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Toyota Delivers Plug-in Prius to UC Irvine and UC Berkeley As Part of Clean Mobility Partnership

Toyota Motor Sales, USA presented two Toyota plug-in (PHEV) hybrid prototypes to the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) as part of its on-going sustainable mobility development program with the two UC campuses.

The Toyota PHEVs delivered are based on the current-generation Prius, with oversized NiMH battery packs that effectively simulate, according to Toyota, the level of performance it expects to achieve when it eventually develops more advanced, compact and powerful battery systems. (Earlier post.)

The prototype plug-in has an electric driving range of approximately 7 miles, and a maximum electric speed of about 62 mph. The baseline Prius, by contrast, only runs in electric mode for brief periods at speeds up to about 20 mph under a very light throttle.

Charging is done conveniently, with an ordinary three-prong cord and household electrical outlet. The extra battery is housed in the trunk, taking up what was space for a spare tire.

UC Irvine will focus on some of the technical challenges, as well as determining the emissions benefits of plug-ins, including:

  • How to measure and test fuel economy and vehicle emissions;

  • How to account for the upstream emissions from electricity generation; and

  • In regions with a higher-carbon grid mix, whether plug-ins would provide an emissions benefit.

UC Berkeley will primarily focus on the customer experience, including:

  • Whether consumers would want to plug in their vehicles;

  • What trade-offs drivers are willing to make between range, charging time, battery size and battery cost; and

  • When people will charge and if drivers will want access to outlets where they work and shop.


Roger Arnold

I wonder what changes--if any--are involved here beyond the larger battery and the control software? It seems likely that at least the power control unit would also need to be upgraded to handle higher power levels from the battery. The two motor-generators from the current model might be OK as they are. They already handle quite a bit more power than the battery alone can supply.

Bud Johns

Probably the only change would be in the control software, simply make it like in Europe that has the EV mode. I actually have a kit to do that to mine, just never used it. Anyway, it's already in the control software, just some jumper changes.


Aside from beefed-up Ni-Mh battery (quite lousy one for PHEV) and power electronics, Toyota did substantial alterations to electromechanical CV transmission, involving different sizing and gearing of electrical motor-generators in power-split module. I bet substantial alterations were also made for software and for all auxiliary subsystems like power steering, brakes, starting/regenerating braking protocols, HVAC, etc.

Without such alterations any Prius aftermarket PHEV conversions has severe limitations on max speed and acceleration, no matter size of the battery or software upgrades.


The Inverter is already sized to the 67 HP of MG2 as engine power (from MG1)is summed with battery power flows through the inverter to the MG2 already. All one needs to do to is make sure there is improved coolant flow through the coolant channels in the base of the inverter casting. Bigger electric inverter coolant pump is one possibility. Instead of the 67 hp coming from the engine and battery, it would all come from the battery.

Cooling system for MG2 probably needs to be added, too. The present Prius splits the engine power so that some goes directly to the wheels. In all electric drive, MG2 sees a bigger duty cycle as engine power is off.

The 62 mph electic speed would be the bigger problem. The present Prius would run MG1 at 10K rpm, its max limit, at this speed. Shock loads could be hazardous to the motor at this speed. One approach would be regearing the PSD to get MG1 rpm down. Which probably means the engine would need more torque at low speeds - Turbo, bored out, stroked? And the MG1 winding would need to be changed.

They might have also just have changed the final drive ratio, too. Which would require fewer changes in the other parts. With more battery power, accelleration penalty for this approach could be made up.

Harvey D

This will be a good testing ground for Toyota PHEV power trains. The feedback will help to design better upgrades and/or next generation Prius.

All PHEVs supplied may not be exactly the same. Toyota may be trying different versions to find out which one is best under local conditions.

Toyota engineers and management have been planning this for a while. They normally know what to do.


The NiMH battery is now used in a deep discharge mode? That's quite a revolution, if these batteries are to last the life of the vehicle. If this works, it's a very pragmatic and useful way to make a PHEV. No Lithium needed!


ll is well with the earth....

The whole "global warming" idea is a scam.
If you don't believe me watch the video "The Great Global Warming Swindle". Here is a link If you still believe in global warming, you are delusional.

So next time you go out there, get a conventional engined car/truck that best suits your need with adequate performance and save yourself some money...

Vishni, Im glad your here. We need more level-headed people to fight these dumb treehuggers.


Nice. Here's a recipe for a more green and healthy Toyota. The window sticker might include the following:

Avg. Biofuel Economy=____
Avg. C02/mile=___
Avg. EMF's created by electric motor=___
% Alumuminum in the car. It's a high C02 material.
% Plastic in the car. It's contains petroleum.
The cars indoor air rating from


My thoughts on global warming ,etc-

1) Even if there were a 1% certainty of it being real, I would still take it seriously. The same paradigm is in play with automobile or home insurance - why risk being unprepared in the event of the unimagineable?

2) Pollution is more than just global warming - harmful emissions impact air quality and human health in an increasingly industrialized and urbanized world.

3) There's a lot of money and jobs to be created from more environmentally responsible transportation technologies.


What attracted the denialists?


Denial makes our problems far easier to IGNORE. Hence the presence of ostrich on this forum. I mean look what if the particulate pollution is the lead contributing cause of respiratory and circulatory morbidity in the world? What if GHG emission is melting the ice cap and turns Toronto into Tahiti? Why is it OUR problem? BECAUSE if it is our problem we will have to work together to find a working solution. Meanwhile hats off to anyone anywhere in the world who is working to find or contribute to a solution. As for the ostrich: get your HEAD out of sand! Sorry ostrich nothing personal, just my two cents!


As a member of the US military, it bothers me when people dismiss the idea of global warming. Assuming global warming is a hoax (IT IS NOT!), reducing oil use will have astronomical effects on our fight against terrorism. Let me crunch a few numbers for you so that you get the real picture. The planet is burning around 81 million barrels of oil EVERY SINGLE DAY. At 90+ dollars a barrel, that amounts to 81,000,000 barrels/day * $90+/barrel = $7.29 billion/day or $2.66 trillion a year!
Now, let's say that only 30% of the world oil is produce by people that opposes our way of life (middle east countries for example). That means that middle east countries have a yearly revenue of $2.66 trillion/year * 0.30 = $798 billion a year. Now, for the sake of argument, let's say that only 1% of this revenue is funneled to terrorist to keep up the good work (you know, forcing us (the military) to burn even more fuel in the middle east to "fight terrorist over there so that we don't have to fight them here". Even at 1%, that would translate into $8 billion a year. Terrorists of course, are the most financially efficient organization known to mankind, They can cause astronomical material damage for every dollar the get from their sponsors. This is mainly because their "foot soldiers" are willing to kill themselves in return of martyrdomship rather than financial gain. In short, fighting terrorists with convensional warfare is like fighting an antibiotic resistant infection with penicillin. What do we do then? We drink the cool-aid, embrace the tree-huggers, implement the strictest fuel reduction measures we can afford to clean the environment of global warming gases if you have any sense or to financially bankrupt terrorist sponsoring countries if patriotism is the only thing we can agree on.


Another positive action to contain GHGs would be for each American taking a hot shower to change to a cold shower once a week. Assuming that a typical hot shower evaporates approx 250g of water into water vapor (comprising more than 70% of the earth's green house gas). If 200M people took a cold shower once a week it would keep 50M Kg of GHGs out of the atmosphere. That's 55,115. TONS of GHGs daily from the simple act of taking a cold shower!

A small sacrifice for big climate change savings.

Paul F. Dietz

If you don't believe me watch the video "The Great Global Warming Swindle".

And then, go to the website, where the outrageous dishonesty of that program was comprehensively described.

I'll be charitable and just assume you are gullible and were taken in by the program, rather than actively assisting in the propaganda effort.



First, my hat off to the member of US Military. Second, I agree with most what you have told. Third, terrorism problem is much more complicated.

Saudi extracts oil with price of 5$ per barrel. You can not beat it. If US will manage to eliminate foreign oil dependency, there are plenty of countries which will buy ME oil, because it will be cheap. And really cheap oil could wreck ME countries economies, spiralling them into creation of rogue fundamentalist states, like Taliban Afghanistan.

We do have to reduce our oil usage, reduce import of overseas oil, aggressively develop alternatives to oil-based transportation, and so on. But do not think that it is possible to solve terrorism problem by chocking the flow of petrodollars to ME.

Paul Dietz:

Propaganda efforts? Who are you kidding? GCC readers are not deaf and blind. Google ‘climate change’ or ‘global warming’ and witness what ‘propaganda efforts’ are about.


I get paid to troll.


C'mon.......They aren't using Lithium-ion battery packs yet! What a bunch of B.S. Toyota is trying to make it sound like Lith-ion packs are a thing of the future. Idiots.... they are using them in electric drills and in many other applications. Man these guys are bought by the oil companaies. People in high places are getting huge pay offs to stop the electric vehicle from hitting the road. Someone out there needs to get a group of investors together to build an affordable electric vehicle for the USA. Kinda like an electric Yugo...Man they would sell like crazy..especially with the price of gas lately.

John L.

Posted by: George | Nov 10, 2007 10:33:56 PM

"What attracted the denialists?"

The words "Toyota" and "Prius."

Harvey D


The effect of agrofuel + PHEVs/BEVs on fossil fuel production and price will be progressive and may take 10 to 20 years but it may come before oil supplies run out.

One effective way to protect your agrofuel economy against major drops in fossil fuel price would be to apply an equivalent reversed carbon tax on fossil fuels and on imported products made with fossil fuels.

In other words, the carbon tax could increase at the same rate as fossil fuel price decreases to keep the total price steady or at an acceptable level.

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