Toyota's 1/X concept, shown at the 2007 Tokyo auto show, uses a body design that closely resembles that of the current Prius. But the 1/X has a lot of tricks up its sleeve that could give it double the already frugal Prius' mileage. First off, the 1/X's body is made of the same carbon fiber materials Toyota developed for its racing cars. This type of body makes the 1/X a third lighter than the Prius. As a flexible fuel vehicle, the 1/X's plug-in hybrid power train can burn gas and ethanol. With … Read more
Having set out its conservative agenda for the production of plug-in cars earlier this week, Toyota gave away some more details yesterday, confirming that it would offer plug-in technology "during the life" of its third-generation Prius hybrid, according to an article in Just Auto.
The non plug-in version of the third-gen Prius is scheduled to go on sale in the next two to three years with a plug-in version possible by 2011, according to Thierry Dombreval, executive vice president of Toyota Europe. Dombreval also suggested that the plug-in Prius would be available only as an option when it … Read more
As with most things, there is a right way and a wrong way to go about electric vehicles. Last Friday, Ian Wright and I spent a couple of hours around my conference table discussing our philosophies on electric cars. Wright knows something about this topic, as he was formerly an executive at EV start-up Tesla Motors, and is now the founder and CEO of Wrightspeed, a Silicon Valley-based start-up whose first car is going to be a high-performance electric supercar, price tag just shy of $200,000. And as it's electric, Wright expects it should out-start, outrun, out-turn, and … Read more
Bob Kanode, the CEO of Valence Technology, which makes lithium-ion batteries for vehicles, recently said one of the big issues for the electric car world was going to be cobalt versus phosphate. And he may be right.
The Wall Street Journal (subscription required) has reported that Toyota has delayed a new generation of hybrid vehicles, including a new Prius, because of concerns about safety and reliability of the batteries inside them. These batteries are lithium cobalt oxide batteries, the same chemistry used in laptop lithium batteries. (Currently, Toyota hybrids use nickel metal hydride batteries.)
Toyota was supposed to start introducing … Read more
In the last couple of years, the claim that the Toyota Prius has more environmental impact than a Hummer garnered attention on forums and blogs around the Internet. Hybrid-haters ecstatically point to a study by CNW Marketing Research called "Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles From Concept to Disposal" (PDF). The premise of this study is that, when taking research, production, and fuel into account, a Prius will use more energy per mile than a Hummer. Knowledgeable people refuted elements of this study, but that didn't stop pundits such as George Will from happily … Read more
Converting your Prius to a plug-in reduces your gas costs to around $1 a gallon and results in far fewer emissions in most cases.. They can even be used to send electricity to the grid and prevent a brown-out.
So how many are there on the road? 50, according to Felix Kramer, president of Calcars, which promotes the concept and is trying to persuade lawmakers to pass tax breaks for … Read more
Attempts to power hybrid cars with solar panels have been around for a few years. But now a company called Solar Electrical Vehicles is producing commercially available after-market panels for hybrids, starting with the Toyota Prius.
The fiberglass, molded panels fit on top of 2004-2007 Prius models. They are attached using an epoxy glue. Unlike previous attempts, these panels fit the curve of the roof.
To maximize your sun power and driving range, you need a larger battery installed than what comes standard with the Prius, according to company founder Greg Johanson, who says that battery storage is the most … Read more
Toyota showed off a new concept, the Hybrid X, at the 2007 Geneva auto show, which looks like a new incarnation of the Prius. Toyota isn't even suggesting that Hybrid X is the design direction for Prius, but the company says the new concept "proposes creative solutions that will themselves potentially become the signature points of a specific hybrid identity." The Prius is also uniquely a hybrid, with no conventional engined counterpart.
The Hybrid X shows off a few fun concept technologies, such as rear suicide doors that open electronically, as well as LED headlights that mount … Read more