Exxaro Partners With Sasol Mining in JV to Supply Potential Mafutha CTL Plant in South Africa
VW Chief Executive Says Company Will Introduce EVs Based on the Up! New Small Family in 2013; Cautions Against “Electro-Hype”

Report: Toyota To Start Commercial Production of Plug-In Hybrids In 2012

The Nikkei reports that Toyota Motor Corp. plans to begin commercial production in 2012 of plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs). Output for the first year is estimated at 20,000 to 30,000 units.

The plug-ins will use Li-ion batteries produced by Toyota’s joint venture with Panasonic Corp., Panasonic EV Energy Co. (PEVE). PEVE provides the NiMH packs for current Toyota hybrids. The report suggests that the 2012 plug-in hybrids will have an all-electric range of 20-30km (12-18 miles).

Through economies of scale, Toyota hopes to sell its new plug-in hybrids at a price comparable to Mitsubishi Motors Corp.’s i-MiEV electric car, which is slated to debut later this month with a price tag of 4.59 million yen [about US$47,700].

Toyota foresees demand for its plug-in hybrids from not only businesses, but also consumers. And it plans to sell them in overseas markets as well, such as the US, Europe and Asia.

In June, Toyota announced that it will begin leasing approximately 200 plug-in versions of its third-generation Prius equipped with lithium-ion battery packs in Japan starting at the end of this year. This will be the first time a lithium-ion battery is to be employed in a Toyota vehicle for propulsion. (Earlier post.)



I look at PHEVs as more expensive. Some may say that production will lower the battery prices but the same was said of solar panels the last 20 years.

If you have to charge $30k for an Insight2+ or $35k for a Prius+ with 12 kwh of batteries, you will start to see if the market is really there or not.


Clearly the market is not ready for it despite all the hype about it. When you see that more than 10 years after their introduction, hybrid are less than 3 % of overwhole sales, albeit prices being pulled down on last models. Still only 3 manufacturers offers true hybrids. Pure electric cars with limited range won't do much better than hybrids in term of sales, it will stay a niche market. The only thing that can make this change is price of gaz, stable above 5$ people will change their attitude ad temper ridiculous affective relationship with their stupid car.


I kind of think that we do not do anything unless we have to in the U.S. If gasoline goes above $5 per gallon, we may see CNG conversions, BAS retrofits and all kinds of things. But we will not see those until it hits the fan, so to speak.

If we would plan ahead and actually have a consistent policy for decades, we would reduce our oil dependence and be much better off, but nooooo... we have to wait until we are forced to do something, anything to get ourselves out of the inevitable bind that we have been facing and ignoring.


Yes SJC. We have been repeatedly told that bigger is better and saver for decades and most of us still blindly believe it.

Big vehicles have become like a religion and still has many believers.

It will take years and even decades to de-program the million of us into believing that much smaller, more efficient, quieter, greener vehicles can move most of us around just as well and as quickly.

Higher performance, much lower cost batteries may not be around for another 5 to 7 years.


When the price of gas, stays above 5$ EVs will do much better.
Much lower battery prices is also needed.

People rarely do anything painful unless they have to.

Big vehicles are convenient, handy and still, marginally make economic sense.

That is where the Gov was supposed to step in, even if only since the 70s or at least by ~2000.



Could you clearly explain why 50+% of us still feel compelled or obliged to buy and drive ridiculously oversized inefficient vehicles.

The overwhelming majority of Europeans and Asians do not have that North American disease or have found a cure for it.

Is it due to our basic education or misled education, the 1929 economic turmoil, our child like reaction to material goods, our growing overweight problem, our desire to dominate, our love for brute force and large sizes, etc?

What would it take to find and apply the proper cure?

Roger Pham


IMHO, the main reasons that Americans like larger vehicles is that gasoline is relatively cheap, the streets are wide, the house is big with a lot of space for parking, and a lot of driving is done on the highways at high speed, and a lot of time will be spent on the car to and from work so the spacious vehicle will give more comfort. Overall, Americans are bigger people than Asians and some Europeans, and would feel uncomfortable being squeezed into a sub-compact.

An European or Asian if transplanted to America will likely adopt the same habit.


I completely agree with Roger Pham: if Europeans have smaller and more efficient cars, it's because gas is highly taxed.
However, I disagree on the fact that "a lot of driving is done on the highways "at high speed"". 60 mph cannot be seen as "high speed". I'm not saying high speed is good, just that 60mph is slow, it's what you're allowed to do on any road outside cities in Europe. Maybe that's one thing Europe should import from America about cars...


I generally agree that judging by hybrid sales, phev adoption will likely be a slow progress. Of course it's hard to predict the future and if consumer tastes will change.

Of course, if gas prices get back to $4-5 then that's when you see many people in the US all of the sudden willing to look at alternatives (ie last summer with people ditching SUVs and getting smaller cars even when in reality if you do the calculations it doesn't necessarily make the most economic sense). And the wildcard with plug-ins is the new experience of plugging in and also the still inexpensive electricity. I guess we'll see how the consumers respond when the plug-ins actually come out.


People buy larger vehicles because there is a direction relationship between size and both safety/functionality. Have you ever tried going to Lowe's to get a piece of plywood and carry it home in a sub-compact?

There is nothing wrong with adoption in incremental steps... that is the only way that the technology will work. Look at the next generation of vehicles: Ford is going to put EcoBoost engines in all its vehicles (which can take better advantage of e85 with higher compression and a smaller engine).

The government can not fix this problem because they are unable to accurately point the industry in the right direction. High gas prices are forcing manufacturers to get creative. Be patient, gas prices were so low in the 1990s that high gas has only been a problem since 2003!


I have heard people rationalize the purchase of a large vehicle because they can not carry stuff. Try getting a 4 x 8 foot sheet of plywood into an Escape, same problem. So they buy large pickups that get 14 mpg for that one day per year they need to haul a sheet of plywood, when Lowes will rent you a truck for a few hours or deliver.


No sjc you tend to buy a pickup for a few reasons.

1 you love driving them. That is worth a few miles per gallon.

2 You have things you move around like boats and atvs and horses and owning those things means you own a pickup or suv that can haul your thingies.

3 You werent likely to buy all that fuel miserly of a car anyway so its not that big a drop anyway.

For many people buying a big pickup its only a small extra cost per year in fuel over what they otherwise would have owned and it allows them to do things and ENJOY things they otherwise wouldnt.

You can see this best in reverse as people sell off those thingies they get suvs and pickups to haul and then as a result sell off the suv/pickup because they no longer have a need/use/ no longer can afford to enjoy the ride.


I can see getting 14 mpg in an SL55 AMG Mercedes with 475 hp and hard top convertible. The car is a rolling art form that handles and accelerates like a rocket.

I will have Lowes deliver the plywood and have a service tow my boat to dry dock storage by the lake. I get no thrill from driving a pickup.


Fortunately for the good people at Ford Motor Company, all buyers do not share the same values as SJC. When I was a kid my dad had a diesel F250.. it was fun to drive. Things like towing power and 4-wheel drive matter to people that don't live in cities.

Unfortunately for consumers, the Mercedes rolling art will set you back the same as three F150s.


Yeah, but only the peasants drive farm machinery :) The rest of the world must think we are nuts driving 3/4 ton pickup trucks everywhere. In most of the world, they might not even fit on the roads.

Get over it folks, the cowboys died a long time ago. The expansion west, killing buffalo and Indians are in the past. Get into the 21st century and drive a car that is good for everyone. I would trade the SL55 for a Fisker Karma that performs and is efficient.

Roger Pham

Good point, SJC.
I wish that Obama would not have wasted time in Russia getting an apathetic reception, and instead, visit different American cities, talk to the American people and spreading the message like yours above. He needs to get on TV and radio to remind Americans to buy Green and to buy American in order to keep the jobs here at home and to reduce global warming...Save petroleum in order to reduce petroleum importation by the hundreds of billions...Have more comprehensive plans to save American industries and research facilities...


You ask me to explain "why 50+% feel compelled/obligated to buy ridiculously oversized inefficient vehicles." instead of, I presume, little, overpriced hybrids.

Same reason they live in the country, on land with worthless grass, in houses with indoor plumbing and walk-in closets - instead of an expensive ghetto apartment with 2 people per room.

IMHO, it is because they like the luxury and it is affordable.

The overwhelming majority of Europeans and Asians will not have that opportunity until they immigrate.

As our basic education levels erode, and the work ethic created by the 1929 economic turmoil fades and our child like reaction against self reliance grows and our worship of Hollywood personalities and material goods increases and our overweight problem grows; why does our desire to dominate others and dictate that they buy the cars WE like, by brute force if necessary, grow?
If you “get no thrill from driving a pickup” should they be banned?.

“What would it take to find and apply the proper cure?” You ask.
Institutionalize all peasants (pick-up and SUV owners) in psychiatric wards?
I hope Obama expended some effort to keep Russia from dominating Europe as Russia expands it’s grip on Europe’s source of oil.

The Europeans must worry that we think they are nuts – while we can still (temporarily) affordably drive 3/4 ton pickup trucks too big to even fit on most of their roads, they continue to ignore hybrids (as much or worse than we do) and just buy more oil from Putin.
The cowboys, buffalo and Indians that are dead, are pretty much only those born 70 - 100 (or more) years ago.

And the problem a SL55 or Fisker Karma solves is disposing of excess cash (and maybe some basic insecurities).

The comments to this entry are closed.