Toyota to Launch Prius Plug-in by 2012 in all Major Markets

By dancurranjr On December 24th, 2010

“Green Thinking” and development of nature friendly hybrid cars in the coming years is going to become a top priority for all the automakers. So says the Japanese company Toyota, which is one of the pioneers in the field of ‘green’ cars and is planning to bring hybrid car Prius by 2012 in a big way.

Now, while evaluating the results of this year, it is evident that Toyota has made huge investments in the development of innovative, and nature friendly technologies. In order to explore vast potentials of eco-cars, the company has set before it a large number of tasks for the next two years.

By the end of 2012, the world should see 11 brand new and updated hybrid models. Also in 2012, the company plans to begin intensive selling of Prius Plug-in model simultaneously in Europe, Japan and the U.S.: it is estimated that they will be able to sell about 50 thousand cars per year. In 2015, Toyota plans to release a model with a hydrogen engine mounted under the hood. Next year 2011, for strengthening the positive image of alternative technologies, Toyota iQ (in the electric version) will be included in the European program of road tests.

This year, as in the past, Toyota continues to develop new technologies. One of the promising areas is its development of new generation of batteries, which by their performance will be much better than the currently available lithium-ion batteries. These batteries are now being used in Toyota Prius Plug-in models. By the way, in order to evaluate the use of new generation of batteries in the automotive industry, earlier this year the company created a special organizational unit, bringing together a team of 100 people.

Toyota’s management is confident that eco-cars can have a positive effect on the state of nature, only if they would be used by maximum possible people in the world. Moreover, if the demand will be higher, more people will opt for the cars with new technologies thereby eventually leading to lowers costs.

SOURCE: Seer

Global Hybrid Car Sales On The Rise

By dancurranjr On December 15th, 2010

Despite being on sale for more than a decade, global sales of hybrid cars will still total less than one million in 2010.

Industry analysts JD Power and Associates predict sales of hybrids will reach 934,000 this year, meaning 2010 will most likely be the last year global sales do not crack the million mark.

The predictions are up significantly from the reduced levels of 2009, when just 728,000 were sold in a tough global economic climate.

Hybrids make up slightly less than two percent of the total global passenger vehicle market.

According to the JD Power data, around half of the growth in 2010 has come from Japan, where the government has implemented substantial tax incentives to encourage the purchase of hybrid vehicles.

November’s sales figures confirmed the Toyota Prius was the highest selling passenger vehicle in Japan for the 18th consecutive month.

Europe has been much slower to embrace hybrid technology, with significant competition coming from entry-level low-emission petrol and diesel vehicles. JD Power predicts sales will reach 107,000 this year, up from last year’s 74,000.

Sales in the US – one of the major markets driving the hybrid movement – will increase around eight percent compared with 2009, although that figure is below the predicted total US market growth of 12 percent. Sales for 2010 are tipped to reach 315,000.

Australian hybrid sales have increased significantly in 2010, largely on the back of Toyota’s introduction of the Camry Hybrid.

In total, 8453 hybrids have been sold in 2010 – 1.11 percent of the 759,546 new passenger vehicle market (excluding commercial vehicles).

In the first 11 months of 2009, just 3891 hybrid vehicles were sold in Australia.

SOURCE: CarAdvice

Prius Contributes to UK Low Transport Plans

By dancurranjr On December 15th, 2010

Car finance buyers looking to improve their carbon footprint might be interested in the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid.

The motor has qualified for the government’s ultra-low carbon vehicle grant scheme, which gives people purchasing a green motor up to £5,000 to help with the cost.

In addition, the automobile is able to run on its lithium-ion battery for up to 12.5 miles and can do 62 mph without emitting tailpipe emissions and with zero fuel consumption.

Jon Williams, Toyota managing director, welcomed the car’s acceptance into the initiative, saying the brand has been recognised as having the potential to make a “valuable contribution” to the UK’s low transport plans.

He added: “Toyota is committed to developing sustainable low emissions mobility and Prius Plug-in marks an important step in our environmental leadership, delivering exceptional emissions and fuel performance in urban driving.”

Last month, the manufacturer celebrated delivering its 20 millionth vehicle in Europe.

SOURCE: Car Loan 4U

Chevrolet Volt for UK sale in November 2011

By dancurranjr On December 14th, 2010

Chevrolet will start selling the Volt range-extender hybrid from UK Chevy outlets in November 2011 and plans right-hand drive from launch. It means that GM will offer Europeans the choice of the Volt or the Opel/Vauxhall Ampera – the Euro spec version of the same car.

Although prices are not yet set for either model, CAR understands the Chevy is likely to be positioned slightly cheaper than the Vauxhall. Sadly it’s not as simple as taking the US price and converting it; that would point to a UK list price for the Volt of £25,500.

‘It will be a higher price product,’ said Wayne Brannon, president of Chevrolet Europe. ‘The Volt will be restricted in terms of volume for some time. It will be a small number of cars for 2012 and we will not sell an impressive number – but it will gain credibility for the Chevrolet brand over here.’

Where can I buy my Chevrolet Volt in the UK?

Brannon said that the Volt would be sold from around just 50 of the existing Chevrolet dealerships across Europe, with just a handful in the UK rather than at all 150 showrooms.

Sales are likely to focus around the larger metropolitan conurbations, such as London, Birmingham and Manchester. ‘That’s where the early adopters and people who drive low-mileage commutes of 40 miles or less are most likely to live,’ said Brannon.

Chevrolet is undertaking a European pricing study at the moment and will announce the European cost for the Volt at the 2011 Geneva motor show.
Chevrolet Volt: the background

There’s a buzz around the so-called range-extender hybrids, as they bridge the gap between full electric cars and hybrids. They remove ‘range anxiety’ as the battery will never go flat in day-to-day driving; the on-board internal combustion engine is used primarily as a recharger to top up the battery, rather than to turn the wheels.

That brings many advantages, and owners who use the car to commute short distances and plug in the Volt overnight to charge may have to fill up with petrol only once a year. However, it also means that they are lugging around a heavy and compromised combustion engine in what is essentially an electric car.

SOURCE: Car

Fiat & Chrysler Ditch Hybrid Cars in Favor of Natural Gas

By dancurranjr On December 5th, 2010

In the search for the next green car many automakers have pinned their hopes on hybrid technology. The combination of a gasoline engine and battery pack system has had the attention of car buyers with hybrids like Toyota’s Prius to Chevy’s new Volt. Fiat, however, is betting on natural gas to help them grab a part of the green car market in the US.

Fiat’s beef with hybrid cars is all about money. Instead of sinking a lot of cash into developing new technology like batteries, why not use their knowledge of cars powered by natural gas to crack the US market? After all, the US is the world’s largest producer of natural gas, the fuel is pretty cheap to produce, and it is cleaner than regular gasoline.

The Italian automaker has a long history of using liquefied natural gas (LNG) or compressed natural gas (CNG) to power their cars. Fiat has locked up 80% of the consumer based market in Europe by promoting the technology through flex-fuel type cars that operate via natural gas as well as gasoline.

While Fiat has hinted about adding natural gas engines to Chrysler’s current lineup, it seems that their latest move may be targeting the commercial market. 55% Of natural gas based light commercial vehicles in Europe are Fiats, a number that includes everyday transport vehicles like delivery vans or postal trucks. Instead of relying on the 1,300 natural gas stations in the US, these fleets could be managed through a single fueling point at a regional hub or central office.

LNG or CNG engines aren’t as dirt cheap as their gasoline cousins but they are still cheaper than the average hybrid motor. There’s only a $3,000 difference between the cost of a gasoline based car when compared to one powered by natural gas. Fiat estimates that the additional cost for a hybrid car is about $8,000.

Fiat and Chrysler don’t have solid plans yet to bring natural gas cars and trucks to the US, but they will soon join the natural gas vehicles association in Washington D.C. The duo may only be in the planning stages but they’ve hit on an important change in consumers; MPG is the new MPH. Corporations and everyday consumers are more concerned with the intrinsic value of their car rather than how fast it travels. Until there’s a strong infrastructure for EV’s, car buyers and fleet managers will be looking for affordable options rather than dealing with high gas prices.

SOURCE: TaintedGreen