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GM will probably have the first plug-in vehicle on the market, but Toyota is not out of the game just yet. The senior staff seems confident in the future of lithium-ion batteries at Toyota. Don Esmond, senior vice president of Toyota's U.S. automotive operations, says "I've got $100 in my pocket that says we'll be the first automaker to put a lithium-ion vehicle out there."

Don says "advances in technology take a consistent, long-term focus. That's what we've done." They either assume GM won't commit or maybe they have a product offering coming sooner than we know. Jim Lentz, Toyota's U.S. executive vice president of sales, did not rule of a completely revamped Prius line next year. "It's possible," "but probably not."

Maybe the Prius is delayed but Toyota's two door plug-in hybrid SUVs are right on time? I can dream, can't I :D What do you think? I know they had a bad week with GM's press conference but they seem a little too optimistic to me. I hope they are planning something soon because I don't think this is EV-1 all over again. A lot has changed since EV-1.

[Source: Bloomberg]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Only now I stumbled upon your site, and into this story.

      "Two doors"? What you mean "two"?

      (1) If you were right at least to some extent, what you really mean would be three.

      (2) And actually, it's - clearly recognizable, at least on the side/rear-pic in the linked cars.com-article - a FIVE door - vehicle. Just that the rear door handles don't shine like you need them in order to find them doesn't mean they aren't there (obviously, you have to push in a small carbody-colored flap right behind the rear door at about the same height as the windows' lower edges, to have your fingertips slip into a cavity behind the door's surface where you press sort of a flat button, unlatching the door just by starting to pull it open).

      Never seen an Alfa Romeo 156 (4-door, 5-door) or the 147's 5-door-version with those windowframe-rear integrated backdoor handles? Tsk, tsk, tsk.
      • 7 Years Ago
      GOOD GOD! That is UGLIER that the Volt!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Looks like Don Esmond may owe Tesla $100 real soon... Can we get him to move the decimal a few places to the right???
      • 7 Years Ago
      Well they better hurry. If Tesla lives up to their claims, their li-ion car will be out in a few months.
      • 7 Years Ago

      I saw something interesting last night. Late night news (ABC)and a story about Tesla. I had not heard this before (I don't follow Tesla closely) but the Tesla exec mentioned licensing their technology as part of their plan. Whether the licensing is new news or old, no one here has mentioned that as Toyota's way to get past at least the major automakers. With Toyota's money they could easily get an exclusive (other than Tesla) on the licensing.


      My guess is that Toyota has a vehicle they have been working on for their own electric, maybe a Lexus even, and could add Tesla's technology.
      • 7 Years Ago
      They may get it to market but you can bet your life that you may not be able to buy one soon. Even a few years into production. If this is not a high volume product and you want to option it the way you like good luck. Toyota is horrible to deal with on low volume products. Ordering a Scion can be a nightmare. Options listed that are not available, 6-8 months of waiting just to find out they can't produce the car they said they could. I'll believe it when i see it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Apparently mr. Esmond is just out of touch. Subscribe to ABG newsfeed perhaps ?
      • 7 Years Ago
      How fast people forget. Nissan Electric Vehicle used Lithium Ion when all others were using NiMh... 1999. 800+ pounds of battery. Although extremely limited quantity, they were "on the road".

      Honda's new FCX (concept, not final production) has been driven by journalists and also uses Lithium Ion but will be out next year. Everyone acts like Lithium Ion is the holy grail, but it still faces the same two issues. 1. Cost (much more than NiMh) and 2. Life. The 3rd (not same) issue is safety.

      • 7 Years Ago
      That's exactly what I was going to say. Tesla are on track to deliver their first cars as soon as early November, if all goes well and there are no further hang-ups.

      Will Toyota beat that? Somehow I doubt it.
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