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Report: Toyota May Use Prius as Basis for Line of Hybrids

2 November 2006

Bloomberg reports that Toyota Motor may extend the Prius into a line of vehicles as the company tries to triple annual US sales of hybrids.

The US will account for more than half of the 1 million hybrid cars and light trucks Toyota plans to sell worldwide each year by early next decade, Jim Lentz, Executive Vice President of the company’s U.S. sales unit, told Bloomberg in an interview at the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show in Las Vegas. Prius-based models might include a wagon and a smaller car, he said.

“For us to do 600,000, there will probably have to be Prius and derivatives of Prius that are selling in the neighborhood of 300,000 to 400,000...We don’t have any plans to do that right now, but that’s the direction that nameplate can go, because it is that strong.”

In 2005, Toyota sold 235,000 hybrids worldwide—about four times as many as Honda, which ranks second in such sales.

“To the extent they can leverage derivatives to help amortize investment costs for the hybrid system, they’d be crazy not to,” said Eric Noble, president of consulting firm Car Lab in Orange, California. “There is so much equity in the Prius name at this point, that would make sense, especially in the near term.”

A smaller “city car” based on the Prius would have even higher fuel efficiency and would fit with “a trend toward people moving into inner-city lofts,” Lentz said. “People also want to see more utility on the vehicle, so you could imagine something that’s a little more utility or crossover-based.”

November 2, 2006 in Hybrids | Permalink | Comments (52) | TrackBack (0)

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A smaller, "city" version of the Prius would be stunning indeed, and that's just with the current Prius technology. Imagine how quiet everything will get, too!

Personally, I'd quite like to see an attractively styled Prius wagon with an all-wheel drive system via add'l electric motor(s) for the rear wheels, cp. Lexus 400h but sized/tuned for economy/safety rather than brawn/bragging rights. AWD wagons are popular in Europe and Subaru sells into that niche in the US.

For light commercial use, a two-seater Prius utility wagon with a tall and deep cargo hold could make a lot of sense. This vehicle class (cp. Citroen Berlingo) is virtually unknown in the US but quite popular in Europe.

A monovalent-plus CNG hybrid drivetrain would also be a first, though it would have to feature Li-ion batteries and a composite NG tank to keep total weight acceptable.

From inwheel-motor car to a normal electric car with central motor to a hybrid car.
We are back to the combustion engine!

Burn, baby, burn with your classic hybrid

There have been companies that replaced the battery pack in the current prius with a higher capacity battery. There are even companies that add a second battery pack to the prius and or ultracapacitors. But has anyone swapped to a larger motor or added a second for AWD? That would be a sleeper!

After driving Fords and Chevys most of my life, I bought a 2006 Prius this year and all I can say is WOW. TM is so far ahead of the big 3 in quality and technology, Ford and Chevy and Chrysler have a long ways to go.

I really hope that Toyota does expand the Prius Line. My wish list would include a small pickup with a Plug in Option.

Andy:

Australians supercharged and turbocharged Pruis to discover that transmission refuses to transmit more torque to the wheels. But they claim much less battery drain on WOT up the hill.

http://www.austinev.org/evalbum/461.html

it isn't an all electric prius, but it is an all electric hybrid conversion. no ic engine.

I know this articles about Toyota but I'd like to see an "Insight II" type vehicle with a hybrid system thats a mix of Toyota's HSD and Honda's IMA. One that would allow a little CRX-ish sporty economy car to run on electric alone under 35mph, but act like the second gen civic hybrid above 35mph (as in no fuel being sent to the motor when coasting or braking). Now THAT would be something.

Great! Simply put the Prius drive train into the body of the Camry, and label the Camry Eco Hybrid, with 300 lbs lighter and perhaps a few thousand dollars less expensive, and most importantly, pick up 5-7 mpg gain from the existing 40 mpg for the Camry Hybrid.

If Toyota put the Prius hybrid system in a Scion xB body they wouldn't be able to build them fast enough.

Plug-in Hybrid technology is applicable to and can convert many existing vehicles of various weight. How about a P-T Cruiser plug-in hybrid as the basis of a taxi fleet? They'd be like the London taxi cab of the 50's thru the 70's, only better. We shouldn't waste research and development effort for hydrogen fuel cell, nor develop alternate fuels that aren't accompanied with their application in the plug-in hybrid drivetrain. Meanwhile the Lords of GM are building 400HP jet cars for millionaires, psuedo-hybrids, and fuel cell lemons.

Check this article. I know I posted it on another post but thought it was more appropriate here. I just may get a bargain on a Prius yet before gas goes up again.

http://money.cnn.com/2006/11/01/magazines/fortune/pluggedin_taylor_SUVsales.fortune/index.htm?postversion=2006110210


After reading this all one can say is, "America gets another notch in the stupid belt".

Toyota has created a valuable brand and their plans to use that to introduce smaller, even higher mileage vehicles is great news. The Altair battery technology promises 15% loss of charge capacity over 1000 cycles suggesting that plug-in models are feasable now.

Unfortunately the U.S. tax rebate for the Prius expires soon. For the sake of all hybrids this incentive should be continued for the next five years.

What will happen if Toyota looses the law suit with Solomon over the patent infrigment of their electric motor and transmission?

Bob:

Toyota and Honda have all the means to design and build their own electric motors transmission +++ and they will.

Various size and shape Priuses would be great. Let's hope that some models will come with much larger batteries and smaller genset or no genset at all when the Altairnano batteries (or equivalent from Toshiba etc) are in mass production.

Toyota may be No. 1 sooner than expected.

There has been a gradual push against hybrids in legislation. These include limits on subsidies, along with availability of those subsidies to diesels, restating of the CAFE formula to the disadvantage of hybrids (and less so to diesels). Add this to a sustained drop in fuel prices due to two or three years of recession... how much consumer interest will remain if gasoline goes to $2/gal? ...or lower?

The price of gasoline will stay low until after the November elections, then it will continue it's upward spiral. This is just so the incumbants can hold on to power and they will then continue to give big OIL lots of our tax dollars in return for this small favor.

In the middle east our troops will continue to die so we can have oil for our SUV's. How long will this injustice continue?

Japan will see this as the security issue that it is and may actually produce a plug in hybrid or BEV soon. We can always hope.

Ron Fischer -

don't hold your breath waiting for gasoline to go much lower. OPEC's throttling back production to keep oil futures above $55 and, no other producers have the spare capacity to drag prices down further. The DOE's EIA expects average US gasoline prices of $2.51 for 2007 (volume-weighted mix of all grades and states).

That means you're looking at ~$2.80 in summer, more in places like California and New York. It could go higher if there's production shortfall or another bad hurricane season in the Gulf. It could go lower if the housing bubble really bursts and the US goes into recession.

Otherwise, hybrids and clean diesels will continue to make financial sense for the foreseeable future, even without tax credits. But yes, the upside will be smaller.

If the Republicans and the president have the power to lower gasoline prices right before an election why the heck did they raise prices around the 2004 election?

If the Republicans and the president have the power to lower gasoline prices right before an election why the heck did they raise prices around the 2004 election?

Prices were essentially flat from May through November of 2004, with a slight decline in prices from mid-October through Election Day. Try again.

What I would love to see is a car like the SMART For-Two (www.smartusa.com) in a PZEV version.

The US market version scheduled to be available in mid-to-late 2007 is rated to get 60 MPG since it uses an ICE only configuration.

First off, I'd like to see a pluggable hybrid option. Longer term, Toyota should be looking to supplement the batteries with ultra capacitors that would charge much more efficiently from regenerative braking and then either trickle charge the main battery bank or deliver extra torque when needed.

Pizmo,
“Prices were essentially flat from May through November of 2004, with a slight decline in prices from mid-October through Election Day”

I’m not finding that. Chart of Selected Crude Oil Spot Prices http://www.eia.doe.gov/emeu/international/crude2.html shows: for 1ST day of each month as follows: Jan. $31.15, Feb $29.42, Mar. $33.63, Apr. $32.19, May $37.09, Jun. $39.00, Jul. $33.64, Aug. $41.68, Sep. $41.12, Oct. $47.29, Nov. $46.54, Dec. $41.47.
In other words, prices gradually rose all year until the election, then fell the month AFTER the election.

Don't count on oil prices resuming their rise after the election. Most of the people who have a lot of oil, and therefore might be in a position to control its price, absolutely hate George Bush and the other Republicans. Hugo Chavez, for example. Plus almost every ruler in the Middle East, Vladimir Putin, probably even the Norwegians.

They would all like for oil prices to stay high forever, but there is just too much oil in the world. The world uses 30 billion barrels a year. OPEC has 900 billion barrels left, 30 years worth, mostly recoverable at under $20 a barrel. The U.S. and Canada have 4.5 trillion barrels in tar sands and oil shale, recoverable for around $40 a barrel. There's no reason for the price to stay much over $30 a barrel for another generation, and then it would not rise above $40 for a century. Give the oil producers another year or two to build more production capacity, and the price of gasoline will fall back to around $1.50 a gallon. Not good for selling Priuses, unfortunately. I'll still buy one, because I want to contribute as little as possible to global warming, but a lot of people won't.

Fortunately, the price of solar electricity will continue to fall precipitously, so eventually electric cars will make a huge amount of sense. Probably in less than 20 years. Maybe soon enough to avert disaster.

I’m not finding that. Chart of Selected Crude Oil Spot Prices

The claim was about gasoline prices. They often don't move directly in sync with oil spot oil prices.

Here's gas prices:
http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/dnav/pet/hist/mg_tt_usw.htm

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