More Details On Toyota's Plans For A Full Hybrid Lineup By 2020

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Initial testing of Toyota’s plug-in hybrid system installed in the second-gen Prius has returned fuel-economy figures of 65mpg

Initial testing of Toyota’s plug-in hybrid system installed in the second-gen Prius has returned fuel-economy figures of 65mpg

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Earlier this year, Toyota claimed it would have a hybrid in every facet of its lineup by the decade beginning in 2020, and company executives have since confirmed that plan. Emphasizing the importance of the automobile’s environmental impact and the role hybrids can play in reducing the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere, Toyota also is working on alternative power sources and other advanced technologies to provide a comprehensive strategy for cleaner motoring. New details give some of the specifics of what we can expect from Toyota over the next 10-12 years.

For instance, the fully-hybrid lineup will include small cars, but those small cars won't be full-hybrids, such as the Prius. Instead they will be so-called 'mild' hybrids, assisting at low speeds and aiding start-stop functionality, but since small cars are already very efficient, adding extra weight and complexity - and therefore cost - wouldn't be effective. The first likely recipient of such technology is the iQ, which could be to market by 2010.

In a similarly conservative vein, Toyota will also continue forward for some time with nickel-metal hydride (NiMH) batteries in place of the more space-conserving lithium ion alternative in order to save cost. The company thinks it can extend the aging technology up to an electric-only range of as much as 24mi (40km), reports Auto Motor & Sport.

Pure electric vehicles (EVs), however, aren't as appealing to Toyota, and they will not be focusing on the technology, believing it only bears short-term relevance to a few higher-end segments.

Toyota was one of the first carmakers to announce plans to eventually launch hybrid versions of its entire lineup when in May last year powertrain chief Masatami Takimoto said hybrids will be the standard drivetrain and account for “100 percent” of Toyota’s cars. Those earlier comments were later backed up by company president Katsuaki Watanabe, who said Toyota will offer petrol-hybrid cars throughout its lineup in the long term. The company's continual re-affirmation of the message usually includes a quantification of the impact the brand’s hybrids have had to date.

The roughly 1 million hybrids sold by Toyota through 2008 have resulted in a reduction of 7 million pounds of carbon dioxide that would have been emitted by less efficient standard-powertrain vehicles purchased in their place, claims Toyota. But the company isn’t limiting its future to hybrid technology.

Fuel cells will also play a role in helping reduce Toyota’s impact on the environment, though it is the first to admit its technologies are not nearly robust enough for consumer use at this point. Logistics issues in sourcing and distributing the hydrogen to power the fuel cells is also a major issue hindering the realization of hydrogen-powered vehicles.

A more immediate solution could be the plug-in hybrid. Already competitors like General Motors are moving rapidly ahead with plug-in solutions, such as the Volt, and Toyota is itself committed to the technology, but it still has questions about the fuel sources when running in hybrid mode. For instance, though an electric only range of 40mi (64km) per day may be all most Americans need for their commutes, according to Toyota, that only reduces emissions by about 35%, because there are many people who drive long distances at least occasionally, and once outside the electric-only range of most plug-in hybrids, the emissions begin to closely resemble normal hybrids or even conventional cars.

Toyota is not alone in its promise to deliver a full hybrid range. Mercedes-Benz has said that its entire lineup in the future will include a hybrid option and more recently Chrysler has said the same. GM, meanwhile, has confirmed that it would introduce 16 new hybrid vehicles over the next four years.


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Comments (7)
  1. Big promises -- I would have @ least said something like "We will offer hybrids, diesels or some other green variant of all models..." Diesels have yet to launch & some predict them to do better than hybrids ... we shall see.

  2. I know that Toyota started this bandwagon, but I think most people would agree that the extra weight and recycling costs associated with hybrids need to be taken into account. When coupled with the minor improvements in efficiency that heavy,environmentally-unfriendly batteries bring, I actually think Toyota is heading the wrong way into a dead-end alley.

  3. roy; while im not a fan of hybrids i will say that they are good for one reason and one reason alone; it provides a stepping stone for companies to move towards all electric power trains which WILL be very very good. the 700 HP lightning is a good example of this. AWD, incredible drive flexibility, and 700 hp. its easy to get these kinds of numbers.

    besides, hybrid tech will develop. GM's 2 mode hybrid is still a very crude system and is definitely incredible. 50% better mileage from a truck? come on.

    hybrids will continue to get much much better. each generation will show huge improvements over the last, at a pace similar to the electronics industry. mark my word.

  4. According to the manufactuers, hybrid vehicle batteries are fully recyclable. These vehicles also reduce up to 90% of exhaust emissions compared to regular cars. Just imagine how great it is to be breathing cleaner air. More than 90% of bad air come from car exhaust pollutions. Hybrid is the answer.

  5. Ok but the picture is what got my attention.
    Is that the new Supra? Will it be a Hybrid?
    When, oh when, will Toyota have a fun car in their lineup again? And no, the Solara doesn't count even slightly...

  6. If that is what it takes to maintain the higher performance powerplants, while reducing CO2s and upping MPG numbers, then I'm all for it. A hybrid for will exist is some form or another, so it appears. An addition of an electric propulsion system can act as a booster, as well as an elimination of pollutants and a savings of fuels. Also, the electric motor has it's full torque from it's start, rather than having to rev up.

    Going further, the series/plug-in hybrid can show promise with an addition of a small gasoline or Diesel engine on board just to charge the batteries and perhaps provide additional boost. It all could be more complex, but a very good thing, even a performance advantage.

  7. john.. lets clear up a couple things.. the batteries are recyclable but it's a question of how much energy is needed to recycle them. the amount of energy needed to MAKE the battery in the first place is ridiculous.. plus you're talking about 400 lbs of nickel coming out of mines in sudbury, ontario, canada... going to the other side of the planet to be processed into batteries, and then going all the way back to the biggest hybrid market in the world... north america.. where the stupid nickel came from in the first place.

    on a good day, a hybrid may get you 50% better fuel econ... there's no way that the engines produce 1/10th of the emissions of a standard vehicle... the engines are no cleaner than any other vehicle's engine..

    today's hybrids are simply crap.. the technology exists for them to be much much better. even the guys at fisker are barely scratching the surface... 700 HP lightning with AWD? now you're starting to get an idea of what electric drive systems are capable of.

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