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Toyota unveiling electric concept car for release in 2012

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

Toyota Motor Corp. said Saturday it is confirming plans to have an all-electric vehicle on U.S. roads by 2012 by introducing an ultra-compact battery-powered concept car at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.


Toyota calls the FT-EV, based on the ultra-compact iQ model on sale in Japan, an "urban dweller" with a range of 50 miles. Although there's no guarantee it will go into production in its current form, it illustrates the company's product strategies.

 

50 mile range - not exactly impressive, but it's good to see Toyota pursuing a fully electric car.

 

In addition to the FT-EV, Toyota said it is expanding its offering of hybrid cars by launching as many as 10 new hybrid models by early next decade in markets around the world. It also said it will start global delivery of 500 Toyota Prius plug-in hybrids powered by lithium-ion batteries later this year, instead of in 2010 as originally planned. Of those, 150 will go to U.S. lease and fleet customers.


Toyota said electric vehicles like the FT-EV and new smaller vehicles like the iQ will be a key component of the Japanese automaker's environmentally conscious strategy, but the conventional gas-electric hybrid, like the Prius, is considered the company's long-term core powertrain technology.


Toyota is set to unveil its 2010 Prius hybrid and a Lexus hybrid called the HS250h at the Detroit auto show, which starts Sunday with three days of media previews. The show opens to the public Jan. 17-25.


Edited by dana1981 - Sat, 10 Jan 2009 22:13:53 GMT
post #2 of 21

Well, I have a plug in supply kit right now in my 2007 Prius.  I can go 15 EV.  When I upgrade to Lithium I will be able to go 30.  Hm....

post #3 of 21

I am a student writing my major on the types of engines and the future of personal transportation.  I came across a couple questions and was wondering if you had any thoughts to offer:

With regards to electric cars and the source of electricity not being so green (most plants using coal and others creating nuclear waste), a few sources have given me an estimate of 40-60years before a new form of green electricity generation such as tidal power/wind/solar etc will be greatly moving forward. Do you think this is about right and do you think the public consumers care where the power comes from; and does this impact on the market for hybrid and/or electric cars by companies and any political views?

Why are the hybrids so centralized on petrol? Is this a cost issue or a political slide to keep consumers on the hook? With the debates about diesel being a cleaner option and LPG and a hydrogen engine on the way; why aren't companies investing in LPG-Electric OR Diesel-Electric OR Hydro-Electric Hybrid engines for vehicles?

Any response or advice on where i can follow this up further will be greatly appreciated.

post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xjodiex View Post

 

a few sources have given me an estimate of 40-60years before a new form of green electricity generation such as tidal power/wind/solar etc will be greatly moving forward. Do you think this is about right and do you think the public consumers care where the power comes from; and does this impact on the market for hybrid and/or electric cars by companies and any political views?

Why are the hybrids so centralized on petrol? Is this a cost issue or a political slide to keep consumers on the hook? With the debates about diesel being a cleaner option and LPG and a hydrogen engine on the way; why aren't companies investing in LPG-Electric OR Diesel-Electric OR Hydro-Electric Hybrid engines for vehicles?

Any response or advice on where i can follow this up further will be greatly appreciated.

 

The first question is rather subjective because how much do you consider "greatly moving forward"?  Obama's plan is to double non-hydroelectric power generation in the US from about 5% to 10% in the next 3 years.  That's pretty significant.  I think 40-60 years is extremely pessimistic.


Some companies are working on diesel-electric hybrids.  However, they're not very practical for the US because (until the near future) diesels won't pass US emissions tests.  Once they do pass our emissions tests, much of their efficiency advantage will have been sacrificed.

 

As for natural gas and hydrogen-electric hybrids, the problem there is cost and size.  Hydrogen and natural gas tanks are pretty large, as are the electric batteries.  It's very difficult to fit all of that in a car.  Additionally, hydrogen fuel cells and electric batteries are both expensive technologies.  Put them together in one car, and you're looking at a whopper of a price tag.

post #5 of 21

xjodiex-

I think consumers who purchase electric cars do care about where their electricity comes from.  I work for an electric car dealer and although a great deal of our customers or focused on the cost savings, just as many are interested in the environmental impact.  I believe the average CO2 emissions for a kw hour in the US is about 1.5 lbs.  What this means is that, depending on where you live, you can go around 25 miles on electricity and produce less than 6 lbs of CO2, now go that same distance in a car that has 25 mpg and you produce almost 20 lbs.

 

Yes, we still rely too heavily on coal, but using electricity is more efficient in terms of power per pound of CO2 when it comes to transportation.  (These numbers can be found on the EPA website I believe, along with a number for each state on the GHG emissions for electricity generation.)

 

Hope that helps a little.

 

I wanted to add this in too, this is a chart from the US EPA Wedge Analysis of US Transportation Sector, April 2007 showing vehicle technologies and their individual potential to reduce GHG emissions and save petroleum.  Diesel Hybrids (purple) are mentioned on here, but their potential seems to be far surpassed by other technologies, although it is better than traditional gasoline hybrids (dark green).

post #6 of 21

I wonder why LPG (Liquip Propane Gae) or LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) vehilces are not popular in the USA.

It has less power than gas, but is much cleaner. All coporate taxi cabs (this means except small percentage of individual taxi cabs) in Japan have been running on LPG for many years.

 

In addition, I heard the gas to LPG conversion kit is no longer available to public; i.e. it has to be sold to professionals and not to individuals. Since US has huge natural gas resources, it makes a lot of sense to convert current vehiles to LNG while all other new energys are being developed.

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mota View Post

 

I wonder why LPG (Liquip Propane Gae) or LNG (Liquid Natural Gas) vehilces are not popular in the USA...Since US has huge natural gas resources, it makes a lot of sense to convert current vehiles to LNG while all other new energys are being developed.


 

To answer your question, let's compare the natural gas Civic to the hybrid Civic.

 

If Yahoo Autos' Green Ratings are to be beleived, they're almost equal from an environmental standpoint.  They cost roughly the same, with the natural gas version a few thousand dollars more.

 

However, for the natural gas version you also have to lease the equipment to hook up to your natural gas line at home, which I believe is an additional $70/month.  You can then only refuel at home.

 

So basically it's more expensive, less convenient, and doesn't provide an environmental benefit when compared to standard gas/electric hybrids.

 

post #8 of 21

Thanks for the comparison, bt it was a bit different from what I had in my mind. I am wondering why no Government have engouraged drivers to use LNG, so that infrastructure would have been built by now.

At least those vehicles owned by federal and municipal Governments should be using LNG. 

 

Considering few advantages, it could be one of choices during the transition period from ICU to new energy:

- There is very little modifications necessary for conversion from gasoline to LNG.

- Infrastructure for LNG may be converted to Hydrogen when and if it takes place.

 

It might be big oil companies' conspiracy??

 

 

 

 

post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 

A lot of buses in the US use natural gas.  As for government fleets and such, I think the focus is on electric cars, because that's not really very far off.  For example, President Obama vowed that half of all the cars purchased by the federal government would be plug-in hybrids or all-electric by 2012.  Why switch to natural gas now when a better technology is on the horizon?  In the past we were governed by an oil man, so there wasn't much motivation to switch away from gas.

post #10 of 21

Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is getting more popular in AR these days because we have so much Natural Gas under our state.  In fact, Chesapeak Natural Gas is the company and they have a small fleet of CNG trucks they use.  I have also seen several articles pop up lately with AT&T talking about buying a large fleet of Ford Vans and Trucks and coverting them to CNG (here is the most recent article)

post #11 of 21

I think thoe are excellent considerations and decisions. LNG or CNG, whichever the name is, has less energy than gasoline and diesel. So, it may not be well accepted by individual owners, but is en excellent power source for commercial vehicles.

 

I don't know if it would be at all possible, but if the infrastructure can be disigned with a thought of future conversion to compressed hydrogen, it will make even more sense.

 

Considering energy density of current batteires, EV would be more practical ad realistic to be used for shorta range driving. As the battery technology progress, it will be increasingly gaining longer driving range.

post #12 of 21

I've read over the years that we're running low on Natural Gas in this country and yet everyone on this site seem excited over LPG or LNG in vehicles.  And then there are those who fault G.W. Bush for there not being more interest in alternative fuels, yet he was president only EIGHT years. Why was there little interest in the years before GWB?  Do you nuts think GM and Ford killed their electric cars programs just because Bush became president in 2000???  Not so. There was little public interest back then.

 

I'm wanting a fully electric car/truck/suv that will cruise at least 65 MPH, get 100+ miles between charges, and recharge in less than 4 hours. There are currently none available, only the NEV types. I will not buy a vehicle that runs on LPG or LNG or whatever you call those gases. I have a perfectly good 2007 Honda Civic EX gasoline powered car that will run for years until electric cars are perfected and the price comes down. Thank you Greenies!

post #13 of 21

Okay, there is no reason to start any arguements here.  The above was simply a discussion sparked by a question.  In all honesty, I don't want to promote CNG (I sell electric cars!), but that doesn't mean that we should ignore the fact that the technology is out there and being used by corporations as an alternative.



Edited by srj0385 - 3/19/2009 at 09:33 pm
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kingsman42sc View Post

 

I've read over the years that we're running low on Natural Gas in this country and yet everyone on this site seem excited over LPG or LNG in vehicles. 


 

If you read a little more carefully, you'll see that most people on this site are not excited over natural gas cars.

 

As for US natural gas production, it's a tricky issue.  Some think we've already reached peak domestic natural gas production.  Natural gas prices recently rose primarily because of lost production due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, but not necessarily due to declining reserves.  I do think people tend to overestimate how much natural gas we have in the US.  Generally speaking I don't think it's wise to switch our dependence from one non-renewable fossil fuel to another, but in this case it's primarily proposed as a short-term solution until electric vehicles are a more widespread option.

 

The smart use of our natural gas would be to use it in power plants to fuel electric cars, which is roughly twice as efficient as burning the natural gas directly in a combustion engine.

post #15 of 21

Sorry I used the wrong terms about the natural gas and for my brusque reponse. Obviously I should have written CNG and not LNG, not LPG. While it could be a short term solution to use CNG in larger cities I don't see it gaining popularity in rural areas of the country and it seems better suited to fleet usage. 

 

I am ready to switch from fossil fuel (gasoline) because of the ocassional problems with supply and the price fluctuation which last year topped $4 gallon in some areas. I've long had an interest in electric vehicles and yet have seen only independent companies really interested in making them. But ZAP, Phoenix and the other companies keep delaying getting them on the market. The Phoenix Sport Utility Truck or SUT that seats 4 to 5 people interests me except that it is projected to cost upwards of $50,000 and that is a hefty price.

 

While hybrids give great gas mileage I would like to know the average lifespan of the battery packs, cost of replacement, and the cost of maintaining the necessary gas engine.  I like the idea of a fully electric vehicle much better and hope one day the technology will be greatly improved so they will travel 150 miles or more on each charge and quickly recharge in less than 2 hours through a network of recharging stations.  Until then the hybrid vehicles may be the best answer for high gas mileage and the Chevy Volt may be a good choice once it is availble. In the meantime I have the fossil fuel powered Civic EX.  

 

 

post #16 of 21

Thanks a heap guys.

 

Does anyone know precisely how many hybrids there are currently on the roads? (percentages) Or other variations of vehicle engines? It'd be cool if I could do up a timeline for the flow of change between power sources in cars.

 

I never realised how expensive a gas/electric engine would be to make.  I suppose commercial vehicles are the only outlet for something like that.

 

 

post #17 of 21

There are two reasons why those new type engines, including EV and HV, are expensive.

 

One is production quantity, and another is amortization of R&D. Just like most of drugs that are so expensive, even drugs itself are pennies and the production quantity is large enough. We are paying for R&D expence.

 

As regards EV, it would be good for rather short range vehicles untill some epoch making technology that will eliminate conventional chemical batteris - the capacitor with carbon nano-tube is one of good examples. There will be another serendepity (correct spelling?), I hope.

 

Until we can conclude the best replacing emergy source, we should be very open and alexible to all options - hybrid, LNG, EV, Hydrogen, solar, air, etc.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xjodiex View Post

 

Does anyone know precisely how many hybrids there are currently on the roads? (percentages) Or other variations of vehicle engines?

 

 

Hybrids make up about 2% of new vehicles sales in the US.  Which to me is quite sad, because there's no good reason why a very large percentage of Americans shouldn't be buying hybrids.

post #19 of 21

I'm looking to replace my 13 year old petrol car with a hybrid petrol.  I asked the same question as to why they didn't make diesel hybrids and it's largely down to the engine dynamics.  Honda use a small petrol engine that saves fuel by operating more efficiently because it spends more time at wide throttle openings than a bigger petrol engine.  But a small petrol engine lacks low RPM torque and power so that's where the electric motor helps out by boosting low RPM torque and power to acceptable levels equivalent to a bigger petrol engine.  So the new Insight has a 1.3L engine but performs like a typical 1.6L engined car.  Add in the auto engine stop and part EV running (it can creep along in traffic on battery only) and you get your savings.

 

A diesel engine already has great low RPM power and torque so doesn't need an electric boost and because it doesn't use a throttle, it already operates at much higher efficiency, so using a smaller diesel engine doesn't save any money.  Diesels also are still pretty dirty with lots of particulate (smoke) pollution and this gets worse when these engines are used at variable speeds in a car.  Diesel engines are cleanest when just chugging along at low steady RPMs and under constant load (like in generators).

 

My current car has a 2.2L petrol engine which gets good mileage (for a petrol car) at motorway cruising speeds as that's when it operates at 3000 RPM and more than half open throttle.  It's just pants around town when it's idling most of the time.

 

If they were going to make a diesel hybrid it will probably be one that is actually a fully electric drivetrain but which effectively has a diesel generator bolted on it to charge the battery.  The diesel would do what it does best, running at a constant 1500 RPM hooked up to an AC generator.

 

In the UK it's quite easy to get a petrol car converted to run on both petrol and LPG (my brother in law has one) and if I were willing to sacrifice the boot (trunk) space in the Insight, it could be a petrol / LPG / electric hybrid.  LPG filling stations are common here and it costs 46% less than petrol and burns cleaner too.

 

Ultimately a pure plug-in EV will give us the flexibility to use any fuel for transportation as there's a thousand different ways you can make electricity and that should be decoupled from the wide scale infrastructure needed for transportation so that we can invest in just charging stations once and then the power generation can be upgraded as many times as we like without having to re-engineer the transport infrastructure again.

post #20 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mota View Post

Until we can conclude the best replacing emergy source, we should be very open and alexible to all options - hybrid, LNG, EV, Hydrogen, solar, air, etc.


I am going solar with all 3 EVs I have.  Rather amusing to see changing renderings and hear announcements of "X"  vehicle will be out in 2011, 2012, or a date too far in the future to do any good!

 

Other electric vehicles are "here now" or awaiting the US market (Th!nk, for example: it did not do well, and although everyone seemed to give it up as dead- it not only continued in Norway, but is trying to begin an assembly plant in Oregon.).  More and more velomobiles are appearing in the US, a very small but growing number.  Interesting times!

post #21 of 21
What innovations should we expect in this concept car? perhaps longer battery life, race car speed, or a total overhaul on its exterior.. Amidst these improvements, i do hope makers still has its customer's safety on top of their priorities. Perhaps including parts like car, tire, and bumper reinforcement and stuff.
Edited by archebald23 - 12/8/09 at 10:53pm
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