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Report: Toyota to Launch New, Larger Dedicated Hybrid in 2009

23 June 2007

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to release a new dedicated hybrid car by 2009, with an initial sales target of 100,000 units annually worldwide. It will be Toyota’s second such hybrid-only vehicle after the Prius.

Currently, Toyota uses hybrid technology in seven models, not all of which are on sale in the US. Toyota sold about 312,500 hybrids worldwide in 2006, with the Prius accounting for the bulk of those. From the first introduction of a hybrid model in 1999 through May 2007, Toyota has sold 1,047 million hybrid light-duty vehicles worldwide—72% of which have been the Prius. (Earlier post.)

According to the report, Toyota and its main part suppliers have already begun developing the car, which is designed to offer better riding quality due to its larger size and engine displacement of 2-3 liters, compared with the smaller, 1.5-liter Prius.

June 23, 2007 in Brief | Permalink | Comments (29) | TrackBack (0)

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"2-3 liters" ... sigh.

Even the winged must fall...

""2-3 liters" ... sigh."

I'm sorry, but I don't understand the sigh - is that bad?

of course it is. there's absolutely no need to increase the gasoline engine size, but rather, we need a more powerful motor and more batteries.

come on, toyota...

It looks as though there is a market segment that is somewhere
between a Prius and a Camry. Hopefully it will be closer to
2 litres than 3. Toyota is really going after GM and its
lineup.

I see your point, but I took a much different perspective. It doesn't say anything about exactly how much larger, but the first thing I thought was that it would be Avalon-sized or even bigger. I know a lot of people (particularly older people) who would like a big car like that they feel safe in and gets decent mileage. My parents are a good example - they looked at an Avalon and liked it, but didn't think it was big enough. They went with a Cadillac that gets about 30 mpg on the highway. They've been conditioned to think that 30 mpg is great.

Considering the current Avalon has a 3.5 litre V-6, if they were to use the 2.4 litre Atkinson cycle engine from the current Camry Hybrid and use a higher voltage electric motor/battery with it, they could have a very marketable vehicle that gets 40 mpg instead of 31.

Anyway, I guess that was just the perspective I had. It would be an evolutionary improvement. I'd also like to see a higher percentage of the total system power come from the electric, but I would assume they would have run a higher capacity battery at a proportionally higher voltage to do that, and with the NiMH battery (since they've delayed introduction of Lithium ion), there's probably a point at which Toyota doesn't want to go past because of weight, heat, and cost. Until Toyota's next version of their Hybrid Synergy Drive comes out, I hope they at least continue introducing HSD in new models or add it to existing models so that the entire lineup can be hybrid and therefore ready to utilize the third generation of HSD.

I would have to agree with Neil on this one. We do NOT need a bigger faster hybrid. We DO need a plug in model that gets over 100 MPG.

This could be done with a larger batter pack and a SMALLER gas engine. I see absolutly no need for a BIG hybrid. Bigger is NOT safer.

In working with electric motorcycles I have found that the easiest path to high performance is a LOW vehicle weight.

See www.zevutah.com for my low cost path to an EV.

By the way I think the Prius is a great car and I own a 2006 model. As soon as they come out with a plug in model, we will be a 2 Toyota family.

I certainly agree with the points being made and feel the same way. My concern is that there are still too many people that are conditioned/misinformed enough to believe the whole "bigger is better" thing. A high percentage of people that I know still think they need a big vehicle as a defense mechanism for sharing the road with all the other big vehicles. I don't agree with that, but apparently I am in the minority.

I just figured that that is the perception Toyota feels they need to deal with and the people they feel they need to market to. I just hope it's something that they can sell a lot of. But, I am also making a big assumption that when the article said "bigger" that they were meaning Avalon-sized. I could be way off base.

By the way, KJD - I checked out your website - that's some really cool stuff you're doing!

Toyota,

I am convinced that a 3.0 Atkinson cycle Hybrid Sienna minivan would be a homerun!

Our current '05 Sienna returns ~21 mpg on mostly <20mile trips. I'd enjoy seeing closer to +30mpg in the same cycle.

From other growing families I've polled, it appears the market for a fuel-efficient +7 pax minivan (be it gasoline-electric hybrid or preferably clean diesel) is great. Why this market segment has been ignored in favor of the mid-sized SUVs is beyond comprehension.

Like I said: a fuel-efficient +7 minivan (or similar crossover people mover) is a guaranteed marketing home run!

Perhaps Toyota's marketing department determined that there would be a larger market available with a greater profit margin for a vehicle like this?

Maybe this vehicle will be large enough to influence people away from buying a similar-sized SUV that gets less than half the mileage?

I think we need to know more details about this vehicle before we badmouth it, IMO. There is very little information go by, here.

DH:

The answer is: Minivans are a shrinking market segment, so they don't get a lot of R&D funding. GM no longer makes them, nor does Ford or Mazda. Toyota and Honda are really the last major players in that market. Why? Partly because people don't want to buy the same kind of vehicle their parents drove. Witness the progression from big station wagons to minivans to SUVs to CUVs.

1.8 liter for Avalon-size car and 2.0 liter for Sienna size minivan should be the maximum engine size increase. ICE should be made more powerful, not larger, and cars should be made lighter, not heavier, if we are going to survive peak oil.

The current Prius can be improved by making the rear shoulder room 3 inches larger, making it Camry's size. This may increase weight some, but lighter Li-ion battery pack can offset some of that weight.

The Sienna 2002 Model Year with the 3-liter engine is already too powerful. If I step too hard on the gas, the front tire will spin. With Mobil 1 synthetic oil, it accelerates like yesteryear's sport cars. The current 3.5 liter is overkill. A 2-liter engine is all that's is needed for adequate performance. This a race for fuel economy in the Prius badge lineup, not a drag race.

There's so little to go on I don't see how anyone can say this announcement is good or bad. I do think there would be a decent market for a 7 passenger hybrid wagon or mini-van if fuel prices continue to rise, and maybe Toyota is planning on addressing that potential demand.

The larger dedicated hybrid vehicle could be a new multi-activity vehicle in the same category as the Mazda5 and Kia Carens/Rondo. The reason why Toyota wants to do this are 1) entice European customers, who buy MAV's on a huge scale and 2) entice American buyers to buy them as replacements for larger minivans.

In short, Toyota will not only introduce a replacement for the Prius, but a larger hybrid-powered "people carrier" for the soccer mom crowd.

Et al:
To state the obvious, the current general HEV is an ICE driven car with torque assisted battery/electric motors. The idea is to take advantage of the instant torque of a small electric battery/motor combination and the cruse characteristics of the middle band rpm of the ICE. So to increase power you increase the ICE output.

A well designed PHEV is an electric motor driven car with ICE assist. Power increases depend on increasing the size of the motor and the batteries. The ICE goes along to recharge the batteries for the longer trips, in the case of the series PHEV and switches to being a HEV if it is a parallel mode car.

The ideal car for me is a light weight, fast BEV with a 500 mile range and a 10 minute fast charge battery system. Of course that's in the far future because we still must go through what the auto companies have planned for our market: That will be DICEs(diesel), DHEVs(diesel) and HEVs for the present time, then perhaps DPHEVs(diesel), PHEVs before BEVs.

If you observe the major auto players, you won't see them playing leapfrog. They make their profits through a series of slow evolution changes dictated by the ability to mass market technology when it's necessary to do so. And, if you've been reading GCC lately you know diesel is next and the fuels will be moving toward ethanol and bio-diesel. BEVs for the mass market are on the waiting list until battery technology catches up.

They likely are making a family car. That requires room cargo room and seating and larger seats.

Was said
"BEVs for the mass market are on the waiting list until battery technology catches up."

I am sorry, but I beg to differ on this point.

Those of us that want a REAL EV will build our own for the time being. In a year or 3 we may have some good factory built options. For right now there are hundreds of people build their own EV's. I also have a Prius for long trips.

Check www.austinev.org for many examples of owner built EV's. My own EV has been a pleasure to drive. My wife and I drove it to a party tonight. I drove it to a clean air ralley early today. In all I put over 60 miles on the EV today and charged it twice.

If you want an EV right now and Ford and GM and Toyota do not do it for you then the answer is simple

BUILD YOUR OWN.

It is not that hard. If a dumb s*** like me can do it. YOU CAN DO IT TOO :)

KJD:
I have seen the web site and I have thought many times about a DIY BEV, going back at least ten years; but, I keep coming back to the engineering problems, i.e., battery weight and life, range, expense of controllers, A/C, accessories, maintaining the heavy lead batteries, etc.

I'm sure you know electric cars were around for city use before Ford build the mass market model "T". There were over 30,000 on the roads in American before that time; but, no company produced the number of cars that Ford did. Ford killed the electric car market back in the '20s. I sincerely hope that a company like Tesla can return the favor by killing the ICE.

The economics of it all still tells me it makes sense to keep driving the old Volvo until the price of BEVs is right for quantity production. It would be an interesting engineering exercise; but, I just can't justify the expense from a practical point of view. At this time I think they are more of a hobby project than practical. And, they are certainly not ready for the inaptness of the public.

Thank you for the response and enjoy your hobby!

wow, you guys need to work for Toyota,GM, Ford,etc because you are obviously smarter than they are...

I read an interesting quote (Im not sure from who) about the ICEs from a German engineer, "Your hearse will have an ICE in it". They wont be going away anytime soon.

Is that why the Germans are falling behind on the road to HEVs,PHEVs and EVs? Life on the bleeding edge can cost you, but refusing to re-examine paradigms can cost you even more.

Bye bye, GM...Thanks for the memories.

KJD:  You have no contact link on your website.  Please click through my blog link and mail me from the addy there.  advTHANKSance.

KJD,
I think you are right , those of us who would like to drive an
EV will have to convert a existing ICE car , or bike , If we leave it
up to the car manufacturers we will still be talking about this in
ten or even twenty years time .
I must admit I am not holding my breath waiting for Toyota
to save the planet , the Prius is a great car but it is only one car,
and I think that future trend will be to put a larger ICE in the hybrid
lineup as this post clearly shows , Toyota are not motivated by
anything other than profits , as are all the large car manufacturers.
I see from trolling the net there are many small companys springing
up in the states that will carry out conversion work for the less mechanically
able , so far this has not happened over here in europe .
I myself are considering converting an Audi a2 , for daily use ,it
seems to be the perfect doner car , light due to the fact that it is
almost entirly made from aluminium , very strong, due to space frame
constrution . and should last a long time , it also has a very low drag
coefficient , huge space under the boot floor just crying out to be filled
with batteries , and a sandwich style floor constrution perfect for
keeping the high voltage cables out of the weather.
So far I have not heard of a conversion of this car , and I dont know
if they even sold it in the States, but looking around it seems the best
bet .
Keep up the good work

@ Cervus:

GM makes a minivan: http://www.gmbuypower.com/pages/submodelOverview/2007_Chevrolet_Uplander.jsp. That's the '07 page, but the same vehicle is being built in '08, too.

And Chrysler is definitely still a major player along with Toyota and Honda, which you listed, with a redesigned Grand Caravan in '08.

Sure, Ford dropped out, and sales have been lower. But the death of the minivan has been over-exagerated.

You guys locked up in your own world...
First, Toyota has been making minivan hybrid, it is basically Sienna but, in Japan it is branded Estima, they have been making it for quite few years now, unfortunately, Toyota has chosen or forced not to sell it in US, I suspect that cost would be too high. Second, Germans really don't have to climb up on the hybrid wagon as they succeeded in making diesel engines that are very economical, clean and quite.
Myself, I own a Prius and I really like it.

Cheers

:)

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