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Toyota is Sticking With Hybrids

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by Doug_G, Oct 4, 2013.

  1. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    No surprise here. Toyota continues to stick their heads in the sand.

    Design News - Toyota Is Sticking With Hybrids

    That's okay, we'll just have one less automaker when the big switchover comes.
     
  2. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I know I'll probably draw a lot of fire for this, but I rented a Prius a year or so ago in California for a week and came away from that experience determined to NEVER buy one of those. The ONLY good thing I can say about it is that is does get decent gas mileage.
     
  3. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I'd be curious to hear more of the details that you held back. Not a Toyota or Prius bashing just a bulleted list of limitations or issues. "Not enough seating capacity" or whatever.
     
  4. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    My wife and I have owned a 2008 Prius since new. It is a reliable, economical car. And very boring to drive. No zip and mediocre handling at best. But it does what it is designed to do very well.

    We just ordered an S85 and are selling the Prius and one of my Porsches to be able to pay cash for the Tesla.

    Toyota is making a big mistake in not making a serious effort now to have a mass market electric vehicle ready to sell soon.

    And Porsche is missing the boat as well: a $900,000 hybrid supercar (918 model just coming out) is not going to help them survive. The new $135,000 (before options) Panamera hybrid is not serious competition for the P85+ which is significantly cheaper .
     
  5. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    This brings up beautiful imagery to me. Like an advertisement with a tagline...

     
  6. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I found the car's controls very "quirky" and the driving position and seats not that comfortable (and that is just my personal opinion), but what I really couldn't stand was the start-stop of the ICE all the time. I'd come to a red light and the engine would stop... then on the green, the car would start to accelerate on electricity. The ICE would fire up again about half way through the intersection and the whole car would "shudder" every time. To me, it just felt like an extremely over-complicated system that didn't deliver a very good driving experience at all. The braking re-gen seemed a little "jerky" to me as well.

    One thing I can't remember is if the a/c shut down with the ICE. I was in a friend's Honda Insight Hybrid last summer, and the a/c definately did shut off with the ICE making the car very uncomfortable in stop and go summer city traffic.

    I was very pleasantly surprised with our company's Volt I think because it is driven by a single speed electric motor and not some cobbled together Frankenstein of a gas and electric motor both working to move the car. Sure, the Volt is a very complex machine, but I think GM's "series hybrid" works a lot better than the "parallel hybrid" systems of most other cars.

    At the end of the day, I was looking for simplicity, and that is where the Model S shines.
     
  7. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    Thanks for the detailed drilldown. Much appreciated.
     
  8. dm33

    dm33 Member

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    I continue to be amazed at how Tesla doesn't seem to have any credible competition. Nothing even on the horizon. If EVs stay around, from here it looks like Tesla is going to clean up. The only major manufacturer taking it seriously seems to be Nissan and their approach is very different. Toyota sounds like GM in the 70s. The real question is, are EVs here to stay or could it still turn the way of the EV1. As long as Tesla stays around it seems that EVs are likely to become mainstream.

    I agree w earlier comments about the Prius. To me, driving responsiveness and handling are paramount. The Prius is roomy and fairly comfortable for its size, but exceedingly unresponsive to throttle with sloppy handling. The Ford C-Max is much more responsive and smooth but still with mediocre handling and significantly worse gas mileage. The Volt has a smooth quiet drive train but a surprisingly cramped interior due to batteries in the middle of the passenger cabin, seats only 4, small trunk, low ceiling. Its gas mileage is unimpressive compared to a Prius. The Volt btw can be either a series or parallel hybrid.
     
  9. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I think he has a good point. We even see discussions like that here, with diehards telling folks to just rent a car when you need more range. I don't think most people realize just how inconvenient that is. Personally, I don't think I would've gotten a Model S if I could only have one vehicle. It's great in most cases, but it's the exceptions where I really need convenience.
     
  10. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #10 ChadS, Oct 4, 2013
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2013
    I bought a Prius for my wife in 2005. We loved it - 48mpg in a decent family vehicle! Sure, it wasn't fun to drive - numb steering, slow, a lot of strange noises and jerks - and the interior trim was cheap, but it was a good, inexpensive transportation appliance. There was nothing close to it in terms of mpg at the time, especially with the same interior space. In 2008 I converted it to a plug-in hybrid with a Hymotion kit, then we got 80mpg.

    I loved the 80mpg for three days. Then I started to hate it...I loved driving on electricity, but that stupid gas engine kept coming on. We started to call the gas pedal the "noise pedal", because that is primarily what we got when we stepped on it. Accelerate to keep up with traffic? GROWL. Go uphill? GROWL. Go on the freeway? GROWL. Starting up on anything but a hot summer day? GROWL. I loved the electric part, but hated the gas part. That is when I decided to buy an electric car (I had already been looking; but the impractical, expensive Roadster was the only new option; and the only used cars were in CA at sky-high prices due to the lack of options...this was when I decided to get one no matter what it took). A few months later I had a used RAV4-EV. After three weeks, my wife and I both hated the Prius - the RAV4 was a much better car. Smoother, quieter, more cargo space (though it did have less rear leg room), cheaper and more convenient to operate. A couple of months later, I bought a Roadster, because I still wanted to drive electric and she was clearly taking over the RAV4.

    Toyota is missing two things:
    1. A full electric is a MUCH nicer car than a hybrid, and
    2. most families have a second gas car, so they are already covered for all of their driving.

    Sure, one-car families will still want to buy a car with gas. But a Volt is a MUCH nicer car to drive than a Plug-in Prius, because the Volt engine (with rare exceptions) only comes on when it HAS to - which is when your battery is empty.

    Actually, I'll bet Toyota is not missing those things. I imagine they are doing a lot of research and planning on how to respond when they have to. But they are trying to delay that day as long as possible so they can continue to milk the "hybrid synergy drive" cow. Trashing EVs in public is part of their strategy for slowing down EV acceptance.
     
  11. Zextraterrestrial

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    agree with all said/
    We have a 2002 Prius at work as a 'pool car' and it gets good mileage but is loud and uncomfortable and has scary handling (but better than the ford trucks we have :eek:)
    the civic hybrid is much nicer IMO but it is a newer car.

    so much noise when you step on the gas for what power is actually produced, painful
     
  12. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Last year I needed to rent a gas car for one trip. With the rapid rollout of charging stations I can now do that trip with my Model S. On occasion the trip takes a bit longer, but they're building Superchargers that will all but eliminate that issue. I'm now fully electric for everything except driving on a racetrack.
     
  13. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    We got our first Prius in 2004 - I enjoyed the game of trying to keep the gas engine from coming on until there was the better alternative of no gas engine at all.

    Are hybrids a great gateway drug for pure electrics? Will they hinder the shift to EVs or will they help more people to see that they don't need gas at all?

    I think gateway drug.
     
  14. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    I know there's a whole thread on this, but that only happens when the battery is empty and the car is being driven over something like 70 MPH. Otherwise it's still an all-electric drive. Even when the gas engine does connect with the drivetrain, it's not through a traditional gear-shifting transmission and the effect is still pretty smooth. One thing I noticed with the Volt is even with the battery at zero, it still works like a pretty good hybrid. The engine does stop, and initial acceleration is on battery before the engine kicks in, but because it is an electric motor, you don't seem to get that herky-jerky "shudder" that the Prius seems to exhibit when the ICE comes back on.

    - - - Updated - - -

    My one week experience with the Prius turned me off parallel hybrids altogether. As mentioned above, the Volt did impress me, aside from it's complexity. If anything, that experience is what made me go all electric. It was either all electric or all ICE for me. I do admit to seriously consider waiting for the Cadillac ELR, but I was hoping they would have stepped up with more electric range. My primary consideration was being able to drive to/from work on electric power and the ELR / Volt could only get me one way under ideal conditions.
     
  15. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Both the Prius and Volt uses a similar planetary gear-set. Neither uses a traditional gear-shifting transmission. The main cause of the shudder in the Prius is during engine shutoff and the motor burning the extra fuel left (rather than dumping to exhaust). The Prius also uses an Atkinson cycle engine and the noise characteristics are different. Plus the price difference in the two models means GM can afford to spend more on improving NVH. Plus the larger battery gives the Volt more leeway in starting/stopping the engine (esp. cold starts).
    http://www.motortrend.com/features/editorial/1010_unbolting_the_chevy_volt_to_see_how_it_ticks/
     
  16. AnOutsider

    AnOutsider S532 # XS27

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    I'd be fine with that if there were more charge stations on the paths I drive. Often there are not. Just 4 weeks ago, I took a trip to a friend's baby shower one state away and it was just at the range of the S round trip. Not a single charger on the way, and I sure wasn't going to take a detour to charge with family on board.

    Sadly, for us, it's either charging at destination, or ICE (unless there's a SC on the way, which is typically never).
     
  17. gameon

    gameon Member

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    weird they are not interested in EV. I thought they will be the first one to move from hybrid prius to plugin with more models and aggressive marketing but they are doing opposite (expensive RV4 EV & not popular prius plugin)
     
  18. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

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    Not really, and not surprising. They are so entrenched in their Hybrid designs that it is difficult for them to get out of that box and think differently. And they've had considerable market success in the hybrid space as well. No different really than GM or Ford hanging on to their profitable pickup and SUV models, where they've also had commercial success.
     
  19. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    They are interested in it, they just can't make as much money on them as they can on their hybrids. Toyota owns the NiMh battery manufacturer (Panasonic divested of the joint venture when they bought Sanyo) and is using 10-year-old battery tech. If PEV is very successful their cheap NiMh will be worth diddly squat so they need to milk it for as long as possible. Without a serious global competitor in hybrids they have no reason to push lithium, let alone PEV.

    They are gradually building lithium capacity and they have lithium rights in Argentina they need to develop. They also have serious interest in HFCV, of course, but that needs batteries too.
     
  20. stopcrazypp

    stopcrazypp Well-Known Member

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    Well, Toyota spent a boatload of money developing their hybrid tech and also promoting it. They are just reaping in the profits and having plug-ins means they have to restart that development cycle before making a profit. So of course they would focus on the profitable tech first.

    We hear this story lots of times when talking about disruptive technologies. The large companies focus first on defending their current profit generators and often that gets in the way of embracing new innovations.
     

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