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: Sedan , CES , Japan , Safety , Technology , Videos , Lexus , Toyota , Luxury While Google and Audi explore the possibilities of autonomous vehicles, Toyota and its Lexus division are studying the intermediate step of vehicles equipped with a deep suite of technology that help drivers make the best decisions. Introduced at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Lexus advanced safety research vehicle is an LS sedan fitted with three high-def color cameras to detect objects up to almost 500 feet away, 360-degree Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) lasers that can detect objects up to 220 feet away, three radar units to keep track of other vehicles at intersections, a precision odometer on the rear wheel, GPS that estimates orientation and an accelerometer. Currently testing at a purpose-built 8.6 acre urban testing ground at the Higashi-Fuji Technical Center in Susono, Japan the Toyota research vehicle is being used to study how to make better drivers, as well as figuring out how to reduce crashes as the industry’s journey through passive and active safety systems progresses. In the event of a crash, new rescue systems are also being tested. Further investment is being put into the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) that would use shortwave signals to harness information from the car and from other vehicles on the road, as well as roadside infrastructure and even pedestrians. Toyota reasons it could then build a picture of interactions and, for instance, alert the driver to a potential collision at a blind intersection. Toyota’s says its research “could lead to a fully autonomous car in the future,” but for now, the point is that “a driverless car is just a part of the story. Our vision is a car equipped with an intelligent, always-attentive co-pilot whose skills contribute to safer driving.” Improving driver education in this country would probably be a lot cheaper, but hey, we’re for anything that helps make the roads safer places to be. There’s plenty more tech-speak in the video and press release below . Continue reading Toyota and Lexus show off advanced safety research vehicle [w/video] Toyota and Lexus show off advanced safety research vehicle [w/video] originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 08 Jan 2013 18:00:00 EST.