an urban vehicle based on increasing re-urbanization of our cities and urban drivers’ desire for flexibility, fun and maneuverability,” said Kevin Hunter, president of Calty. On the outside, the Urban Utility doesn’t really scream for attention. It’s meant to meet users “desire for greater utility but a smaller vehicle footprint,” according to the release, but the shape is still very much a van. The designers do try to lend it some panache with the LED headlights up front and checker board side panels.

Toyota reveals new versions of FT-1 concept at Pebble Beach [w/video]

Toyota reveals new versions of FT-1 concept at Pebble Beach [w/video]

August 14, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Concept Cars , Coupe , Performance , Toyota , Misc. Auto Shows , Racing Toyota certainly caught our attention when it unveiled the FT-1 concept at the Detroit Auto Show last January. Coming from the same people who gave us the Lexus LFA , Scion FR-S and Toyota Supra , the FT-1 concept looked striking in its bright red livery. But the Japanese automaker isn’t quite done with it yet. No, we’re afraid we don’t have a production announcement to share at the moment, but Toyota has revealed two new versions of the FT-1 concept that cast it in different light. Most notable is the graphite version pictured above. Replacing the bright red paintjob and two-tone red and black interior of the original concept, this second iteration – presented in the metal at McCall’s Motorworks Revival in Monterey , California – goes for a more upscale and refined graphite exterior and a tan leather interior with exposed metal elements. Both versions of the virtually road-going FT-1 concept will be playable in GT6 , but at the same time Toyota also revealed (in digital form, at least) a virtual racing version of the concept called the FT-1 Vision Gran Turismo. Looking like the original concept was prepared for Japan’s Super GT series , the FT-1 Vision GT is retuned for racing, with wider fenders, more extreme aero, competition-spec alloys on slicks and the like. Check out the race-ready digital concept in the video below , our live shots from the graphite concept’s reveal at Pebble Beach in the gallery above and the galleries of both new versions at bottom for a closer look.

‘Car of the Future’ Is Here. Now.

June 28, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

ASPEN, Colo., June 27, 2014 – Driving helps make lives safer, greener and more convenient at Toyota’s “Experience the Future of Mobility” exhibit, open now at the 2014 Aspen Ideas Festival. Toyota is staging the North American debut of its “Car of the Future” at the annual conference. Unveiled earlier this week at a press conference in Japan, the zero-emission hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) will be available for sale to customers in California in summer 2015.

Toyota prices fuel cell sedan at $70k in Japan, coming to US and Europe next summer [w/video]

Toyota prices fuel cell sedan at $70k in Japan, coming to US and Europe next summer [w/video]

June 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Sedan , Technology , Toyota Toyota has finally unveiled its FCV hydrogen fuel cell sedan and its Japanese price. We won’t have to wait too long to see the first of these revolutionary vehicles on the roads. It will go on sale in Japan in April 2015 and will come to the US and Europe later that summer. In Japan, the FCV will be priced at roughly 7 million yen before taxes ($68,810 at current exchange rates). However, Toyota makes it clear in the press release that we shouldn’t try to extrapolate US MSRP from that figure, saying that official pricing for the US and Europe has not yet been determined. As will be the case in the US, sales in Japan will be limited to parts of the country that already have a hydrogen refueling infrastructure (that means you, California). The production version of the FCV looks almost identical to the concept from last year’s Tokyo Motor Show . There is a new vertical strip of LEDs at each corner of the front air intake and real sideview windows, instead of the nubs on the prototype. The weird squiggles from the rear trim are also gone in favor of a more production-ready look, but the taillights survive the changes mostly intact. The automaker is keeping most of the specs about the FCV a secret for now as well, but it is confirmed a few key details.

Save Some Green with Toyota, Lexus and Scion

May 29, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Los Angeles (May 28, 2014) – California drivers looking to save a buck are in luck! Toyota, Lexus and Scion took three of the top ten spots in the 2014 Green Car Guide, published today by the Automobile Club of Southern California.

Toyota’s Lentz says fuel cells are the future, not EVs

Toyota’s Lentz says fuel cells are the future, not EVs

May 26, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Toyota is not bullish on EVs. That comes from the company’s North American CEO, Jim Lentz , who said the company will focus not on electrification, but on continued hybridization with a long-term focus on hydrogen fuel cells. Lentz questioned the long-range ability of EVs, saying that Toyota feels “there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells.” Lentz spoke about Toyota’s focus on hydrogen following Forbes Brainstorm Green conference and barely a week after a battery deal between Tesla and Toyota ended , according to Automotive News . That deal provided for 2,500 battery packs for the Rav4 EV . While valuable to Toyota, the deal “was never about open-ended volume,” Lentz said. “It was time to either continue or stop. My personal feeling was that I would rather invest my dollars in fuel cell development than in another 2,500 EVs.” Freed of its venture with Tesla , hydrogen now appears to be in Toyota’s focus. According to AN, Toyota is starting in California, offering a $7-million loan to a company called FirstElement Fuel to develop hydrogen fueling infrastructure in the Golden State. Automotive News cites a study by Toyota that claims 68 refueling stations located across the state would provide for 10,000 HFC owners. California is already planning on having 50 stations by the end of 2016.

Toyota Continues to Drive Higher Education

May 12, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

TORRANCE, Calif. (May 6, 2014) –The rising cost of higher education is a growing concern among high school students as they prepare for college entry in the fall.

How Charlotte lost to Plano without even knowing it was dealing with Toyota

How Charlotte lost to Plano without even knowing it was dealing with Toyota

May 8, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Toyota With Toyota set to relocate its North American headquarters to the Dallas, TX suburb of Plano following a top-secret, 100-city search, the cities that missed out can now begin asking themselves what happened during a process they apparently knew little about. That’s a particularly brutal task for Charlotte, which, according to North Carolina’s Secretary of Commerce, Sharon Decker, finished second to Plano. While Toyota has been fairly open about what it was looking for in a new headquarters city – direct flights to Japan, proximity to its US production facilities, a lower cost of living, high-quality educational facilities and finding a neutral site suitable to the California, Kentucky and New York-based employees that would be relocated – it’s been less open about how the finalist cities, which also included Atlanta and Denver, stacked up against each other. The Charlotte Observer has a few ideas. Part of the problem is the distinct lack of direct flights between Charlotte and Asia. US Airways, which operates a hub at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport, doesn’t fly to Asia. Toyota, for its part, seems to be placing most of the blame on location. “With manufacturing locations in many US states, Canada and Mexico, we chose a location that better supports our diverse geographic footprint, in a time zone that allows us to communicate better with most of our operations, and has direct flights to all our North American operations and Japan,” Mike Michels, Toyota’s VP of product communications, told The Observer via email. How Charlotte lost to Plano without even knowing it was dealing with Toyota originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 08 May 2014 14:14:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds .

Jim Lentz exposes more details behind Toyota’s move to Texas

Jim Lentz exposes more details behind Toyota’s move to Texas

May 3, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

Filed under: Hirings/Firings/Layoffs , Plants/Manufacturing , Toyota Toyota’s North American CEO Jim Lentz has already given us a rough idea of what prompted the company’s surprise move to the Dallas suburb of Plano, TX from its longstanding headquarters in Torrance, CA. A new story from The Los Angeles Times , though, delivers even more detail from Lentz on the reasoning for the move, what other cities were considered and why the company’s current host city wasn’t even in the running. Of course, one of the more popular reasons being bandied about includes the $40 million Texas was set to give the company for the move, as well as the state’s generous tax rates. According to Lentz, though, the reason Toyota chose Plano over a group of finalists made up of Atlanta, Charlotte and Denver, was far simpler than that – it was about consolidating its marketing, sales, engineering and production teams in a region that’s closer to the company’s seat of manufacturing in the south. “It doesn’t make sense to have oversight of manufacturing 2,000 miles away from where the cars were made,” Lentz told The Times. “Geography is the reason not to have our headquarters in California.” Geography isn’t the only reason, though. Toyota is aiming for a more harmonious coming together of its far-flung and disparate divisions, which is something that couldn’t be provided by moving everyone to Torrance. “We needed a neutral site,” Lentz said, pointing out that moving engineering employees based in Kentucky to Torrance could give the impression that “sales was taking over.” Lentz said a conversation with Global President Akio Toyoda kick started the idea of moving, as the company sought to organize its North American business “for the next 50 years.” As for why Plano won, there are a number of reasons, one of which was the area’s cost of living. According to The Times , the average house in the LA area costs $515,000 – in Dallas, it’s less than half that, at $217,500. Toyota also considered the climate, access to direct flights to Japan (Plano is served by the sprawling Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport) and the quality of the area’s schools as factors behind Plano’s victory.

Toyota Collaborates with FirstElement, Providing Financial Assistance to Facilitate a Hydrogen Refueling Network in Targeted California Locations

May 2, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

TORRANCE, Calif. (May 1, 2014) – “The issue of hydrogen refueling infrastructure is not so much about how many stations; but rather, location, location, location,” stated Bob Carter, senior vice president, Automotive Operations, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (TMS), just four months ago at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas where he unveiled a hydrogen fuel cell sedan due to launch in 2015.

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