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    Toyota Bets on Fuel Cell Auto's

    By dfelt, in Toyota,

    Toyota declared in September that it’s watering down its battery electric vehicle (BEV) plans by cutting back the production of the small Toyota eQ (known as the Scion iQ stateside).

    Toyota declared in September that it’s watering down its battery electric vehicle (BEV) plans by cutting back the production of the small Toyota eQ (known as the Scion iQ stateside).
    You will find some interesting information as Toyota moves forward with Fuel Cell's rather than pure electric auto's.
    Sales of Plug in Vehicles, North America (2011 & 2012)
    Type - 2011 ------ 2012 (YTD)--(Since 1/1/2011) Cumulative
    PHEV--8,272----- 25,944----------34,216
    BEV----9,966----- 6,802-----------16,768
    Source: Pike Research
    Most BEVs skirt the edge of a 100-mile range, stretching up to the $100,000 Model S, from Tesla, which can go nearly 300 miles on a single charge. EV advocates and battery manufacturers have long insisted that a battery breakthrough on the horizon will triple battery ranges while drastically reducing battery costs. Regardless of how far the BEV can go on a full battery, however, it still takes hours to recharge instead of the minutes it takes to refill a conventional gas vehicle.
    Toyota’s hydrogen vehicles can already achieve ranges and refill times comparable to conventional gas vehicles.
    For more info go to:

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    October 10, 2012
    The Scion FR-S marks a return for Toyota of building a sporty RWD coupe, and it might not be the only one.
    Top Gear Philippines had the chance to sit down with Tetsuya Tada, chief engineer for the FR-S and other members (Toyota GT86 and Subaru BRZ). Tada revealed that the FR-S was the first of three new sports cars being worked on by Toyota.
    "The first is more mass-market and cheaper than the 86. And the third is more upmarket than the 86," Tada said.
    When asked if the third vehicle is the successor the Supra, Tada said it could possibly be but that nothing is sure at the moment.
    Source: Top Gear Philippines
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    October 3, 2012
    Besides hybrid powertrains, Toyota's powertrain line has been lacking some key features that competitors are now offering. Those features include direct-injection, Continuously Variable Transmissions (CVT), and turbochargers to balance performance and fuel economy.
    According to Autoweek, Toyota will be adding those features to their lineup over the next few weeks. At the moment, Toyota employs direct-injection in the Scion FR-S, Lexus GS, and LS: But in the next two years, Toyota will introduce two new engines,
    2.5L Atkinson cycle engine for hybrids (Next Year)
    2.0L turbocharged (2014)

    Toyota will also add direct-injection to certain number of vehicles including the Camry and Venza.
    Also coming to Toyota vehicles will be more CVTs, and six- and eight-speed transmissions for its bigger cars.
    Source: Autoweek
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    September 24, 2012
    2012 was supposed to be the year that Toyota would begin selling the electric version of the iQ minicar called the eQ. When it introduced the vehicle back in 2010 expected, Toyota said it planned to sell several thousand of the vehicles per year.
    "Two years later, there are many difficulties," said Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development.
    Now, Toyota is planning to only sell about 100 of the eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an extremely limited release.
    "The current capabilities of electric vehicles do not meet society's needs, whether it may be the distance the cars can run, or the costs, or how it takes a long time to charge," said Uchiyamada.
    Toyota said they are putting more emphasis on hybrid technology, expecting to introduce 21 hybrid models by 2015.
    Source: Reuters
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Staff Writer - CheersandGears.com
    June 26, 2012
    Toyota has revealed the powertrain details on the new 2013 Avalon.
    As expected, the new Avalon will still use the 3.5L V6 from the previous Avalon. The V6 is rated at 268 HP and 248 lb-ft. of torque and will go through a six-speed automatic. EPA rates the V6 at 21 City/31 Highway/25 Combined.
    Toyota has equipped the Avalon V6 with three different power modes (Eco, Normal, Sport) and certain models get paddle-shifters for a more “sporty” experience.
    The new Avalon will also come in a hybrid model. The hybrid comes equipped with a 2.5L four-cylinder engine and electric motor producing a combined 200 HP. EPA rates the Avalon Hybrid at 40 City/39 Highway/40 Combined.
    The new Avalon goes on sale later this year.
    William Maley is a staff writer for Cheers & Gears. He can be reached at william.maley@cheersandgears.com or you can follow him on twitter at @realmudmonster.
    Press Release is on Page 2
    All-New 2013 Toyota Avalon Features Both Gasoline and Hybrid Powertrains
    TORRANCE, Calif. (June 26, 2012) – When the all-new, North American designed and engineered 2013 Avalon goes on sale later this year, consumers can choose between a powerful V6 gasoline powertrain and Toyota’s proven Hybrid Synergy Drive. The efficiency offered by the new hybrid model will help the all-new premium mid-size sedan achieve excellent fuel economy with an EPA-rating of 40 mpg combined.
    In addition to offering a hybrid powertrain, the new Avalon features a stunning design, improved dynamic performance, a greater degree of refinement, and a highly spacious, comfortable interior experience with an abundance of outstanding convenience technologies.
    Powerful, Efficient V6 Engine
    The 2013 Avalon will feature a proven 3.5-liter, DOHC V6 engine coupled with a six-speed automatic transaxle, which has been enhanced to offer more responsive and efficient performance. The all-aluminum six-cylinder engine will produce 268 horsepower and 248 lbs. ft. of torque, which will propel the new sedan to 60 mph in under seven seconds. Compared to the previous-generation Avalon, this 2013 powertrain combination offers improved fuel economy, performance, superior shift feel and response, with upgraded drivability and quietness.
    This enhanced powertrain’s programming has been updated to offer ECO, NORMAL, and SPORT Modes. The ECO mode prioritizes fuel efficiency by reducing power application at lower speeds and reducing energy consumed by the air-conditioning system. The SPORT Mode provides increased acceleration responses though altered engine control unit (ECU) programming, and it offers a more direct and responsive EPS programming to enhance steering feel.
    In addition, the new transaxle is equipped with a numerically lower differential gear drive ratio (3.23), designed to help improve fuel economy. The V6-powered 2013 Avalon achieves an EPA-rated 25 mpg combined (21 city/ 31 hwy).
    The transmission operation has been made more efficient and responsive with the adoption of a flex-start control feature lock-up clutch. With lock-up control, the transmission’s torque converter fully engages at a lower RPM during standing starts to improve acceleration response and help suppress unnecessary engine revolutions. The new transmission is also kept at an optimal temperature with an automatic-transmission fluid warmer, helping enhance efficiency.
    The multi-mode automatic transmission console shifter offers a D range and can be moved into an S-mode gate, which allows manually operated sequential shifting using the console shifter or available (Touring and Limited models) steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The gear can be selected by moving the shifter up to (+) position or lower using the (-) position to experience highly responsive shifts. By using the paddles or in S-range, the transmission uses a quick responding shift-logic that includes throttle blipping for downshifts. The gear changes and range-of-gear selections are displayed in the color multi-information display.
    Avalon Adds Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive
    For consumers seeking a premium mid-size sedan with excellent fuel economy ratings and an environmental message, the new Avalon features a full power-split hybrid system. Coupled with reductions in vehicle weight and improvements in aerodynamics, the Avalon Hybrid is expects to achieve impressive fuel economy ratings. The 2013 Avalon incorporates the latest advances in Toyota Hybrid Synergy Drive technology, building upon Toyota’s 14 years of hybrid-development experience. The Avalon Hybrid features a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine, a 244.8-volt nickel-metal hydride battery pack, and a pair of electric motor/generators within the transaxle. A power-control unit located in the engine compartment houses an inverter, a DC-DC converter, a step-up converter (raises voltage to a maximum of 650 volts) and the hybrid-drive ECU, which governs the seamless operation of electric-motor power application and regenerative braking. The power control unit relies on liquid cooling to maintain an efficient temperature.
    The Avalon Hybrid achieves a total system output of 200 horsepower and offers three unique modes of operation: EV, ECO and SPORT. The Avalon Hybrid models achieve an EPA-rated 40 mpg in the city, and a 39 mpg on the highway for a combined 40 mpg EPA-rating.
    The 2013 Avalon Hybrid offers an EV mode that, under certain conditions, allows the vehicle to operate solely on electric propulsion. EV mode can be engaged, provided other conditions are correct, for up to one mile at speeds up to 25 mph, providing an all-electric option that is convenient in residential areas or parking garages.
    The ECO drive mode engages the gasoline motor, but reduces throttle response and HVAC output to help improve overall efficiency. The SPORT Mode takes full advantage of the new Avalon’s dynamic character, improved chassis, and enhanced suspension by altering the engine’s throttle response and enhancing steering feel.
    The Avalon’s hybrid’s battery pack is comprised of 204 cells and is located in the vehicle trunk behind the rear seats, while still providing ample trunk space. The scroll casing for the battery cooling system’s blower fan has been designed to produce extremely quiet and efficient airflow, helping reduce interior noise and elevating refinement. The power-control unit, located in the engine bay, houses the inverter, DC-DC converter.
    The efficient hybrid transaxle in the new Avalon contains two high-output electric motor/generators, a power-split device, an open differential and the final drive ratio. Motor/Generator 1 (MG1) is used to start the gasoline engine and generate the energy that is returned to the battery to power the system. Motor/Generator 2 (MG2) is primarily responsible for electric drivetrain propulsion and regenerative braking. The hybrid vehicle transaxle also incorporates a flywheel-damper design that helps reduce noise and vibration during engine engagement.
    Captivating Styling with a Spacious, Luxurious Interior Experience
    The new 2013 Avalon is the product of a North American-focused design and engineering effort. The new sedan’s striking exterior and luxurious interior design was conceived by a youthful, talented team at the Calty Design Research Inc., facilities in Southern California and Michigan.
    The car’s engineering development was led by a passionate and dedicated group based at Toyota Technical Center in Ann Arbor, Mich. Continuing a North American focus, the 2013 Avalon will be assembled at the award-winning Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky (TMMK) facility in Georgetown, Ky.
    True to the future product mission set forth by Toyota Motor Corporation President Akio Toyoda, the new Avalon’s more stylish, bold, sporty exterior design and luxurious interior styling are matched by an enhanced dynamic package, a combination that foreshadows the more compelling and passionate nature of future Toyota products.
    Powertrain Specs
    Avalon V6
    Avalon Hybrid
    2GR-FE / 3.5L
    2AR-FXE / 2.5L
    Max Horsepower
    268 hp
    154 hp
    Max Torque
    248 lbs.-ft.
    153 lbs.-ft.
    6-speed AT
    Electric Motor
    Max Output
    140 hp
    Max Torque
    200 ft. lbs.
    Nickel-Metal Hydride
    Nominal Voltage
    245 volts
    Number of Cells
    204 Cells
    Max Output
    34 kw or 45.6 hp
    Total System Output
    149 kw 200hp
    Key Dimensional Comparison
    2013 Avalon
    2012 Avalon
    Overall Length
    195.3 in.
    197.6 in.
    Overall Width
    72.2 in.
    72.8 in.
    Overall Height
    57.5 in.
    58.5 in.
    111 in.
    111 in.
    Front Tread
    62.6 in.
    62.2 in.
    Rear Tread
    62.2 in.
    61.6 in.
    Front Overhang
    38.8 in.
    39.4 in.
    Rear Overhang
    45.5 in.
    47.2 in.
    Curb Weight
    3,497 lbs. (V6),
    3594 lbs. (Hybrid XLE)
    3,616 lbs.

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    April 16, 2012
    Two words you wouldn’t think that would go together are Toyota and excitement. But there was time when Toyota meant excitement; cars like the Celica, Supra, and MR2 cemented the brand as building some of best sports cars before hanging it up and building appliances.
    However, the tide at Toyota seems to be changing. The RWD GT86/Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ coupes are beginning to roll out, and Toyota is introducing a new development and manufacturing framework designed to aid in producing more exciting vehicles.
    "The feeling at the time was, 'If we build it, they will come. Instead of developing what customers would want next, we were making cars that would rake in sales," said Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda.
    The new framework, called Toyota New Global Architecture, or TNGA, allows the company to design multiple models at the same time to reduce costs. The new framework will also slash the number of executives involved in the design review process to help streamline decisions.
    "Toyota's problem was that it had too many filters. When you have that many people weighing in, you end up developing cars by eliminating the negatives, not by creating something positive, by taking risks," said Tokuo Fukuichi, Toyota’s chief designer.
    Added cooperation between Toyota's planning and design groups could bring forth more innovative styling, including models with lower centers of gravity and better aerodynamics.
    Source: Automotive News (Subscription Required)

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    March 1, 2012
    Tetsuya Tada, the chief engineer of the Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ/Scion FR-S said something very interesting to Germany's Autobild magazine.
    "The GT 86 was designed from the outset that we can build it as a convertible," said Tada.
    So what does that mean? We could be seeing a convertible version of Scion FR-S within a few years, most likely retaining the 2.0L boxer-four with 197 HP.
    Source: Autobild

    William Maley
    William Maley
    Editor/Reporter - CheersandGears.com
    January 15, 2012
    Riddle me this Batman; what future car is Toyota Division Group Vice President and General Manager, Bob Carter talking about.
    Will have “more room than a BMW X5, be faster than a (Volkswagen) TDI and have higher mpg than a Fiat 500.”
    The answer, well it could be one of two things; a new model Toyota is working on or the new Avalon. What? The Avalon? Yes, and here’s how. To have more room than a BMW X5, the vehicle would need an interior volume greater than 102.4-cubic feet. To beat a Volkswagen TDI, the vehicle would need to produce more than 140 HP and 235 lb-ft of torque. To best a Fiat 500 in mileage, the vehicle would need to best 30 MPG City and 38 MPG Highway.
    Using some process of elimination, we can eliminate the Prius v and new Prius c. We can also eliminate the NS4 concept and the recently updated Camry Hybrid. The final clue leading us to the Avalon is Carter stating the vehicle have “lavish features rarely found in near-luxury vehicles.”
    Whether this process of elimination pans out or not, we’ll likely see this model sometime in 2012.
    Source: Ward’s Auto via Autoguide

    William Maley
    Toyota has said that the primary focus of the GT 86 is handling, not horsepower. However, some recent comments from the chief engineer, Tetsuo Tada show Toyota could be making horsepower a bigger focus.
    Tada told Autocar that test versions of a hotter GT 86 using superchargers have already been made and are currently being “evaluated” by Toyota Racing Development. Tada said the reason why they’re evaluating superchargers due to the simplicity of it than enlarging the engine and provides better response than adding a turbo.
    Tada also said TRD is looking at suspension modifcations to handle the extra power.
    Source: Autocar

    Drew Dowdell
    A couple of days ago, Toyota unveiled pictures of the production Toyota 86 ahead of the Tokyo Auto Show. Today, a bunch of Toyota 86 test drive videos have surfaced.
    This car will be sold in Japan as the Toyota 86, in Europe as the Toyota GT-86, and in the US as the Scion FRS. Subaru will get a version called the BRZ that will be Subaru's first car offered without AWD in over a decade.
    The JDM Toyota 86 features a new 2.0 litre flat four producing 197 horsepower and 151 ft-lb of torque while running premium gas. The very low center of gravity, 53:47 weight distribution, and limited slip rear differential should make for an excellent handling little 2+2.
    But lets head over to Fuji speedway to see what we can see.


    William Maley
    After two years and countless number of concepts, Toyota will show off the production version of the FT-86 sports car. Toyota's UK office released pictures and some tidbits about the vehicle. In Europe, the coupe will be called GT 86.
    Here's the specs of the GT 86:
    2.0L boxer with D4-S injection (direct and port injected)
    197 hp @ 7,000 rpm and 151 lb-ft (205 Nm) @6,600 rpm
    6-speed manual or automatic transmissions
    17-inch wheel/tire package standard
    4,240mm (167 in.) long, 1285mm (50.6 in.) high, 2,570mm (101 in.) wide
    53:47 front-to-rear weight distribution
    475mm (18.7 in.) center of gravity

    Inside the GT 86 is a three-gauge cluster with a larger tachometer, carbon fiber styled trim, an all black roof, red stitching, aluminum pedals, and “aviation-style” switches.
    The GT 86 will go on sale in Europe next June.
    We'll learn more about the Toyota GT 86 or FT-86 next week at Tokyo Motor Show.

    Source: blog.toyota.co.uk

    William Maley
    Last year at the North American International Auto Show, Toyota showed a trio of Prius models; the Prius Plug-In, Prius V, and Prius C Concept. So far two out of three have began rolling out. Now, car number three is being shown in production form.
    The Toyota Prius C is coming to Detroit next January. The car is about the size of a Yaris but is packing a hybrid drivetrain that is a 1.5L gasoline engine coupled with an undisclosed "high-output" electric motor. The Prius C is expected to get the highest MPG of the group with 50 MPG.
    Inside, the Prius C gets Toyota’s new Entune infotainment system, which provides handsfree calling, navigation, entertainment, and information services.
    We’ll learn more about the Prius C in January.

    Press Release is on Page 2

    Toyota Prius c Provides a Subcompact Entry Point to Prius Family of Hybrid Vehicles

    TORRANCE (Nov. 15, 2011) –Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., will offer a fuel-efficient hybrid at a more accessible price when the Prius c joins the Prius Family of vehicles in the spring of 2012. The U.S. debut of the Prius c will be next January at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
    This highly anticipated subcompact member of the Prius Family will bring Toyota’s renowned Hybrid Synergy Drive® technology to a new segment of buyers when it joins the third-generation Prius Liftback hybrid vehicle, the versatile new Prius v midsize hybrid vehicle and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid model, which will also debut next spring. Positioned as an entry into the Prius Family appealing to youthful shoppers seeking fuel efficiency, technology, and spirited driving dynamics in the subcompact segment, the Prius c will offer:

    Expected class-leading fuel economy better than 50 mpg in the city, which is the highest city mpg of any non-plug-in vehicle.
    Proven hybrid technology, with 14 years of heritage, available at a more accessible price.
    A high degree of convenience features and premium in-car electronics, uncommon in a five-door configuration, creating a less compromised compact-car experience

    As with other Prius models, Prius c combines its revolutionary Hybrid Synergy Drive® with excellent aerodynamics to achieve outstanding fuel efficiency. The new Prius c is unique in the Prius Family with a more youthful expression and a sportier dynamic character that offers a more fun-to-drive experience. The vehicle’s five-door format and flexible packaging will adapt to a broad range of owners’ needs.
    The Prius c offers an unexpected level of convenience, capability and technology in a compact hybrid-electric at an attractive price. Bluetooth® hands-free phone connectivity, steering-wheel audio controls, and nine airbags will be among the standard features on the 2012 Prius c.
    In addition,owners will enjoy a new dimension of connectivity courtesy of the available Toyota Entune™ multimedia system. Entune™ leverages the mobile smartphone to provide a richer in-vehicle infotainment experience with fully integrated access to navigation, entertainment, and information services. It allows users to connect with popular apps such as Bing™, OpenTable.com, and movietickets.com. Entune™ also provides access to real-time information services, such as live weather, traffic, fuel information (location and price), stocks, and sports. The Prius c also offers voice recognition, music streaming, and email/text to speech capabilities.
    Toyota Entune™ brings one of the largest selections of music options available to a vehicle, including iheartradio’s 750+ stations and Pandora® internet radio’s personalized music. In addition, the driver’s personal songs from portable media players and iPods (via USB or Bluetooth® audio streaming), and more than 170 stations from SiriusXM™ satellite radio are also available.
    Making premium technology available to compact-car shoppers, the Prius c offers superior fuel economy in a stylish, user-friendly package.

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