• Jul 18, 2006
Remember a long time ago when we reported that Toyota would not be developing a plug-in version of its popular hybrid vehicles, specifically a plug-in Toyota "King of Kilowatts" Prius? Well, power to the people! Jim Press stated today at the National Press Club that Toyota is indeed "pursuing" development of a plug-in hybrid vehicle. Press also told Automotive News that his company was also "strongly considering" the sale of ethanol capable vehicles, or flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) in the U.S.
Toyota's effort in the way of plug-in hybrid technology comes in response to pressure both from the U.S. government and environmental groups who have called on automakers to look beyond hybrids for other solutions to our nation's energy problems. Automakers have been reticent, however, because plug-in hybrids require larger, more expensive battery packs that can withstand being charged to full capacity and drained completely on a daily basis. Toyota will have to work quick, however, as Ford may be the first automaker with a plug-in hybrid on the market.

Ethanol and E85 are not really on the radar of John Q. Public in the U.S., but domestic automakers are heavily marketing their efforts to produce more FFVs and increase the number of E85 pumps on the ground. Toyota expressing interest in developing engines capable of running on both gasoline and E85 implies it doesn't want to be the odd automaker out if E85 catches on.

[Source: Automotive News]


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  • 18 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      This could be the 500 MPG vehicle that NYT columnist spoke of earlier this year.

      Imagine a Toyota plug-in hybrid capable of running on E85 and all of a sudden 500 miles on a gallon of gasoline is a real possibility.

      I have a 2007 Prius with the Euro package on-order right now. The idea of even 60 MPG sounds pretty exciting to me now. I will gladly order the new 2008/09 Prius when it comes out.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "1. I love the idea of plug in hybrids, why directly convert an oil product to mechanical energy when you can convert it at a power plant to mechanical energy then electrical energy then transmit it several miles over inefficient lines, incurr the ineffiencies charging storage devices that themselves have a loss factor THEN convert it back to mechanical energy. This is brilliant! Seriously I'm not sure what we'd do without the rocket scientists behind this one."

      Matt S:

      Ya know, your right as United States Americans we should just give up, there's no hope, no vision. Good Job Matt S. No hope.

      Hey it's worth TRYING.

      Your forgetting:

      It's currently more important to get off of OIL rather than the enviroment at this current time.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Here is why Toyota (and othe automakers) want to build E85 FFV, it isn't because they are nice.

      http://www.caranddriver.com/article.asp?article_id=11174§ion_id=4&page_number=7#flex
      • 8 Years Ago
      #3 wrote:
      > "What the hell is a plug-in hybrid? An Electric CAR!! Yeah I want a car that goes 100 miles and then has to be plugged in again. They tried it, it didn't work."

      Wrong. A plug-in hybrid still has a gasoline engine, which we know makes more sense for long trips and highway use. But electricity currently is cheaper for stop-and-go/city driving. It's the best of both worlds, efficiency-wise.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Trying to build a super-efficient car which relies only on non-hydrocarbon fuel is pretty hard. Especially if you want to keep the costs at a reasonable price. The cheapest I can think of is used vegetable oil.

      Stoneman

      http://www.stonemanautoreview.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      Man, this is sad. Judging from all the comments I've read about plug-in hybrids, I see that the public really do not understand the potential, the possibilities for a plug-in hybrid.

      First, the Prius is ALREADY an Electric Car, but it is programmed to use its EV counterpart as a suppliment the inefficient cycles of driving. With a larger battery, it would be able to use its EV side more often.

      Second, Plug-in Hybrids is more of an evolution of the current hybrids, not really new category of cars. It really doesn't take that much work for Toyota to deliver a Plug-in, just some software upgrade plus new generation of nano-based batteries.

      Third, because plug-ins now can be "integrated" into your home electrical network, during a power outage, your plug-in hybrid can also become an emergency generator. You will need to make sure proper circuits are installed. I do not know if Toyota will include this feature, but it is certainly an option.
      • 8 Years Ago

      Ya know, your right as United States Americans we should just give up, there's no hope, no vision. Good Job Matt S. No hope.

      Hey it's worth TRYING.

      It's currently more important to get off of OIL rather than the enviroment at this current time. - Ryan

      Why exactly is it important to get off oil? Here's a great editorial by Patrick Bedard: http://www.caranddriver.com/columns/9978/patrick-bedard.html

      He's talking about hydrogen here, but the same idea holds true.
      • 8 Years Ago
      There are some more informed people here making more understandable mistakes or not even mistakes but... questionable assumptions, but i thought i'd go after the dude that doesn't seem to know anything at all about plug in hybrids.

      #3, Brother Justin... you should read up a bit about the technology. The idea is that you take a regular hybrid car, beef up the batteries, and allow it to be charged both by regular hybrid means as well as through a plug. A plug in hybrid would never NEED to be plugged in, as it would still have a gas tank and a gas engine. But if your daily commute is only 50 or 100 miles or something, you might be able to get by without turning on the engine at all. Only after you'd drained the batteries, or perhaps if you were asking for more power than the electric side could provide, would the engine turn on.

      Presumably, as battery technology improved, the gas engine would be needed less and less, possibly providing a smooth as butter transition to completely electric vehicles, once the technology is up to the task.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "Why exactly is it important to get off oil?"

      Well, uh... Mabye this little country call IRAN and NIGERA and VENEZUELA, have all of us by the nutsac and won't be letting go anytime soon.

      Even if hydrogen or hybrids are more expensive we won't be dependant on psycho fucks around the world.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "#1, you are on the money, lets burn more coal and natural gas to make the electricity, just to save gas."

      My next door neighbor for 25k (cheap) converted his house to 100% solar, did you forget about this option? Or mabye just a solar option for the Prius?

      Dude, nice ASSUMPTIONS.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "YOU ARE USING FOSSIL FUELS in one form or another."

      Sure, but which one has better control on emissions? Capturing pollutant from millions of cars, or control the exhaust from a few hundred power plants?

      Again, people ignore the fact that plug-ins will STORE electricity during night time. Some power stations cannot just turn off generators just because the demand goes down, and a lot of energy is wasted when a generator goes up and down. Plug-ins and EVs are good compliment to our current electric infrastructure.

      Before jumping on the gun and cursing out people you do not understand, maybe you should take a moment and read up on EVs.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Woh, slow down there, folks!

      "50 to 100 milles without turn on the gas engine"?
      "...500 mpg..."

      Geez, people, check the numbers before pushing the button. PHEV is not suppose to be a pure EV with 100+ miles in range. Do not get disappointed if the first PHEV will only get about 10-20 miles TOPS under EV only mode. This will keep the cost down, and still improve overall gas mileage. For people who commute within the city, the plug-in feature will certainly yeild significant result. For folks who live very far from work, early PHEV probably won't make a big difference.

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