• Dec 27th 2007 at 4:05PM
  • 16
Shortly after the turn of the decade, Toyota expects sales of its hybrid vehicles to crest the one million unit per year mark. ToMoCo's goal may seem a bit ambitious considering that it's only sold about 1.25 million hybrids since the Prius' introduction in 1997, but the alternative-power push will mainly be fueled by sales of upcoming plug-in hybrid models and Toyota's aim to equip every vehicle in its lineup with a hybrid drivetrain by 2020.

Testing of the plug-in version of the Prius is about to begin in the U.S., Europe and Japan, equipped with a fancy-schmancy lithium-ion battery that's being developed by Toyota and Panasonic EV Energy Co. Sales should start around 2010, assuming that all is well with the power-pack, and we're expecting even more Synergy-Drive models to bow during the upcoming 2008 show season.

[Source: Automotive News – Sub. Req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have read that BMW products have soul, and I have read BMW products have more quality issues than cars that lack soul. I guess it is what a person wants to experience as they go about their lives. VW offers cars that feature German "soul", but I would rather have a Honda so I can spend less time getting to know the service department manager by name at the VW store. It is all about choice and expectation.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I am looking forward to the _potential_ of a lithium-based battery if for no other reason than it reduces weight and volume, allowing either a smaller pack, lower weight and/or longer range.

      Now, that being said, lithium batteries are volatile. The Sony "bursting into flames" battery recall that affected several thousand notebook PCs is still fresh in my mind and I really, really hope that GM and Toyota have paid _really close attention_ to the crash survivabbility, charge management and heat dissipation requirements these batteries have.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Am I the only one tired of reading about Toyota's lofty goals domination? The utilitarian masses might make it a reality, but I for one have no desire to drive any of the uninspired soulless appliances that Toyota churns out.
        • 7 Years Ago
        • 7 Years Ago
        No offense but I just roll my eyes whenever someone uses the word 'soulless' to describe an automobile. *rolls eyes*
      • 7 Years Ago

      Excellent post, accusing Toyota of selling "soulless" appliances is an empty charge. It sounds like the kind of thing you accuse a company of when there really isn't too much to criticize them about.

      I really hope Toyota outdoes itself with this new Prius, and I'm glad they are including a plug in option this time.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i don't want a hybrid trying to fill the gap. in my estimation they are nothing more than a testbed for electric vehicles. i wouldn't buy a hybrid but i would buy a full on rechargeable car. a hybrid seems like it's trying to be two things and not great at either one. sort of like an el camino. not a car, not a truck and a rabid cult following.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Interesting, Toyota is setting goals of 1MM Hybrids- which would BLOW the AMERICAN car companies AWAY while just the other day, Bob Lutz said the launch of the Volt "won't be flawless." How inspiring of him! What a contrast in leadership!!

      Perhaps if his bonus was tied to market dominance, maybe we'd build better cars and sell them more efficiently.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ford and GM could compete in this area if they wanted to - witness Ford reflex and Chevy Volt. All they have to do is offer these products to the public insted of just making great concept cars.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Great business plan and I wish Toyota every success. As a thoroughly please Prius owner I know this can be done.

      As an American - I only hope the US Auto companies have the brains to go down this same road. The US companies can compete in this arena or they will become extinct.
        • 7 Years Ago
        It's a horrible business plan. There's no future in hybrids, they're just a fad.

        Now, entirely electric vehicles maybe, but the hybrids on the road are an entirely different monster altogether.
        • 7 Years Ago
        There's certainly a future in:
        * Abstracting the power generator from the drivetrain (as the Prius does)
        * Reclaiming wasted energy (regen braking, idle-stop)
        * Actively managing the powertrain so that the most efficient source is used at the apropriate time (electric at the get-go, gas/electric for full power, gas-only, cylinder deactivation, etc).

        Hybrids don't have to mean gasoline/electric like the Prius. You could do diesel/electric. You could do hydrogen/electric, or fuel cell/ultracapacitor You could do diesel/propane/electric. You could, heck, do gasoline/diesel if you were insane. The idea of a hybrid is to reduce the net energy used to operate the car by more efficiently allocating the energy used.

        Its a collection of technologies and implementations. The Synergy Drive in the Prius is a very good implementation; so is the GM Two-Mode. The GM BAS system is a particularly weak (one might say "lame") hybrid implementation, but even it's worth having if for no other reason than idle-stop and low-speed cruise that can cut urban emissions.

        The problem with hybrid adoption is twofold: cost (which is easy to overcome) and luddite syndrome (which is harder). It helps if you can think of hybrid technologies in the same fashion as other energy-maximization or emissions-reduction techniques (CVTs, direct-injection, variable valve timing, fuel injection, engine management controllers, overdrive transmissions, unibody construction). Every one of the had it's detractors from the backyard mechanic set--they were all going to doom the industry, cars were going to be slow, unreliable and impossible to fix--and yet here we are today and cars are faster, cleaner and more fuel efficient than anything of the same size and power output of a decade or more ago.

        I remember the hew and cry about fuel injection. Yes, there were some spectacularly bad implementations (thanks, GM!), but it really seems rather distance. I look back on exactly how crappy a carbuerated car was (really, they did suck about as much a FI car did, if not more) and I can barely remember what the fuss was about.

        Think about it. You can get a Honda Accord with 240hp and can make 0-60 in nearly six seconds while meeting Tier 2 Bin 5 easily. A car of 25 years ago that could do -60 in six couldn't get T2b5 while _parked_. A car that could do it 40 years ago produced enough emissions to kill you in minutes. A Prius couldn't kill you if you turned it on and slept in the garage for a week.

        Hybrids are here to stay. Maybe not in quite the way people expect, though.
      • 7 Years Ago
      With eco-fundanmentalists in charge threatening noahic destruction if we don't do something and gas at nearly $3 and climbing, why not?
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Toyota wants to sell 1 million hybrids per year"

      Of course they want to, any company "wants to" but the real question is will they?

      That's a huge leap from 1.25 million in 10 years, a downward twitch in fuel prices a rebound in the economy and you'll hear the roar of Suburbans with 600 hp.

      Ever notice how often Toyota misses it's targets?

        • 7 Years Ago
        Yeah, problem is; Toyota WILL sell more cars than GM. Not a matter of if, but when!

        Michaelangelo is quoted to have said "it's better to set your goals too high and miss them than to set your goals low and hit them"

        I wish the Detroit guys would get a little of that!
      • 7 Years Ago
      It would really be a great idea for Toyota to also offer an option to retrofit the Priuses currently on the road to plug in capability when the new lithium batteries become available. Who's going to buy a conventional hybrid car today when we all know that a plug in hybrid will be available in a couple of years??
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