Toyota to make plug-in hybrid by 2010

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Toyota Motor plans to produce lithium ion batteries next year for a plug-in hybrid vehicle available in 2010.

The company on Wednesday said that the plug-in hybrid will be "geared toward fleet customers in Japan, (the) United States, and Europe."

A joint venture between Toyota and Panasonic EV Energy plans to begin production of lithium ion batteries next year and move to full-scale production in 2010. Using the battery, Toyota plans to introduce a small electric vehicle for mass production.

Toyota's Prius, numbering a million sold, uses a nickel metal hydride battery. Lithium ion batteries, which are heavily used in consumer electronics, are being built into an upcoming generation of hybrid-electric and plug-in hybrid cars.

Later in the month, Toyota plans to establish a research-and-development center for next-generation batteries that outperform lithiom ion batteries.

The company, which also continues to invest in fuel cell vehicles, recently began a lease program in Japan.

Toyota disclosed on Wednesday its plug-in hybrid production plans at a company-sponsored environmental forum in Tokyo, where it outlined its greenhouse gas reduction and clean-technology plans.

Source: C|Net News.

posted by  jdgomez

Am I the only one HIGHLY doubtful that Toyota will have a mass produced plug in hybrid designed, built, and on the floors by 2010?

Further, does anybody have the figures on electricity? IIRC most of ours comes via coal from China. If enough people swap to plug ins to make a dent in gas prices, won't that just increase coal prices? Also, I'm pretty sure that for every unit of energy produced coal burns dirtier.

Also, I can't fathom what a Lithium battery large enough to power a car would cost.

Seems to me politicians and car companies just try to look like they're doing something.

And while where on the topic, why no nuclear plants? Why not more windfarms out in the desert?

posted by  giant016

I think that a plug in car is a feel good thing, like most environmental things. when you buy a plug in hybrid, it eliminates the need stop at the gas station and shell out $80.00 every week. sure, it's going to add to your electric bill, but you already pay that, and I don't think an electric bill has the same shock effect. Also, people don't think about the coal and oil power plants, when they think plug in hybrid, they see wind farms and solar panels in the background.
The benefit of a plug in hybrid is that you can eliminate the transmission, and reduce the size of the engine and fuel tank, which gives you more room for more batteries. My greatest concern would be the useful life span of a lithium battery. my cell phone has a lithium battery, it is only about 1.5 years old, but it doesn't last half as long on a charge as it used to. It would be very expensive to replace your battery every 2 years.
As for the nuclear power plants, people see them as very unsafe, and are not comfortable living within a 200 mile radius of one. aside from that, there is the problem of disposing of the waste, and the environmental impact of the waste. also, it takes a considerable amount of water to run one, which riles up the environmentalists.
Wind farms have their own set of problems. The first is that they are big, tall, and noisy. One of our local car washes wants to put a small one up, but it has been sitting on the ground for at least 2 years now, becuase the neighbors are complaining that it will be noisy and ruin the scenery. of course, if you dont put it near where people are living, you don't need to worry about those problems, but then you have to worry about transmitting the power to where it is needed, and the ability to get to them to service them on regular intervals. People also cry about interupting the flight patterns of migratory birds.

posted by  dvdrose18

It costs a lot less to charge the hybrid batteries than to travel that distance using gas. The batteries last longer than you'd expect--the Prius comes with a 150,000 mile or 10 year warranty on them.

It doesn't matter if you get 25 miles per gallon or 40 though, if you can't afford gas. Politicians can do so much, but they're more worried about saving some birds than whether people can afford necessities. There is so much oil under and around the U.S. that can be used for a while until other alternatives are viable, there is a lot of coal that can be converted to gas, as well. Only about 1/3 of U.S. oil is imported from unstable countries (i.e. Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, etc).

There's that huge windfarm that some guy (T. Boone Pickens[sp?]) is gonna build in Texas that can power millions of homes, which is a start. Nuclear is perfectly safe too. The only accident to have occurred with a nuclear reactor with fatalities is Chernobyl, which was a) in the Soviet Union, and b) unsafe even compared to Soviet standards.

Everyone should check out this site: Drill here. Drill now. ( Does everyone remember how the democrats promised to lower gas prices? All they've done is asked some terrible questions to oil executives--who have very little control over prices--while gas has went up by over $1.50 in the last year and a half. Remember that in November.

Has anyone heard of hypermiling? I saw a guy on the news with an 04 Accord who was getting twice as many miles to the gallon as Honda advertised. Basically, he never brakes at turns, always goes the speed limit, drafts behind trucks, and never idles.

posted by  chris_knows

The Prius batteries are NiMH, not Lithium like the completely electric plug in will be. And now it may be cost effective to plug in, but if the switch is ever made by the world towards electric cars, electricity prices will go up, and gas prices will go down.

And Chris, lets not blame it all on the bleeding hearts. They lie and fib like all politicians. There are plenty of things to remember on both sides come November. Hmm...maybe after all the battles they're not so different. If you believed them in the first place I overestimated you. No matter who you are, no matter what side you're on, to make it high up in politics you have to take $ from people you shouldn't and tell people what they want to hear. Politicians need support from things like interest groups, which means thay then need to make those groups happy. Further, if a politician was completely honest and said that there isn't shit that he/she can do, and things are going to get worse before they get better, it would be hurtful to them and their party. I'll give them some cred for getting on the oil companies' minds, but I agree that it will do very little.

Are you saying the executives can't do anything about prices or oil companies can't do anything about prices?

I hope the windfarm is successful. Although around here there aren't many places they could go, out west there are just acres and acres of cheap, uninhabited land. And screw the birds. If they can't adapt to a small change like that they won't be in existance very long anyways. Does anybody miss the Dodo? Didn't think so.

posted by  giant016

I don't trust the politicians from either side and both are responsible for the high prices, but I think a conservative approach would be better.

I'm not saying that oil executives play no part in it but supposing that they are not withholding information from the public/obeying the laws, I doubt they can do much to lower prices. I don't really know anything about economics, but there are speculators and stuff that can inflate the price.

posted by  chris_knows

Honestly, in the end I think speculators are a good thing. They can predict supply and demand far enough ahead. Let's say it looks like in August prices will be $5 a gallon. Speculators rise the price a little, but not to $5. This softens the blow, both when gas prices spike (although with speculators i doesn't really spike so sharply) and dip. If gas had gone from $2 to $4 here in the states over a few months, the economy would have been crippled. Now we're just a little black and blue.

I honestly don't know who to believe about the companies not having control over the prices. Demand has skyrocketed yet we have pretty much the same refining capabilities as we did 30 years ago if I'm not mistaken. No doubt people don't want refineries in their backyards, but there is plenty of bare land out there where jobs could be created. Further, with such large profits I'm sure oil companies could pay the area cities and towns a hefty sum to let them build in the area. Or at least stop taking tax cuts and give the money back. I know it sounds crazy, especially seeing as taxpayers wouldn't voluntarily bail out a failing oil company, but to act like their hands are tied seems too much for me. It's not the capitalist way, but I'd say the right thing to do would be to say that any money paid over $100 a barrel will be given back to the gov, or put into alternative fuel research.:2cents:

I don't really know what a Conservative approach VS a Dem approach would be in this case.

Edit: Unless by conservtive approach you mean completely unregulated. I'll disagree that it's the best approach on this case as OPEC is pretty much a monopoly with no competition. I'm all for free unregulated markets when there's competition, but in a capitalist society when there's no real competition I see it as unrealistic and dangerous. Normaly I fall on the conservative side as well and say the gov needs to step the hell out of business, but with things such as natual resources it's too tempting to dominate the entire market knowing people can't boycott your goods even if you're way out of line.

posted by  giant016

Oil companies aren't making much more in profits (percentage-wise) today, than they did a decade ago. Also, something like half of retirement funds are tied to oil companies, so cutting their profits would mean less retirement money for seniors. Taxing them would provide more money, but then they would want to raise their prices to make up for the lost profits.

I suppose by conservative approach I meant drill anywhere. Some regulation is good for the market, but we need more oil refineries and more drilling permits. Government should still have some control, though.

I agree on the competition. In Ontario, only the government sells alcohol (besides beer), and since nobody else can, they raise the prices by like 25%.

posted by  chris_knows

If their profit margin has stayed exactly the same while prices have doubled over the last 4 years, that means their profits have doubled. If it were for big screen TV's I'd say fine, let them be. This is for somehting that has become a neccessity in the U.S. It's one of the most unethical things I have seen corporations do, if indeed it is their fault.

I'm guessing the majority of people investing in stocks for retirement are buying mutual funds. If a few stocks (oil companies) break even or even bomb, they're still fairly well covered as mutual funds for retirement should be slow but steady movers with great diversity, even for mutual funds.

Further, it's hard to say that these gas prices aren't greatly hurting our economy. Take me for example, I work part time at a dog boarding kennel wher people board their dogs when they go on vacation. I have senority there, and even my hours got cut. There is a very noticable difference in business from the last summer. Actually, it was a growing business, I've been there for over seven years, and have noticed a steady increase in business. Except this summer. Since I'm making less I'm going on less trips, trying to save $ for the fall when I'll be working fewer hours yet still have to pay $4-$5 for gas. It's a spiraling effect where I'm making less, so I'm buying less, so other people that would be making money off me aren't, and so on. Luckily I do some online selling stuff, but even that seems to have cooled a bit.

Back to the stocks, most retirement funds are likely to have stock in GM and Ford, who are getting crushed by the gas prices seeing as their only popular products are trucks and SUVs. And again, the entire market is down, so even if stocks in oil companies are up 30% because the oil companies are making a lot, the other 90% of people's stocks in their mutual funds are down because of it.

And yeah, the LCBO sucks. I don't recall the prices being too bad, but the selection was weak and every store was the same. I suppose it's worth it since you can buy two years earlier though.

posted by  giant016

K, we can agree, pretty much lol.

Back on topic, hybrids are a good segue vehicle, but I think hydrogen vehicles have a more promising future.

posted by  chris_knows

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