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

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.

Comments

NeilPackrat

"2-3 liters" ... sigh.

gr

Even the winged must fall...

Travis Rassat

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

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

lensovet

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...

William

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.

Travis Rassat

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.

KJD

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.

Travis Rassat

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!

DieselHybrid

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!

Cervus

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.

Cervus

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.

Roger Pham

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.

PeakVT

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.

Raymond

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.

Lad

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.

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