Los Angeles (July 23, 2014) – Little did Audrey Moscosa-Rodriguez know that her answer to the question, “where would you go in a new Toyota Prius and why?” would earn her a new hybrid to help her efforts.
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Filed under: Car Buying , Hybrid , Technology , Ford , Toyota Hybrids are known for their great fuel economy and low emissions, but it looks like given current market conditions, only about three percent of new car consumers are willing to pay the premium for them. A new study from IHS/Polk finds that the hybrid market share among overall US auto sales are falling , despite more models with the technology on sale than ever before. The study examined new car registrations in March from 2009 through 2014. In that time, the auto industry grew from 24 to 47 hybrid models available to consumers, but market share for the powertrain remained almost stagnant in that time. As of 2009, hybrids held 2.4 percent of the market; it fell slightly to 2.3 percent in 2010 and grew to 3.3 percent in 2013. However, 2014 showed a drop back to 3 percent. Overall hybrid sales have been growing since 2010 , but they just aren’t keeping up with the total auto market. According to IHS/Polk, this isn’t what you would expect to see. Usually, each new model in the market brings along with it a boost in sales. The growth in hybrid models 2009 to 2014 should have shown a larger increase in share for the segment.
Filed under: Technology , Toyota Toyota is one of the largest automakers in the world, but it’s not content simply building and selling conventional cars – it’s been at the forefront of numerous advancements in ground transportation. It is widely credited with advancing the cause of hybrid propulsion, and alongside Audi and Google , is among the first automakers seriously testing self-driving cars . We could go on, but the news here is that Toyota is reportedly developing vehicles that hover above the road surface instead of rolling along it. The news comes from Hiroyoshi Yoshiki, one of Toyota’s tech gurus, who revealed at Bloomberg’s Next Big Thing summer in San Francisco that the company is working on hovering cars – ones that travel just above the road surface, but don’t actually fly in three-dimension space. According to The Verge , a spin-off of our own sister-site Engadget , Yoshiki refused to elaborate on what the project entails and how far along it is. He was speaking along acting NHTSA chief David Friedman, who lauded such advancements as a “great taste of innovations to come,” but stressed the significance of more concrete improvements to conventional automobiles – like inter-car communications to keep vehicles from colliding on the highway – as more relevant to today’s industry. Toyota working on cars that hover above the roadway originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 11 Jun 2014 18:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds . Permalink
Filed under: Hybrid , Technology , Toyota , Electric Toyota may have an ace up its sleeve in the fuel economy wars, as it’s developed a new type of semiconductor that will allegedly help the company’s hybrids net a ten-percent improvement in fuel economy. The tech is still in development, although Toyota is already reporting five-percent gains during testing, six years before it plans to implement the new semiconductor in production vehicles, meaning the ten-percent improvement doesn’t seem like an untenable goal. That is, until you hear from Kimimori Hamada, the project general manager of Toyota’s electronics division. “We are aiming for great improvement in fuel economy and miniaturization,” Hamada told Automotive News . “This is a very challenging target.” The new semiconductors are made from wafers of silicon carbide, rather than just silicon. The compound is far more efficient, losing just a tenth of the energy that’s lost from a normal silicon semiconductor. That not only makes the semiconductor more efficient, but it allows Toyota to use a power control unit that’s 80 percent smaller. While the initial results are promising, silicon carbide is considerably more expensive than silicon, and once acquired, it’s more difficult to work with. “There are still enormous technical barriers,” Hamada said. New Toyota semiconductors could increase hybrid fuel efficiency by 10% originally appeared on Autoblog on Wed, 21 May 2014 10:15:00 EST.
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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.
Filed under: Hybrid , Recalls , Toyota Toyota has announced a set of voluntary recalls covering 960,000 Prius , RAV4 , Tacoma and Lexus RX350 models in the United States to address two separate issues. Worldwide, Toyota will have to recall a total of 1.9 million Prius cars. The Prius recall affects about 700,000 2010-2014 models in the US, due to a fault in the motor/generator control ECU and hybrid control ECU software. It says that the current software could result in high temperatures on certain transistors and possibly damage them. When it fails, the error forces the car into failsafe mode. Toyota says that in rare circumstances, it could even shut the hybrid system down while the car is being driven. Toyota spokeswoman Shino Yamada told Automotive News that the software update should take about 40 minutes, and dealers would start to be notified about affected vehicles today. She also told them that the first reported glitch occurred in May 2011 in the US when the system overheated and the car entered failsafe mode. The affected cars were built between March 2009 and Feb. 5, 2014, according to Automotive News .
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.