Toyota cutting hybrid costs, claims every car produced will be hybrid by 2020

Toyota cutting hybrid costs, claims every car produced will be hybrid by 2020

Toyota cutting hybrid costs, claims every car produced will be hybrid by 2020

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Toyota has always backed its hybrid technology as the key to reducing fuel consumption and carbon emissions, but as advanced as the technology is, diesel powered cars manage to offer similar levels of eco-friendliness but with more performance to boot. It doesn’t help that hybrid vehicles are considerably more expensive than their oil-burning counterparts as well.

That’s why Toyota is hard at work developing cheaper hybrid systems. Reuters reports that Toyota is hoping to make as much money from hybrids as it does from conventional cars by the end of the decade. The news comes from Toyota’s vice president in charge of powertrain development, Masatami Takimoto, who said cost cutting on the electric motor, battery and inverter were all showing positive results and by the time Toyota’s sales goal of one million hybrids annually is reached, it “expect margins to be equal to gasoline cars”. Takimoto also made the bold claim that by 2020, hybrids will be the standard drivetrain and account for "100 percent" of Toyota's cars as they would be no more expensive to produce than a conventional vehicle.

Last year Toyota sold 313,000 hybrids and this year it's expecting close to 430,000 sales. The most popular hybrid model, the Prius, has been suffering of late in the US because of a wind up of tax credits, which saw prices rise. Experts are predicting that the new model, due late next year or in only 2009, will feature a cheaper lithium-ion battery system.

As for alternatives, Takimoto mentioned that plug-in hybrids, which run on electricity alone and can be charged from a household power socket are still years away from being feasible. While diesel vehicles, as favored by the European carmakers, require expensive particulate filters and other traps that cost almost as much as the first generation hybrid technology.
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Comments (26)
  1. I'm sorry, the point is- Hybrid cars, particularly the Toyota Prius easily converted to plug-in prius, is a fantastic stepping stone to Full Electric Hybrids. Thats the point. diesel powered vehicles do not utilize the super efficient electric motors. Get with the program. Diesels are old news, hanging onto old technology. The ultimate car is an electric car with ultracapacitors. millions of recharging cycles and take a charge instantly. this is the technology in development and the toyota prius already uses this in harmony with it's battery system that never needs replacing. Toyota, you really are number one!

  2. But the point is that the Prius still achieves similar economy to a diesel car - and since its primary appeal is fuel economy then what's the point of the prius? it may use "super-efficient electric motors" but it still has to run a petrol engine - until toyota makes a full electric car then the Prius seems like an exercise in futility

  3. Aside from fuel economy, driving a hybrid emits less toxic fumes into the atmosphere (and our lungs) than a vehicle run on diesel.... as the diesel drives through the city, the engine is constantly burning the fuel while the hybrid is running almost fully on electric power thus using less fuel and exhausting less toxic gas into the air. Not to mention during acceleration...

    A "Full Electric Hybrid"? That doesn't make sense... a hybrid is a hybrid because it is a combination of electric and combustion engine. A "full electric hybrid" would just be a good ol' electric car. But yes, moving into the right direction... get away from this old technology. Enough with the burning of fossil fuels and my lungs, I want clean air. Why do we need so much "power" anyway... sure to haul stuff, but to go fast for no reason? Whats the point?

  4. Thought the whole reason behind hybrids was that it was more effcient after a certain speed it was a more efficient use of energy to have the car run on the petrol engine. If the electricity is coming from coal or some other polluting power source then running solely on the electric motor isn't necessarily better for the environment.

  5. I think Toyota has made some excellent moves with it's Prius. The one thing that I'm waiting for- as posts above/below explain- full plug in electric cars. The EV1 was a good start that American companies flushed down the toilet. Maybe Toyota can take up the slack in the future. If I were to buy a hybrid, it would be a Prius at this time. If you want to drive 1000 miles, everyone has a gas guzzler. Most people just want to get to work and back. And since most people work for a living, I would hope the market would be worth it. Here's hoping.

  6. "...plug-in hybrids, which run on electricity alone..."
    "...Full Electric Hybrids..."
    Wonderful. The birth of another grating English (mis-) usage.

  7. Joseph M.: I agree about the Toyota Prius or any hybrid for that matter being a stepping stone to PHEV.
    However, please define "easily converted to plug-in". Last time I looked, it costs about US$2500 to convert a Toyota Prius to a plug-in, especially if one wants longer than the 1 mile range of the Prius in "EV" mode (, and that is doing it yourself. Hiring a company is going to cost considerably more.

    Quote [Diesels are old news, hanging onto old technology.]
    Please look at what Europeans get out of their diesel cars. The Audi R10 TDI is a racing car that won against gasoline cars, runs at lower RPM and has greater torque than gasoline engines. If you think that a modern TDI engine is old technology, think again. Particulate emissions aside, TDI diesels produces lower pollutants than gasoline engines. Finally, a diesel engine lasts considerably longer than a gasoline engine, at least 250,000 miles.
    For these reasons, the diesel engine is a superior to the gasoline engine. It makes sense therefore, to couple a diesel engine with an electric motor and make a diesel hybrid. Hey, wait. Isn't that what a diesel-electric locomotive is already?

    Quote [the toyota prius already uses this (ultracapacitor) in harmony with it’s battery system that never needs replacing.]
    I hope you do not mean that a Toyota Prius has an ultracapacitor. It uses a Nickel Metal Hydride battery, commonly known as a Nimh battery. Lastly, all batteries need replacing. Ultracapacitors are not batteries, and may not need replacing.

  8. Dex, a 'plug-in hybrid' is a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine and electric motor and drives with the electric motor 100% of the time. Only when battery life is dying and there's no power outlet available for charging, the car can use the gasoline engine to charge the batteries. GM's first Volt concept was one such vehicle and can drive up to 40 miles on a single charge without ever burning a drop of gasoline.

    I think that was what Joseph M. was talking about when he said 'Full Electric Hybrids'.

    Please do some research before attempting to present yourself as a smartass.

    Styles, most car magazines have found that the Prius gets worse mileage than a similar sized diesel vehicle. In real-world tests the Prius gets around 45-50mpg where as some diesels are getting between 50 and 60mpg despite 'constantly burning the fuel'.

    Diesels do emit harsher toxins tho, but i believe the latest particulate filters have helped significantly. Oh, and yes i can't wait to get my hands on an all-electric vehicle, Tesla roadster is looking just a bit too pricey atm.

  9. Dex, a ‘plug-in hybrid’ is a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine and electric motor and drives with the electric motor 100% of the time. Only when battery life is dying and there’s no power outlet available for charging, the car can use the gasoline engine to charge the batteries.

    Julius, what I think you refer to is called a "series hybrid", where the gas engine only drives a generator, and is not connected mechanically to the drivetrain. The Prius is a "combined series/parallel hybrid" design. See Hybrid Vehicle Drivetrains [] for details.

    A "plug-in hybrid" allows batteries to be charged from an external source (the electric power grid) when the car is parked, further reducing your gasoline requirements.

  10. If you really think about it, Hybrid cars don't really help the environment all that much.
    I mean they are slightly more fuel efficient (however remember the Honda Civic HF 50mpg on GASOLINE from mid 1980s?).

    When they get electricity from the power grid they are contributing to the problem.
    A great majority of our electricity in the world comes from burning COAL and OIL(thank you anti-nuke protesters...NOT ) both of which contribute huge amounts of GH gases.

    When you think about it, 100% electric cars will be no better than Gasoline powered cars, at least not until we have a cleaner way of making electricity.

  11. A great majority of our electricity in the world comes from burning COAL and OIL

    Not only that, but it's economically "easier" to incrementally replace 100% ICE vehicles with hybrids, but not so economical to replace a coal-fired generating station. When it's time to retire our Grand Caravan, I'd love to purchase a diesel-hybrid minivan.

    Adding smokestack scrubbers, chemical recyclers and CO2 recyclers (oil-creating algae should love warm CO2) to the plants should be a priority, though.

  12. I highly doubt that the CrewMax Tundra will ever be hybrid. They are supposed to be able to tow 10,000 lbs with the 5.7L V8. I don't think hybrids can do that...

  13. Donut, if a hybrid drive train can power a locomotive, I think an appropriately sized version can handle 10,000 lbs without breaking a sweat.

  14. Re: Diesels - How is it that people STILL don't account for the fact that diesels generate A LOT more carbon emissions per gallon than gasoline? To say that diesel gets the same fuel economy as a gasoline hybrid is simply cheating - diesel packs a lot more carbon per gallon than gasoline, so burning 1 gallon of diesel is something like burning 1.4 gallons of gas. Thus, aside from the high sulfur content of diesel (making it stinky and causing much more acid rain, and for you Europeans, destruction of your statues & other architectural attractions), and high particulate content of diesel (highly irritating to the lungs), diesel spews out a lot more climate-change inducing CO2 per gallon than gasoline. So how can any HONEST comparison actually claim diesel is better for the environment??

  15. Hurricane: although our electricity comes from coal, oil, & natural gas, it is still much easier to achieve high efficiency (as well as "tailpipe" solutions like scrubbers to remove anhydrous acids, particulates, and re-capture CO2) at a few large power plants than to have to put all that technology onto every single vehicle on the road, and much more cost effective.

    However, it would be very interesting to see whether the increased environmental impact of having to produce all the metals (mining creates huge toxic effects on streams & groundwater, and melting down the metals requires lots & lots of energy from coal, etc) and other additional parts that go into a hybrid vehicle actually creates enough net benefit over the likely life of that vehicle to be better than a really efficient gasoline-only equivalent.

  16. You are totally right David. Besides plug-in hibrids allow for creative services such as parking lots with solar panels that could allow you to save a dollar or two on a good day.

    Combine this with the latest investment they are doing in Georgia, to get ethanol out of the wood that is to be transformed in paper (without sacrificing a bit the quality of the paper) and the effords made in Japan to get ethanol out of the residues of rice harvesting, and of curse the highly developed biofuel industry in Brazil.

    Even better is that all this is based on technology that is at the turn of the corner.

    Those are definitively steps in the right direction. It is our responsability as consumers to keep this initiatives moving by buying hibrid cars and pumping gas with a % of ethanol.

  17. Re: Diesels - How is it that people STILL don’t account for the fact that diesels generate A LOT more carbon emissions per gallon than gasoline?

    That's just not true. They emit more NOx than gasoline engines.

    Thus, aside from the high sulfur content of diesel (making it stinky and causing much more acid rain, and for you Europeans, destruction of your statues & other architectural attractions)

    Ultra-low sulfur diesel

    and high particulate content of diesel (highly irritating to the lungs)

    Diesel particulate filter

  18. Hurricane, where I live 80% of my power comes from hydroelectric sources however I choose to buy wind. Another 9% comes from a nuclear plant, while 8% comes from coal, 2% from natural gas and the remaining 1% comes from a mix of other sources. This is the case for most of the Pacific Northwest. We do not rely on coal for the majority of our power by any means. Check your facts.

  19. We all know that toyota leads the car world today and also the maker of quality toyota auto parts. Toyota cars and vehicles, are the pride of Toyota Motor Corporation which has been getting attention in the industry since production started in 1969. But just like other makes and models, Toyota cars are not created with Toyota car parts that last for a lifetime.

  20. I own a Prius and I'm happy. I do almost all my driving in the suburbs not on country roads but a diesel Golf is more efficient on the open road than Prius but the Prius beats a diesel Golf in town. If you want a diesel Golf, buy one but if you do most of your driving in town the Prius will deliver better fuel economy, is quieter and it's a Toyota not a VolksWagen!
    My guess is that most of the Hybrid knockers are conventional petrol car drivers who are doing nothing to reduce their carbon footprint.
    What happens to the cost of diesels with all the exhaust cleaning techonlogy?

    PS, I get 4.12 litres per 100 kilometres economy from my Prius driving across town each day and I'm sure I can improve on that as I've only had the car a few weeks. Most owners report improving fuel consumption as they learn to drive the hybrid economically.
    PPS, I use electricity from renewable sources which I pay a small extra premium for. About to install solar boosted/natural gas hot water heating soon.

  21. Tracy, we live in a planet not all of us ar in the Pacific Northwest which I assume is part of the USA. On this globe we call earth most electricity comes from coal fired power stations.

  22. what is the pro's and con's on a diesel - electric power plant for a light weight car or truck?

  23. Coal power plant cars operate at about 10 times the overall energy efficiency of fuelies

  24. Good info about hubrids. I have Prius - first serial hybrid car in world

  25. PatSparks,
    You may pay a premium for renewable source electricity but that doesn't mean you're getting it. We are offered that option in our area. I can't see how the power company can send me my renewable source energy down the same power line as my neighbor that doesn't pay the premium. We have 86 wind turbines in our area and that power is sold 45 miles away.

  26. Well it's almost 2010 so we'll see what they bring out next year shall we ;)

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