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Toyota Reveals Prius Tech Details

Higher efficiency, updated suspension, controversial design.

by on Oct.13, 2015

The 2016 Toyota Prius.

Five weeks after unveiling the 2016 Toyota Prius at a splashy Las Vegas event, the Japanese maker is finally filling in some of the critical details about the new hybrid-electric vehicle.

Among other things, Toyota claims the drivetrain on the 2016 Prius is significantly more efficient than the outgoing model. And buyers will not have a choice of either conventional nickel-metal hydride batteries or a more advanced lithium-ion pack. Improved aerodynamics and weight-saving measures are expected to deliver as much as 10% fuel economy.

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Toyota also is offering a bit closer look at the structure of the 2016 Prius, including details of its new independent rear suspension which is intended to improve the ride and handling of the fourth-generation hatchback.


Toyota Prepping Next-Generation Hybrid Drive

Japanese maker will reveal new fuel-cell vehicle in January at CES.

by on Aug.29, 2013

Toyota is developing a new, higher-mileage hybrid system for vehicles like the Prius shown here.

Toyota is developing a new hybrid system that is smaller, lighter and more efficient than the current version in effort to keep pace with technical changes in the auto industry. It expects the system to deliver at least 10% better fuel economy in the next-gen Toyota Prius.

But the Japanese giant also sees opportunities with other alternative-power technologies, notably hydrogen. Toyota plans to unveil a new fuel-cell vehicle next January that it will put into production in 2015.

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“Hybrid is a technology for the future and for the next 20 or 30 years,” said Satoshi Ogiso, the executive responsible for Toyota’s hybrid business, during a media briefing session on the company’s alternative power plans.


Toyota Plans Major Boost in Lithium Battery Output

Major shift from older tech suggests more emphasis on plug-ins, BEVs.

by on May.20, 2013

Toyota will expand production of lithium-ion batteries. Expect them to show up in the next-gen Prius and possibly other Toyota products.

Toyota is planning a major increase in production of advanced lithium-ion batteries that could be used in its Prius hybrid and perhaps in other plug-ins or battery-electric vehicles, according to reports from Japan.

The six-fold increase in production of LIon batteries comes as a major shift for the maker which had, until recently, focused exclusively on less powerful but cheaper and more time-tested nickel-metal hydride technology.

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The report by Japan’s Nikkei daily business paper says Toyota and battery partner Panasonic will soon be assembling 200,000 lithium-ion batteries annually, largely for use in the popular Prius model. It is unclear if they will be used in just the conventional hybrid version or may also be used for the new Prius plug-in model.


Avalon to Get First-Ever Hybrid

Full-size sedan will yield up to 40 mpg.

by on Jun.26, 2012

Toyota will add a new hybrid drivetrain option for the 2013 remake of its big Avalon sedan.

Toyota’s big new Avalon will be getting a hybrid drivetrain for the first time, the remake of the full-size sedan to share the powertrain line-up offered in the Japanese maker’s smaller Camry model.

The move underscores Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda’s goal of offering a gas-electric alternative in virtually all products sold for the Japanese giant.

Beyond the addition of a first-ever hybrid, the new Avalon is a significant departure for Toyota.  First shown at this year’s New York Auto Show, the 2013 Avalon was developed entirely in the U.S. and features a striking new shape that’s a distinctive new look that’s a striking shift away from Toyota’s traditionally plain vanilla approach to styling.

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Set to go on sale late this year, the Avalon will be one of six new models or variants to get a hybrid.  The maker earlier this year unveiled the compact Prius C, as well as a plug-in version of the original Prius hatchback.


Is This the Next Prius?

FT-bh one of many Toyota green machines for Geneva.

by on Feb.28, 2012

The Toyota FC-bh concept is scheduled for a Geneva Motor Show debut next week.

Is this the next Toyota Prius?  That’s a conclusion that’s difficult to ignore after getting a first look at the advance image the Japanese maker has released of the FT-bh Concept it plans to unveil at the Geneva Motor Show next week.

The Toyota FT-bh show car is one of a handful of hybrids and other green machines the maker plans to officially unveil at Geneva’s PALExpo Convention Center next week.

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But the FT-bh is the one that’s getting all the attention – and for obvious reasons.  While the maker is yet to offer any details the comparisons to the current, fourth-generation Prius sedan are obvious — even if the FT-bh is a size-class smaller.  There’s the four-door layout, of course, along with the clear influence of aerodynamics.  While the hybrid powertrain is a critical part of the package, Toyota engineers acknowledge that a significant factor in the fuel efficiency of the current Prius model is its wind-cheating design.


Toyota Formally Launches First Plug-In

Bringing range of hybrids to Europe.

by on Sep.14, 2011

The new Toyota Prius Plug-in on display at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

Underscoring the small but fast-growing presence of hybrids in Europe, Toyota brought its Prius Plug-in to Europe for its official world debut this week.

The plug-in will become part of an expanding “family” of hybrids sharing the Prius name, Didier Leroy, President of Toyota of Europe, told an audience at the Frankfurt Motor Show.  Set to reach the U.S. market, as well, in the coming months, the Prius Plug-in will have a larger battery pack than the conventional Toyota hybrid to permit it to drive longer distances in pure electric vehicle mode.

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Range will still be a modest 14.5 miles in battery mode – and will restrict the vehicle to speeds of around 60 mph.  That’s in sharp contrast to the Chevrolet Volt “extended-range electric vehicle” and its European sibling, the Opel Ampera, which get about 35 miles on a charge and can be used in electric mode at speeds up to around 90 mph.

Toyota, however, plans to sharply undercut the price of the two Detroit offerings.  Though the maker won’t reveal figures until closer to launch industry analysts expect something around or under $30,000 in the States – minus the federal $7,500 tax credit.  That could mean a buyer would get a plug-in from Toyota for about $10,000 less than a Volt.


Toyota Reports Dealers Down to 4 days of Prius Inventory

Though overall hybrid sales sliding, Toyota officials hope for strong launch of new Prius v.

by on Jun.21, 2011

The debut of the Prius v has been pushed back about two months because of the Japanese earthquake.

While its factories are rapidly getting back up to full speed following the devastating March earthquake in Japan, Toyota dealers are struggling to meet demand for the popular Prius with barely a “three to four-day supply” of the world’s best-selling hybrid model, a senior official said.


By comparison, makers consider a 50 to 60-day supply to be normal for most products.  The shortfall likely resulted in a 30 to 40% shortfall in sales of the Prius during May, said Toyota’s hybrid marketing manager Ed LaRoque.

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The crisis, which all but shut down Toyota production the first month after the March disaster—and continues to leave its plants running below capacity — has also forced the maker to delay the launch of its new Prius v, the first in a “family” of hybrids to share the same brand identity as the original Toyota model.  According to La Roque, the debut of the v, a larger, wagon-like take on the familiar hybrid sedan, will be “a few months behind,” and probably won’t reach U.S. showrooms until around October. The maker is meanwhile hoping to start rebuilding supplies of the original Prius over the next several months.



Prices Already on Rise for Japanese Cars, Trucks

GM shuts plant in Louisiana; loss of hybrid plant could impact Prius supplies.

by on Mar.18, 2011

Storm clouds on the horizon? With a battery supplier down, could Toyota be facing a Prius shortage - and rising prices for buyers?

If you’ve got your eye on a new Japanese car, truck or crossover, you may need to stretch your budget a bit more than you anticipated.  A number of online services that track automotive pricing report that Asian makers and their dealers are already beginning to curb incentives and even raise prices in the wake of the earthquake-fueled crisis that has all but shut down the Japanese auto industry.

While makers such as Toyota, Nissan and Honda say they have adequate supplies available for U.S. customers, the situation clearly depends on which product you’re looking for.  With fuel prices at two-year highs, demand was already on the rise, prior to the quake, for hybrids and other high-mileage vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Fit.

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And with most of the automotive assembly plants in Japan still closed, vehicle shortages are mounting.  Things are a bit better here, where only Subaru has halted operations at its Indiana-based “transplant” assembly line due to parts shortages.  But analysts worry that more transplants could soon feel the impact.


Another Toyota Hybrid Due at NAIAS

Expanding the lineup with a post Prius offering?

by on Dec.15, 2009

No details, just a teaser shot of another dedicated hybrid?

No details yet, just a teaser shot of another dedicated hybrid?

Toyota Motor Sales, USA will stage the world debut of a new “dedicated” hybrid concept vehicle during the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.

The vehicle will be revealed during a news conference held on Monday, January 11.

No other details were released, leading to speculation that Toyota’s phenomenal success with hybrids in general and with the third generation Prius makes room for a second freestanding hybrid, one not built off an existing platform and model series.


Marty’s Marketing Minutia

Safety, saving, solicitation, Snuggie, smart, singular...

by on Nov.20, 2009

International Road Safety Conference underway in Russia

Hundreds of representatives have gathered in the land of terrible drivers and worse roads, Russia, to attend the “First Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.” It’s sponsored by the United Nations World Health Organization to help reduce the number of deaths from auto accidents, which now number 1,300,000 worldwide.

Requested by the UN General Assembly, the event represents an opportunity to make progress on tackling a leading cause of death and disability. As many as 1000 government ministers, representatives of UN agencies, officials from civil society organizations, leaders of private companies, and many other road safety experts will attend.

Participants will draw attention to the need for action to address the large and growing global impact of road traffic crashes, review progress on implementation of the World report on road traffic injury prevention, and share information and good practices on road safety. It is anticipated that participants will issue a clear call for a Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.

This conference could propose international legislation covering road safety and the vehicle’s occupants and pedestrians.

Interestingly only 3 U.S. of 376 writers have been accredited for the conference, which could produce some changes around the world. Click Here for more info.

Another environmental commercial from DDB Sweden for VW

This is another in an interesting, entertaining and thoughtful commercials on conservation and ecological initiatives. Click Here.

Not your everyday garages

If you owned a personal fleet of exotic, classic or rare automobiles where is the best place to store and display them? In a garage of course. Ah, but the choice of style and design is practically limitless. More and more luxury homes are including the newest real estate status symbol – a luxurious garage. Click Here.