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

Cadillac SRX Crossover Plug-In Hybrid Under Development

By dancurranjr On December 23rd, 2010

According to US reports, GM’s luxury car faculty, Cadillac, could be about to bring out a new plug-in hybrid luxury SUV using technology also seen on the Chevrolet Volt. The car in question is expected to be based on the Cadillac SRX Crossover concept first unveiled at the Detroit motor show in 2008.

Reports say GM internal sources have confirmed production for the new model and say it will use some of the technology from the Volt to help keep development costs down. The car is also said to be based on a since scrapped project which started in 2008, based on a Buick vehicle.

A Cadillac hybrid SUV would provide the market with a rival to Toyota’s luxury off-road hybrid Lexus RX vehicles, although the Cadillac version will have the upper hand since it will be a plug-in hybrid using range-extending technology. GM does see Toyota as its main competitor in terms of sales though.

If the project does go ahead, it will be the first range-extending, plug-in hybrid luxury SUV on the market. Speculators say it certainly could take some of the Prius sales away from Toyota in the future.

Since the plans haven’t officially been made public, a release date is yet to be estimated. We’ll keep you updated though.

SOURCE: CarAdvice

GM CEO Calls Toyota Prius a Geek-Mobile, Touts Chevrolet Volt

By dancurranjr On December 16th, 2010

The chief executive officer of General Motors used a public appearance Friday to slam the Toyota Prius hybrid, calling the car a “geek-mobile” that he would never want to drive.

The comment by Dan Akerson, who recently took the reins at GM, was partly a tough-talking way to focus attention on his own company’s new electric offering, the Chevrolet Volt.

But the fighting words may also have been a way to say, loudly, that GM is standing tall again. After going through bankruptcy, a government bailout, and a bruising battle with Toyota over which will be the world’s top carmaker, Mr. Akerson’s tone is as important as his specific words.

GM is back on offense.

Taking a page from some execs in the high-tech industry, Akerson bluntly disparaged a rival’s product.

“We commonly refer to the geek-mobile as the Prius. And I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Prius,” Akerson said at the Economic Club of Washington, as reported by Associated Press. Speaking of the Chevy Volt, he added: “This actually looks good.”

GM bills the plug-in Volt, soon to arrive in showrooms, as the “world’s first electric vehicle with extended range capability.”

The Volt faces competition not only from gas-elecric hybrids like the Prius, but also from the fully electric Nissan Leaf.

In his speech, Akerson focused on GM’s comeback trail since the financial crisis and the related plunge in US auto sales.

At the beginning of December, the company said sales of its four core brands, collectively, are up 22 percent so far this year, compared with the same 11 months in 2009. Progress has come in all categories: cars, trucks, and “crossover” sport-utility vehicles.

GM has also made progress toward exiting from a government bailout, raising money recently with a stock offering that moves it toward ownership by private-sector investors and a trust for retired assembly line workers. Akerson used the podium in the nation’s capital to thank US taxpayers for helping the company survive.

Akerson said the company still faces a challenge retaining top talent and called for an end to executive-pay caps that the government has imposed on companies recieving federal bailouts.

Toyota, for its part, sold 4,400 fewer vehicles in the US in November than it did during the same month last year. Although Toyota still rivals GM for leadership in the global car market, recall woes have slowed its advance.

In the US, Toyota ranks third in sales, with 15 percent of the market this year compared with 19 percent for GM and 16.5 percent for Ford.

Whatever Akerson thinks of the Prius, it still has some fans. Toyota sold 10,224 Prius units last month, up 2 percent from last November. By comparison, GM had only four models that sold 10,000 or more units in November, all from Chevy: the Malibu, Impala, Equinox, and Silverado.

SOURCE: Christian Science Monitor

Green Porsche Cayenne S Hybrid Gets Federal Tax Credit

By dancurranjr On December 9th, 2010

When it comes to green cars, a few names jump right to mind like Toyota with its Prius and GM with the Volt. One name that most of us don’t associate with green cars is Porsche. I tend to think of Porsche as a performance brand, and it is. The company is famous for its fleet of exotic and high-end performance vehicles like the 911 and others.

Porsche also makes a SUV that is popular around the world called the Cayenne and the latest version of the Cayenne dubbed the S Hybrid has around for a while. The SUV may be a hybrid, but anything with the Porsche crest has to perform, and the Cayenne S does. The big SUV can hit 60mph in 6.1 seconds and has a top speed of 150 mph. The vehicle is rated for 20mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway by the EPA.

Those fuel efficiency figures might not sound that great when compared to other hybrids, but when you consider this is a performance vehicle it’s pretty impressive. The Cayenne S Hybrid has a combined power output of 380hp from a supercharged V6 combined with an electric motor. Porsche has announced that the Cayenne S Hybrid has qualified for a one-time federal tax credit of $1,800. The vehicle stickers for $67,700 before that credit is taken off the price. I’m not sure the sort of folks that can afford to spend nearly $70,000 on a SUV really need a tax credit.

SOURCE: Slashgear

Chevy Volt Leapfrogs Toyota’s Prius to Become MPG King

By dancurranjr On December 6th, 2010

Toyota has long held the top spot when it comes to hybrid gas mileage. Hybrid cars from the likes of Honda and BMW may sport cool lines, but they couldn’t beat the mileage that the Prius offered. According to the EPA, the Chevy Volt has now eclipsed the hybrid king with an estimated 60 mpg rating.

The problem with new hybrid or EVs is that the technology behind the cars isn’t well known to many consumers. The EPA hopes to sort out the issue by creating fuel economy ratings that represent battery-only, gas-only, or a gas and battery combination. In the case of the Volt, that familiar black and white sticker will say that the car can get 93 miles-per-gallon-equivalent (mpg-e) and 37 mpg from the gas motor.

While these numbers may not top the Leaf’s electric-only 99 mpg, the Volt’s gasoline engine may sway many car buyers. Chevy has been pushing the fact that the gasoline motor can relieve range anxiety in drivers because there simply isn’t a reliable nationwide network of charging stations. If there’s no network drivers may stuck within a small radius of their home charging station. In fact, Chevy is so obsessed with the range anxiety issue that they’ve investigated copyrighting the term.

SOURCE: TaintedGreen