Toyota Synergy Drive Cost/Size To Shrink by 50%

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

Many of our commentators have pointed-out that automakers hoping to compete against the lean, mean, hybrid-building machine known as Toyota are chasing a moving target. While GM is busy trying to stuff Li-Ion-shaped eggs into a Volt-sized basket, Toyota has just announced they've downsized their nickel metal hydride battery-based gas – electric propulsion system by 50 percent. What's more (or less), they've also reduced their manufacturing cost by 50 percent. Speaking to Reuters at the Tokyo Motor Show, Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto (the guy in charge of Toyota's research and development) said the advancement was only to be expected. "When we went from the first-generation Prius to the second-generation, we did the same thing." Okamoto also revealed that ToMoCo's looking to increase the visibility of their Synergy driven vehicles, "perhaps through a unique front grill." As for the diesel-powered alternative to his employer's hybrids, Okamoto admitted that oil burners were more fuel-efficient for long-distance cruising. But he promised that Toyota's future hybrids would meet or beat the challenge. The competition better hope Okamoto's blowing smoke, and act as if he isn't.

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • MaxHedrm MaxHedrm on Oct 25, 2007

    glenn126: Hmmm ... you must live in some odd part of the USA. Or I do. Around here, Diesel varies from about $0.20 below to $0.20 above the price of premium. It seems when the price of a barrel of oil goes up, it affects gas more than diesel. It's also likely seasonal, since it's the same part of a barrel of oil that fuel oil comes from. But 20% of nearly $3/gallon is $0.60. I don't think I've EVER seen it that much higher than even regular gas. Not to mention you can burn all sorts of things in your diesel car. :^)

  • Paul Niedermeyer Paul Niedermeyer on Oct 25, 2007

    MaxHedrm: Right now here in Eugene, diesel is running 50-60 cents more than regular. I know Eugene is odd, but...

  • EJ_San_Fran EJ_San_Fran on Oct 26, 2007

    The mysterious saga of the next generation Prius is slowly unfolding. Is this the advance that can push Prius sales volume to 500K/year in the US? Maybe I can finally buy one now. Interesting issue: how do you cut the NiMH battery in half? I suspect Toyota has figured out how to do deep cycling of these batteries with double power density, while retaining durability. That, by itself, is great battery progress. No lithium needed (yet)!

  • Blunozer Blunozer on Oct 26, 2007

    Sure lithium is needed... Just not for the batteries... But the GM execs!