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Toyota eQ
Toyota plans to sell about 100 of its new eQ electric vehicle

Toyota is intent on bringing its eQ EV – the electric version of the Scion iQ -- to the market despite the fact that electric vehicles aren't selling well overall. Toyota competitor Nissan has had a very difficult time selling its electric Leaf EV in the United States and has so far failed to come close to sales goals. By contrast, General Motors has found some success with its extended range electric vehicle the Volt
Toyota says that it only wants to sell about 100 of its electric eQ hybrids in the United States and Japan in what it calls an extremely limited release. Toyota had previously expected to sell several thousand eQ vehicles per year when the electric version of the company's iQ mini car was announced in 2010.
"Two years later, there are many difficulties," Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota's vice chairman and the engineer who oversees vehicle development, told reporters on Monday.
Those difficulties undoubtedly involve the fact that consumers are staying away from electric vehicles. Toyota has also dropped plans for a second electric vehicle from its lineup reports Reuters.
"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, who spearheaded Toyota's development of the Prius hybrid in the 1990s.

Toyota eQ interior
While Toyota is setting its sights very low for the eQ electric vehicle, the company is more bullish on hybrid vehicles. Toyota reports that it plans to launch 21 new hybrid vehicles over the next three years. Toyota also says that it also wants to have a fuel cell vehicle available by 2015. The fuel cell vehicle will be powered by hydrogen. The biggest challenge that vehicle is likely to face is the availability of hydrogen as a fuel source, which is virtually non-existent.
Toyota says that 14 of the new hybrids will be completely new. We can expect that the others will be hybrid versions of existing gasoline-powered vehicles.

Sources: Reuters, Detroit News

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By Pirks on 9/24/2012 1:53:09 PM , Rating: 4
New 4K TVs 25 grand, new smartphones $600 a pop and $200 a year later, new fancy electric cars with $100k a pop. That's just new tech - always limited and uberexpensive in the beginning but always winning in the end. With proper scale of cheap energy production (not nuclear hostile luddite country like the US but nuclear friendly like China or France) and proper scale of cheap battery production (China) electric cars are poised to win. It's just a matter of developing infrastructure - a few multigigawatt nuclear plants here and there, electric high current fast chargers everywhere, possibly even swappable batteries sometimes if you REALLY need FAST recharging and willing to pay extra for quick battery swap - and you can say buy to oil burning pollution, oil changes and high maintenance costs for many combustion engine subsystems that will go the way of dinosaur - lubrication, exhaust, catalytic converters etc. and say hi to the super flat torque curve with plenty of oomph on tap - feat that does not exist in combustion engines. And the lack of noise too! Yummy!

By geddarkstorm on 9/24/2012 1:57:47 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, that all sounds good, but you overlook the real problem with electric vehicles. The problem highlighted in this article by its glaring omission: drive rage.

I don't see anything on the horizon but the fluoride batteries that might be able to alleviate that problem. Hydrogen on the other hand sidesteps all of that, it just has the problem of storage and delivery/release.

So, as it is, all our next gen car technologies are still crippled by major disadvantages over the tried and true combustion engine.

By StevoLincolnite on 9/24/2012 2:15:52 PM , Rating: 3
Considering we had electric cars (And Hybrids) over a century ago, I'm surprised we still have issues.

Battery tech hasn't really evolved that much at all, lithium ion was the last big one...
I think pushing towards aluminum-ion is the best bet, aluminum is the 3rd most abundant element on the planet so it's cheap and readily available.
Plus, aluminum-ion has a potential energy density of 1,000 W-hr/kg compared with 400 W-hr/kg for Lithium-ion.

So I would like to see a push towards that direction than something more exotic like Hydrogen.

By EVdriver on 9/27/2012 10:32:43 AM , Rating: 2
So I would like to see a push towards that direction than something more exotic like Hydrogen.

Don't hold your breath.
Hydrogen will never be a viable option as a ground transportation fuel for passenger cars. It's unsustainable, inefficient and therefore much more expensive compared to electricity.

By Pirks on 9/24/2012 2:19:05 PM , Rating: 2
glaring omission: drive rage
Tesla roadster has "drive rage" of 300 miles or so, consider it solved. The price will have to go down from 100k though but this is a matter of scale and production refinement. Of course the first ever electric car with such a large battery will cost a fortune, just like the first car ever of the first 4K TV ever of anything else first ever. This is absolutely normal for the new tech.

By lennylim on 9/24/2012 2:46:39 PM , Rating: 3
That's a long time to remain angry indeed :)

The issue is not just with limited range, it is also the time it takes to recharge the battery. Most people balk at that without thinking through the use case. For commuting, it's a wonderful car even with the limitations today.

By Pirks on 9/24/2012 6:52:41 PM , Rating: 2
Charging time is not an issue at all if the car has 300 mile range like Tesla roadster and there are overnight chargers or just 120V plugs in parking lots everywhere, in every major hotel AT LEAST. Your range problem becomes an impediment ONLY if you drive MORE THAN 300 miles EVERY DAY WITHOUT STOPPING to recharge. That means the electric cars won't work only for taxis and trucks in the foreseeable future, but these car categories are already going electric via hybrid drive. I asked one taxi driver how much gas savings he got after he replaced his Crown Victoria with Toyota Prius. He said he used to fill up the tank every week, now he does it every month. So for him electrified hybrid car is already saving quite a few $$$ every week. And that's with really ancient low end cheapo NiMH batteries Toyota uses. Now imagine Prius in, say, 10 years where something as efficient and light/dense as LiPo battery is inside, for the price lower than current cheap NiMH battery. See what I mean?

By titanmiller on 9/24/2012 7:03:05 PM , Rating: 2
There is no way a taxi driver fills up once per week/month. Maybe it was once per day/week.

By Pirks on 9/24/2012 9:13:38 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah so maybe he said it used to be once every two days and now the interval between fill-ups went up to a week, something like that. No surprise at all, look up MPG of Crown Vic in city driving and then compare with Prius - it's like Prius is consuming 3x-4x less fuel per mile, with the same passenger and cargo hauling ability and the price that's essentially the same as any other middle end family sedan. Paint me impressed.

By Mint on 9/24/2012 9:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
Everyday? No, it's an issue if you go farther 300 miles only a few times a year, and that's true for almost everyone. It's part of the car culture in the US. Otherwise, the Model S is just a secondary car, and a very expensive one at that.

If Elon replaced 70% of those batteries with a tiny engine and a generator, the car would:
A) cost far less
B) have unlimited range
C) still have 75+ miles of EV range, sufficient to let the car do 80%+ of its yearly mileage without gas.

By Spuke on 9/24/2012 4:23:21 PM , Rating: 2
The price will have to go down from 100k though but this is a matter of scale and production refinement.
Do you know how long it takes tech from a 100k car to get down to what you guys consider affordable (the magic $20k range)? With the super slow adoption of EV's (if you can call it that), it's not going to be anytime soon. Seriously, all jokes aside, current EV's are not being purchased in enough numbers to get the tech down in price. I have no plans at all to purchase one within the next 10 years and I'm in the target range that needs to buy these in droves so it gets cheaper later. That's not happening.

By Pirks on 9/24/2012 7:18:50 PM , Rating: 1
Ya I know it takes decades for the tech to propagate from F1 down to Kia Rio. So what? I did not say EVs will win tomorrow or next year, I said they will win EVENTUALLY, for pure economic reasons: 1) less complexity 2) less service 3) less waste like oil changes 4) more efficiency than ICE 5) clean nuclear energy production, no CO2 or any other harmful emissions 6) quiet, no noise 7) more fun to drive with perfect flat torque curve.

All these reasons cannot win like overnight. Manufacturing machinery takes baby steps as usual, it's always been like this. I wish cars were progressing as fast as semiconductors but alas, we need some kind of magic uberpowerful breakthrough for that, like self building nanomachines printing 3D details from atoms or some crazy shit like that, something that is order of magnitude more productive, efficient and CHEAP than the best 3D printing or automatic robotic based manufacturing lines we have now.

This stuff happens in decades or centuries. So yeah maybe EVs will win next century, so what? They will still EVENTUALLY throw ICE to where it belongs - the museum.

By tayb on 9/24/2012 9:33:22 PM , Rating: 2
First, the actual starting price on the Tesla models is $50k for 160 mile range up to $70k for the 300 mile range. Also, this is a "luxury" vehicle with luxury additions that drive the cost up. A better example would be the $35k Nissan Leaf with it's 100 mile range. It would cost approximately $12k to upgrade the battery pack to 300 mile range capacity. So we're talking about <$50k here, not $100k.

Second, the largest expense by far in any EV is the battery. If the 300 mile Leaf is $47k I would estimate that $35k of that is the battery with $12k being the total of all other materials (including R&D).

Third, there have been a number of breakthroughs this year alone that have the potential to halve or third (or better) the cost of batteries and increase capacity. If any one of these were to come to fruition that $35k battery cost could easily come down to $5 - $15k. That $47k car is suddenly a $17k - $27k car, exactly in that magical $20k range that we're shooting for. These breakthroughs aren't abstract distances in the future or pipe dreams, they're real things that are in the works right now and could potentially be commercialized within 5-7 years.

Finally, there is billions of dollars flowing in and out of battery research by governments, universities, and corporations all over the world. Lots of things need batteries and everyone wants cheaper batteries with higher capacity. Slow adoption of EVs isn't going to slow down research and development of advanced batteries.

I would also say it is good that the adoption rate is relatively slow. Our grid is "dumb" and needs to be a lot smarter and more built out before we could realistically sustain charging millions of electric vehicles every night. We also have to consider the economic impacts of mega industries either reinventing themselves or slowly fading out of existence. Slow build up is probably desirable.

By Dr of crap on 9/24/2012 3:19:47 PM , Rating: 2
While I am no Ev lover, they do have a niche.

And they will NOT replace gas powered cars for some time BECAUSE of range. You still need a gas car for extended driving.

BUT, you don't take an EV on a road trip of 300 plus miles!
EVs are for the small commuter, the city dweller, the retired couple to go shopping. They have a use, just not for the majority of users. And has been pointed out and can be seen from the cost of these things, you have to have money to have one!

By madtruths on 9/24/2012 8:45:05 PM , Rating: 2
you see the only problem with electrics, aside from batteries, is the range, though a tesla has a range of 300 miles, how do you think they achieved that range? not by driving even relatively lively. put your foot down and that range rating is kaput. and the ICE isnt going anywhere, I for one wont be watching all electric f1 cars... can anyone imagine a completely silent race track? I shudder at the thought.

By Spuke on 9/25/2012 10:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
Pirks, visit the Tesla forums (I have). You won't get anywhere near 300 mile range driving that Roadster in a spirited manner or even driving at freeway speeds. 200-ish miles is pretty typical with regular driving and under 100 miles when hammering it. Plenty of guys have run out of capacity hammering on their Roadsters. I have personally seen (and talked) to owners of these vehicles getting their cars towed because they ran them dead. None were angry BTW, it's just a toy for them and they were having fun.

By tayb on 9/24/2012 9:10:52 PM , Rating: 2
Sure, that all sounds good, but you overlook the real problem with electric vehicles. The problem highlighted in this article by its glaring omission: drive rage.

For me and a lot of people I talk to the issue is not driving range but lack of a place to charge it. I live in an apartment complex. There are a couple of EV charging spots on each floor of my parking garage but I can't rely on those being open. My daily commute is less than 40 miles. 100/charge is more than I could possibly need. My fiance drives a Prius and her driving range is closer to 700 miles so if we needed to take a long trip, we could.

The lease prices aren't all that bad either. Nissan advertises $219/month starting price for leases. If you own a house or have a reliable place to charge this thing, your daily commute is well below 100 miles, and you or someone in your family has an ICE vehicle I could definitely see a place for this. That is a lot of "ifs" though but still probably describes a few million potential buyers.

By Mint on 9/24/2012 10:22:12 PM , Rating: 2
Leases are where EVs/PHEVs will show their true cost. Their gas-saving ability doesn't go away nearly as fast as the car depreciates. Cars are worth around a 15% of their initial cost after 10 years, but an EV will still have 80% of the range that a new one did, likely reducing gas costs by 90%.

If you were looking at a used Volt vs. a well equipped used Cruze with 100k miles, the Volt could save you $800+ per year, and its combustion engine will only have operated for 20k miles. How much would that be worth to you? $4k? Then how much more would you be able to sell it for when you're done and the next buyer makes the same consideration? Another $3k?

By Mint on 9/24/2012 10:25:55 PM , Rating: 2
likely reducing gas costs by 90%.
I meant "likely reducing gas costs 90% as well as a new EV."

By titanmiller on 9/24/2012 6:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
I'm very excited about the prospect of electric cars in the coming decades. Battery charge time/longevity is still something to be determined.

By DockScience on 9/24/2012 8:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
In 1912, a Detroit Electric cost 2 1/2 times as much as a similar sized gas auto and got 100 miles to the charge.

In the 1990's a GM EV1 cost 2 1/2 times as much as a similar sized gas auto and got about 85 miles per charge.

In 2012, a Nissan Leaf costs 2 1/2 times as much as a similar sized gas auto and gets 85 miles to the charge (on a good day and not in hot or cold climates).

THIS "new" tech doesn't seem to be progressing on the same line as HDTV and smart phones.

Ok, good...
By Breathless on 9/24/2012 1:44:50 PM , Rating: 3
Now just completely redesign the outside to something that doesn't look like a blue turd and it'll be good.

RE: Ok, good...
By Nortel on 9/24/2012 3:59:14 PM , Rating: 2
They must do these designs to appease the gas conglomerates. Look at most of the mainstream hybrid/electric vehicles, they are appalling. I have always wondered why they couldn't take an existing sub-compact and simply make an electric version out of it...

RE: Ok, good...
By DockScience on 9/24/2012 10:24:12 PM , Rating: 2
Hello Exxon, here's our latest design. Is it BAD enough?
Let us know through the usual untraceable channels.

So what do you think about moon landings? Obama's birthplace? Aliens?

Plugin hybrids are where it's at
By Mint on 9/24/2012 1:56:49 PM , Rating: 2
We're not going to get a lot of sales for pure EVs when they have a virtual tether on it. Even the most expensive Tesla Model S basically limits you to not going anywhere beyond 125 miles from home, unless you get lucky with charging stations and timing in your travel plan. That's the antithesis of what a car represents.

Car makers have so much experience building hybrids. All they need is a bigger battery and charger to make a plugin, and they can leverage all the cost reductions they've already made. I think we're going to see that with Ford's C-Max and Fusion, and they'll erase the nonsense claim that a plugin has to cost $10k more than its ICE equivalent.

PHEVs just make too much sense. 80% of the gas-saving benefit of pure EVs and none of the drawbacks.

Clown Car
By btc909 on 9/24/2012 3:49:27 PM , Rating: 2
Another overpriced Clown Car that is small, expensive, and will have range issues for most buyers. These electric only vehicles are even easier to work on. You don't have all of the possible issues of a combustion engine. Transmissions generally don't fail especially in the short term. So what am I paying for? Something new or is the battery THAT expensive, if it is this is dead tech. The business to get into is aftermarket automotive batteries. You can keep an all electric car running for decades as long as you can keep the costs down by replacing individual battery cells.

By Trisped on 9/25/2012 5:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
The biggest challenge that vehicle is likely to face is the availability of hydrogen as a fuel source, which is virtually non-existent.
If you are a chemist you could order some (maybe if regular people too). You could also make it from water, though I expect it would be more cost efficient to buy it from a bulk supplier who could sell off the excess oxygen.

Of course Toyota could go all the way, including oxygen and hydrogen tanks in their car and a water to oxygen/hydrogen converter for in home use. Then it would be just like a plug in EV. :)

So yes, hydrogen will be a short term problem.

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