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2007 Toyota Prius Touring Edition

Toyota Hybrid X Concept
LTC embraces lithium battery technology while Toyota may be backtracking a bit

Lithium Technology Corporation (LTC) has announced its new line of batteries to be used in all-electric and hybrid-electric vehicles. LTC's battery packs are composed of lithium iron phosphate (LiFePO4) cells.

"Batteries made of LTC's cells can provide 3000 charging cycles, which would be able to do 150,000 miles to 80% capacity for a 100 km or 60 mile all electric range plug in hybrid, which no other technology can claim," said Dr. Andrew Frank, Professor, Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering at the University of California, Davis.

To show the power of its new LiFePO4 cells, LTC rolled out a retrofitted Toyota Prius with plug-in capabilities. The 7 kWh battery is made up of 63 LTC LiFePO4 cells and boosts the Prius from 46MPG combined (city/highway) to 125MPG.

It is unclear whether LTC is citing the old 2007 EPA mileage estimates or the new 2008 EPA estimates which aren't very kind to hybrid-electric vehicles. If LTC is still citing 2007 EPA estimates, the retrofitted Prius would still likely achieve 100MPG+ when taking into account 2008 guidelines.

While the use of lithium-based batteries give hybrid vehicles more power and endurance to run longer on battery power, it appears that Toyota may actually be shying away from the technology for its next-generation Prius and other hybrid vehicles. Nikkan Koyogo, a Japanese newspaper, reports that Toyota may be postponing the use of lithium-ion batteries due to safety issues.

The company has seen a rise in vehicle recalls in recent months. And just recently, the company admitted that a manufacturing defect from its supplier has led to camshaft failures in its brand new 5.7 liter V8 engine.

A potential widespread recall due to the batteries used in its high-profile Prius could do some serious damage to the company's reputation, so Toyota is likely trying to play it safe.

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very promising
By hlper on 5/31/2007 11:07:07 AM , Rating: 2
I drive less than 5 thousand miles a year, and most of my trips are less than 40 miles. So, if this were made as a plug-in design I would rarely have to buy gas again (oh sweet, illusive freedom). Though I imagine it is good to run the combustion engine periodically to keep it in good working order.

RE: very promising
By lobadobadingdong on 5/31/2007 11:26:57 AM , Rating: 3
if you drive that little, why not use public transportation or rental cars occasionally?

RE: very promising
By Merry on 5/31/2007 11:46:59 AM , Rating: 3
if you drive that little, why not use public transportation or rental cars occasionally?

Because maybe the person in question likes having the freedom to go where he/she wants as and when they want without having to share a cramped bus with a number of people who you'd probably rather not share a bus with.

As good as public transport can be I dont think its ever really going to be a viable alternative for a lot of people, and thats just taking into account the UK. I presume it would be worse in the US due to the distances involved. I mean lets face it 40 miles is not an insignificant distance when you think about it. I certainly wouldnt want to go that far on a bus.

I'm not saying public transport is utterly crap (unless you live in the UK </joke>)i'm just getting sick of it being offered up as an alternative to driving. In most cases it isnt.

Oh and to address the last part of your statement, surely it would be a pain in the arse organising a rental car when you need to drive somewhere all the time?

RE: very promising
By hlper on 5/31/2007 1:03:54 PM , Rating: 2
I rather like the bus. In all honesty, I used to drive a lot more, and it is public transportation that has eliminated 75% or more of my driving. However, sometimes you need to go someplace in a hurry (e.g. oh my god I forgot to buy the beer), or you need to buy a bunch of stuff that you can't manage on a bus.

RE: very promising
By Merry on 5/31/2007 1:53:14 PM , Rating: 2
However, sometimes you need to go someplace in a hurry (e.g. oh my god I forgot to buy the beer), or you need to buy a bunch of stuff that you can't manage on a bus.

Exactly. This is my point. Most people would not simply sell their car and use solely public transport.

Personally I really dont like using it at all. I regularly travel from Cardiff to Manchester quite late at night and after doing that once on a train, i would rather not do it again. At one point, on another trip, i was almost faced with having to sleep in the train station in Birmingham. So i'm sure you can appreciate my attitude to the public transport system here in the UK!

Anyway, getting back to the subject. Whilst the gains in milage can only be a good thing in this 'new' Prius I cant help think that manufacturers are hopelessly over engineering cars, particularly with these hybrids. I for one wouldnt want to have to stump up the gargage bill for a Prius if it ever broke down. I also think that perhaps manufacturers should be looking a bit further to the future rather than focusing on what is to all intents and purposes a stop gap measure as a means of propulsion.

RE: very promising
By TomZ on 5/31/2007 7:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
Hybrids are an excellent transition technology to something else. It preserves and optimizes all we know about IC engines, utilizes existing energy distribution infrastructure and fuels, is readily achievable by all automakers, and is generally acceptable to consumers. Such a transition could take 10, 20, 30 years or more, depending on what follows to cause its eventual demise. I think the R&D is therefore worth it.

Thinking about alternatives, how long do you think it would take to transition the existing automotive fleet worldwide to hydrogen, for example? Answer: decades at best. (That, of course, assumes that hydrogen makes any sense, which it doesn't.)

RE: very promising
By thatguy39 on 5/31/2007 10:22:36 PM , Rating: 2
A part of that garage bill goes to just plain ripoffs... the auto companies need to lean on the government to crack down on garages, both large and small on bill you for stuff that isnt wrong. everytime i turn on the local news its "Guess what? The same garages we caught ripping you off last week, we caught ripping you off again... THIS week."

RE: very promising
By dude on 6/5/2007 12:24:59 AM , Rating: 2
"Honey, the contractions aren't all that bad. Besides, I'm sure someone will give up their seat if they see you in labor."

RE: very promising
By TomZ on 5/31/2007 2:53:59 PM , Rating: 3
if you drive that little, why not use public transportation or rental cars occasionally?

Public transport is not viable is most of the U.S. It is only useful downtown in major cities, and only reaches out of downtown in a few of the larger cities. The rest of the country is practically untouched by the type of public transportation that could take you to work or to do your shopping.

Rental cars? How do you get to the rental car place? The closest one to where I live is probably 20 miles. Totally impractical.

RE: very promising
By Rockjock51 on 5/31/2007 8:25:46 PM , Rating: 3
Pick Enterprise, we'll pick you up!

RE: very promising
By ADDAvenger on 5/31/2007 11:07:17 PM , Rating: 2
Motorcycles/scooters FTW!

It's not hard to find a nice bike that gets 50+ mpg for under $3K, and I'm not talking about a 50cc that does 35mph, I mean a 250cc that does 85 or so.

RE: very promising
By blaster5k on 5/31/2007 4:26:27 PM , Rating: 2
One of the things that people miss about public transportation (and something I didn't even realize until reading an issue of US News and World Report a couple weeks ago) is that is extremely expensive to operate even in densely populated areas. Every public transit system is heavily subsidized to keep the cost manageable. If the capacity were actually increased to a level where it could support everybody using it (as opposed to the paltry <5% of people who use it now), the cost would be completely impractical and I have feeling you might expend more energy trying to accommodate everyone's routes.

As much as I'd love to see public transit work (I use it quite a bit myself), it's really not a total solution right now even in the city. In the suburbs or rural areas, forget it.

RE: very promising
By BMFPitt on 5/31/2007 4:57:06 PM , Rating: 2
If the capacity were actually increased to a level where it could support everybody using it (as opposed to the paltry <5% of people who use it now), the cost would be completely impractical and I have feeling you might expend more energy trying to accommodate everyone's routes.
It's because of how few people utilize it that it's so heavily subsidized. It costs dramatically less per fare to operate a full bus than one with 4 passengers.

RE: very promising
By blaster5k on 5/31/2007 7:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
That's not entirely true. Buses are probably the cheapest form of public transit overall, but it's not quite so simple as getting more people to use it. It's never realistic that full ridership will be reached at all times on a bus. At certain points on a given trip, the number of passengers will be much higher than at other times (ie. during rush hour and near the end destinations). You can't discontinue service too much outside of rush hour or you'll leave people out to dry and they'll be forced to use cars, but it will be tough to get full buses and still run regularly enough to accommodate everyone. And as you expand routes to actually give everyone a chance to use public transit to reach their destinations, you will put resources into less popular routes that will never reach capacity.

I'm not wild about the buses around my area since they're slow as hell. The routes meander all over the place and contend with the same traffic as you would with a car -- plus the stops. My car's small and efficient, so I don't know how much I'd gain a lot of the time.

If taking a bus adds a bunch of miles to people's trips, I wonder at what point the bus is actually less efficient energy-wise than taking a separate vehicle on a more direct route.

I think the key problem in public transit is finding an efficient way to let everyone go from their point A to point B. There are so many combinations of A and B that it's a tough problem to solve.

RE: very promising
By jmunjr on 5/31/2007 5:25:07 PM , Rating: 1
The public transportation in my city has surveillance cameras. Sorry, I'll guzzle gas for eternity before I am subjected to that crap.

RE: very promising
By gradoman on 5/31/2007 5:38:10 PM , Rating: 2
That has to be the lamest excuse ever. What do you have to hide? Now, if you were in an accident wherein someone hit your car and took off your legs, you'd hope a witness, possibly a camera, caught the person's face and plate numbers wouldn't you? The camera in the bus isn't there to invade your privacy, but for the purpose of security.

RE: very promising
By jmunjr on 6/1/2007 2:37:44 AM , Rating: 2
That's the most typical and lamest response to privacy concerns. Not being under surveillance is worth my life. Go take a history lesson and then get back to us..

RE: very promising
By Lemonjellow on 6/1/2007 1:59:24 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure about this person, but I only drive 10 miles round trip to one of my jobs and about 12 miles round trip to my other job (7 days a week exempting major holidays like Xmas and National-Gorge-yourself-on-Turkey-Day, but I don't ride the bus because;

A. Buses don't run here at 3am...
B. I like driving fast when nobody is on the road really early...

and finally

C. The nearest bus stop is 6 miles away from my home directly in front of my workplace :- )

In retrospect I guess I could ride a bike, but then I'm lazy and riding a bike at 3am 6 miles to clock in and unload a dusty semi in 78F+ heat would suck, but I would be so in shape after a month that I could quit my job and be an underwear model... hmm... options...

RE: very promising
By ksherman on 5/31/2007 11:35:08 AM , Rating: 2
Just rev the engine once or twice a week :-). I too would need to buy gas far less often with a plug-in model.

RE: very promising
By Souka on 5/31/2007 12:01:00 PM , Rating: 2
There's a number of shops in Cali that will convert your Hybrid card to a Hybrid/EV model.... resulting in no need for gas if you drive less than 80mi/day or double that if you can plug in at work.

Problem is... u save $1000 year on gas, but spend $5-7000 on the upgrade that voids any warranty and you're "assuming" you will:

1. have the car in 5+ years
2. not get in a serious accident
3. not have a major breakdown as a result of the modification
4. you have $5k+ to spend NOW
5. you couldn't better invest the $5k elsewhere

So many cons against hybrids.... but hey, you're spiffy if you have one... right?

RE: very promising
By qrhetoric on 5/31/2007 2:08:40 PM , Rating: 2
The resale value is increased as well, so you can save money even if you own for less than that.

Suppose the cost of the tech increases the new car value by $5000. It will increase the resale value of the car after one year by $4000, which means that if you own the car for 1 year, and you save $1000 on gas, you will lose $1000 on the decrease in value of the tech and break even.

RE: very promising
By d0gb0y on 5/31/2007 3:17:25 PM , Rating: 2
My question there is how many kilowatts does it take to fully charge?

RE: very promising
By Hoser McMoose on 5/31/2007 5:31:50 PM , Rating: 2
Lithium Ion batteries at least are quite efficient at charging. So, for example, the 7kWh battery mentioned in this article would probably need less than 8kWh of electricity to charge. At typical electricity costs of $0.12/kWh that will cost you about $0.90 for 60 miles.

As for how many kilowatts that works out to, well that's simply a matter of how fast your charger is. However if you were to use a 115V circuit and 10amps for 1.15kW (easily handle through standard wiring) you're looking at between 6 and 7 hours for a full charge.

RE: very promising
By GlassHouse69 on 6/2/2007 2:02:25 AM , Rating: 2
well, in ny its like .25 for a kilowatt I do think.

it also depends on how much you use, the more the use the less it costs!

also, 220/240 volt would be a lot better on long island because amperage is half so price is less as well (doesnt make sense, but thats long island)

be cool if they had a 240 volt model. it really shouldnt be dinking on 115. could power up super fast, like 2 hours!

80 miles is a lot of driving around a town or to one location. I mean, I never drive farther than like 15-20 miles away around here.

RE: very promising
By MikeMc on 6/2/2007 9:07:01 AM , Rating: 2
Based on Hoser McMoose's post ...

"Lithium Ion batteries at least are quite efficient at charging. So, for example, the 7kWh battery mentioned in this article would probably need less than 8kWh of electricity to charge. At typical electricity costs of $0.12/kWh that will cost you about $0.90 for 60 miles."

... it seems that for $3 (about the cost of one gallon of gas) you get about 200 miles. From my wallet's perspective isn't that the same as 200 mpg or where have I gone astray?

RE: very promising
By BladeVenom on 5/31/2007 7:24:38 PM , Rating: 2
you're spiffy if you have one... right?

Change spiffy to smug.

RE: very promising
By skeptical on 6/1/2007 12:24:09 AM , Rating: 2
This will do absolutely SQUAT for the enviroment. The energy required to charge a hybrid came from somewhere, and in the USA 49% of electicity is generated from coal plants with relatively low efficiency. The amount of CO2 produced by the powerplants to make the electicity to charge your hybrid will be in the order of 500 - 600g per kwh after accounting for tranmission losses and charging inefficiencies. In most circumstances it will exceed the amount of C02 produced by just using a regular hybrid.If you charge it at night it will be even worse as the percentage of electricity generation that comes from coal goes up at night. If you live in Quebec where 97% of their electricity is from clean sources it might make sense but for most of the USA this just shifts the carbon production into someone else's back yard.

RE: very promising
By Surak on 6/1/2007 1:06:52 AM , Rating: 3
First of all, the coal plants are more efficient than producing gas, shipping gas to stations, and burning it in small batches in your car under constantly changing conditions.

Second, Producing gas, shipping gas, and burning it in your car produces plenty of CO2.

Thirdly, what about the 51% of your power that is generated NOT from coal fired power plants? In the perfect extreme, that cuts off half of the inefficiencies you attribute to power from coal plants.

But most of all .... it is far easier, cheaper, and more efficient to collect and sequester CO2 in bulk at a coal fired power plant than it would be to collect it from your car's exhaust, drop it off at collection points, and ship it on to sequester stations.


RE: very promising
By oTAL on 6/1/2007 7:35:15 AM , Rating: 3
That would have been a great post without the last line...

RE: very promising
By Athena on 6/4/2007 9:14:59 PM , Rating: 2
This will do absolutely SQUAT for the enviroment.
Absolutely untrue.
The energy required to charge a hybrid came from somewhere, and in the USA 49% of electicity is generated from coal plants with relatively low efficiency.
But in Southern California -- the area with the most to gain from lower emissions -- there are no coal fired power plants so it's a net win for them. That and the "too short range" arguments don't hold up when you look at the areas where gas prices are highest and consumers would be most likely to use these vehicles.

Which is really??
By Acanthus on 5/31/2007 10:56:18 AM , Rating: 1
MPG ratings on hybrids are very misleading because of the way the EPA measures them.

120MPG is more like 70 actual, which is still very good, but hugely misleading none the less.

Very cool if we actually see these cars on the road soon.

RE: Which is really??
By Brandon Hill on 5/31/2007 10:59:25 AM , Rating: 4
The new 2008 EPA estimates take into account the "hybrid MPG myth"

If you notice, the Prius and other hybrids took a BIG hit with the new 2008 ratings.

The only question I have is whether LTC is citing 2007 estimates or 2008 estimates for the 125MPG claim.

RE: Which is really??
By cobalt42 on 5/31/2007 12:08:05 PM , Rating: 4
This is a "retrofitted Toyota Prius with plug-in capabilities", right? If I understand correctly, that means that it was plugged into a wall and the batteries fully charged before testing, with no concern for how empty the batteries were by the time testing was finished.

If anything, a plug-in model exacerbates the hybrid myth. Stick enough batteries in the thing, and you asymptotically approach infinite MPG. I just don't see how increasing battery capacity will, over the long term, improve the efficiency of the car; you've just substituted wall-socket battery charging for the gas-engine battery charging.

RE: Which is really??
By GoatMonkey on 5/31/2007 2:03:12 PM , Rating: 2
It becomes dependent on the source of the electricity coming through your wall socket. If the power coming from your wall socket is from a clean source, then maybe it is better. At this point though, it is most likely not.

RE: Which is really??
By cobalt42 on 5/31/2007 2:52:21 PM , Rating: 2
Granted. I guess my big point: miles per gallon is not a meaningful measurement of the efficiency of a car once you're allowed to plug it into a wall -- you can rig the system to provide any press-worthy MPG figure you want.

RE: Which is really??
By marvdmartian on 5/31/2007 2:59:45 PM , Rating: 2
EXACTLY!! I don't know how they can claim 125mpg on this thing. Okay, maybe between the batteries and the gasoline tank, you might see an alleged average that high, but it fails to take into effect that, most likely, a fossil fuel was burned to create the very electricity you pulled from your wall socket, in order to obtain 125mpg!!

I mean, hell.......that's like me saying that my Nissan Frontier pickup truck, that averages 20mpg, will get 120mpg if all I ever do is drive downhill, and let it coast down the hill in neutral! Maybe in MC Escher's world that's possible, but in reality, the reason that my mileage skyrocketed is because I've introduced another factor in calculating the mileage, without taking into effect the opposite the case of my truck, that you can't ever drive always downhill, in the case of the "plug-in hybrid", that you can't count the extra miles you obtain from plugging it in, towards the mileage you get from the gasoline engine.

Just seems like smoke & mirrors to me, to make them feel better about their hybrid hybrid!

RE: Which is really??
By Surak on 6/1/2007 2:07:58 AM , Rating: 2
wow, you're completely and utterly blind aren't you?

There's no point explaining the extreme error of your ways. You just won't get it.

But, I'm a nice guy, so to summarize it .. you don't like the idea of plugin hybrids therefore you are unwilling to see the significant benefits of using them instead of ICE cars. You are unwilling to take the time to understand how plugin hybrids work, and you are unwilling to take the time to understand the benefits of centralized energy production compared to millions of the local energy producers burning gas in today's cars.

RE: Which is really??
By GoatMonkey on 6/1/2007 8:20:22 AM , Rating: 2
It's not an error. We're just pointing out that this is only a piece in the puzzle. To make this truly valuable technology, other improvements need to be made. But you are right that clean centralized energy production is the largest missing piece. This is a nice step though, assuming these new batteries are safe to be used in a car.

RE: Which is really??
By PlasmaBomb on 6/1/2007 8:16:26 AM , Rating: 2
You will get better gas mileage if you leave your car in gear and coast down the hill (at least with a manual). The forward momentum of the car will turn the engine and the spiffy electronics will smugly inject less fuel than if they were keeping the engine idling.


RE: Which is really??
By Hoser McMoose on 5/31/2007 5:47:56 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think the change affected Hybrid's specifically so much as it did fuel-efficient vehicles in general.

The Honda Civic (non hybrid), for example, saw a 12% drop in it's numbers, same as the Toyota Corolla. The Yaris saw almost a 14% drop. This is very close to the 16% drop of the Prius.

Meanwhile the Toyota Highlander Hybrid saw only a 10% drop in it's numbers, similar to Camry (non-Hybrid) which gets comparable fuel economy.

The vehicles that saw the smallest drop in their fuel economy numbers were those that already had pretty poor fuel economy. The gas-guzzling BMW M5 only lost 7%, similar to many large SUVs.

RE: Which is really??
By soydios on 5/31/2007 11:42:13 AM , Rating: 2
I know a friend how drives a Generation 1 Prius. He gets 40-45 MPG, depending on how he drives, as measured by both the car's software and dividing the change on the odometer by gallons purchased at the pump.

RE: Which is really??
By PlasmaBomb on 6/1/2007 8:18:22 AM , Rating: 2
Yes but 40-45 MPG isn't brilliant from a 1.5 engine, at least by european standards.

Time for the flock to move in a new direction?
By klstay on 5/31/2007 11:07:06 AM , Rating: 2
I continue to be saddened but definitely NOT surprised at all the ongoing excitement over hybrids, fuel cell, and 'corn burnin' cars.

Hybrids ameliorate things on several fronts, but only be degrees. They still depend on foreign oil, will remain relatively expensive for some time, and the emissions are much better but still nothing to write home about.

Fuel cells, when considering the full chain from energy creation, transmission etc. all the way to mile driven are going to be WEAK alternatives for a LONG time. Fuel cells will work great as stationary devices; they simply do not belong in cars for the foreseeable future.

Burn that corn, boys! This is so stupid I have a hard time knowing where to begin. So I will not bother. If you are a fan of welfare (especially for corporations) then I am sure you are giddy with the momentum behind this lunacy.

So, I complain about those three, but do I have an alternative? Hmmm... 50% of all US households have natural gas. A totally safe home fueling station is $2500 after incentives. Natural gas is a completely domestic alternative to foreign oil. We have, by the most conservative estimates, at least a 60 year supply. CNG cars qualify as PZEV which the hybrids do NOT. Natural gas costs between 1/2 to 1/5 as much per gallon these days as regular gas.

By Shadowmaster625 on 5/31/2007 11:37:41 AM , Rating: 2
Natural gas wont be cheap forever. Hell my winter gas bills have already gone up by 400% since 2000.

By FITCamaro on 5/31/2007 11:55:22 AM , Rating: 2
Natural gas also provides far less "bang" than gasoline. Thats why it hasn't taken off in cars. You have to burn more to get the same effect. Same with ethanol.

I'm not against either one. But they both require more to be used. While you might argue that you don't care about acceleration, many do. I don't like having to floor it just to get decent acceleration out of a car.

RE: Time for the flock to move in a new direction?
By TomZ on 5/31/2007 7:20:24 PM , Rating: 2
Natural gas wont be cheap forever. Hell my winter gas bills have already gone up by 400% since 2000.

This because of increased demand due to additional electrical generation plants. Too bad we can't build more nuclear power plants, since this would also have the effect of decreasing natural gas prices. Problem is, the energy industry has figured out that consumers are willing to pay a lot for energy, more than in the past, so there is no incentive for them to increase capacity.

By Surak on 6/1/2007 1:13:12 AM , Rating: 2
no .. it is because natural gas is sold based on it's energy content ... NOT based on production costs, and mostly not based on supply and demand of the gas itself.

If other energy products go up in price, the price of natural gas goes up so that you are paying nearly the same for the same amount of energy.

This was the official story given to the people of Vancouver Island, Canada by the gas company when natural gas became widely available there when a pipeline was installed from the mainland 15 or 20 years ago.

By Hoser McMoose on 5/31/2007 6:06:04 PM , Rating: 2
Natural gas production has peaked and is in rapid decline in North America. The two biggest sources of Natural gas are Russia and our really good friends, Iran.

The United States, and to a slightly less extent Canada, are facing a pretty imminent natural gas shortage. This has been HUGELY heightened by NIMBYism. There have been SEVERAL natural gas docking ports blocked for this reason throughout the United States, on both coasts.

By clawhammah on 5/31/2007 8:36:40 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry to burst your bubble, but both the Civic Hybrid and Prius are both AT-PZEV vehicles.

Not too bad...
By Jeffree on 5/31/2007 11:49:18 AM , Rating: 2
The "big hit" that hybrids took is also not an exact science. My wife for instance is still getting 53mpg in her '07 Prius, which is only an 11.7% drop from the old 2007 rating. This puts it right on par with the drop that most non-hybrids took. If this company claims to get 125mpg then I would think that at least 100mpg is possible even if they were using the old standards of measurement.

RE: Not too bad...
By masher2 on 5/31/2007 1:07:07 PM , Rating: 3
The MPG of a plug-in hybrid is heavily dependent on one assumption-- how far you drive between recharges. If you have a 40 mile range and you drive 20 miles, you use zero gas. If, however, you drive several hundred miles, your savings are very little.

This means that MPG figures for such cars is even more of of a numbers game than the standard EPA ratings, which only have to make a judgement as to what constitutes a "normal" driving style.

RE: Not too bad...
By Spivonious on 5/31/2007 4:07:42 PM , Rating: 2
Although with a plug-in, doesn't the engine always run in a "charging mode"? So even after the initial plug-in charge runs out, the car is still running on the electric motor. Therefore the MPG rating still makes sense.

RE: Not too bad...
By cobalt42 on 5/31/2007 4:24:04 PM , Rating: 3
Not necessarily -- it depends on how long you drive it. If you don't drive it very long, the battery never gets low enough to need charging by the gas engine. This makes the MPG depend mostly on simply how large the batteries are, not on how efficient the entire propulsion system is. In other words, if gasoline was not used to power the car for the first 50 miles, it's misleading to use that information to say you have a car with infinite miles per gallon - the car was propelled based on the energy of something other than gas.

This doesn't mean that larger batteries can't provide some efficiency boost to the system. But it won't double or triple it to 125MPG, as seems to be claimed.

Excited about this technology
By Mitch101 on 5/31/2007 11:10:47 AM , Rating: 3
While I am excited about this technology it all comes back to price for me. I want to see more hybrids prices fall in line with thier gas engine counterparts. When that happens I will certainly be on board.

Government tax breaks are not a good incentive to buy a hybrid because I got screwed on a government tax break when I donated a van worth at least 5K and was then only able to deduct $500.00 on my taxes because they changed the law before the end of the year. $500 deduction comes out to something like $200.00 return. I would have sooner sold the vehicle and gave them the cash instead.

RE: Excited about this technology
By TimberJon on 5/31/2007 1:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
Donations always screw you because everyone wants their cut. You'd be a dope to think that the churches and mainstream-religions actually send all donations to help people. Everyone wants their cut.

RE: Excited about this technology
By oTAL on 6/1/2007 7:47:45 AM , Rating: 2
Dude, you may be right on some situations, but that's a mighty grim vision of the world and I know some great people who would feel offended by a comment like that.
Do not undervalue the great *free* community work some people do. Some of those people actually care a lot for their ideals and give plenty of time and effort for a cause they believe in.

Exploding Prius?
By pnyffeler on 5/31/07, Rating: 0
RE: Exploding Prius?
By Krashnicki on 5/31/2007 1:12:05 PM , Rating: 4
Just don't let Sony make the batteries. LOL

RE: Exploding Prius?
By darkpaw on 5/31/2007 1:52:06 PM , Rating: 2
I'd pay to see that

The gush from the Major Oils
By TimberJon on 5/31/2007 1:15:27 PM , Rating: 2
I work very closely with the major oil companies as we provide the underground containment products that are installed in their gas stations. The inside word is they arent pushing against it too much because increases in hybrid sales wont damage the franchises. The thought behind it is that 1) if enough people go hybrid and miss the power, the sales of cars with larger liter or non-hybrid technologies will bounce back. 2) as E-85 or higher fuels catch on and the supply lines are widened enough to meet demand, there will still be a need for liquid fuel containment and distribution, which wont damage franchises. and possibly 3) If cars goes electric, hybrid fuel, gaseous or other fuel type there will still be a need for distribution and containment, so the franchises wont be damaged. 4) if a non-liquid fuel type is used in the future, service stations will be more economic to build, will not require as much regulation per state and federal mandates (granted new ones may be drawn, but still will be easier to adhere to) and the amount of underground components and installation time will be reduced, therefore resulting in lower installation and maintenance costs per site.

Its likely that they will stay in business even if the oil drys up. Over time.. maybe. Suddenly, bye bye corps.

RE: The gush from the Major Oils
By RogueSpear on 5/31/2007 2:29:49 PM , Rating: 2
1) if enough people go hybrid and miss the power, the sales of cars with larger liter or non-hybrid technologies will bounce back.

I really don't see this happening, speaking from personal experience. And it kind of sounds more like wishful thinking than a real projection. Points 2, 3, and 4 I agree with.

A sort of off topic question and perhaps you aren't allowed to discuss this, but I am curious if your company is specifically upgrading the design of these containment products to have dual use. Perhaps there are different requirements for different sorts of fuels. Admittedly I'm not too familiar with the topic of mass fuel storage so if this is a completely idiotic question feel free to ignore it.

RE: The gush from the Major Oils
By saechaka on 5/31/2007 5:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
look at what this former cia staff is saying about the prius.

125 MPG
By timmiser on 5/31/2007 6:51:25 PM , Rating: 2
125 Miles per gallon. If it is all electric, a Gallon of what??

RE: 125 MPG
By TomZ on 5/31/2007 7:22:59 PM , Rating: 2
My guess is the calculation is based on converting the electricity BTUs consumed to the equivalent quantity of gasoline.

RE: 125 MPG
By Groovester on 6/1/2007 12:53:33 AM , Rating: 2
It seems that many are missing the point. An increase in the amount of electricity that can be stored in a battery enables the car to be driven farther before being recharged. I'm encouraged that lithium ion manufacturers have accomplished this increase, as it makes me more hopeful that Altair Nanotechnology will be able to do the same. According to, they have claimed that they will be able to double their car's range, to about 200 miles, by the end of '07 (Altair makes the LI batteries for Phoenix). Their cells are made without graphite and avoids the possibility of thermal runaway (they won't catch on fire). They can be recharged in as little as 10 minutes.

With a safe battery, range matching that of an internal combustion engine auto and quick refueling, there really isn't any reason not to return to the electric auto. It's much easier to control emissions from centralized electric plants (generated using switchgrass?) than 200 million exhaust pipes.
If the US is going to subsidize the cost of energy (as it has for gasoline all these years), we may as well encourage a technology which could actually slow, if not stop, global warming. With economies of scale, the cost per mile could be less expensive than any other car.

Et tu, Exxon?
By XesBOX on 5/31/2007 11:28:10 AM , Rating: 1
I wonder how long big gas companies will push litigation against technology like this. At some point our efforts to move on to better more efficient fuel alternatives won't be just some kind of experiment in economics.

RE: Et tu, Exxon?
By Snooky13 on 5/31/2007 12:13:57 PM , Rating: 2
I hate to sound like a paranoid conspiracy theorist, but we'll not likely be seeing this technology on the road anytime soon, and when you do it will only get something like 60-70 MPG as someone suggested earlier. I'm sure the technology is sound (meaning 100+ MPG), but I'd bet a king ransom that for a number of (inset subversive reasons here) it just wont see the light of day until 'we're ready' for it... Just too much too soon

RE: Et tu, Exxon?
By TomZ on 5/31/2007 7:08:44 PM , Rating: 2
That makes no sense - if it were production ready today, you'd see tons of interest and Toyota would have long wait lists to get them.

How did they come up with this mileage figure?
By 91TTZ on 5/31/2007 1:20:21 PM , Rating: 3
I don't see how changing batteries in the car is going to increase its fuel efficiency. I can see it storing more energy on a charge so the car can run longer on battery power, but once the batteries run out the engine needs to charge them back up to full capacity, requiring more gas to be burned when compared to charging batteries of lesser capacity. It would tend to even out.

In the end, it's the engine that's converting gasoline into electricity, and all other factors remaining the same (being in the same car, driving habits remaining the same, tested under the same conditions), it's the efficiency of the engine that will determine the fuel economy.

I have a feeling that they're misleading the public with these figures.

For example, they might be starting off with a fully charged battery and running the car 65 miles on battery power, then another 60 miles on gas power. Then they could say that they drove 125 miles on a gallon of gas, conveniently ignoring the fact that fuel was previously burned in order to charge the battery before it was placed in the car. Until I see it rated using the new fuel economy standards, I'm going to mark this up as your typical misleading corporate advertising.

By darkangelism on 5/31/2007 2:00:49 PM , Rating: 2
well theortically they could charge the car on electricity generated from alternate methods, solar, hydro, nuclear, i doubt they did, but that is how plug in hybrids become more efficent.

Current hybrids in the long run can be cheaper then normal cars, but you need to drive a lot. 100,000 miles is about the break even point on the added cost just on the cost of gas, though that is going down as gas prices go up, and doesnt take into account tax breaks, less brake maintence.

I used to work for that guy
By PandaBear on 5/31/2007 2:46:07 PM , Rating: 2
Andy Frank was one of my professor back in Davis and in the FutureCar project. He used to throw chalks at people who fall asleep in his class.

We have done 80MPG in a Taurus in 96, but the cost is around $500k. 125MPG with that battery is very reasonable, the problem is, how much would it cost.

RE: I used to work for that guy
By 91TTZ on 5/31/2007 3:13:25 PM , Rating: 2
"125MPG with that battery is very reasonable, the problem is, how much would it cost."

Substantiate that claim. How can you say it is "very reasonable" to get 125 mpg with that battery- what is charging that battery, what's powering the car? A battery is only electricity storage. A powerplant such as an engine needs to turn a generator to produce the electricity. You're telling me that by storing more electricity (produced by the same engine in the same car) that the same package is going to get double the mileage on the same amount of fuel?

What about the lithium shortage?
By Surak on 6/1/2007 1:23:25 AM , Rating: 2
Funny, I didnt see anyone post on the fact that Lithium is a very uncommon element that must be mined from the ground.

There isn't enough lithium accessible on this planet to replace a high percentage of the cars on the road with lithium battery cars. The laptop and cell phone battery market already consumes most of the world's lithium production.

And of course we all know how much people hate the mining industry. Who wants another hole in the ground? ... (spoken while in their metal cars, wearing their gold jewelry, using their metal containing ipods)

By andrinoaa on 6/1/2007 3:01:40 AM , Rating: 1
Relaxe guys, the gas consumption is miles traveled divided by gallons used. If you travel less you use less. WHO CARES how much you personally travel! It's irrelevant to the arguement. DOH, A V8 CHEV DRIVER THINKS A PRIUS USES TOO MUCH FUEL, give us a break!
As to Lithium batteries, why has Toyotal only incorporated 7 kw? Surely 20-50kw would give you more range? Must be a size or weight issue.
Why has Toyota not used a new high spec deisel engine. It could almost double the benefits!
As to Hybrides using more resources to produce, I never knew a 3ton chev used very little resources to manufacture! LOL ( Maybe less brain power to design )

Anyway, all this hot air. Most car buyers are voting with their wallets and down sizing. Maybe not as fast as some would like, buts it's on a roll. As the price of fuel continues its spiral, so the trend will pick up.

I guess most people want to do the right thing but are sceptical of claims that are rather hopeful, having seen this shit before. However, guys, " don't look a gifthorse in the mouth". This is an encouraging trend in motoring that can only get better

No Batteries Needed
By patgill on 6/6/2007 9:40:25 PM , Rating: 2
UltraCapacitors are improving all the time, higher power, less energy storage than batteries but faster charging, longer lasting, safer and lower metals/base ingredients requirement. Overcharged they vent water vapour not acid, left uncharged they do not degrade. A country like the US could overdose on wind power in the interior take the hit on delivery to the cities and put a charging meter on every parking meter/space. For larger Americans a Fiat500 sized vehicle could be engineered as a single seater urban runabout.

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