Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Hybrids have come quite a long way from their roots as dull, slow, boring ecomobiles. Today, Porsche sells three hybrid models, one of which is the amazing 918 Spyder . BMW will soon sell four, including a low-slung, two-seat sports car . Even Ferrari and McLaren , full-fledged hypercar manufacturers, are embracing the tech. And all of these cars are sold alongside the same sort of boring cars that popularized hybrids in the first place. According to Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada , though, we should see an even bigger increase in the number of hybrid vehicles in the coming years. “I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 percent of global sales from about 13 percent to 14 percent now,” Uchiyamada-san told Automotive News . Uchiyamada is the man behind the original Prius , which gives him some degree of authority on making predictions about hybrid adoption. What’s remarkable, though, is that the 20-percent figure doesn’t include plug-in hybrids, just gas- and diesel-electric models. “Suppliers need higher volumes to slash costs of components specific to plug-in models, including batteries that should be bigger and more capable than the ones used in traditional hybrids,” Uchiyamada told AN.
TORRANCE, Calif., (Feb. 18, 2014) -
Filed under: Motorsports , Technology , Toyota , Racing The 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship is gearing up to be one of the most exciting seasons of endurance racing in recent memory. All of the factory-entered LMP1 class cars are using hybrid powertrains, and Porsche is returning to the top class of the sport after a 16-year absence. Don’t count out Toyota , though. The team has just revealed the first official details about its 2014 TS040 LMP1 car, and it has a big surprise – all-wheel drive. The TS040 will follow Audi’s lead and will use a combination motor and generator to power the front wheels. The system will generate power under braking and will use it up when accelerating to give a boost in traction over last year’s rear-wheel-drive Toyota TS030 . Toyota will stick with a gasoline-fueled, naturally aspirated 3.4-liter V8 to feed the rear wheels and will take on Audi’s diesel, turbocharged 3.7-liter V6 and Porsche’s gasoline-fueled, turbo 2.0-liter four-cylinder. Sadly, there are no real pictures of the TS040 yet. Toyota is holding off on unveiling the car until the end of March at the WEC test at the Paul Ricard circuit, and the racing season doesn’t begin until April 20 with the 6 Hours of Silverstone. You can read the whole press release about the TS040 below .
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Rumormill The Toyota Prius is undeniably the king of the hybrid market in the United States, with a 39.4 percent market share in 2013. With the next-generation Prius likely to go on sale in 2015, Toyota is trying to build an even more efficient hybrid to keep its control of the market. Keeping cost down will be one of the major concerns of the new Prius. The next generation will ride on the new, modular Toyota New Global Architecture platform. The lighter underpinnings will improve efficiency and will reduce production costs by allowing for more shared components among vehicles. Toyota will not reveal how many vehicles will use the new platform. But even with the cheaper platform, price will remain a concern. Toyota is still deciding whether all versions of the next Prius will use lithium-ion batteries or whether some models will stick with the heavier nickel-metal hydride batteries to keep cost down. Of course, the reason most people buy the Prius is because of its great fuel efficiency. Toyota will aim for at least an 8 percent improvement in fuel economy in the next Prius, which would increase it to 58 miles per gallon city and 52 mpg highway.
LOS ANGELES (Nov. 20, 2013) – Get ready to take the hybrid high road! The 2014 Toyota Highlander Hybrid is on display now at the 2013 Los Angeles Auto Show.
Filed under: Hybrid , Toyota , Quick Spins We don’t often come into contact with the Toyota Crown Hybrid , especially in colors other than pink . But when Toyota offered us the keys and a half-hour window to test out the Japanese version of the Lexus GS on US soil not long ago, we had to accept. Driving Notes: We’ll start with the start. The Crown Hybrid makes the friendliest, Japanese-iest sound when you turn it on. It’s like a high-fructose THX movie is starting. Considering this is a premium car, we were surprised the first time we turned it on, but then had to do it again and again. Purely for journalistic video-capturing reasons, of course, so you can watch and hear it below . We wish we had better-than-cellphone microphones to capture it. Compared to the Lexus GS 300h , which we drove immediately afterword along with the exact same route, it is clear the Crown is an executive’s car. The seats and suspension somehow made us feel privileged, not a feeling we’re used to in most hybrid cars.
TORRANCE, Calif., October 16, 2013 – The Toyota Prius, the brand’s first production gas-electric hybrid model, remains the world’s best-selling hybrid with more than three million sold worldwide since its introduction. The Prius also continues to dominate the hybrid category in the United States, where more than 1.5 million Prius vehicles have been sold since 2000.
Filed under: Hybrid , Sedan , Toyota , New Car Reviews People, us included, make a big stink about the importance of family sedans. There’s no doubt they’re critical – they represent a huge slice of the market’s annual sales and profits. However, despite accounting for far fewer transactions than the midsize sedan segment, the fullsize sedan is getting attention from manufacturers now that our market’s entire lineup of those (slightly) smaller four-doors has turned over in the last two years or so. As most of the fullsize segment’s mainstays derive a fair bit of their platform and powertrain technologies from their midsize cousins, these larger four-doors offer the potential for fatter profit margins, too. And with the newly stylish duds found on many of the industry’s most successful midsize sedans, it’s only right that automakers no longer think about fullsizers as big, squishy, vanilla family haulers with flat seats, vague steering and a thin layer of ‘luxury’ in the form of faux wood trim. As manufacturers have again started diving into large sedans feet-first, the cars themselves have become sharper. The interiors are now of a higher quality and loaded with tech, while the exteriors have become further extensions of each manufacturer’s design language. There’s perhaps no greater example of this than the Chevrolet Impala and Ford Taurus , two models that evolved from subpar offerings into market leaders. This segment-wide transformation happened quite quickly, whether because of coincidental timing or because manufacturers are trying to get more out of their big cars, recognizing they account for a small portion of overall sales (just 3.5 percent of the new-car market in the first half of 2013). The 2013 Toyota Avalon Hybrid is one such vehicle.
The first luxury brand to introduce a hybrid vehicle nearly 10 years ago, Lexus continues its hybrid leadership by offering five models powered by the innovative Hybrid Synergy Drive. The latest addition, the ES 300h, debuted for 2013 as the first-ever ES hybrid.