Toyota Leapfrogging Volt

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
toyota leapfrogging volt

At the recent Toyota Environmental Forum, ToMoCo’s Executive Vice President outlined the company’s five-point plan for a “ sustainable mobility society.” Green Car Congress charts the ch-ch-changes. 1. Further development of gasoline- and diesel-fueled combustion engines; 2. Hybrids and plug-in hybrids; 3. Alternative fuels, including synthetics and biofuels; 4. Electric vehicles; and 5. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Masatami Takimoto revealed that gasoline and diesel will remain the corporate mainstay. To that end, Toyota will reduce vehicle size and weight and introduce a new family of engines with start-stop, direct injection, forced induction, HCCI and variable compression. The automaker will hybridize all its vehicles lines by 2020, increasing NiMH batteries density. Li-ions are heading for city electrics and plug-in hybrids; the plug-in Li-on Prius hits the streets in 2010. And here’s the kicker: Toyota’s working to leap-frog Li-ion technology. Takimoto says a practical and cost-efficient EV demands a technological breakthrough. Maybe GM’s Volt isn’t so much a “Hail Mary” pass as an intentional out-of-bounds throw before it gets sacked by the “Sakichi” battery (named after Toyota’s founder).

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  • Kph Kph on Jul 03, 2008

    Bancho, Wow, I misread 3 orders of magnitude. Yes, that should be a decent incentive, though who knows what the development costs will be. Chrysler spent that about that much alone to develop "stow n go" (yes, I went back and checked it this time) and look at what it got them. A quick google for Toyota's research budget gives about $7 billion for 2005, while GM spent $6.6 billion in 2006. That's pretty comparable, though finding figures for previous years (1990's, when the Prius was in development) would take more time than I have now...

  • LenS LenS on Jul 03, 2008

    Chavez? His cronies have been wrecking Venezuela's oil industry. Which is what always happens when you let government try to work with business -- a bunch of politically connected hacks get rich while things get worse. Better to lower taxes and just get out of the way so real innovation can happen (and the incompetents like GM can stop wasting valuable resources).

  • Geotpf Geotpf on Jul 03, 2008

    I keep seeing the statement "the Japanese government gave Toyota money to develop the Prius". However, the only source for this is Jim Press, who now works for Chrysler and is therefore probably full of shit. Does anybody have a link from any other source proving this? If not, STFU about it please.

  • Davey49 Davey49 on Aug 04, 2008

    I'll believe that all these new type batteries can run a car when I see them in something smaller. At least I have seen NiMH and LiIon batteries running power tools. I consider all the DeWalt, Milwaukee, Makita, etc tools at HD, Lowes, etc as the test bed for these car systems. Zinc-Air is what hearing aid batteries are made out of.