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Toyota Going 100% Hybrid By 2020

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the barring-Mr.-Fusion dept.

Power 619

autofan1 writes "Toyota's vice president in charge of powertrain development, Masatami Takimoto, has said cost cutting on the electric motor, battery and inverter were all showing positive results in reducing the costs of hybrid technology and that by the time Toyota's sales goal of one million hybrids annually is reached, it 'expect margins to be equal to gasoline cars.' Takimoto also made the bold claim that by 2020, hybrids will be the standard drivetrain and account for '100 percent' of Toyota's cars as they would be no more expensive to produce than a conventional vehicle."

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619 comments

Goatse! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136739)

Goatse! [goatse.ch]

Everyone loves a good goatse.

Not Quite 20 years... (0, Redundant)

sycodon (149926) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136753)

...into the future.

At least they will beat out Fusion by 7 years.

Re:Not Quite 20 years... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136829)

True, but I think it's important to remember that anal sex or anal intercourse is a form of human sexual behavior. While there are many sexual acts involving the anus, anal cavity, sphincter valve and/or rectum, the term "anal sex" is often used to mean the insertion of the penis into the rectum. It is a form of sexual intercourse considered to be particularly risky, for a number of reasons related to the vulnerability of the tissues and the septic nature of the anus.

Such relations have been documented in a wide range of cultures, from earliest times; they have also been controversial and sometimes condemned since antiquity. Anal sex is encountered among people of all sexual identities and orientations. While it is reported more frequently among male couples, in absolute numbers more heterosexual couples have anal sex.[1] However it is certainly done more often by gay men.

Re:Not Quite 20 years... (1)

bobo mahoney (1098593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137447)

I'm waiting for them to announce a hybrid Sienna. I'd go buy one today if they did.

All Cars or Trucks Too? (5, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136755)

Takimoto also made the bold claim that by 2020, hybrids will be the standard drivetrain and account for '100 percent' of Toyota's cars as they would be no more expensive to produce than a conventional vehicle.
100% is a lofty goal. Is that just cars or does it include trucks & SUV's too?

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

Keebler71 (520908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136799)

I'm going to take a wag that you didn't read the article.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1, Interesting)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136943)

I did read the article and then made basically the same comment. No doubt I missed something -- your point is?

(Incidentally, being unfamiliar with "take a wag", I searched it and found that you're using it incorrectly. HTH.)

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (5, Informative)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136909)

Actually an electric drive train on trucks and SUV's would be more desireable than your typical transmission that we've had for the last 40-50 years. Electric motors make the most torque at zero RPMs for much better load/towing. There is also once they make the switch to independently powered wheels (an electric motor built into the wheel) you could have much more interesting steering suspension options since there would be no drive shafts getting in the way.

As far as they've said they mean all their vehicles will have hybrid drivetrains. The only sad thing is going to be our grandkids asking us what it means to drive "stick".

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136987)

hey genius, hybrid drivetrains doesnt mean no stick

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (2, Insightful)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137263)

Right back at you Eighnstien. If it has an electric drive train, then yes it does mean no stick, other than maybe stop, forward and backwards. You are correct though they could create a gas/electric hybrid that has a typical standard/automatic drive train. When they say hybrid it could be any of a variety of configurations.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137375)

Electric cars usually have very little need for a complex transmission, however, because there is ample torque throughout the RPM range. For instance, the Tesla Roadster http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tesla_roadster [wikipedia.org] only has a two-speed gearbox, and you can leave it in 2nd gear the whole time if you wanted to.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

Jorgandar (450573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137047)

We'll also going to have our grandkids asking what a steering wheel was...because all the cars will drive themselves. =)

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (2, Interesting)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137205)

One can only hope. Driving can be fun, but commuting isn't. I'd just as soon nap as anything on the freeway. If I lived in a place where public transportation were an option, I'd use that. And no, I don't think that "A bus goes by every hour (peak) and every two-three hours (off-peak)" is "an option" for anyone that doesn't want to waste between 45 minutes and 2.5 hours at each end of the commute. It's not even a good alternative for drunks since service inexplicably ends an hour and a half before last call.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137089)

For the record, my hybrid has a "stick". I rather like it that way (and I get slightly better mileage because of it).

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

ForestGrump (644805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137219)

agreed. I had a stick hybrid. and IF I ever buy another hybrid, it's gonna be a stick again. Any car I get into that's not a stick never feels quite right.

(Then I get stuck in traffic in a stick and wish I had an auto. But 5 minutes in an auto will set me right.)

Grump

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

pebs (654334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137461)

agreed. I had a stick hybrid. and IF I ever buy another hybrid, it's gonna be a stick again. Any car I get into that's not a stick never feels quite right.

I thought Honda discountinued their manual stick-shift hybrids and only do autos with the current hybrid models. That can change in the future, I suppose, since they are coming out with a replacement for the Insight in 2009. Especially if hybrids get really popular they may offer options for transmissions again.

With Toyota's hybrid system, a stick shift isn't even a possibility because there are no gears (or rather, only one gear).

I'm not sure about the other hybrids out there if they are offering manual transmissions.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

timholman (71886) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137105)

The only sad thing is going to be our grandkids asking us what it means to drive "stick".

Actually, your grandkids are going to be asking you what it means to "drive". To them, a car will be something you get into and then tell where you want to go.

In 25 years, knowing how to manually drive a car will be about as useful and quaint as knowing how to ride a horse is today.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137125)

The problem with in wheel motors is that they have a really high un-sprung weight. This means that on bumps, the momentum that the wheel/motor has will be hard to stop with a shock absorber and thus the tire will lift off the ground resulting in poor cornering / braking and a rough and noisy ride. Having an individual motor for each wheel mounted to the car's frame that has a small axle to the wheel is required for decent performance.

in hub motors are bad, unless they are really light, like around 4-8kg.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137417)

That is very true, but it does seem like the end goal for car developers. Even with the motors mounted on the frame near each wheel, you would have a nice low center of gravity with most of the vehicle weight at the corners.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137239)

The only sad thing is going to be our grandkids asking us what it means to drive "stick".
Sounds like most kids already. I see one of the main disadvantages of hybrids (and just about every new generation of vehicles for the past several decades) as being just how complicated they are. They're almost impossible for the average person to work on, thus forcing consumers to pay outrageous repair fees. For that reason, I must confess to still driving around and polluted in late 70s car.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137387)

Cars are not impossible to work on. The biggest problem most people face is that they don't have good TO's (Technical repair books). That and manufactures like to slip some custom tools in there now and then. Forget the shitty Chilton repair guides and go pick up yourself a good set of dealer repair manuals for your make and model. They aren't cheap, but they are thorough. 90% of the parts that are on your car these days are practically the extact same ones they have been using for the last 30 years. Other than some of the extra computer controls and sensors, you don't need much past your standard tools and repair guide.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (2, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137247)

Hybrids will need to evolve and differentiate for use I think. As you observe, for truck usage involving low torque driving patterns-- e.g. off road, construction, factory and warehouse, applications--hybrids are better engines than gasoline. But for long haul trucking the advantages are less clear. Diesels may be quite effective there. And future generation of spark plug engines or plasma combustion will probably beat diesels.

There are engine technologies that exist now that are as good as hybrids and more versatile. For example 8 cyllinder engines that can shut down 4 cyllinders. Recent advances in experimental engines show enormous opportunities for gains using imogeneous fuel-air mixtures, pre-heated fuel, and better spark timing.

Now one might argue that anything that makes an engine more efficient could be turned around and applied to a hybrid engine, so hybrids should always win. But this sort of depends upon two other issues. is there a coupling loss at the point where the electric and mechanical power trains meet? Is the gasoline portion so low on peak torque or horsepower that it must store energy (at a large conversion loss) in the electric system to satisfy the power excursions out of it's narrow power band? IN such cases direct drives might be better. Conversely, perhaps being able to shut down the engine entirely in low use and idling situation will more gas. Finally going all electric and disposing of the engines might make sense for solar powered short range commuter cars.

Anyhow, I can see that hybrids are a good idea, but one has to imagine a range of different kinds of hybrids optimized for different usage patterns.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137463)

The big downsides with hybrids are cost and weight. When you overcome those in a little package, you generally overcome them in anything bigger.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

dparnass (1004755) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137367)

Actually Le Tourneau Corp has a facility in Longview, Texas (Where I used to live) that produces a huge Dumptruck which has a deisel engine powering a generator that runs the truck all on electricirty. That company has been using electrical type set ups for years. (My mom's Husband deals in construction equipment. hey when your in your 30's and your mom gets married it is her husband) So Hybrid by 2020 may not be off the mark. By then they could have all of the bugs out. Remember the Hybrid is good in the city, but on the open road the battery is just a giant paper weight.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

QuantumFlux (228693) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137419)

Given how many vehicles are now only available with an automatic transmission, it won't be too long before a stick shift will be like vinyl records: the only people who will use them will be snobs and old fuddy-duddies.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137427)

I say good riddance to the stick shift. There's no reason that a human should be making the kind of mechanical, mindless decision that a machine could make faster, more accurately, and more consistently.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137487)

Does anybody else think the really awesome thing about independently powered wheels would be the body style options it would open up? Really slick sci-fi looking vehicles.

The only thing holding it back is impact and safety testing (boo) which is what keeps a lot of really cool exotic vehicles from being street legal today. In my opinion the real solution to road safety is to get the damn freight trains off the road and back on railroad tracks. Semi's are a fucking disgusting abomination, and are horribly dangerous.

Anyway, all kinds of cool stuff would be opened up, truly independent suspension.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136917)

"Takimoto also made the bold claim that by 2020, hybrids will be the standard drivetrain..."

Hmm...well, hopefully by then, they will have designed them to be less butt ugly and more pleasing to the eye. Also, maybe they'll come out with some with better performance numbers.

In the meantime, I'm waiting a few years hoping the price of the Tesla [teslamotors.com] will come down in price to be more like a Vette....now THAT will be green car I'm interested in.

Re:All Cars or Trucks Too? (2, Insightful)

kevinx (790831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137201)

I remember Mazda making a statement about all their cars being rotory engines back in the 80's. Didn't happen. A lot can change in another 13 years, it's quite possible that effiencies in other areas work their way into production much quicker than the path to cheap hybrids. Granted, forward looking statements should to be taken with a grain of salt as they typically don't pan out. This was probably just ment to bring warm fuzzies to all the eco friendly people out there, as well as stock holders who want to know that their company has a clear vision for the future and will continue to be a leader in automotive innovation.

In related news... (5, Funny)

vought (160908) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137379)

GM, Chrysler and Ford announce that they'll transition to "thinking about possibly getting some of those battery-rechargey cars" into production by 2015.

What the Japanese don't understand (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136773)

Is that erectric cars aren't the end-all, be all. In 12 years, hopefully they're will be a better, clean source of energy.

Re:What the Japanese don't understand (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136833)

I want my fusion in a AA size power cell I can use anywhere.

Re:What the Japanese don't understand (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136885)

Erectric? Cunning racial slur, or porn-driven vehicle?

Re:What the Japanese don't understand (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136905)

"What the Japanese don't understand" is a hilarios way to start any sentence about automobiles. There are things that Japan has been getting right for over 20 years that GM still hasn't learned.

Re:What the Japanese don't understand (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137285)

Mostly, that would be "don't pay too much in health care costs so that you can put an extra $1000 into each car". From the NY Times [nytimes.com] :

General Motors estimates that health care costs add about $1,500 to the cost of each vehicle it makes in the United States. Chrysler claims a health care cost of $1,400 per vehicle. Ford says its burden is $1,100...

...Japanese companies face little of this burden in Japan, where the government covers retirees' health care and pays a bigger share of workers' pensions.
And then it goes into pensions:

Toyota expected to pay out about $700 million in pension benefits in fiscal year 2006, which ended in March. That's less than a tenth of what G.M. expects to pay on its pensions this year.
If you have to pay $1500+ more than the competition for pensions and health care of past workers, something has to give. Often it seems to be quality.

Re:What the Japanese don't understand (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137333)

>>Is that erectric cars aren't the end-all, be all. In 12 years, hopefully they're will be a better, clean source of energy.

12 years would be awfully damn quick to come up with and implement an alternative to electric or fossil fuel driven cars. Look how slow progress has been so far.

On the other hand, if gas is $15/gallon, then I bet somebody will figure something out. Isn't the oil in the Mid-East going to run dry in 40 years or so?

Wonder if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136789)

... they'll make a Dodge eCharger.

Re:Wonder if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137019)

or a Buick Electra 110

Re:Wonder if ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137023)

wrong company - douche

Sole automobile transmission is a hybrid in 2020? (2, Interesting)

SpzToid (869795) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136805)

Isn't this a bit like the current market leader placing its eggs all in one (hybrid) basket? I welcome the rebel fighters willing to tackle the status quo. Hybrid is neat tech, but still. It isn't the be all, end all solution.

- - -

every bicycle is green

Re:Sole automobile transmission is a hybrid in 202 (1)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137091)

I was kind of hoping we'd be past the use of fossil fuels in our cars by 2020, oh well.

Re:Sole automobile transmission is a hybrid in 202 (3, Funny)

Reverend528 (585549) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137133)

If the other car manufacturers are smart, they'll build less fuel efficient cars. Then by 2020, there will be no more gas and Toyota's invesment in hybrids will be useless.

Re:Sole automobile transmission is a hybrid in 202 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137203)

I can't help but comment on your sig. What is the environmental impact of your bike? Sure you're not burning gas but what about polutants from manufacturing and maintenance?

Just to add a bit of relevancy to the post, my point wasn't to say your bike is bad for the environment. It's not good either, although it is likely (a lot) better than a car.

Same goes for the hybrid. Sure they aren't the end all solution. I don't think (most) people expect it to be. But hey, improvement is good.

Batteries (1)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136809)

Hopefully, they will also have either a battery recycling program or batteries that don't have such nasty stuff in them...

Re:Batteries (1)

dattaway (3088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136861)

Hopefully, they will also have either a battery recycling program or batteries that don't have such nasty stuff in them...

I bet you didn't know most cars have a good sized lead acid battery in them. I believe the rates of lead poisoning far exceed nickel poisoning:

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/surv/database/State_C onfirmed_byYear_1997_to_2005.xls [cdc.gov]

Re:Batteries (5, Informative)

esampson (223745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136969)

From Toyota's own website (http://www.toyota.com/about/environment/technolog y/2004/hybrid.html [toyota.com] )

Is there a recycling plan in place for nickel-metal hydride batteries?


Toyota has a comprehensive battery recycling program in place and has been recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries since the RAV4 Electric Vehicle was introduced in 1998. Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 "bounty" for each battery.

So I suppose that yes, they will have a battery recycling program in place since it is doubtful they would discontinue their current one.

Re:Batteries (1)

TheWoozle (984500) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137031)

Cool. If only they paid the *car owner* a "bounty" for recycling the batteries.

In wonder what will happen with all those hybrids when the batteries reach the end of their service life and need to be replaced? With this new generation of hybrids, will we see a huge move towards leasing instead of buying?

Re:Batteries (1)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137399)

If you paid car owners so much you'd just create a market for stolen batteries.

Don't know if such a premium is sustainable if hybrids are ever to become cost competitive.

Re:Batteries (1)

esampson (223745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137481)

That was my first thought as well, but after thinking about it I realized that these batteries are far heavier than the battery that sits in a conventional car and they are probably a lot less accessible. I doubt people are going to be tearing these out of cars for $200. Probably the only way for a criminal to get the battery out would be to first steal the car, which I doubt they would do solely for the battery, especially since it likely has a serial number or something which means they couldn't sell it back to Toyota.

Re:Batteries (1)

esampson (223745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137401)

I'm pretty sure at least some of the 'bounty' will get passed on to the car owner (though I suspect the dealers will certainly pocket some of it for themselves). I think they only pay the dealers so that they won't have to process as much paperwork and issue as many checks since the dealers will aggregate the batteries together.

Also just a little above the section I quoted they talk about the lifespan of the Prius batteries and say that since they started making the Prius in 2000 they haven't replaced a single battery for wear and tear. So the oldest batteries out there are 7 years old and still going and I would suspect that the newer batteries they produce will have even longer lifespans.

Re:Batteries (2, Informative)

Devil's Advocate (120731) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137049)

From Toyota's web site:

Is there a recycling plan in place for nickel-metal hydride batteries?

Toyota has a comprehensive battery recycling program in place and has been recycling nickel-metal hydride batteries since the RAV4 Electric Vehicle was introduced in 1998. Every part of the battery, from the precious metals to the plastic, plates, steel case and the wiring, is recycled. To ensure that batteries come back to Toyota, each battery has a phone number on it to call for recycling information and dealers are paid a $200 "bounty" for each battery.

Re:Batteries (1, Informative)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137119)

They use big NiMH battery packs. If you were to eat one about the only thing it would do is maybe make you constipated. They are about as toxic as a hotdog, oh wait never mind, hotdogs are pretty damn toxic, but oh so good.

Really though NiMH batteries are some of the more environmentally friendly battery types out there compaired to all the rest.

'100 percent' of Toyota's cars (1, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136821)

'100 percent' of Toyota's cars...

That's great, except that their new cash cow is trucks. I don't think Tundras are included in that prediction.

Re: '100 percent' of Toyota's cars (3, Informative)

xealot (96947) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137483)

Why not? The new Lexus 600h has a 5 litre V8 hybrid engine, so I don't see why they wouldn't put something similar in trucks designed for towing/4-wheeling. There's plenty of power/torque to be had from this kind of setup.

why not 200% by 2030? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136831)

Oh-oh and In 25 years we'll have flying cars too. Personally I don't care about hybrids, I want Mr. Fusion power plant instead of a fuel tank.

Disappointed. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Freak (16973) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136841)

I'd actually like to see them commit to alternative fuels more. "100% hybrid" isn't good enough for me. 100% hybrid by 2010 would be nice, with a move to embrace other fuels by 2020.



Of course, he didn't say gas hybrid. Diesel hybrids would be nice; and this doesn't exclude plug-in hybrids, which have more utility than pure electric vehicles. And, in some strange way, you could consider a fuel cell/battery car to be a hybrid, even though the actual drivetrain is 100% electric. But some pure electric vehicles would be nice (bring back the RAV4-EV!) as would other alternative fuels.


Re:Disappointed. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137223)

Plug-in hybrids would be the "killer app" (bingo, sir!) that would really start to move the country (and perhaps much of the world) away from petroleum dependence. The significantly increased demand for electric power would be exactly what's needed to finally spur the government and the utilities to start building more nuclear and other non-fossil-fuel power plants and updating the distribution network. Development of agriculturally-produced fuels could continue alongside this, of course, since they'd be hybrids.

Re:Disappointed. (1)

boschs_haywain (887953) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137393)

Of course, he didn't say gas hybrid. Diesel hybrids would be nice; and this doesn't exclude plug-in hybrids, which have more utility than pure electric vehicles.


Yeah man, the bio-diesel/plug-in hybrid is a pretty sweet path. Enables the use of the exisiting petro fuel distribution infrastructure with carbon neutral bio-diesel while also being able to recharge from your home grid-connected solar panel/wind turbine, etc.

The hydrogen economy sounds nifty and all, but for personal transpo bio-diesel/plug-in hybrid looks a whole lot more practical.

Now, to figure out how to deal with the congestion and flooding that results from using land development designs from 1957...

Conservation alternative (2, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137421)

In the 12 years to 2020, we can reduce the consumption of net carbon releaseing fuels and import fuels far more by conservation than by alternative energy. THere is no way we could provide 20% of our petroleum fuels from alternatives by 2020. But we could very plausibly increase fleet efficiency by more than 25%. Indeed this magnitude drop already happened in a very short time following the carter administration rules. (and we have given back some of those gains in the intervening years). Additionally, alternative fuels are not benign. They transform solid carbon into C02. They do produce waste during production. They may devestate crop lands or oceans. Coal mining is hardly benign. Nuclear power has it's risks. Moreover expenses have ot be considered. If we are spending 5% more on fuels to produce alternatives, then that's 5% less on other things like health care or social security. US products cost more so Our GDP also declines. Alternatives could harm life span, and standard of living. Conservation is thus far more attractive.

Toyotas are Tanks (1)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136845)

My mom use to have one back in the 80's. After a decade she gave it to my grandfather to use on the farm, this thing still runs. If they can get that kind of reliability int a hybrid, more power to them. Looking forward to getting one.

Re:Toyotas are Tanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136963)

I second that!

My sister got a Toyota truck in 1985. Still runs today, and well enough that it can make the trip from east side to west side of the US.

That's a scary thought (4, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136863)

Somehow, I'd hoped that 13 years from now we'd be all electric, or otherwise not tied permanently to OPEC's apron strings. Hybrids are a nice improvement, but they're not exactly flying cars or solar power.

I suppose in Car Industry terms, 13 years isn't all that far off. I suspect that a car model is perhaps 5 to 7 years in the making, or longer for a really radical redesign.

But to think that I'll be turning 50 and cars will still be burning plain old gasoline, with only a moderate improvement in performance over right now... that makes me depressed.

Not too surprising, though (1)

markbt73 (1032962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137135)

Look at how long it took to adopt fuel injection across the board. If I rememebr right, there were still carburetors on new cars into the early 90s. Electronic ignition, same deal. And how many GM engines are still overhead-valve with pushrods?

Re:That's a scary thought (0, Redundant)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137309)

But to think that I'll be turning 50 and cars will still be burning plain old gasoline, with only a moderate improvement in performance over right now... that makes me depressed.
IMO, the only things holding back full electric vehicles are price and range.

Of those two, I think range is the bigger problem.
When you need to make a long trip...
What do you do? Rent a car with a gasoline/diesel motor?

Right now, using cruise control on the highway, I can get ~400 miles per tank. And I go the same distance again after 10 minutes at a gas station. That is what full electrics are competing against and why hybrids are more practical.

Re:That's a scary thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137353)

"Somehow, I'd hoped that 13 years from now we'd be all electric"

And according to Arthur C Clarke we were supposed to have artifical intelligence back in 2001. Liars!

Re:That's a scary thought (1)

AK Marc (707885) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137465)

Somehow, I'd hoped that 13 years from now we'd be all electric, or otherwise not tied permanently to OPEC's apron strings.

Well, I think that we've not improved cars much at all in the past 13 years. Take an advanced car from 13 years ago. I like the Toyota Supra Twin Turbo. That's fitting because it's also a Toyota. The mileage wasn't that good, but the technology is still above most cars, and the performance is above just about all cars. In 13 years, there is nothing with the performance of the Supra that gets noticeably better mileage. So, with no real noticeable advancement in the last 13 years, why would you think there would be more in the next 13 years?

And I don't have the numbers, but my understanding is that the average mileage of vehicles hasn't improved in the past 13 years. As CAFE and such pushed for higher mileage, people moved to "crossover vehicles" The small trucks got worse mileage than a similarly sized car, and as cars got more mileage, the percentage of trucks (including small crossovers) increased. The problem is the vehicles like the PT Cruiser. It's a car based off the Neon car that is considered a truck by the feds, so they get away with different standards from the NHTSA and EPA. And more people are buying the high-GVRW vehicles for tax purposes (depreciation rate because of the assumption that it is a work truck, but a large Suburban driven by a doctor for work that could have made due with a Geo Metro is similarly tax-advantaged, far from the initial purpose). So I anticipate no great leaps in automobiles. I would love to see all vehicles become pluggable hybrids. That would cut oil use in half or less. But I doubt it's in the cards for the next 13 years.

Hmm... (2, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#19136881)

Well, according to the story from yesterday, I believe, the MPG of hybrids was actually incorrect, and was over-estimating the average MPG by more than 10mpg. Meaning the Prius not only looks pretty ugly, but it gets slightly better mileage than my Honda Civic which isn't hybrid. Plus, I don't have to worry about disposing of batteries ($$$) and replacing the batteries (more $$$).

Re:Hmm... (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137013)

Don't worry, according to the article yesterday your gas mileage is going to go down a lot as well. :)
Plus the batteries are typically warrantied for replacement(8 years on the civics I believe).

Re:Hmm... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137021)

Plus, there are other factors as well. Your Civic is a LOT safer than the Prius, has significantly more performance (Priuses are absolute dogs when it comes to doing anything related to pushing the gas pedal), and your Civic isn't a bomb on wheels waiting to go off should the battery compartment be intruded upon by another vehicle.

Re:Hmm... (3, Interesting)

SnowZero (92219) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137289)

...and your Civic isn't a bomb on wheels waiting to go off should the battery compartment be intruded upon by another vehicle.
Since when have NiMH batteries been explosive? They are just about the safest battery around (better than the lead-acid, certainly). Would you feel safer with a larger gas tank in its place? I'm not a Prius owner, but this is just FUD.

Re:Hmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137299)

I'm obviously not an expert, and may not know all the facts, but since when do batteries explode in an impact? Granted I'm sure they're not exactly safe when they're punctured and start leaking acid, but that's a far cry from "bomb on wheels waiting to go off" (unless battery acid + gasoline = exothermic reaction, then it makes sense).

Now if you're referring to the possibility of a spark from the batteries igniting leaked fuel, that sounds a bit more realistic.

Re:Hmm... (4, Interesting)

sunspot42 (455706) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137323)

Your Civic is a LOT safer than the Prius

Source, please. According to Consumer Reports, in US Government testing the Prius did better in all regards than most cars in its class, with excellent driver side impact performance. In no way, shape or form is the Civic a "lot" safer than a Prius.

has significantly more performance

Source, please. The Civic automatic sedan does 0-30 in 3.6 seconds and 0-60 in 10.1 seconds. It does 45-65mph in 6.0 seconds. The Prius does 0-30 in 3.7 seconds, and 0-60 in 10.5. The Prius goes 45-65 in 6.4 seconds. Virtually identical performance, and the Prius is a larger car with more interior volume and a much quieter ride than the Civic.

and your Civic isn't a bomb on wheels waiting to go off should the battery compartment be intruded upon by another vehicle

Source, please. I haven't seen any reports regarding a Prius going up in smoke. Frankly, I'd be a lot more worried about the gas tank in either car than the batteries. Gasoline vapors are far more likely to explode than any battery.

Re:Hmm... (5, Informative)

esampson (223745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137237)

From Toyota's own site (http://www.toyota.com/about/environment/technolog y/2004/hybrid.html [toyota.com] )

How long does the Prius battery last and what is the replacement cost?


The Prius battery (and the battery-power management system) has been designed to maximize battery life. In part this is done by keeping the battery at an optimum charge level - never fully draining it and never fully recharging it. As a result, the Prius battery leads a pretty easy life. We have lab data showing the equivalent of 180,000 miles with no deterioration and expect it to last the life of the vehicle. We also expect battery technology to continue to improve: the second-generation model battery is 15% smaller, 25% lighter, and has 35% more specific power than the first. This is true of price as well. Between the 2003 and 2004 models, service battery costs came down 36% and we expect them to continue to drop so that by the time replacements may be needed it won't be a much of an issue. Since the car went on sale in 2000, Toyota has not replaced a single battery for wear and tear.


So it isn't as though you will be replacing the battery every few years. 7 years without a single replacement makes me suspect that if you bought a new Prius now the battery would last on average at least 10 to 15 years (since the batteries being installed now are even better than those installed 7 years ago).


Also because of Toyota's battery recycling program paying $200 per battery (though I expect that would drop as the cost of the batteries get lower) you won't, or at least shouldn't, have any form of disposal charge.

Re:Hmm... (4, Informative)

MojoRilla (591502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137415)

Well, if you had actually read yesterday's article [wired.com] , you would have seen that the mileage estimate on your regular civic has also dropped. The Prius combined estimate dropped 16%, while the non hybrid Civic dropped 12%. Even after the milage drop, the Prius still gets 58% better combined fuel economy than your Civic (46 mpg vs. 29 mpg combined).

Of course, these are just estimates, and your mileage may vary.

I don't care so much about the drivetrain (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136889)

But will it still burn gasoline?

Maybe a bit optimistic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19136965)

We've been working on batteries and efficient motors since the seventies. What makes Toyota think the technology will move in the next twelve years like it hasn't moved in the last thirty? Things don't usually happen that way.

Before this happens... (2, Interesting)

CaptainPatent (1087643) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137005)

I would really like to see Toyota build a car that is identical to a current hybrid and find the costs associated with the vehicle including:
1) The money saved in the design by not having the electrical engine, battery, extra alternator system
2) The added vehicle life (if any) by not having extra parts to fail.
3) A more realistic estimate of the gas money saved under the new, more realistic mileage ratings [slashdot.org]
4)The additional cost of disposing batteries from the hybrid upon the hybrids end

I feel that we still may have been too quick to jump on the bandwagon with hybrids. Air pollution is reduced overall, but the added cost of the electrical engine may not make up for the forgone cost of gas. Additionally, how good is it going to be to have a mound of spent batteries laying around in landfills?
Let's see some data before such a large move is made.

GM Pledges to have a hybrid vehicle by 2020! (4, Funny)

RingDev (879105) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137015)

GM today announced plans to begin planning the development of a new hybrid platform. A GM executive was quoted saying "Toyota has really got a jump on this whole 'hybrid' thing, but we're on it!" The new platform, due out in 13 years is expected to compete against the current Prius. Only time will tell if this risky endeavor will be a wise one.

-Rick

Re:GM Pledges to have a hybrid vehicle by 2020! (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137381)

Your joke is somewhat undermined by the hybrid GM vehicles that are currently available:

2006 Chevrolet Silverado
2006 GMC Sierra
2007 Saturn Vue

And soon including the upcoming 2008 Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon.

Too bad their on my boycott list. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137035)

Too bad their on my boycott list.

What a dreadful idea (3, Interesting)

ronanbear (924575) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137059)

Hybrids are only more efficient for certain forms of driving. For cruising at motorway speeds the hybrid is just extra weight lowering efficiency. Improvements in diesel engines might well outpace hybrid technology.

Why would anyone wants to do this? It actually doesn't make any sense. 100% of cars represents a lot of recycling and a lot of cost (and pollution) in expired and leaking batteries.

A hybrid can't make an engine more efficient. It just makes it more efficient over certain parts of the power band. Unless they redefine hybrid to mean starter-alternator with minimal power assist there are going to be a lot of cars that don't see any gain. Incidentally I do think every car will (and should) have a starter-alternator in that timescale.

Other improvements in engine technology are negating the need for a hybrid motor at all. Going back to the Honda Insight the original hybrid: it doubled the milage of a Civic. 35% was due to exotic materials, aerodynamics, reduced rolling resistance; 35% was due to a more efficient engine and the last 30% was due to the expensive hybrid drivetrain.

By all means hybrids should become more popular, even more popular than conventionally powered but full replacement is based more on dogma and marketing than sound engineering reasons.

Hybrids can be better at highway speeds too (4, Informative)

dfoulger (1044592) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137143)

Your assumption that hybrids are "dead weight" at highway speeds is wrong. I get my best hybrid mileage on the highway (often at or over 70 MPG). It doesn't have to be that way. A hybrid designed for torque rather than economy might now do any better than a standard engine at highway speeds, but a hybrid designed for economy rather than torque (like my Honda Insight) does.

Re:What a dreadful idea (5, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137209)

The real win of hybrids isn't the drivetrain, it's rengenerative braking. Storing kinetic energy rather than dissipating it as heat is an obvious efficiency win, since you're presumably going to stop moving at some point.

Really, the other efficiencies of hybrids are side effects of regenerative braking - once you've got an infrastructure in the car to store kinetic energy and subsequently deliver it to the wheels, you might as well use that infrastructure to improve the running efficiency as much as possible.

Now, it's possible that for current hybrids, the overhead incurred by including that infrastructure outweighs the gains of regenerative braking for some driving profiles, but there's no reason to think that will always be the case, since that's an engineering problem, not a physics one.

Other things equal, vehicles with regenerative braking will always be more fuel-efficient than vehicles without. The challenge is to make other things equal.

Re:What a dreadful idea (2, Interesting)

Chirs (87576) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137439)

"Other things equal, vehicles with regenerative braking will always be more fuel-efficient than vehicles without."

That's only true if you are actually braking.

Driving long stretches on the highway there is no braking involved and air resistance is high. You are limited by the power of the gas engine (because you'd drain your battery if you tried to use it continually), so most of the time the weight of the electric portion is a disadvantage.

The real advantage of the hybrid is where there is frequent braking involved and speeds are relatively slow. Stop-and-go city traffic, for instance.

Regenerative Highway Driving (0)

Hoi Polloi (522990) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137445)

I read in "Smart Ass Mechanics" Magazine that Toyota is going to start putting in "regenerative windmills" on every vehicle to maximize efficiency during highway driving. When you car goes above 50mph a giant fan will deploy above you, capturing all of that wind energy that you'd otherwise lose and charging the batteries with it.

Re:What a dreadful idea (1)

Vellmont (569020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137479)


Hybrids are only more efficient for certain forms of driving. For cruising at motorway speeds the hybrid is just extra weight lowering efficiency.

While you're technically right about this, you've really missed one of the reasons the hybrid GETS such great mileage on the highway.

Hybrids are able to have very small engines which produce great mileage because they have an extra "boost" power when accelerating. People really dislike the slow acceleration that having a tiny engine alone produces. In effect the extra boost power allows the engine to be smaller and more efficient, and the car still has the ability to accelerate quickly. You can't really separate the electric part of the hybrid from the small engine, because one enabled the other.

100% of cars represents a lot of recycling and a lot of cost (and pollution) in expired and leaking batteries.

Actually hybrid batteries have a lot of nickel in them, which in its pure form goes for $24 a pound. In other words you should be getting money FROM a recycler when you give them your old hybrid battery.

I'm sorry but (0, Flamebait)

RedElf (249078) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137081)

stacks and stacks of the dead batteries from hybrid cars is better for our environment than emissions from conventional gas engines how?

Re:I'm sorry but (4, Informative)

ect5150 (700619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137295)

Maybe because batteries can be recycled? http://www.batteryrecycling.com/ [batteryrecycling.com]

Re:I'm sorry but (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137303)

Concentration. It's easier to effectively deal with and mitigate the effects of a dead battery back every x years than it is to deal with constant pollution emission.

0% Zero Emissions (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137181)

So Toyota will sell no all-electric or other "zero emissions" cars in 2020? No H2 or fuelcell vehicles? Hybrids are better than simple internal combustion engines, but not good enough. Has Toyota and the car industry just figured out that they can avoid the really big change away from gasoline just by getting us all to go "ooh, hybrids - that's good"?

Big deal! (2, Funny)

cashman73 (855518) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137187)

I'm still waiting for my Mr. Fusion , that will enable me to power my vehicle on ordinary household garbage! After all, it's the only power source that's capable of generating the 1.21 Gigawatts of electricity necessary to run the Flux Capacitor in my DeLorean! ;-)

Toyota does not make cars (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137231)

If you've ever driven Toyota you should know that it doesn't make cars, it makes lifeless soulless appliances, sort of fridges and sofas on wheals.
That's why going hybrid will not damage its qualities.
Sorry Toyota, in my 30s I'm not old enough to drive your vacuum cleaners

should be working on hydrogen fuel cell... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19137251)

They should be going all hydrogen... Auto makers need to get their asses in gear and help out in mastering the hydrogen fuel cell. If people are concerned about the future they need to stop using fuel instead of just find more easily accessible stuff to burn.

prepare for renewed onslaught of hydrogen power (4, Interesting)

Locutus (9039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137279)

marketing pieces. I think it was a GM executive who released a public statement that hybrids were bad because it distracted attention from the real future, hydrogen fuelcell vehicles. Oh, and he chose to release this the same week that Toyota invited the press to see the Prius built on the same productionline as 4 other cars. Not being custom built in some special production facility.

Go Toyota, show em how its done. Can you believe that the US had actually started working on hybrid vehicle in 1993? Yup, but good ole George Dubya Bush terminated government backing/involvement once he/Dick created the hydrogen program?

LoB

I won't be satisfied til... (1)

the dark hero (971268) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137283)

...100 percent of toyota cars have flux capacitors.

Why wouldnt they? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137291)

People are all over themselves to replace their old car with a hybrid, and their old bulbs with compact flouro's, thanks to Al Gore's propoganda machine (here's some fun, watch his 'documentary' and count how many times he says "if")

By 2020 the technology may be mature enough that I'd own one. Until then, it's a way costlier option for many of us who save money by maintaining their own vehicles.

And I guarantee my well-maintained Mustang will get better mileage than the banged-up Prius' I already see running around on half-inflated tires, alignment way off, etc, etc..

Imagine if this was really about the environment, and people just realized if they properly cared for, and properly drove, the vehicle they have now - even a Hummer - these scary emissions of the deadly toxin CO2 would be *greatly* curbed. As in, reduced past any lame energy savings based on mercury lightbulbs.

But hey, if everyone jerks their knees hard enough..

I hope CVTs and other technologys destroy the hybrid over the next decade. The real fuel savings magic will happen in the transmission, not the motor.

Re:Why wouldnt they? (2, Insightful)

ciggieposeur (715798) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137397)

And I guarantee my well-maintained Mustang will get better mileage than the banged-up Prius' I already see running around on half-inflated tires, alignment way off, etc, etc..

Wow, that's impressive. You're currently beating 40mpg in a Mustang?

Not necessarily good news (1)

Sciros (986030) | more than 7 years ago | (#19137315)

50% gasoline engine-powered, 50% flintstones foot-powered? No thanks!

Really, though, Toyota is talking about margins here. In other words, profit. Well, hybrids cost quite a bit more than their "conventional" counterparts. So much more, in fact, that you need to own one for much longer than is typical in order to *break even* through fuel savings.

And, according to this report by CNW [cnwmr.com] , hybrids aren't nearly as helpful when it comes to energy savings as one might like to think. Indeed, my Xterra is more energy-friendly than most hybrids based on that report....

Maybe by 2020 things will change. Or maybe not.
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