Report: Toyota Plans Gasoline-Electric Hybrids for All Vehicle Classes by 2012
31 March 2006
Japan’s Nihon Keizai Shimbun reports that Toyota Motor plans to offer gasoline-electric hybrid versions for all vehicle classes to meet its target of quadrupling annual worldwide hybrid sales to 1 million vehicles by 2012, representing 10% of total annual new vehicle sales.
Toyota will replace vehicle platforms as the models are redesigned to provide compatibility with hybrid drive systems. The paper reports that Toyota plans a new hybrid version of its Crown luxury sedan in 2008 and its Vitz subcompact in 2010 or later. (Toyota currently offers a mild-hybrid version of the Crown in Japan.)
Toyota also is working to reduce the production costs for hybrid systems to enable their application in lower-priced models. The company would like to lower the cost by more than 30% through improvements to the battery and by reducing the size of parts. The size of the system itself is also to be halved by switching from nickel metal hydride to lithium-ion batteries.
Honda last year said that it will cut the extra cost of hybrid powertrains on the Civic by a third within 5 years and possibly will begin to phase out the gasoline-powered version in some markets, including Japan. (Earlier post.)
While Toyota’s hybrids now cost about ¥500,000 (US$4,248) more than gasoline-powered versions of the same model, the new system is expected to reduce the cost delta to less than ¥300,000 (US$2,549)—a 40% reduction.
Now if they would kindly put an exact price on a hybrid powerplant option, that would be very helpful. I'm getting tired of hybrid bashers asserting there are huge price premiums for them.
Posted by: Joseph Willemssen | 31 March 2006 at 11:23 AM
Love it. Go Toyota!!
Posted by: t | 31 March 2006 at 11:37 AM
What does it say about corporations associated with America when a Japanese corporation builds our "freedom cars"?
Actually its more like an "indentured Servitude" car until the real "freedom" cars appear- all electric.
I plan to sell my "Slave Car"( slave to the Oil corps and countries) and become indentured until my time is up.
Lets' all hope for Freedom in our future!
Posted by: tonychilling | 31 March 2006 at 12:41 PM
Currently the battery supply is short and so the companies add more options and inflate the price of hybrids, so that demand does not exceed supply too much.
Next year with opening of more battery plants, battery supply should be enough to fulfill the demand.
Expect the hybrid premium to be cut by atleast 1K.
Whether that happens or not, $3 gas prices may become regular making hybrids attractive.
Posted by: Max Reid | 31 March 2006 at 12:59 PM
Great - now let's see if they can do a Corolla and a Yaris hybrid (plug in please).
In particular, Toyota has decent diesel engines ....
you can see where I am going.
Posted by: mahonj | 31 March 2006 at 01:41 PM
Hybrid Corolla & Yaris makes better sense.
Only now they came to Camry Hybrid. Its their 1st hybrid in v4 engine outside Prius.
They launched Hybrid Camry since its the best selling class in USA.
Next should be Yaris Hybrid which could give 60 MPG. Since they have battery shortage, they should go for smaller vehicle since it may require lesser batteries.
Posted by: Max Reid | 31 March 2006 at 02:14 PM
Like any company, Toyota is cashing in on the hybrid craze it started by forcing customers to also buy features they might otherwise not have. It's called skimming the cream, and it doesn't last for very long. They are quite eager to avoid direct ROI comparisons because right now, they would not be very flattering yet. And yes, temporary supply bottlenecks are also a good reason to shift up price points - Toyota makes regular cars it would like to sell also.
However, as one senior Volvo engineer once told me, everything becomes cheap in high volume. Fancy electric motors, power electronics and batteries/ultracaps will get there in the next 5-10 years. The trick is to keep consumers interested even if fuel prices were to fall again in the interim.
Diesel engines are somewhat suboptimal candidates for hybridization because they are expensive and heavy in their own right. Also, they already have plenty of low-end torque so they don't need an electric assist. What they need to regain acceptance in the US is effective (read: expensive) emissions controls.
Ergo: Spark ignition hybrids are ideal for city driving, straight turbodiesels excel at efficient freeway cruising. The benefits to the environment acrue from their widespread adoption, not from a very few super-efficient units.
Carmakers aren't buying into the PHEV craze mostly because adequate all-electric range and longevity requires better, smaller, lighter batteries than are available even today. This includes accurate charge management of e.g. finnicky Li-Ion technology. The broad market demands fuel economy but also all the other features of a modern car - safety, comfort, 4 passenger seats, cargo space etc. It's hard to achieve all of the above in a PHEV today, regardless of price.
Personally, I think PHEVs make too little sense in macroeconomic or GHG terms. Also, lawmakers would quickly invent some new tax or charge to make up for the excise tax lost at the pump.
Posted by: Rafael Seidl | 31 March 2006 at 02:46 PM
a yaris hybrid would need to have way higher mileage that 60 for it to be worth much. then it could beat out the insight while still being a full-sized car (in the sense that it can seat 4 people and not two). hopefully the price would be in the 16k range too (figure the liftback model, fully loaded, is under 15k, so add another 1k or so for the hybrid system).
Posted by: lensovet | 31 March 2006 at 02:49 PM
note for PHEV advocates: i just found my energy card for 2005 from the LADWP - the company that provides electricity to the entire city of los angeles. according to that card/report, 50% of energy comes from coal, and 25% comes from natural gas. the rest is split between renewables and nuclear. that doesn't sound extremely clean or GHG-free to me. see for yourselves.
Posted by: lensovet | 31 March 2006 at 02:55 PM
A Hybrid Yaris won't compete well with an Insight in terms of MPG without a major body+chassis revamp, it would be much heavier, and far poorer aerodynamics. Though it might be a tad cheaper due to the steel chassis.
But it would have it's own market.
I agree, companies have an interest in hiding the price increase due to the hybrid powerplant, however you can get pretty close by looking at the Civic EX vs the Civic Hybrid price difference.
Now the real challenge for Toyota will be, can they standardize one or mabe two hybrid systems that will work for most, if not all of thier vehicles in order to keep volumes up and prices down? We'll see.
Posted by: Ash | 31 March 2006 at 03:06 PM
Also, they already have plenty of low-end torque so they don't need an electric assist. What they need to regain acceptance in the US is effective (read: expensive) emissions controls.
They're also more efficient (especially at part load) than gasoline engines, so the added benefit is less. However, energy lost to braking could still be usefully recaptured and help in urban conditions.
Re: emission controls. Quite true. The US moved on gasoline exhaust treatment in the early 70's but is only now getting serious with diesel. Well, better late than never ... Expensive? Maybe. I remember a big brouhaha about the expense of platinum in catalytic converters and the expense of reduced fuel lubricity on not adding lead (among much other moaning and whining) but gasoline engines seem to doing just fine these days. Would anyone on this board want to forgo cats and go back to leaded gas?
Posted by: d | 31 March 2006 at 03:19 PM
A major improvment for diesel in the US would be to switch to sulfur-free diesel as in Europe.
The US's diesel is poor fuel.
Posted by: Ash | 31 March 2006 at 03:40 PM
(Toyota currently offers a mild-hybrid version of the Crown in Japan.)
And people trash GM for offering lower cost mild hybrids. Just wait till Toyota looses it's lawsuit for patent infringment on it's hybrid system. By then GM should have a better spread of mild and two mode hybrids on the market. Goodbye Toyota hybrids, hello GM hybrids.
Posted by: mango | 31 March 2006 at 05:54 PM
"Just wait till Toyota looses it's lawsuit for patent infringment on it's hybrid system."
Posted by: b | 31 March 2006 at 06:27 PM
A redesigned Insight with the newer hybrid parts from the civic would probobly do 70mpg. The Insight is a great car but the hybrid components were designed almost ten years ago. A redo keeping the current body but with the new civic motor, battery and valve design would be an amazing car. It would be able to run in lean burn more often due to the larger electric motor.
Posted by: Hampden Wireless | 31 March 2006 at 07:02 PM
Oil companies have spread lot of mis-information and prevented the nuclear from taking shape and now they are campaining against Ethanol, Wind & Solar.
They bought and scrapped lot of patents related to alternative fueled vehicles.
Now they are campaining against Toyota feeling that Hybrid and Plugin-hybrids will reduce their ballooning profits.
Nuclear, Ethanol, Wind is clearly on the rise and along with them the hybrids.
People still buy hybrids with premiums for the smooth running motor, 500 mile range, display monitor and so many features offered in those vehicles.
If hybrids selling for between 20 K - 50 K is gouging, then what about those Benz & BMW's with V12 engines selling for 120 K +.
Think about it guys, $ 3 / gallon of gas is not far away. I appreciate Ford for joining the hybrid bandwagon. Sadly GM chose to go with Oil companies and now carrying huge losses.
Posted by: Max Reid | 31 March 2006 at 07:30 PM
Hey, who needs a hybrid when the Audi A2 TDI diesel gets you 78 miles to the gallon?
Posted by: Starvid | 31 March 2006 at 10:55 PM
Hey, when they sell the Audi A2 Diesel in the states... I'll trade in my Prius for it.
Posted by: Lance Funston | 01 April 2006 at 03:46 AM
When they sell the Toyota Aygo diesel (or its PSA siblings) in the states... I'll trade my left kidney for it.
CAR: Toyota Aygo diesel range
PRICES: £8,345-£9,095 - on the road
INSURANCE GROUP: 1E
CO2 EMISSIONS: 109g/km
PERFORMANCE: 0-60mph 15.6s / Max Speed 96mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: (urban) 53.3mpg / (extra urban) 83.1mpg / (combined) 68.9mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: Twin front and side airbags on all except entry-level model, ABS, EBD
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length/Width/Height 3405/1615/1415mm
*extra urban (read highway)
*urban (read city)
Posted by: NismoTuned | 01 April 2006 at 07:38 AM
Hampden, a larger electric motor would not help the Insight lean-burn more often. the only limit to learn burn is NOx build-up between the exhaust valve and the Cat. Converter. If it had no CAT, it could lean-burn indefinately.
Even though the Insight's engine is fairly old, it is still high effective, the only real improvment it needs is the valve depression from the Civic for that 60% improvment in regenerative braking; and better batteries to handel more aggressive regen would be useful too. The 4cyl from the civic wouldn't be a MPG improvment; the low friction 3cyl in the Insight is a far more efficient ICE. (it is btter balanced as well, leading to better harmonics)
Posted by: Ash | 01 April 2006 at 09:41 AM
Yes, when I said the motor from the Civic I ment the electric one. The 3cyl on the Insight is one of the best engines ever made.
I was told a limiting factor on lean burn is pressing down on the gas as well as the NOx issue. So the electric motor would provide the needed boost to prevent the motor from leaving lean burn more often because it is bigger.
I hope there is an Insight II but I think the fit is basically going to fill that slot. Honda looses $ each time they sell an Insight.
Posted by: Hampden Wireless | 01 April 2006 at 10:15 AM
ASh, have you actually bothered to look at the lawsuit that's aimed at Toyota? if you look at the patents in question, they are way too broad. Antonov is claiming Toyota stole a large part of their technology in differentials and planetary gears. I think this lawsuit will show just how flawed the patent system is. Technically, you can't patent the concept of a differential or the concept of planetary gears, because that's equivalent to trying to patent the wheel. Such broad concepts should not be allowed to be patented. In short, there needs to be a major overhaul of the patent system. Antonov in one of it's main claims says specifically that Toyota copied one of their "patented" power-split devices. Now technically, even a differential itself is a power split device. A power-split device is simply way too broad, and this is not something that can or should be patented.
You don't understand how the Japanese typically innovate and work with patents. For example, you may recall the fervor that Ford was supposedly using Toyota tech on their hybrid system, when in reality it was Ford's own tech, coupled with some Aisin technology, that was co-developed by Toyota. A lot of the parts were close enough in design, that Ford licensed some of the Toyota tech to avoid hassle.
Toyota is adamant and persistent, and they are counter-suing Antonov in Japan.
About the same time that GM's two mode hybrids are supposed to come to market, Toyota's 3rd gen HSD is supposed to come to market.
CEO Watanabe a while back told Toyota hybrid engineers that they he wanted to see the hybrid system be reduced in size and cost by half.
The new system is going to be more than a 40% reduction in cost, which will make it extremely competitive with the GM two-mode system. And who knows, it may also very well be more efficient and powerful.
Posted by: toyo | 03 April 2006 at 09:40 PM
Here here, toyo. Patenting is a very misunderstood procedure that has been misinterpreted on more than one occasion (case in point, Wright Brothers v. Curtiss, someone, and someone over Curtiss' usage of "control surfaces" on his aircraft, even though the mechanism was totally different and far more advanced than the Wright Brothers. Look it up). You patent an execution of a concept, not the concept itself.
Posted by: D | 08 April 2006 at 03:07 PM
OK, so as a woman who is considering purchasing a Ford Escape hybrid, should I just wait a few years? Also, I would like to know how long the batteries last in hybrids and when they go, how expensive and difficult is it to replace them? Please, go easy on me and explain simply!
Posted by: Ro | 17 April 2007 at 02:33 PM