Mitsubishi Introduces 40+MPG Tier 2 Bin 5 Diesel Sport Coupe Concept in Detroit
Land Rover Shows LRX Diesel Hybrid Concept with 120 g/km CO2 Target in Mind

Toyota to Expand Diesel, Plug-in Hybrid Efforts; New Lexus and Toyota Dedicated Hybrids to Premiere Next Year

At a media reception at the North American International Auto Show tonight, Toyota president Katsuaki Watanabe said that he has challenged the company’s engineers to meet the new US 35 mpg CAFE standard “well in advance” of 2020.

Some of the steps he outlined to accomplish that goal include the planned offering of a new advanced diesel engine in both the Tundra and Sequoia. Watanabe also said that by 2010, Toyota will accelerate its global plug-in hybrid R&D program. As part of this plan, Toyota will deliver a “significant” fleet of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), powered by lithium-ion batteries, to a wide variety of global commercial customers, with many coming to the US.

The planned expansion of the Panasonic EV joint-venture battery factory to build lithium-ion batteries is part of that initiative. (Earlier post.)

Watanabe also said that Toyota will premiere two all-new, dedicated hybrids, one for Toyota and one for Lexus at next year’s North American International Auto Show.

Last year, as never before, industry and government and mainstream consumers came to grips with the need to address global climate change. I believe we will all remember 2007 as the year that the world responded to a wake-up call too long ignored.

Sustainable Mobility addresses four key priorities. First, we must address the vehicles themselves and the advanced technologies. Highly advanced conventional engines, plug-in hybrids, fuel cells and clean diesels, as well as many other innovative new technologies, will all play a part.

Second, we must address the urban environment, where these new technologies will live. In the future, we foresee “mixed mobility,” combining intelligent highways and mass-transit, bike paths and short-cut walking routes, recharging kiosks and hydrogen fuel stations.

Third, we must address the need for partnerships between energy and transportation along with government and academia to bring new technologies to market.

Finally, we must address the energy challenges surrounding the use of advanced vehicles. Is the power grid we use produced by coal…or wind? Can a hydrogen re-fueling system be created?

...we are committed to developing everything completely in-house because it is faster and more efficient. We know there is not just one solution, but many.

—Katsuaki Watanabe



I knew this would happen, and sure enough it did. With all the hype about the Volt, Toyota was quiet and when Toyota is quiet that means they are planning something BIG. A PHEV coming to market in 2010, diesel engine for Tundra and Sequoia AND the confirmation of new Toyota and Lexus hybrid-only models.

Toyota may very likely beat the Volt to market with it's PHEV.


Please don't confuse the hype from the major auto companies as an indication of high energy competition. I believe the auto industry in the U.S. is coordinated by their lobbying representative, The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers(AAM). Ever notice how they all come to market at the same time with the same innovations. A good example is the re-introduction of diesel into the American market along with ULSD. It's about to happen across the board. Someone had to put this all together and you can bet it was orchestrated by The AAM. If the auto companies worked directly together, it would be a violation of the law so they do it through a third party, The AAM. No doubt you will see the GM "Volt" and Toyota PHEV come to market at about the same time; they are both members of the alliance; so are the BMW Group, Daimler, Chrysler, Ford Motor Company, Mazda, Mitsubishi Motors, Porsche, and Volkswagen.

Open competition in the auto market is a myth.


Toyo, the statement only indicated Toyota will, "accelerate its global plug-in hybrid R&D program" by 2010. That is not a commitment to deliver a plug-in by that date. Additionally, they indicated it will only be for commercial customers, whenever it does deliver something from this R&D program.

I don't see how any of this suggests Toyota will deliver something comparable to the Volt within the timeframe GM has set as their goal. If anything, it reinforces the notion that they won't beat GM to market with a mass-market PHEV.

The Volt is expected to retail in 2011. If Toyota sells PHEV's to fleet markets for R&D in 2010, then Toyota may not be too far ahead or behind GM.

Rafael Seidl

@Lad -

the AAM simply isn't as powerful as you imply. Every carmaker - not just the domestic ones - is investing in diesel engines now simply because there are now ways to meet T2B5/LEV II emissions. A prerequisite for the renewed interest in diesel was the introduction of ULSD, for which the EPA had to twist US refineries' arms for a number of years. Another important hurdle was the de facto acceptance of SCR technology by EPA and CARB, subject to a long laundry list of conditions.

For reasons that have been discussed on this website many times, European manufacturers have a technology lead in diesels. These are particularly appropriate for large, heavy passenger vehicles like SUVs and pick-up trucks that the Big Three desperately need to become profitable again. Toyota et. al. will introduce diesel engines on selected models but otherwise stick with advanced gasoline ICEs and hybrids.

Time to put the tin foil hat away, these are just the predictable - and predicted - natural dynamics of the market.


Angelo, Toyota states it will deliver a "significant" fleet of PHEVs to a "wide variety" of commercial customers. Sounds practically mass-market to me.

Also we've seen recently that GM is no longer firm on the 2010 timeframe for the Volt. I predict the Volt will come to market no earlier than 2011. Consider this: LG Chem, one of the battery suppliers who has a contract with GM for the Volt recently had a recall on li-ion batteries that it supplied for laptops. Sounds like GM's battery suppliers are no more ahead on applying li-ion to a vehicle application than Toyota's suppliers are. Toyota has announced they are expanding factory production for li-ion, and that means they've just about figured out all the kinks and problems with li-ion.

And again, the other big news is clean diesels for Toyota's two biggest vehicles as well as new hybrid-only Toyota and Lexus models. The Prius has shown us how successful a hybrid-only model can be.

My point was that never count Toyota out; they are not behind on diesel tech or hybrid tech as some people naively think. In fact, in several years Toyota will likely be ahead of GM in diesel tech now that it's partnered with Isuzu to produce next-generation, class-leading diesels.

It all comes down to money: GM continues to lose money overall while Toyota continues to make huge profits overall. Toyota has the resources to massively invest in hybrid or diesel tech, while GM does not.


"Toyota has the resources to massively invest in hybrid or diesel tech, while GM does not."

Toyo, what are you talking about? What has Toyota announced that GM has not already? GM committed to 50-state diesels for their half-ton trucks/SUVs months ago. GM is already offering hybrid systems in their SUVS and soon in their trucks.

As far as Toyota's PHEV, it is likely to be the only thing they have suggested they will produce in the near term - a plug-in Prius with around a 7-mile electric range. Far inferior than most after-market retrofits that have been offered for over a year now, not to mention the 40 mile range of the Volt.


It seems like GM is turning its mind on the Volt, recongnizing that there is unexpected technical challenges, with the batteries... They will keep delaying the volts year after year I am the same time oil price will go up through the roof and they won't have a single car that get 40MPG, they will be dead...


What I read between the lines is that Toyota remains dedicated to Panasonic for their batteries and that while they have all of the other pieces of the puzzle, they're still waiting for battery improvements. If Panasonic can't deliver by 2010 then Toyota will likely look elsewhere. With all of the other pieces ready to go, it wouldn't take them long to put out a PHEV once they had a suitable battery.

Harvey D


Please do not compare Toyota's realities (over 1 million hybrids in the last 10 years) with GM's dreams and unkept promises.

As Toyo said, Toyota has money + an excellent track record. GM is half broke and has an airy track record.

I would place my bets on Toyota to deliver better hybrids, rugged well engineered PHEVs and excellent diesel powered vehicles in the near future.

Will Toyota use dedicated bodies/designs for their electified vehicles? It would be logical for better adaptation to more efficient vehicles. Will dedicated HEVs/PHEVs/BEVs be regrouped under a separate corporate division with a different culture? Very probably so.

Toyota's conservative but progressive approach have produced excellent up-to-date vehicles and will continue to do so. My first PHEV may very be a Toyota Prius IV even if it has a limited 15 Km e-mode range. I just hope that it will be upgradable with a more powerful ESSU a few years latter.


I personally expect the next-generation Toyota Prius--now probably within one year of product introduction--to get a full PHEV drivetrain, using a new, safer lithium-ion battery pack initially and eventually switching to supercapacitor battery pack a few years afterwards. With a supercapacitor battery pack, we could see nothing short of amazing fuel economy, since supercapacitor battery packs promise more power storage and extremely fast recharging times.

I also think that Toyota will introduce within three years' time a full line of clean-burning turbodiesel engines that not only meet EPA Tier 2 Bin 5, but the even tighter CARB ULEV Level II standard. You'll see it in everything from the Toyota Yaris all the way up to the even the Lexus LS luxury sedan.


"As Toyo said, Toyota has money + an excellent track record."

A record of what, exactly? It is Toyota that has repeatedly wavered from any firm PHEV commitments, and has delayed their 3rd-generation Prius, due to their issues with the battery technology. GM seems to have a much more sound approach in this area, as they have contracted with two different vendors. One of them, Continental/A123 seems to be very promising.

While GM killed off the EV1 for many reasons, I don't recall Toyota ever producing anything similar. I know people were pissed off at GM for ending the program rather abruptly, but at least it was a successful proof of concept, and that was based on the technology of ten years ago. Much of what they learned from that is going into the Volt. For that reason, I can't imagine a company better equipped than GM to produce something like the Volt.

Additionally, all of those Priuses don't offset all of the gas guzzling vehicles Toyota also sells with a smile on their face.

Lastly, considering what the various "garage shops" have done to convert Priuses into PHEVs over the past couple years, what Toyota is ever so loosely committing to is hardly significant, and in my opinion, disappointing.


You say it's market forces, that's fine! I say it's coordinated by the AAM. We'll see!

Is that A lion's suit you're wearing?
I put away the hat and am now wearing my scarecrow suit.
References: The Wizard of OZ


From my point of view, it is a mistake for GM to go for a serial plug-in vehicle right off the bat. There is a lot of risk in battery development. Even if GM pulls it off, the MPG may be lower than Toyota's hybrid synergy drive equivalent implementation.

Compared to GM's play, Toyota has an easier time. An optional plug-in vehicle of 10 mile EV only range is possible in 2010, using a high power Lithium ion battery. That will get them 100 mpg for the first 10 miles, and 50 mpg for the rest of the trip. This will allow them to claim the front-runner status of having a plug-in vehicle.

Charles S

I admit that I have some bias again GM (still think Volt is vaporware). Because I like the Prius II, I feel confident future products from Toyota should hold great promises.

HOWEVER, I feel that all the bickering about GM vs. Toyota is pointless. I believe the expectations are so high that no matter what comes in 2010, everyone will be disappointed.

First, even at its height of popularity, hybrid is still a niche market. People still see little value in saving gas, and nickel and dime a hybrid for its payback factor. PHEV will be priced even higher than hybrids, so I don't see why people would not nitpick on this, too.

Second, with such high expectations from all such vaporware, if the Prius III is anything less than stellar, critics from all sides will bash the PIII to no end. There is no win when it comes to PHEV's specs. Smaller batteries will save cost, but short EV-only range will sour the deal for most consumers. Large battery packs will tout great performance, but the price would be out of the budget for most.

Third, say that the new PHEV is a winner, appeal to everyone and price just right. I'm just not sure any automaker, Toyota or GM can make enough in 2010 to satisfy the possible demand.

In the end, it's an uphill battle on all fronts. I think most of us will have to live with reading about it, than actually seeing or owning a PHEV in the near future.



the prototype PHEV Priuses currently testing around the world with NiMH battery packs *already* have an electric-only range of over 10 miles. Where did you get the "7 miles" from? Let's talk facts, not assumptions.

The PHEV coming out in 2010 will have far more than 10 mile electric range, since the batteries will be li-ion and not NiMH like the current prototypes have.

And do you know for a FACT that the Volt will have a 40 mile electric range? No you do not. At this point, nobody knows what will be the exact cruising range of the Volt. GM's goal is 40 miles, but there is no guarantee the Volt will achieve it.

It is a FACT that company-wide, GM is still LOSING money. It is also a FACT that Toyota continues to make HUGE profits. It is a FACT that GM has a history of over-hyping future products and not delivering the hype. GM also has a history of producing lots of concepts that never see production. It is a FACT that Toyota has a history of delivering on their promises.

If it comes down to a R&D war (in the future) between GM and Toyota, GM will flat-out lose simply because it doesn't have the money. Toyota has an enourmous war chest of cash thanks to many years of record profits, while GM's cash supply continues to decrease every day.


Here's the first info I could find on the new Toyota diesels.


Oh yeah, this is all virtual vapor. There are no Volts, no Flextremes, no PHEVs the Prius is a freak of treehuggers... blah blah.

Ever think of getting behind the outfits that give you what you want? Green cars? So much more satisfying to whine, moan, complain...

Charles S

All the criticism here doesn't mean that people do not support EV and PHEV. People who take the time to read this blog is far more likely to buy a PHEV than most average citizens. The issue at hand is who do you believe will commit to making an PHEV?


It is pointless to continue this argument. This is completely the pot calling the kettle black.

Other than stating that GM PRESENTLY losing money, something we are all well aware of, not a single point you made is based in fact, Toyo. Toyota has not committed to using LION batteries in the next PRODUCTION Prius, which by the way, was originally due later this year. I can only assume you are referring to the LION batteries they stated they will use in this R&D program, beginning in 2010. It's easy for everyone to say that GM will not meet their goals, but what Toyota states will always come true, huh? Let me just remind you of the following "promise":

In an interview with BusinessWeek on Feb. 16, Toyota Chief Executive Katsuaki Watanabe confirmed that Toyota's third-generation hybrid cars, due out in late 2008 or early 2009, will use lithium-ion batteries. Hmmmm, they've hedged a little on that one, huh?

As far as the range of the PHEVs they are testing - If you are referring to the Prius PHEV pilot program that has been approved by the Japanese government, Toyota's own press release specifies an all-electric range of 8 miles. By the way, that number is based upon the Japanese 10-15 mode test cycle, which results in an average speed of 22.7 km/hour (that's about 14 mph). So, let me ask you - where did you get your quote of 10 miles? Is it really that impressive anyway?

This point you are trying to make about GM not having the resources is terrible. Year over year profits have little to do with overall assets. If anything, their recent financial woes have lit a fire under their ass.

Producing lots of concepts that never see production? A very low percentage of concept vehicles for any company ever make it to production, so again, I fail to see your point. "It is a FACT that Toyota has a history of delivering on their promises." You speak so strongly, so please, show me some statistics that back that up.

Lastly, please tell me what I said that was such an assumption?

1. Has GM not contracted twice as many battery vendors (2) than Toyota?
2. Did GM not produce an EV with a range of 75-150 miles (the last generation EV1) 8 years ago?
3. Does Toyota not produce the same gas-guzzling types of vehicles that GM does?
4. Have relatively tiny companies such as E-Drive and Hymotion not produced retrofitted Prius PHEVs with superior range (than what Toyota is proposing) over a year and a half ago?

Please, tell me what I was so wrong about.

joe padula

Angelo said
"While GM killed off the EV1 for many reasons, I don't recall Toyota ever producing anything similar. I know people were pissed off at GM for ending the program rather abruptly, but at least it was a successful proof of concept, and that was based on the technology of ten years ago. Much of what they learned from that is going into the Volt. For that reason, I can't imagine a company better equipped than GM to produce something like the Volt."

Angelo, Are you in this field?

You have never heard of the Toyota RAV-4 electric? It used NiMH batteries and had a 120+ range beating the EV-1 . And it was based on a small 5 seat suv body with a low Cd, not a nice body (aerodynamic) like the EV-1.

I have driven both the EV-1 and the Rav -4 electric. The Rav-4 was a better drive train, perhaps since it was not designed in 1998 like the EV-1 was.
If you want to drive one let me know, they are still on the road, Toyota sold some.

Joe padula

Why I think the Volt is vaporware.
1.Look at it, it looks like a Chrysler.
2. It needs a Hemi not a plug.
3. The Demographic for buying a early plug in car would not like this car shape. This car design must have been done without reference to a focus group.
4. Nature and aerodynamics does not like this shape either, any guesses on the Cd? I wonder what old shelf they pulled this off ?

Recent quote Jan 14, from Old man Lutz IN LA TIMES. Please read original article so you can judge if it was taken out of context.,1,6523555.story?coll=la-headlines-business

"Asked what he would tell people unhappy that they can't get their hands on a Volt, GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said: "That's too bad. They'll have to visit a Chevy dealership and buy a Cobalt or a Malibu."

GM's recently released Malibu hybrid is among its most fuel-efficient vehicles, with an Environmental Protection Agency-rated fuel economy of 27 mpg. Toyota's Prius and Honda Motor Co.'s Civic hybrid both get better than 40 mpg.

Talking about the volt

"If I was preparing to produce this car by 2010, I'd be picking out the wood grain on the dashboard by now, not still working on the battery," said Bill Reinert, national manager of Toyota Motor Corp.'s advanced technology group.

Toyota is testing a plug-in version of its popular Prius and it is closer to commercialization, Reinert said, because it will have a battery with about an eight-mile range."

I think they will not buy a Cobalt or a Malibu. I think they will buy a Toyota as I did this week...

joe padula

Can someone who knows something. like Rafael, explain something to me?Why is it that GM had a pure BEV EV-1 before 2000 that had 120 mile range on NiMH batteries and now in 2008 can not get 40 miles on any batteries.

Toyota had the RAv -4 with over 120 mile range on NiMH and can only get 8.

I know for a fact you can not buy a BEV sized large format NiMH battery ,about 85 AH at 12 volts, from Chevron or any other company now. Of course a $0 mile car could be more than half as large...
Chevron (AKA Cobasys) owns the patents and controls licensing. Go to thier web site and try to find one. Hint there is none listed. Second hint, look up UPS batteries and you will find one. THen try to buy one. THey only sell the battery as part of a UPS value added system, far to expensive to buy just to use the batteries.
There are many large format Nicad batteries sold each year for industrial use, we use them all the time. But the NiMH, a far better device, are not sold.
See the inventor of the battery who sold controlling interest to GM who sold to Texaco who sold to Chevron in "who killed the electric car? " if you want to hear his opinion.
Time to put my tin foil hat back on...

John L.

@ joe_padula:
Why is it that GM had a pure BEV EV-1 before 2000 that had 120 mile range on NiMH batteries and now in 2008 can not get 40 miles on any batteries. Toyota had the RAv -4 with over 120 mile range on NiMH and can only get 8.

While I agree with you that the oil companies have obstructed progress on petroleum-free travel, not all of the issues are as sinister as you suggest. For this second generation of partially-electrified vehicles, the manufacturers actually care about the sticker price, which has a direct impact on sales volume. By far the most expensive component of a PHEV is the battery.

As I recall, Toyota's RAV-4 EV sold for over $50,000. You couldn't buy the EV-1 at all.

Of course it's still technologically possible to re-create these older vehicles. But Toyota sold a million Priuses -- and how many RAV-4 EV's did they sell? A thousand?


Joe, I am not in the field, and I'll admit, I only recalled a very few of the RAV4 EVs being released. While only a little over 300 (and I did not realize it was quite this many) were offered to retail customers (compared to well over 1000 for the EV1), they did produce a comparable amount overall after including what they provided to commercial customers.

However, I still believe the EV1 was much closer to what the public is going to desire (styling aside). It had performance much closer to what the US public has come to expect (0-60 in the 8 second range). The RAV4 did take 18 seconds to get to 60. That's a tough sell in the US, and probably why Toyota originally focussed on fleet sales for their EV.

Technically, you are wrong about the RAV4 having superior range, however. You quoted the upper end of the range. The stated range was 80-120 miles, compared to 75-150 miles for the Gen 2 EV1 (the only one with a Nimh battery).

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