• Aug 10th 2007 at 9:04AM
  • 18
Right now, it seems we're in the calm before the hybrid storm due to be unleashed shortly by automakers the world over. GM may have taken nearly a decade longer than Toyota to get into the game, but now it's ready to talk the talk with its two-mode hybrid system. The bigger development is the use of plug-ins with lithium-ion power, which might hit the market as early as 2009. Toyota was planning on using lithium batteries in the next-gen Prius as soon as late 2008, but due to safety concerns the more powerful and efficient battery tech won't arrive in a Toyota until 2011. As we reported earlier, the next generation Prius will now bow in early 2009, but with a nickel-hydride battery pack.

Toyota's lithium battery of choice uses cobalt oxide, much like the problematic batteries that were catching fire in Sony laptops. GM's iron phosphate-based battery is said to be more chemically stable. Toyota is rumored to have also delayed plans for a hybrid Tundra, and the company's plan to build 600,000 hybrids per year by 2010 now appears to be in doubt. Its green status with the public and media has played a large role in the company's sales surge, but the above delays may give the rest of the world's automakers some room to react.

[Source: The Wall Street Journal via Winding Road]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Which company will be first with a full pulg-in, all electric series drive, with a bio-Diesel APU? With this set up a full size sedan could get 80 MPG and America would not have to import a single drop of foreign oil damn it.
        • 8 Years Ago
        ok, i don't understand what plug ins are exactly. Do you plug them into a regular house socket that is, say, in your garage? Wouldn't your electricity bill be unimaginably unsafe to open?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Altairnano nanoSAFE is the real deal and the genie is already out of the box.
      (ie : Lightning Gts and Phoenix Motorcars sut/suv)
      Altairnative.com opinion.
      • 8 Years Ago
      "They have the money and someone will come up with the solution."
      Answer: NANOSAFE
      • 8 Years Ago
      Altair uses the most expensive lithium technology.

      Right now a 35 kWh Nanosafe battery will cost you $75,000.

      It will be a very long time before the Nanosafe is in a vehicle you or I can buy (not fleet sales to govt. buyers with half the cost of the battery offset by state subsidies)

      >Altairnano nanoSAFE
      • 8 Years Ago

      Stuff like this proves that the mighty Toyota is not that mighty after all.
        • 8 Years Ago
        "GM may have taken nearly a decade longer than Toyota to get into the game, but now it's ready to talk the talk with its two-mode hybrid system"
        Ready for what?
        Do they have any hybrids in their dealerships?
        Pure speculation, that is all.
        Toyota has sold 100,000 Prius (plus the Camry, Highlander, and 3 Lexus models...) in 2007 alone... GM has a long way to go to talk the talk!
        • 8 Years Ago
        I like how Chris said, ..."time to REACT". That's exactly the problem with the big three. Afraid implement new technologies or make big changes. Maybe now they can reduce Toyota's lead.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I think Toyota is smart to slow down a bit and try and reestablish their reputation for quality after some of the recent Tundra blunders.

      I also hope the other manufacturers jump on this as an opportunity to gain marketshare, rather than use it as an excuse to delay their own products.
      • 8 Years Ago
      It won't change the consumers perception. It takes a decade to alter perception. Ask Hyundai.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This shows that the technology for these batteries are very difficult to manufacture in high volumes while meeting the usual requirements of the daily driver in four seasons of weather. This also shows that GM is not full of shit like some have stated for not having the Volt in production already. These batteries are the way of the future before hydrogen, but the hurdles they are facing must be headaches for the researchers, engineers, and the design teams. The race is on and Toyota is likely to just buy whatever technology they need if they can't come up with it in house. They have the money and someone will come up with the solution. I hope GM wins this race with no major goof ups.
      • 8 Years Ago
      This is a change for Toyota. They usually just goes ahead and sells vehicles with known major defects and let the customers be damned.

      It's no wonder they recalled more cars in 2006-2007 than they sold in the U.S.
        • 8 Years Ago
        MiniMe @ Aug 10th 2007 10:51AM wrote:
        "Toyota... recalled more cars in 2006-2007 than they sold in the U.S."

        I can't speak for 2007, but based on 2006 figures, you're thinking of Nissan, not Toyota.

        Recalls as a percentage of vehicles sold in 2006 in the United States:
        Honda: 1.5 million US sales, 1.4 thousand US recalls (excludes owner's manual typo), 0.093% recall rate
        Toyota: 2.5 million US sales, 0.81 million US recalls, 32% recall rate
        GM: 4.1 million US sales, 1.4 million US recalls, 34% recall rate
        Ford: 2.9 million US sales, 1.7 million US recalls, 58% recall rate
        DaimlerChrysler: 2.4 million US sales, 2.3 million US recalls, 96% recall rate
        Nissan: 1.0 million US sales, 1.3 million US recalls, 130% recall rate

        • 8 Years Ago
        "APPARENTLY MiniatureMind is so blind with hatred for toyota, he/she can't SEE straight!"

        Oh yes, and you're the objective on here. LOL.

        On a world-wide basis, Toyota recalled more vehicles than they sold in 2006-2007.

        Go back and read what I actually said Apeshix (for Toyota) Alex.
        • 8 Years Ago

        it is not even possible for there to be final figures for 2007 recalls.

        2007 is not over yet.
        • 8 Years Ago

        APPARENTLY MiniatureMind is so blind with hatred for toyota, he/she can't SEE straight!

        it also happens to be GM who shoves product out the door, and leaves the consumers to be the product testers who have to deal with final development. anyone remember the Fiero?

        the fact that toyota is DELAYING use of the lithium-ion batteries, DESPITE their promised huge performance gains, is PROOF toyota won't release new developments before they they are proven safe and reliable.
      • 8 Years Ago
      And, gasp, they use plastic for their interior parts too. Oh the humanity.
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