Honda generated a lot of excitement last year when it announced the 2010 Insight, a new dedicated hybrid. Could it unseat Toyota's Prius from the hybrid throne? But Toyota wasn't about to let this upstart go unchallenged, announcing an update to the current generation Prius, which has been in production since 2004. We got to see both production vehicles at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, and set them against each other in a series of photos. Will the Insight bring fresh thinking to the hybrid space? Will Toyota sit on its laurels, or give the Prius the update … Read more
Toyota Motor Sales announced an expanded commitment to electric vehicles on Saturday, disclosing plans to manufacture an all-electric city car by 2012 and a wider fleet of gas-electric hybrids.
At the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, Toyota showed off a concept car called the FT-EV, a battery-powered four-seat compact car. Although it's concept car, Toyota said it will release an "urban commuter" electric car in 2012.
Based on an existing car sold in Japan called the iQ, the FT-EV runs entirely on batteries and has a range of about 50 miles. Like many all-electric … Read more
Although automakers face tough times, Detroit is still alive and kicking, with several new launches set for the 2009 auto show. Honda and Toyota duke it out with their respective hybrid vehicles, while GM shows off a new direction for Chevrolet. Ford has an impressive new muscle car, plus its stable of hybrids and high-tech luxury Lincoln cars.
Gas may well be cheaper, but for how long? The markets shoot up, so does the demand for oil and suddenly you're filling your tank through your nose again.
In my daily quest to rid the world of its ills and leave only the smiles of stupefied faces, I believe I have found the solution to this crushing dilemma. It lies in two very recent scientific happenings.
Firstly, there was the mind-altering research performed at the Universite Laval in Quebec, Canada. Dr. Angelo Tremblay's team of intrepid psychosomatists found that it is entirely likely that thinking can make you fat.… Read more
Toyota is developing a solar-powered Prius, the Nikkei newspaper has reported yet again.
It was interesting when we heard about this in July.
But it seems to us that someone over at Toyota has now been fake-leaking/hinting news about a solar-powered Prius in one form or another for at least the last year.
This wonder-car-in-the-making has gone from being a Toyota Prius that uses solar roof panels from Kyocera to power its air conditioning unit, to "a vehicle that will be powered solely by solar energy" to quote one recent Associated Press article.
You may find it … Read more
It's time to say goodbye to the Prius, at least this generation of it. The car is due for a serious update, which we will see at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show, but the current generation, launched in 2004, served to popularize hybrids. We take a last look at this hybrid in our review of the 2008 Toyota Prius. What we find is a car that has few competitors in regards to fuel economy; we got a 45 mpg highway rating and we didn't take any pains to drive economically. But with this current generation, it's the … Read more
Toyota invited us out to preview its new for 2009 Venza. Billing the Venza as "car-optimized," Toyota downright refuses to call it a wagon or a crossover. Curiously, Toyota expects the Venza to be compared with the Ford Edge, Mazda CX-7, and Nissan Murano, all of which are crossovers. They say you're judged by the caliber of your enemies, so I guess that makes the Venza a crossover as well.
Whatever you call it, the Venza is an interesting vehicle. It rides almost like a Camry, but with carrying capabilities that are just shy of the Highlander. … Read more
The drive toward electric vehicles is gaining momentum as people realize the undeniable benefits to the economy, the environment, and foreign relations. CNET green reporter Martin LaMonica attended the Electric Drive Transportation Association Conference & Exposition, and got a chance to look at a number of working or concept electric vehicles all in one place. These aren't far-flung ideas that will never leave the drawing board, but real vehicles either undergoing testing or already on the roads. Among the vehicles on display were the Chevy Volt, the Think City, and a plug-in Prius.
Automakers in Europe plan new business models for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids before 2011.
The business models will eliminate the need for gasoline stations. Energy will be supplied by utility companies. The automakers also will need to take into account the life span of batteries, which will depreciate and wear out quicker than the cars themselves.
Toyota Motor Corp., Daimler, Renault-Nissan, Volvo, and General Motors are among the carmakers that plan to bring plug-in hybrids and full-electric cars to market in 2011.
When that happens, carmakers, utility companies, and battery suppliers will need to be ready to take over the role of energy suppliers from oil companies. This will require a restructuring of energy supply arrangements and infrastructure.
But the industry also needs to examine such areas as calculations of operating costs, vehicle depreciation and billing systems.
"We have to prepare for a new era in our industry like never before," Thomas Weber, Daimler board member for R&D, told Automotive News Europe. "Managing financial conditions is crucial for a successful electrification of cars."
Toyota will reveal a Camry hybrid concept at the Los Angeles Auto Show with an engine that uses compressed natural gas.
The concept signals that Toyota's hybrid technology will be used with engines that operate on a variety of fuels.
"We are using this as an opportunity to state that we are getting back into CNG R&D and that we are adding CNG to our portfolio of alternative fuels," said John Hanson, a Toyota spokesman. "We see CNG as an alternative fuel for the future, especially considering what we see as a pretty definite … Read more