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Toyota takes a swipe at GM's E-Flex

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Toyota Takes A Swipe at GM’s E-Flex
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Link to Original Article @ Green Car Congress | 4 September 2007


Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) is positioning its emerging approach to plug-in hybrid vehicles—based on augmenting the battery pack of a conventional hybrid and altering the operating strategy—as an approach superior to that of the series-hybrid architecture of GM’s E-Flex systems, as represented by the different versions of the Chevy Volt.

The rationale, outlined by Toyota Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto in a presentation about the company’s technology strategies to investors in Tokyo on 3 Sep, is that once current parameters such as driving range, required battery size and charge time are factored in, the augmentation of the existing parallel-hybrid platform makes the most sense.

The prototype Toyota plug-in is based on a Prius with a 2.6kWh NiMH battery pack supporting an all-electric range of 13 km (8 miles). The gasoline (flex-fuel) version of the Chevy Volt, targeted for production in 2010, is spec’d to have a 16kWh li-ion battery pack that supports a 40-mile all-electric range.

The presentation, Challenges for Sustainable Mobility, outlined a number of Toyota technology efforts including advanced gasoline and diesel engine work and alternative fuels (biofuels, hydrogen and electricity).

The investor presentation followed Toyota’s announcement in July that it has developed a plug-in hybrid vehicle and had become the first manufacturer to have such a vehicle certified for use on public roads in Japan.

Toyota will conduct public-road tests in Japan with eight units of the Plug-in HV to verify electric-motor-only cruising ranges and optimal battery capacity. While doing so, it plans to provide the government with data for formulating testing methods for emissions and fuel efficiency and to consider TMC’s measures for promoting plug-in hybrids and the use of electricity.

In addition, Toyota is also providing plug-in hybrid prototypes to the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) and the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley (UCB), as part of its on-going sustainable mobility development program with the two UC campuses.

Toyota and French utility EDF reportedly will announce an agreement this week to develop recharging points to serve the plug-in hybrid cars Toyota plans to roll out in a few years’ time.

Toyota has already expressed concerns on the record about after-market conversions of existing hybrids to plug-in hybrids.

Also, at the recent 2007 Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Michigan, Toyota told the audience that a number of serious hurdles stand in the way of getting plug-in hybrids on the road, and that even if the vehicles do make it to market, a battery-powered plug-in may be no more efficient in reducing carbon dioxide emissions than the current charge-sustaining gas-electric hybrids on the road today.

In August, reports contended that Toyota was going to delay its deployment of lithium-ion batteries in high electric-mileage hybrids because of safety concerns with its batteries, which use cobalt oxide cathode materials.
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Interesting - they've played with sizing through the whole thing, and it's somewhat realistic - E-flex has larger motor & battery, smaller engine. Psynergy drive or whatever its' called has a bigger engine & smaller battery & motor. What that says to me, though, is that the E-Flex setup doesn't need as big of an engine. Seems to me if it doesn't need as big of an engine, that it's probably getting by on better fuel economy...

Toyota advantages: CO2 reduction & promotion of alternative fuels? What a load of crap! The E-Flex setup has the potential to have NO CO2 production, and allows for the use of ANY fuel to power a generator.

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When GM was talking sh*t about hybrids, the media called them on it (Eventhough the media, two faced as they are, did the same thing for years)

Now that Toyota is doing the same thing with plug in hybrids (i.e. talking sh*t) where is the cynical tongue lashing of the media?!?!

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For Frankfurt Volvo is unveiling a 100 mile battery-range plugin hybrid, similar to E-Flex but with a 1.6 L generator (Ford only has one engine as small as the Volt's 1.0 L, a SOHC brazilian flexfuel 4-cylinder, whereas GM has three plus two more in recent concepts that may hint at future engines).

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As Volvo points out eliminating the mechanical transmission is more efficient, cutting out a big drain on power to the wheels. While the Volvo concept has a longer range than GM's, a production version is not anticipated until 5–6 years later.

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Interesting comparison. The Toyota can use the gasoline and/or the electric motor to drive the car, while the Volt can only use the electric motor (the gasoline motor is a generator only). At least that's what I get based on the diagrams. As long as the Volt's electric motor has enough power for all types of operation (uphill accelerating, etc) and the generator can keep the battery fully charged, I don't see this as a problem. In fact it seems like quite an advantage to me, specially if you replace the gas motor with a small diesel generator.

The Volt has a larger electric motor and battery than the Toyota, which sounds like a big advantage to me for electric only operation.

And only 8 miles on the Toyota? That won't get me to work and back electric only. And with the size of the electric motor, is it going to have enough power to go those 8 miles is any driving condition or will the gasoline motor be kicking in everytime I have to accelerate hard or uphill?

Btw. Next gen Honda FCX = 270 miles, all electric operation. With possibly to use solar or natural gas powered home-based hydrogen generator.

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The E-flex design is basically a railroad locomotive setup with a battery.

and Tesla Roadster does 200 miles to a charge with a smaller set of batteries.

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and Tesla Roadster does 200 miles to a charge with a smaller set of batteries.

It's also an expensive lightweight 2-seater.

I want one!

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Toyota is just spinning the truth as they are now behind in battery technology. GM did the same with the stage one Hybrids. GM tried to make them sound better then they really were.

I think Toyota fears GM as they are the one company that has the resouces to fight back. They also know if or when GM gets on track it can fight them toe to toe.

Ford and Chrysler are both is a wold of hurt just keeping their head above water. Honda is a strong company but still not a very large comapny like Toyota and GM. As for Nissian they are not really leading in anything right now and seem to be struggling a little.

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The E-flex design is basically a railroad locomotive setup with a battery.

and Tesla Roadster does 200 miles to a charge with a smaller set of batteries.

Not quite. Railroad locomotives generally have electric motors connected to one or more gearsets in each driving truck, and until recently have not used batteries for storage or even regenerative braking (the motors generate current under braking but it has gone to high-resistance electric radiators in the roof). True hybrids running on battery power have been limited to a few new yard switchers, while the first "road" engine has only just begun trials. Since weight is an advantage (at least up to the track limit) for a locomotive, lead acid batteries remain the preferred choice.
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If Toyota believes connecting the engine to the driving wheels mechanically is an advantage, why do so many of their hybrids have electric-only awd?

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When GM was talking sh*t about hybrids, the media called them on it (Eventhough the media, two faced as they are, did the same thing for years)

Now that Toyota is doing the same thing with plug in hybrids (i.e. talking sh*t) where is the cynical tongue lashing of the media?!?!

Because Toyota can do no wrong, even if they maybe wrong. Toyota is just upset that the Volt is getting more media attention and the fact that it is superior and a far far better looking car than the Prius ever will be.

The range on the Volt is just preliminary figures, also, I bet by the time it does come to production the range on it will be expanded. That is just a fact on how swift technology is moving on these hybrids, and GM is ever improving this, they are working night and day on this stuff believe me!!

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2010 is 2-3 years away.

I think Toyota will do whatever it takes to adapt technology similar to E-Flex to the Prius by 2010.

And I think it's going to be a close race.

Edited by bcs296
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Not quite. Railroad locomotives generally have electric motors connected to one or more gearsets in each driving truck, and until recently have not used batteries for storage or even regenerative braking (the motors generate current under braking but it has gone to high-resistance electric radiators in the roof). True hybrids running on battery power have been limited to a few new yard switchers, while the first "road" engine has only just begun trials. Since weight is an advantage (at least up to the track limit) for a locomotive, lead acid batteries remain the preferred choice.

like I said.... railroad locomotive setup + a battery.....

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I think toyota is too far along on the next gen prius to make changes at this point. Even if GM beats toyota by only a year it would make a huge impact for the General Motors and the other Detroit auto makers. This could be the one product that gets people back to the GM showrooms.

Imagine how many people will show up at the Chevy & Saturn Dealership just to check out these vehicles with no intention of buying one.

The Volt alone could restart GMs mid-size & compact cars in the market place. Their timing is well planned. 2010 new compacts to come out at the same time as the Volt (hopefully Saturn version as well), plus a new mid-size sedan coming out again a year later. If they do what Lutz has said they are going to do, then they can tout the new Volt along with best in class gas mileage by their compact & mid-size sedans. I'm sure they will also have better hybirds in then new compacts & midsizers by the as well.

Edited by Dsuupr
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Another case of Kool Aid drinking....

Let's be realistic:

GM has Zero true hybrids (ie Can run without an ICE) on the roads.

Toyota has, what, a million or so?

Noone has driven, outside of GM proving grounds, this new tech. It's due in 2010, so there's plenty of time for competitors (or somebody outside of the automotive realm) to come up with battery tech that solves the Lithium Ion cooling issue--or comes up with something else.

Right now, Tesla has delayed its Li-Ion battery powered roadster at least twice and demoted their CEO to get him back in the lab. Toyota, the current world leader in hybrid tech, claims the Li-Ion's aren't going to be ready for the next gen Prius.

As it sits, those two sources of info are more indicative of the future than GM's claims about cars that aren't on the road yet...

You guys will suspend disbelief on GM propaganda faster than anything I've seen. It's fascinating that for every microscopic inspection of Toyota's PR foibles, you guys completely ignore the obvious PR BS in A PRODUCT THAT DOESN'T EXIST !!!!!

(Oh, C&D called---the Camaro just won its first comparison test :)

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A product that doesn't exist?

Please.

Contracts say it exists. The design of the next gen Delta says it exists. Firm promises of production says it exists.

GM is betting the farm on this product, it will happen or GM will fold. It is that important.

It's real, it's coming, you can count on that.

You can also count on the Volt and E-flex changing the game.

The old saw that "if Toyota can't do it or hasn't done it, it can't be done" is pure BS.

Toyota has been caught with their pants down on this one.

And that pleases me no end.

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A product that doesn't exist?

Please.

Contracts say it exists. The design of the next gen Delta says it exists. Firm promises of production says it exists.

GM is betting the farm on this product, it will happen or GM will fold. It is that important.

It's real, it's coming, you can count on that.

You can also count on the Volt and E-flex changing the game.

The old saw that "if Toyota can't do it or hasn't done it, it can't be done" is pure BS.

Toyota has been caught with their pants down on this one.

And that pleases me no end.

It's not that simple.

When I can go down to the local GM store and buy one, it exists...until then, it's a future product with even bolder claims than the average new GM vehicle that is 'better' than the competition.

Period.

It's not that Toyota is better, it's that they're already selling thousands of similar products, today.

as usual, when the argument is unwinable, C&G's leading ostriches change the focus.

There is no Volt yet...and the engineering involved is far from certain--there are NO Li-batteries currently commercially available in vehicles.

Period.

It's not that GM can't or won't do it, it's that they haven't, yet. I've been hearing about game changing product for years--All I can go on is track record, which, isn't good.

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It's not that simple.

When I can go down to the local GM store and buy one, it exists...until then, it's a future product with even bolder claims than the average new GM vehicle that is 'better' than the competition.

Period.

It's not that Toyota is better, it's that they're already selling thousands of similar products, today.

as usual, when the argument is unwinable, C&G's leading ostriches change the focus.

There is no Volt yet...and the engineering involved is far from certain--there are NO Li-batteries currently commercially available in vehicles.

Period.

It's not that GM can't or won't do it, it's that they haven't, yet. I've been hearing about game changing product for years--All I can go on is track record, which, isn't good.

It is that simple, it's do or die for GM on this project and they know it. Obviously, they know a great deal more than has been announced - or do you really think that the liquid cooling was decided upon this week? GM is publically confident because they know that they can make it happen or this would all be shrouded in secrecy.

Toyota is selling nothing like the Volt - and won't be for some time (if ever).

The ostriches are those who believe that the Prius is actually a sensible car when it little more than a PR snow job that a bunch of fools have fallen for.

The difference is that the Volt is fundamentally superior in concept and innovative in approach.

No they're not on lots yet, so what?

I don't see how anyone can doubt that they will be, GM has stuck its neck out way too far for this to be some sort of PR stunt.

To go by the "track record" while ignoring the significance of this tech is laughable at best.

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It's not that simple.

When I can go down to the local GM store and buy one, it exists...until then, it's a future product with even bolder claims than the average new GM vehicle that is 'better' than the competition.

Period.

True..until a product has shipped and is at the dealer where a consumer can buy it, it's just development talk...who knows what is really going on within GM, they may be on to something big, or it may just be smoke and mirrors.

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