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.
Filed under: Motorsports , Coupe , Hybrid , Videos , Toyota , Racing There’s a new season of motor racing upon us, and while that doesn’t always mean a new crop of cars in every series, in the case of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship , that’s exactly what it means. Porsche recently revealed its new 919 Hybrid and Audi its revised R18 E-Tron Quattro . Now it’s Toyota’s turn. Revealed today at the Paul Ricard test track in the South of France, the new TS040 Hybrid is based on the TS030 Hybrid it replaces, redesigned to meet the latest regulations established by the FIA and ACO for the World Endurance Championship and its flagship race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans . In accordance with said regulations, the TS040 is two inches narrower than the TS030 and also incorporates a new hybrid powertrain. The previous 3.4-liter V8 has been replaced by a 3.7-liter V8 developing 513 horsepower, and the new engine is coupled to an Aisin AW electric motor at the front, a Denso electric motor at the rear and a Nisshinbo super-capacitor that combine to kick out an extra 473 hp, giving the system a combined output of nearly 1,000 horsepower while consuming 25 percent less fuel than last year’s car. It also gives the TS040 all-wheel drive to help channel all that power to the road. Toyota will field two TS040s in the WEC this season, with Alex Wurz, St
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.