Toyota’s Chief Engineer Satoshi Ogiso figures that efficiency improvements of traditional gasoline engines may soon hit a wall. He gives the gasoline engine an improvement potential of “maybe 10 to 20 percent.” Today, we have proof that it is a fight of diminishing returns. Mazda is now at a point where it saves up to 10 percent of gas by idling the alternator. How is that done? (Read More…)
As I noted in an earlier piece on the macro-level issues with EVs, it’s dangerously misleading to assume that electric cars can simply replace internal combustion-engine vehicles without a basic re-think of nearly every way in which we relate to our cars. That’s true in terms of consumer-end issues like refueling grid impacts and “range anxiety” but it’s also true in terms of manufacturer-end issues like development and differentiation. It’s even true for the auto media.
One of the giant re-thinks spawned by EV development is in how manufacturers make their vehicles reflect their brand values and stand out in the marketplace, as the electric motor in (say) a Ferrari EV wouldn’t be as fundamentally different as an electric motor in (say) a Kia. This, in turn, makes reviewing EVs extremely difficult, as they all display similar power attributes, weight challenges, single-speed transmissions and battery ranges. So when you are asked to drive a pre-production EV from a major manufacturer, the major question in the mind of the conscientious reporter is the same as the question that drove the vehicle’s development: how is this vehicle different than any other EV? In the case of the Golf blue-e-motion, the answer to that question reflects the challenges of developing a major-market electric vehicle.
Complaints about allegedly faulty Prius brakes are growing by the minute. This morning’s Nikkei reports that in addition to the 14 complaints received by Japan’s Transport Ministry, dealers in Japan are handling 77. Today, Toyota conceded that the brakes can get confused on icy roads. (Read More…)