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Second generation Toyota Prius

Chevrolet Volt
Toyota balks at a proposed tax credit for the Chevrolet Volt

When it comes to hybrid vehicles, Toyota's Prius is the king of the road. The vehicle was first introduced in 2000 as a 2001 model and the second generation model bowed in 2003 as a 2004 model. The Prius has given Toyota enormous mindshare when it comes to perception and has given the company plenty of experience developing hybrid powertrains.

When the second generation Prius reached the marketplace, it received tax credits from the American government due to its hybrid powertrain. For buyers who purchased a Prius from January 1, 2006 through September 30, 2006, the tax credit was a generous $3,150; from October 1, 2006 through March 31, 2007, the tax credit was $1,575; and from April 1, 2007 through September 30, 2007, the tax credit was $787. Purchases made after October 1, 2007 were ineligible for a tax credit.

Now that General Motors' Chevrolet Volt is roughly two years away from American showrooms, the Senate Energy and National Resources committee is cooking up a new round of tax credits that would be beneficial to the Volt (and others of its ilk). The committee has plans to offer a $3,000 tax credit for light-duty plug-in electric vehicles that feature a 6 kWh or larger battery for propulsion.

The Chevrolet Volt, which has a 16 kWh battery pack composed of 220 lithium-ion cells, would qualify for a $7,500 tax credit.

Toyota, which has seen tax credits of at least $3,150 on its Prius in the past, is opposed to the 6 kWh minimum requirement according to Motor Trend. Toyota's Robert Wimmer said that the legislation "redefines plug-in electric vehicles to seemingly eliminate consumer tax credits for all but one plug-in vehicle design."

Toyota feels that the 6 kWh requirement puts GM at an advantage and that such a technological feat is out of reach for other auto manufacturers -- including Toyota.

"We believe consumer incentives should encourage all plug-in designs and allow the consumer market to select winners, not legislation," added Wimmer who is Toyota Motor North America's National Manager of Energy and Environmental Research.

"Toyota believes this approach is counterproductive," Wimmer continued. "It will discourage manufacturers from developing and consumers from purchasing 'blended' plug-ins that are affordable to the greatest number of consumers."

Toyota's Prius features a NiMH battery pack with just 1.3 kWh of energy. Toyota's third generation Prius, which is due to be unveiled at the Detroit Auto Show in January, will also stick to a NiMH design and likely will not improve significantly on that figure. It's also quite plausible that a planned lithium-ion upgrade for the third generation Prius halfway through its life cycle will not come close to reaching the 6 kWh minimum requirement for the $3,000 plug-in hybrid credit.

The 16 kWh battery pack in the Chevrolet Volt gives the vehicle an all-electric range of 40 miles. Even when equipped with prototype plug-in technology, Toyota’s Prius can only manage 10 miles of range on battery power alone.

"Although we hope some day to sell plug-in hybrids to retail customers, the only thing we have announced is that we will place several hundred plug-in Prius vehicles in commercial fleets by the end of next year," said Toyota spokesman Irv Miller. "As much as we want to speed the latest hybrid technology to the public, we have vowed as a company to not release new systems until they are reliable and ready for everyday use."

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Toyota is full of crap
By quiksilvr on 9/17/2008 12:17:23 AM , Rating: 5
I fail to see how this is an out of reach goal. It's Toyota's own fault for not making the 3rd generation Prius run on Lithium Ion batteries. Yes, they have a tendency to go boom shakalaka boom, but if encased properly it should be a non-issue.

My take on this? Toyota wants tax cuts on their Prius again. They claim that its counterproductive (which doesn't make any goddam sense, I say it's an encouragement) and are just trying to shun away green competition.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By overlandpark4me on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By rqle on 9/17/2008 5:04:46 AM , Rating: 5
They did, US car lobbyist pressure congress long time ago. So most of their cars are now built here anyways.
Japanese car companies agree and built tons of factory in the USA and employee tons of American employees. Pays them very well with benefits. Only catch is that their labor union contract isn’t killing them as much as our guys in Detroit.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By teldar on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By whirabomber on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By h0kiez on 9/17/2008 3:00:31 PM , Rating: 2
My new Hyundai was manufactured right outside of Atlanta, GA. Seems like we have no problem manufacturing cars...just designing them.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By mdogs444 on 9/17/2008 3:37:53 PM , Rating: 3
The underlying problem is that with US car makers such as GM, Ford, and Chrysler, the profits stay within the US economy. Foreign automakers, even if they employ US workers, still take the profits overseas.

Its the same argument as the oil industry. We know we have to pay the oil prices regardless - but would you rather that money stay in the US economy, or go overseas via transfer of wealth.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By MADAOO7 on 9/17/2008 6:38:24 PM , Rating: 5
That argument isn't an accurate picture of how it works. Profits stay within a company for reinvestment and as capital gains. The only people who actually benefit from "profits" are shareholders. I have stock in Toyota, and I, as an American, benefit. Toyota, Nissan, Honda, and many other foreign auto makers are listed on the NYSE. Anyways, the real benefit comes from jobs and taxes, both of which benefit the United States. If you have any mutual funds or a 401k plan through your employer - the likliness is that you benefit as well.

Oil is tricky. A lot of the problems are caused by speculation and the growing demand of China's middle class. That middle class is buying cars and their demand for oil drives the price at the pump higher. I should also mention, that a lot of gas comes from the Gulf of Mexico, right here in the US. For example, 100% of the gas that Hess produces and refines is domestic.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Shining Arcanine on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By lco45 on 9/23/2008 5:34:23 AM , Rating: 2
Of course it's easy to solve that problem. Just live in Korea.
It's a nice place, decent beaches, excellent skiing, all the latest tech, tasty food, cheap beer and cigarettes, cool pop stars, good dramas, and the ultimate drawcard: 24hr starcraft channels (2 last time i was there)...

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Jedi2155 on 9/17/2008 3:22:15 PM , Rating: 3
There are planning to build a Prius factory here due to consumer demand. Possibly converting an existing plant to manufacture Priuses.

The Camry Hybrid for example is being built at the Kentucky plant.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By swampjelly on 9/17/2008 3:49:44 PM , Rating: 3
Apparently YOU do not know that construction of the new Prius assembly plant is well under way in Tupelo, Mississippi.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Pirks on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By A5un on 9/17/2008 3:28:16 AM , Rating: 5
Who'd predict GM pwninig Japanese automotive giant so thoroughly? Totally unexpected.

I didn't know the Volt was already on sale...

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Sulphademus on 9/17/2008 8:33:07 AM , Rating: 5
Who'd predict GM pwninig Japanese automotive giant so thoroughly? Totally unexpected.

I'm not gonna call pwnage during the pregame show.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By othercents on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By GreenyMP on 9/17/2008 3:56:00 PM , Rating: 3
Indeed. Some automakers keep new vehicles a secret until they are about to hit the market. It would not surprise me to see Honda or Toyota beat GM to market with a volt-style vehicle.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By stryfe on 9/18/2008 2:36:20 PM , Rating: 2
The fact that Toyota is complaining about this possible tax credit seems to indicate that at least they don't have anything similar to the Volt coming soon. Other manufacturer's very well could though.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By sxr7171 on 9/19/2008 4:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
Then why all the tears from Toyota's eyes?

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Boiler99 on 9/17/2008 1:01:03 AM , Rating: 5
GM designed the Volt to run on any type of power source, and this is the first iteration. First iterations are expensive due to a lack of economies of scale, and will of course have some bugs to work out, but overall should be a much more advanced design than what Toyota has.

It is not simply an environmental issue either; I for one do not enjoy sending our hard-earned money overseas so that Dubai can create outdoor ski slopes in a desert and buildings that rotate like a helix.

The idea behind the Volt is that you can put any type of engine in as the range-extender, whether that be a gas engine as current, a fuel cell, or a Mr. Fusion. It doesn't matter, as that source only simply charges the batteries that drive the electric motors. This is a much more forward-looking design than what Toyota has in simply sticking with the status quo.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Sulphademus on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By othercents on 9/17/2008 10:43:10 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt will not be successful.

Really? Are you sure? While the rest of your post was well thought out you end in utter failure.

Volt will be successful because of a few things.

1) Tax credit.
2) All Electric.
3) Decent Range.
4) Good commuter replacement.

I believe the Volt will do well and so do many other people including the Executives at GM. Otherwise they wouldn't be building it.

Now I don't believe it will be as successful as other hybrid cars like the Prius.


RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Spuke on 9/17/2008 12:03:16 PM , Rating: 2
40 miles is plenty in range as most Americans can do that in a single commute. Besides, the ACTUAL range is 13 to 130 miles dependent on driving style and environmental conditions . You won't get 40 miles with your foot to the floor. This is NOT a 100k unit car!!!!! The first few years will be 10K units a year. And they'll sell every one of them with dealership markups to boot.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By MrSmurf on 9/17/2008 7:02:06 PM , Rating: 1
I believe the Volt will do well and so do many other people including the Executives at GM. Otherwise they wouldn't be building it.

You're putting way too much stock in the competence in General Motors. If GM wasn't so large and established they would have gone out of business a while ago. Instead they are shutting down plant after plant and mass producing shit load of cheap cars that will be in for repairs within the first 20k miles.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By theapparition on 9/17/2008 12:17:35 PM , Rating: 4
Yes the car is quoted at driving 40 miles on a single charge.... But lithium ion batteries lose 20% of their energy storage every year, under good conditions, meaning that in just 3 years, even when you still likely making payments on the car, you electric range will diminish to 20.5 miles.

Where do you get this drivel?

The life of LiIon batteries is rated by number of charge cycles. Furthermore, performance does not degrade linearly, but rather exponentially.
Current highly accelerated life testing shows that under normal expected driving conditions, battery performance is expected to exceed 85%+ after 5 years. GM does expect to have to replace batteries around year 7-8. The cost of battery replacement is included in the original purchase price.

And I'd like the name of the GM engineer you talked with about this. I have plenty of contacts at GM and will ask him myself. But I doubt you have one........Just admit it, you're going off of unfounded speculation.

I was unaware that a parallel hybrid was incapable of coupling "engine X" to the electric motor? After all it is called parallel hybrid, not gas-electric hybrid... a hint that it is not dependent on either the gasoline of electric motor.

I think you need the hint. Remove the gasoline engine from a Prius and it will go about 250ft....downhill.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By theapparition on 9/17/2008 3:46:29 PM , Rating: 3
Because all GM did was wire a bunch of laptop batteries together.

In case you missed the press release, these batteries are created special, from the ground up. They use LiIon technology, but are about as similar to a cell phone or laptop battery as a duracell.
You are correct that temperature also plays an important role, but sophisticated electronics that can keep the battery in an optimal state can signifigantly prolong battery life.

Once again, if you are comparing this to a laptop, you're in for a major disappointment.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By AE3Wolfman on 9/18/2008 2:29:39 PM , Rating: 2
Any battery is going to lose efficiency after a period of time, does not matter how special they are. Some are better than others, but if these are able to hit 80% after 3 years of use I will be very surprised. More than likely, GM is going to be replacing the battery pack around year 4, sooner on some depending on battery temps and driving habits. That is also going to depend on the quality of the chargers and controllers that GM puts into this car.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Keeir on 9/17/2008 1:01:45 PM , Rating: 2
Where do you get this drivel?

Pauldovi seems to be the biggest Volt hater and Prius fanboi in the world.

He gets the drivel from the same place all fanbois do.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By consumerwhore on 9/17/2008 4:44:29 PM , Rating: 3
His exhaust pipe?

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Oregonian2 on 9/17/2008 1:04:40 AM , Rating: 5
GM's car is nothing more than a feel good car for Earthies everywhere.

How far does the Toyota powertrain go without any gas at all? Bit shorter than the Volt I think. I could commute just fine with the Volt using no gas at all.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By clovell on 9/17/2008 11:10:04 AM , Rating: 1
No, they couldn't. There is a reason why Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive system is described as having an electric assist . Those motors won't push the car all by themselves at high speeds. Try adding some more thousands onto that number, and then compare unsubsidized first-gen costs between the two and you'll have a better idea of which is the better rather than just coming off as a Toyota fanboy.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/2008 12:12:21 PM , Rating: 1
The Prius has a 67HP electric motor which is plenty capable of powering the vehicle at higher speed. However Toyota's control system doesn't always choose to do this, or at least not exclusively by the electric motor... Why not? Because it doesn't make any sense.

I am actually surprised that you are the first person to call me a Toyota fanboy. However I am not. I am just very impressed with their hybrid products (as well as Honda's).

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By clovell on 9/17/2008 2:46:07 PM , Rating: 1
Then why doesn't it?

I told you that you sound like a fanboy - I stopped short of calling you one, because I was more interested in a fair comparison of the price than in hopping on the name-calling bandwagon here - my apologies if I gave you the wrong idea.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/2008 8:26:40 PM , Rating: 1
1. The ICE's efficiency increases at higher speeds
2. There is a large efficiency loss when converting mechanical energy to electric potential then to chemical and then back to electric potential.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Spuke on 9/17/2008 12:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
Where are you people getting your numbers from? 48k? Sheesh, the numbers get higher by the day. LOL! The target price is $35k and this is straight from GM. Will the car get marked up at the dealer? You betcha!

So why hasn't Toyota done this?
Because Toyota is NOT developing a SERIAL hybrid. Toyota is sticking to the paralleled hybrid. And why should they change? They're making decent money of the Prius and more importantly, good mindshare. And, once again, the Volt will NOT be a mainstream car at only 10,000 units a year. The Prius has sold upwards of 180k units a year (over 100k units so far this year).

To give you some perspective, GM's Solstice and Sky (as well as the G2X and Opel GT) are capped at 30k units a year. There will be less Volt's than those four sports cars!!!

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/2008 1:56:09 PM , Rating: 2
But even the plug-ins Lutz is championing could face resistance in the marketplace because of price. GM's Chevy Volt, first unveiled as a concept in January, 2007, can go 40 to 50 miles on a single charge of a lithium ion battery, and then a gas motor kicks in to move the car and recharge the battery at once. The company once targeted $30,000 as the price for a Chevy Volt. But the cost of developing the technology is making that an unreachable dream. Lutz now figures a more realistic price for the Volt would be about $48,000. He reckons that $40,000 might be possible, without making any profit. Only government tax incentives could take the price tag nearer to $30,000.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By ICE1966 on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Flunk on 9/17/2008 1:23:45 AM , Rating: 5
You're neglecting the fact that a Prius is smaller than a Camry or Accord. When you compare the fuel efficiency to a Toyota Matrix or Corolla. It doesn't look so great. Add in the environmental costs of disposing of those NiMH batteries and you have a car that is worse for the environment and accelerates terribly.

I'd even challenge you that you can get more cargo into the Matrix because it doesn't need all that space for batteries and the extra drivetrain.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Ringold on 9/17/2008 2:05:16 AM , Rating: 3
Given that Consumer Reports got 40mpg in real world highway driving in the Corolla, which is probably much more environmentally friendly to build than a Prius, I would say all hybrids are feel good cars "for Earthies everywhere."

At least the Volt can also claim it's an energy-independence move if one can keep their daily drive below 40 miles, or mix in some charge-up time. Where a lot of our fuel comes from foreign origins, almost none of our electricity does, and we've got enough coal to last until hell freezes over.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Polynikes on 9/17/2008 8:47:39 AM , Rating: 3
Silly "Earthies." They buy a car that's ugly, slow and not really much better for the environment. Might as well get a Corolla (or some other fuel efficient non-hybrid) with a little bit less fuel efficiency, for a whole lot less money, which you probably wouldn't recoup with the Prius unless you drove it for 10+ years anyways.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By ebakke on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By teldar on 9/17/2008 9:29:48 AM , Rating: 5
Axceprt for that fact that any newer plant has scrubbers in the smoke stacks and the amount of pollution has reduced dramatically. And the first CO2 emission free plant has been built and is?/will be operational soon.

Coal isn't too bad, actually.
Are you an ecoterrorist who opposes the only truly clean energy producer we have available? Nuclear.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By ebakke on 9/22/2008 12:50:19 PM , Rating: 2
Are you an ecoterrorist who opposes the only truly clean energy producer we have available? Nuclear.

Quite the opposite actually. I think we should be replacing our aging coal power plants with nuclear ones, and in the future, supplement nuclear with the cleanest coal we can find. It's the best 'on-demand' power generation for handling peak usage.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Tsuwamono on 9/17/2008 9:36:37 AM , Rating: 2
or you could do like we Canadians do, build more nuclear and use my dams. We actually sell you guys quite a bit of electricity from our dam in James bay.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Tsuwamono on 9/17/2008 9:37:53 AM , Rating: 2
use dams* not my dams

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By teldar on 9/17/2008 11:54:55 AM , Rating: 2
There is actually also quite a bit of electricity sharing between the U.S. and Canada. Remember about 4 years ago when a transformer blew in Cleveland and all the way from Buffalo to Toronto to Toledo were out of power for days?
I just wonder how generation plants are able to quantify how much is used from whose production when it is all on one grid.
One horrible aged and inadequate grid which got no real upgrades after that disaster.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Samus on 9/17/2008 3:58:47 AM , Rating: 2
pauldovi...I don't see how you can remotely compare the two in terms of 'powertrain' at all. Unless you've been living under a rock, the Volt is completely electric-motor powered. It isn't a 'hybrid' powertrain like the 'hybrid synergy drive' or whatever the hell toyota likes calling it. There isn't really a powertrain in the Volt. I don't have data to support this statement, but it's unlikely to have a transmission and will probably be direct-drive (possibly a differential, but I doubt that, too.)

Calling the Toyota system 'better' is a childish statement considering the amount of environmental damage every Prius sold does to the environment.

Here are 141,000 Google search results related to how bad the Toyota is for the environment, ranging from sulfer pollution to outsourced freight costs to transport components globally:

Everyone who owns a Prius is selfish because they didn't think about the environment at all when they purchased it, or were tricked into thinking it was good for the environment by toyota or the media. They were selfishly concerned with one thing, their pocket books. Toyota knows this, and that's why they're concerned about qualifying for the tax credit they didn't earn with their already-old-school technology.

The Volt can run on electricity all the time if you drive less than 40 miles or charge at work, etc. Electricity most likely to be produced using nuclear power, grown and raised in the United States. The reason this is a substantially safe assumption is because this car is going to be a bigger hit in urban area's than rural area's, and urban area's are almost entirely Nuclear powered (Chicago, where I live, is entirely Nuclear powered) because there is no amount of coal or oil power production technology that can fill the required energy envelope of a mass-populus.

The Prius is still a gasoline driven vehicle and is more of a evolution of the internal combustion powertrain.

Buying a Volt is not only more environmentally sound than a Prius, it is patriotic because the car, the research, and the energy powering it, is made HERE. It is going to be a revolutionary hit.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Fireshade on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Crassus on 9/17/2008 10:07:57 AM , Rating: 4
Since when is lithium a heavy metal? Its atomic no. is 3 (right after hydrogen and helium) - it's the lightest metal there is AFAIK.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By foolsgambit11 on 9/17/2008 2:46:33 PM , Rating: 2
I know, right? He should have mentioned that LiIon batteries usually contain Cadmium, Iron, Manganese, or any of several other 'heavy metals'. Of course, NiMH batteries also usually contain any or all of those same metals, along with several lanthanides.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 7:48:30 AM , Rating: 5
As much I am a Chevy fan, the battery pack for the Volt is made in China. Not here.

Neither Lithium Ion nor NiCad battery production is clean though. Especially in countries like China who don't control pollution.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Tsuwamono on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Toyota is full of crap
By ziggo on 9/17/2008 10:27:08 AM , Rating: 2
I am 6'5" and I fit in a mazda 3 great. I really dont think the volt is going to have more room in it than a mazda 3.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Tsuwamono on 9/17/2008 1:40:17 PM , Rating: 2
really? I sat in the base model one and my neck was bent. Maybe the base didnt have adjustable seat but the one you sat in(possibly higher) did. Thats odd though.

I highly doubt the specs are different in canada vs US so it must be a model issue

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Brandon Hill on 9/17/2008 1:48:14 PM , Rating: 2
I have a Mazda3 Hatch and I fit just fine in the front or the back -- then again, I'm only 5'10".

However, the Volt is small on the inside and headroom is at a premium -- even GM talked about how they "shrinked" things inside to make it sportier. Check out the interior walkaround video here:

Look how tight the interior space is in the rear:

And it's only a four-seater.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Tsuwamono on 9/17/2008 2:03:39 PM , Rating: 2
well its just me and the woman for now and for a while(hopefully) so all i need is enough for me and her to sit comfortably... Shes only like 5'7 so that's no problem but I'll have to see about me. It looks like i would be able to fit.

Sadly the back end of the production model i dont particularly like

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By c4v3man on 9/17/2008 4:20:04 PM , Rating: 2
I fit in a Chevy Aveo and I'm 6'5", so I don't know what you're talking about. I don't own one, but I had a rental when I was in Texas... fun little car actually, seemed very practical.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By eldakka on 9/18/2008 12:08:19 AM , Rating: 2
2. My commute is only like 4 miles which means i could run strictly on the electric motor ALL the time except for my weekends for which i drive 150 km(~92miles) to Montreal. So basicly the only time i would ever need gas with this car is every second weekend on my trips to see family and i would only need it for the commute to and from because when i get there i have somewhere to plug it in.

Wouldn't it make sense to buy a motorbike/scooter or even ride a push bike and save the car for the weekend trip? Seriously, 4 miles is a 10 minute bike ride, at least in summer.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By pauldovi on 9/17/2008 11:07:13 AM , Rating: 1
The volt is not completely electric... It relieves on a ICE to charge the battery pack for anytime you drive more than 40 miles or so (it is unclear as to whether the control system will begin charging before 40 miles or not). Thus it is a hybrid, meaning it uses 2 different engines to provide energy to the car.

Yes, it is very different from Toyota's parallel hybrid, in that it is a series hybrid.

I could care less about the environment in my arguments here.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By theapparition on 9/17/2008 12:04:08 PM , Rating: 2
The volt is not completely electric... It relieves on a ICE to charge the battery pack for anytime you drive more than 40 miles or so (it is unclear as to whether the control system will begin charging before 40 miles or not).

The batteries are not charged continuously from the ICE. If everywhere you go is under 40 miles, you will never use a drop of gasoline. For someone who claims to know so much, I'm surprised you don't know this.

For the majority of commutes, the Volt, for all intensive purposes, will be electric only.

Not sure what you're arguing. It's a hybrid. We all know that. But its orders of magnitude more advanced than parallel hybrid designs. Guess what. Serial hybrids are so bad, that both Toyota and Honda are working on thier own, too. You have a logic Fail.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By 306maxi on 9/17/2008 5:41:01 AM , Rating: 2
46mpg?!?!?!?! Wow! Just wow!!!!!

My Peugeot 406 gets that and it's running an old school non-direct injection diesel engine and it's also bigger than a Prius. With a common rail diesel engine it would get at least 10-15% if not more mpg on top of that figure. The Prius really is just a car for people who want to be seen to care about the environment but who are actually harming it. I recently spent about as much as my car is worth fixing it up (it's a very cheap car here in the UK). Now that might seem like a very silly thing to do but how much CO2 and other crap is released in the production of a car? But I've got a car that I know has a good engine in it and if anything else needs replacing it'll be cheap because the parts are dead cheap. If environmentalists really cared about the environment they'd be driving old cars and fixing them up when stuff goes wrong. What's more environmentally friendly? realeasing a tiny bit of CO2 getting your car fixed with used parts OR having a whole new car made?

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By psychobriggsy on 9/17/2008 8:16:11 AM , Rating: 3
American Gallons are smaller than British Gallons.

Google informed me that 46 (miles per US gallon) = 55.2437194 miles per Imperial gallon.

However Top Gear showed me that the Prius is rubbish even in terms of fuel efficiency, although I'm sure that they had just a tiny weensy bit of a slanted view on the matter. Also it's ugly as hell.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Keeir on 9/17/2008 1:28:08 PM , Rating: 2
A few points

#1. Diesal pollutes more per gallon used. This is true for emissions, particle matter, and (if you care about it) C02.

#2. As the other poster mentioned, British gallon is larger than US gallon

#3. Different methodologies in testing.

mmmm long link

Long story short, in British testing, the Prius acchieves 65+ mpg combined

Compared to the British Yaris

The Prius is bigger, more fuel efficient (in gallons), gives off fewer emissions (C02 and otherwise) and has around the same performance.

I agree however, the most enviromentally friend thing is to use cars until they just don't work anymore.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Jimbo1234 on 9/17/2008 2:19:44 PM , Rating: 2
...and as others have previously stated in other posts:

1. CO2 is not a pollutant.
2. Cars do not account for a large percentage of total C02 emmissions.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Keeir on 9/17/2008 4:02:39 PM , Rating: 2
When did I say it was?

But when comparing a US tested Prius to a European tested Diesel, one should consider all sides. For example, C02 emissions are clearly very important to the average British (and I assume European) consumer to the point where emissions per mile/kilometer are clearly marked and displayed.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Penti on 9/18/2008 10:23:27 AM , Rating: 2
Actually they do in countries like Sweden.

Passenger cars account for a larger share of the fossil fuel use here then industry does (Coal, coke, natural gas and oil). The transportation sector in total emit almost twice as much CO2 as our industries. Industries here have a higher SO2 emission though, but a lower NO2.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By 306maxi on 9/18/2008 7:29:00 AM , Rating: 2
Good to see someone agrees that the most environmentally friendly thing is just to keep on using cars till they fall to bits.

You have a point about diesels. They do on average pollute more than petrol cars. The problem with diesels is that people don't drive them properly and put their foot down all the time at low revs and you get brown acrid smoke coming out of the back (particulates and some unburnt fuel)

I usually use shell V-power diesel but haven't been doing so recently but it gives a few more MPG on top of the figures I quoted and even if you put your foot down in 5th at 30mph you don't get plumes black smoke coming out of the back because it's GTL (gas to liquid fuel) so you don't get the particulate emmissions. The difference is pretty amazing, it's like night and day.

I forgot about the different gallons.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 5:46:09 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah and the Prius is smaller than the Camry. The Volt is as large as a Camry.

And like the Prius is any different?

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Brandon Hill on 9/17/2008 1:37:50 PM , Rating: 2
Well for starters, the Prius can seat five. The Volt is strictly a four-seater :)

Secondly, the interior passenger volume of the Prius and Camry are VERY close and cargo volume is exactly the same.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Jimbo1234 on 9/17/2008 2:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
Pfffffffft. Ever try to sit in the back of a Prius? Legroom is good, but headroom is awful. I'm 5'11", so about average height. It seats 2 and 3 kids, not 5 adults.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 2:27:07 PM , Rating: 2
My Cobalt technically can seat 5 too. Maybe 5 Japanese teenage girls.

The number of seats in a car does not mean that number of people actually fit in the car.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By mattclary on 9/17/2008 7:54:51 AM , Rating: 2
Energy storage is expensive and Toyota is making a car that will sells in the hundreds of thousands of units per year under $22k. A vehicle doesn't need massive energy storage to be efficient...

You realize that a gas tank stores energy, right? The Volt is just substituting batteries for gas. It burns gas, but is more reliant on drawing energy from the grid, whereas the Prius get's all it's energy from gas.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By sxr7171 on 9/19/2008 4:31:34 PM , Rating: 1
Hey smart boy. Guess what, it's called progress. We don't want hybrids 20 years from now as much as we want straight plug-in cars. This is a start. Get that? A start. And it's an honest attempt from what has come out about it so far. If they wanted to "cheat" the system they could have used the bare minimum 6Kwh. With your attitude we'd always rely on petroleum for personal transportation even 40 years from now.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 5:46:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah they're just whining because they won't be able to say they did it first.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Jimbo1234 on 9/17/2008 2:17:26 PM , Rating: 2
And also what's wrong with the US government being biased toward a domestic company over a foreign one?

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 2:28:07 PM , Rating: 2
Japan's government certainly is. Hell they even help fund the development of some of Toyota's and Honda's vehicles.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By foolsgambit11 on 9/17/2008 2:57:14 PM , Rating: 2
It very well might violate U.S. law. See, the Constitution says that treaties entered into are law, and we've entered into several treaties that limit protectionism. Do you remember the debacle about timber we fought with Canada a few years ago? Subsidies directed specifically at U.S. manufacturers in this arena might be against the law (I'm not sure, I haven't actually checked whether we have treaties in this manufacturing field). However, if we direct the subsidies at specific types of vehicles, and it's non-obvious that the actual intent is to favor U.S. corporations, then we can get away with it, even if it is wrong.

Free and fair trade, ftw.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By leecox6178 on 9/21/2008 2:17:51 PM , Rating: 2
There is nothing inherently "wrong" about how the bill is written. The US is looking to subsidize consumers purchasing the more energy independent vehicles and beginning to lower national oil consumption. This is all about mind share. Toyota wants to put forward that everything is fine the way it is, and GM as well as other smaller manufacturers I.E. Tesla and the like are betting that there is demand for vehicles that don't depend strictly on oil/gas to get around. Personally, I'm looking for my steam powered Volt.

Now the "loans" that the US Manufacturers want to meet CAFE standards set last year might fall under this category, but as of right now the that hasn't even been discussed on the senate floor. Just being lobbied for by the big three.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Locutus465 on 9/17/2008 11:33:33 AM , Rating: 2
I'm really pretty happy with the idea of tiered tax credits depending upon how long a hybird can run on electrical power which is the assumption being made in the bill. Tough break for toyota, but they can deal this time around.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 9/17/2008 3:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
Well, let's see, a $40K Volt with a $7.5K tax credit, or a Prius for $22K with no tax credit, or an Insight for $18K with no tax credit. Hmmmm...

I guess this is an incentive to convince ANYONE to buy this car.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By somegenius on 9/22/2008 4:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
absolutely right on mr mmcdonalataocdotgov

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Dgacioch on 9/18/2008 6:43:36 AM , Rating: 1
I really dont see anything wrong with the government giving GM a helping hand on this. The tariffs and quotas the japanese government imposes on auto imports into their country work pretty much the same way giving their domestic auto industry a literal monopoly. While it may temporarily give chevy an advantage, there isnt anything stopping toyota from making changes to their plug in hybrid design to take advantage of this also. I dont think its going to matter anyway, as i dont see this as anything more than a niche vehicle unless the government comes in and subsidizes a much bigger portion of the purchase price. Gm has said they cant make the volt for less then 40k and still be able to make a profit. Their own marketing research shows folks arent willing or able to pay more than about 30k. If they dont get the big government subsidies, i just dont see this becoming a mass market car. Unfortunatly, with GM bleeding so much money and having so much cash tied up into the R@D of this one particular vehicle, if the volt doesnt succeed it may very well push GM into bankrupcy.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By AssBall on 9/18/2008 5:30:22 PM , Rating: 3
I really dont see anything wrong with the government giving GM a helping hand on this.

I do. Why? Because it is MY money. Since when did "government" money sprout on trees. If you support a business, invest in it. If I don't, convince me that I should.

The auto unions and management should be the only one's blamed for GM's "hard times". If you support what they are doing, fine, if you don't, fine, but leave government the hell out of it.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By Dgacioch on 9/19/2008 5:45:38 AM , Rating: 1
quote: "I do. Why? Because it is MY money. Since when did "government" money sprout on trees. If you support a business, invest in it. If I don't, convince me that I should.

The auto unions and management should be the only one's blamed for GM's "hard times". If you support what they are doing, fine, if you don't, fine, but leave government the hell out of it"

Government money has literally sprouted off trees since nixon cut all ties to gold in 1971. As far as where government actually spends their funny money, I dont agree with half the crap the government spends it on, but we dont have a say so in it, regardless of what we are allowed to think. I personally dont want government money to bail out fannie mae, freddie mac, aig, and the entire financial system, but their doing it. If I had to choose a socialist evil, I would rather see that money go to keep average working american stiffs employed then provide golden parachutes for the financial companies and their multi-millionaire managers.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By sxr7171 on 9/19/2008 4:28:01 PM , Rating: 2
Seriously, to call it a "plug-in hybrid" one would hope that it would go at least 40 miles on battery power. I could see someone commuting with that range, but 10 miles? Go suck on a bic Toyota.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By somegenius on 9/22/2008 4:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
$7.5K tax-credit reason:

The design is too expensive to manufacture. GM must somehow cover the loss to make this car affordable.

The design is still untested and unreliable. It takes years to accomplish this.

Toyota knows it because they're still selling Priuses at a loss. The only reason overall Toyota is making money is that the losses are covered by other top selling models.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By somegenius on 9/22/2008 4:43:42 PM , Rating: 2
meanwhile, GM has nowhere to go to cover it's losses when it starts selling the Volt. the car would end up too expensive for the consumer.

RE: Toyota is full of crap
By lco45 on 9/23/2008 5:28:58 AM , Rating: 2
Hehe, funny.

Also, what's the deal with people being terrified of exploding batteries, but not worried about a big sloshing tank of petrol?

By Doormat on 9/17/2008 12:48:16 AM , Rating: 3
Sounds like they're sad they're not getting in on it.

I've run the numbers. For myself, a Volt would reduce my current gasoline consumption by 93% (550 gal/yr to 40 gal/yr). Compared to buying a new car (the same kind I have now), I'd save about $12,000 in 7 years at $4/gal. The price differential between the Volt after tax credit and the car I would have bought is about $10,000 ($32,500 vs $22,500).

Finally, IIRC, the tax incentive scales with the size of the battery - it starts at 6kWh at $2500 up to $7500 for 15kWh and above. At least that was the version in S.3335.

RE: Waaaah!
By JonnyDough on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Waaaah!
By Brandon Hill on 9/17/2008 7:45:01 AM , Rating: 2
You don't HAVE to plug it in. If the battery runs down, the gasoline motor will kick in to recharge the battery pack and give you an additional 320 miles (IIRC) of range.

So if you have to go more than 40 miles and don't have access to a charging port, you can still drive.

RE: Waaaah!
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 7:49:21 AM , Rating: 3
Welcome to the 21st century where people are dumb enough to think it is the 22nd century.

RE: Waaaah!
By JonnyDough on 9/17/2008 5:32:12 PM , Rating: 1
I was projecting FUTURE energy prices FYI. I was aware that it was the 20th century before you probably in high school there bud.

RE: Waaaah!
By JonnyDough on 9/17/2008 5:34:31 PM , Rating: 1
Welcome to the 21st century where punk kids online think they know it all.

RE: Waaaah!
By joex444 on 9/17/2008 5:20:38 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, Toyota is just upset that they actually came up with a law that requires companies to move forward! Ironically, it is GM that benefits...

Now, my commute is about 10 miles per day. I'm in the same boat as you, I could do all my daily driving on electric with this and use no gas. Even when I go somewhere else, theres very very few reasons I go more than 20 miles one way.

Also, when the Volt requires gas to be used, GM estimates 45mpg will be the consumption. On an 80 mile trip from a 'full' charge, that works out to a combined 90 mpg.

The $7500 tax credit sounds great. I'm a student, and even though I could get financing for a new car, I don't make enough money to actually owe taxes. You can only really consider the $7500 tax credit if you pay $7500+ in taxes. For most people, they will. Mid 30k and single, somewhere around there.

While it is true that the price tag on the Volt is higher than the Prius, you really deal with a new economy. You're not talking about getting 55mpg (Prius). You're talking about not using gas. The Prius can go 10 miles without charging... very few people can make use of that. With a 40 mile electric range, you can actually get things done in a day and use no gas.

Also, since we've determined it is approx $1 to charge it from empty to full, you're essentially getting 40 miles for $1. Now, the Volt also gets 45mpg when it runs the gas engine. So, for comparison purposes, the electric engine is essentially getting 160mpg (gas at $4; 45mi/g * 1g/$4 = 11.25 mi/$ gas; electric 40 mi/$; electric/gas = 40/11.25 = 3.555; electric "mpg" = 3.555 * 45 = 160).

So... you have (with $4 gas) Prius at 48mpg city, 45mpg highway. Then you have Volt at 160mpg first 40 mile, 45mpg thereafter. Now, what I'm not sure on is whether the mpg with gas engine on the Volt changes in city or highway. Remember than Prius has two drivetrains and it switches between engines. The Volt has only the electric drivetrain. The gas engine merely charges the battery. Now, in such a task, I would imagine a nearly constant engine RPM. As such, I cannot see why the fuel consumption would increase or decrease. Granted, at a 20% charge it may need to work harder if you are driving aggressively, but for the most part, I think the Volt is going to be a 45city/45 highway when the gas engine is on. (As I've said before, the ideal engine for this task would be diesel; they could probably get 75mpg this way, and even though burning 1 gal diesel produces more CO2 and NOx than 1 gal gas, it goes much further so the diesel is actually better for the environment).

By 325hhee on 9/17/2008 11:41:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'm no genius when it comes to power per cost, how much would it cost to fully charge the Volt's battery, and what's the max range per charge? Also how long does it take to charge it?

Can't wait to test one of those cars in the next 2 yrs.

RE: Question
By rudolphna on 9/17/2008 12:11:32 PM , Rating: 2
something like 10 cents I think. Im not exactly sure. Probably about 5 hours, same as most rechargable batteries of any size.

RE: Question
By lightfoot on 9/17/2008 1:20:15 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it will probably cost about a dollar per day to fully charge the Volt. The range is 40 miles on that charge and charge time is likely to be 4-6 hours.

Don't quote me these are just best guesses.

RE: Question
By Keeir on 9/17/2008 1:18:34 PM , Rating: 2
From GM-Volt and GM announcement yesterday

Volt Battery will have a maximum capacity of 16kWh. For charging, Volt will charge the batteries from ~30% full to ~80% full. This is to 1. maintain ability to store excess energy from a downhill start regen braking sitation and 2. extend the life of the Li-ion batteries which have the majority of degedation of life from 0-20 and 80-100.

Therefore, a standard Empty to Full charge will require ~8kWh of electricity. Li-Ion is very efficient in terms of charging (95%+) and short term energy storage. Lets assume that a full charge cycle will require 9kWh of electricity. US average rates in 2007 were 11 cents per Kilowatt Hour. Prices vary widely however, from 5 cents to 20 cents per Kilowatt Hour. Assuming a worst case senario of 20 cents, a full charge will cost ~1.80. Assuming a best case senario a full charge will cost ~0.40. Average of ~1.00.

Max range for charge... Volt goal is 40 miles on All Electric performing the EPA city cycle. From there, driving habits and conditions will affect things a great deal.

Charge times depend on the voltage outlet. Current design calls for ability to charge from 110volt or 220volt outlets. A 110volt outlet will take approx 8 hours to charge. A 220volt outlet will speed the time up to approx half or 4 hours.

RE: Question
By 325hhee on 9/17/2008 4:20:57 PM , Rating: 2
Cool, thanks for the info. I know in Europe they have outlets for recharging cars when you're at work, I hope that is implemented here in the US as well.

$1 a day driving is something I'm looking forward to =D

I didn't see them complaining about their subsidies.
By MrTeal on 9/17/2008 12:26:52 AM , Rating: 3
"We believe consumer incentives should encourage all plug-in designs and allow the consumer market to select winners, not legislation," said Wimmer who is Toyota Motor North America's National Manager of Energy and Environmental Research.

The Prius and Volt are not in the same market, the Volt can do the average daily commute on batteries and rarely use gas at all with many people's driving habits. The Prius has a small battery pack to runs the electric motors to improve acceleration, run the accessories while the car is off, and provide a place for the energy from regenerative braking to go. You still need gas, even for daily driving.

As such, they shouldn't be eligible for the same subsidies. If, as Wimmer says, Toyota is planning a plug-in Prius, it would almost have to have the minimum 6kWh battery pack to increase the range enough to actually allow people a chance to get where they're going and back without firing up the engine. Otherwise, what's the point?

By lightfoot on 9/17/2008 12:38:22 AM , Rating: 2
Otherwise, what's the point?

It's a clever marketing gimmick that allows Toyota to check the "Plug-in hybrid" checkbox on their list of "features."

Salesman: With our new plug-in Prius you can now drive a full mile without ever using gas! Just keep your speed under 30 MPH and the gas engine never turns on!

By vapore0n on 9/17/2008 8:46:52 AM , Rating: 2
I kinda agree with this.

Else all those closet hybrids popping up would get huge incentives when they don't really deserve them.

Like the hybrid SUVs that get a whooping 2mpg more than the gas counterpart (at a 5k premium).

Toyota a bunch of crybabies
By TonyB on 9/17/2008 12:21:53 AM , Rating: 2
What good is a plug-in hybrid if you can only store 1.3kWh of electricity. With my current commute, the Volt's 16 kWh battery can last me 3 days without charging.

so instead of crying, design better batteries.

RE: Toyota a bunch of crybabies
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 7:51:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah my daily commute to work and back is now 4 miles. On days I go to the gym it is 18 miles. I'd have to charge it every 3rd day.

But I'm looking at getting an Earth killing, gas sucking Pontiac GTO. Not a Volt.

RE: Toyota a bunch of crybabies
By Doormat on 9/17/2008 11:05:29 AM , Rating: 2
And a Volt might not be a good fit for you - you wouldn't make your money back unless gas went to $10/gal.

A Volt wont be for everyone initially. The optimal average daily commute for the volt is above 30 miles. If you drive less than that per day, its really not worth it.

By illuvatar81 on 9/17/2008 1:44:22 PM , Rating: 1
It's not the governments place to decide which form of hybrid is better for us to drive. For them to offer this much of a tax credit for the Volt is definitely showing favoritism and should not be allowed.

The Feds should not be making these tax breaks so unevenly cut.

By lightfoot on 9/17/2008 2:32:51 PM , Rating: 3
For them to offer this much of a tax credit for the Volt is definitely showing favoritism and should not be allowed.

But they aren't. The tax credit is based on how much power is provided by electricity vs. gas. The fact that the Volt exceeds the upper limit of the credit is proof that the government will not subsidize vehicles beyond a certian point. All you need to qualify for the tax credit is more than 6 KWh of battery life - this is not in any way specific to the Volt - I suspect the same credit will be available for the Tesla Roadster and any other mostly electric vehicle.

Besides it's the government's job to regulate EVERYTHING - haven't you heard any of Obama's speeches??

By foolsgambit11 on 9/17/2008 3:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know that it's really been decided whether it is or isn't the government's place to decide on hybrids like this. The government supports all sorts of activities with tax breaks, on the principle that it is good for the country as a whole. They support home buying. They support having children. Maybe they should support 'energy independence' and 'green technology' by giving incentives for hybrids, incentives which are scaled based on how much they take us off of a gasoline-based transportation system.

Out of reach?
By rhangman on 9/17/2008 5:21:53 AM , Rating: 2
Odd that their all electric RAV4 had 27kWh back in 2000. If it has to be a hybrid to get the money, I'm sure that they could stick a small petrol engine/generator in.

RE: Out of reach?
By piroroadkill on 9/17/2008 9:09:51 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, but the current trend in motoring is to believe hybrids are a new and wonderful thing, and manufacturers such as GM, Honda and Toyota just love sweeping the old electric cars under the rug even though they were superbly engineered

By Hafgrim on 9/17/2008 5:38:04 AM , Rating: 2
Well I still want a Volt! Even after the Chevy
makeunder/Volt Makeover. lol VOLT FTW!!!

Good bye guzzleleen! ^^
Chevy > Toyota, Finally!

By bobny1 on 9/17/2008 8:41:46 AM , Rating: 2
You may have to think twice. Dealer markup will make tax credit useless. They will put another 10k on top of the MSRP and sit on it. Take it or leave it!.

By AE3Wolfman on 9/19/2008 8:14:39 AM , Rating: 2
Does anyone know if the Tesla roadster is able to recieve this credit(I know it does qualifies based on battery capacity). If not then Toyota does have a reason to complain.

RE: Tesla?
By austinag on 9/23/2008 12:54:55 PM , Rating: 2
To reduce the price to 92,500?

By Smilin on 9/23/2008 2:51:19 PM , Rating: 2
Kudos to GM for finally releasing the electric car they promised a few decades ago.

Basing the tax credit on battery output is retarded though. No tax credit for hybrids? No tax credit for a hydrogen fuel cell (hey it's electric, but not plug-in)??

Toyota is on the losing end of this so it *sounds* like they are just whining.. the truth is they are 100% right. This will not encourage innovation.

Also, about batteries: Yeah Lithium-Ion is better in many ways but currently it doesn't hold a candle to lead-acid in terms of raw affordability. Lead-acid is just more practical in many situations like this. Look at commercial warehouse forklifts. They are either Lead-Acid or propane. Nobody really uses lithium ion. Lead-Acid batteries are also one the most recycled products on earth. Over 90% of large lead-acids are recycled compared to like 40-50% for aluminum. Lithium Ion is an environmental nightmare (just like E85 fuel..thanks again GM!)

RE: Retarded
By Kugar on 9/23/2008 9:19:08 PM , Rating: 2
Basing the tax credit on battery output is retarded though. No tax credit for hybrids? No tax credit for a hydrogen fuel cell (hey it's electric, but not plug-in)??

Instead of asking "why no tax credit for technology B", one should ask "when is a tax credit warranted?". The default should be no tax credit at all.

If there is a new technology that is worthwhile to jumpstart, THEN a tax credit is warranted, in my opinion. But it should be a short term thing.
Once a technology is fully developed and mainstream, as hybrid technology is, then the tax credit should go away.

So the current rules use the battery size to favor fully (or mostly) electric powered cars over hybrid cars which are mostly gasoline powered with secondary electric power.

There ARE separate rules to grant tax credits to hydrogen fueled cars. Google "Honda FCX tax credit"

By Boiler99 on 9/17/2008 12:44:26 AM , Rating: 3
Given that the ex-VP of Toyota, Jim Press, has stated that Toyota received government aid from Japan to develop the Prius this is of course a sad statement on their part. In recent history, Toyota has been masterful at keeping their image clean, and as such this seems a strange mis-step.

Other countries are very protectionist of their industries. Now I know that we are not a socialist nation, and that we certainly have a leaning towards being a free market (with far too much intervention to call it truly free), but the way other nations subsidize their industry certainly creates a difficult market for the domestics.

The Detroit 3 definitely put themselves where they are today, don't get me wrong, but who knew gas prices would go where they did? Let's not forget that the Prius was wholly unremarkable and un-popular before the fuel prices skyrocketed, and that Toyota just spent upwards of $1B on a new plant to build pick-up trucks that they now have to convert to making more fuel efficient vehicles. It is really easy to be the arm-chair quarterback on this one looking in reverse, but things came around very, very quickly to the point where we are today.

It is amazing how one event can turn a decision (i.e. developing the Prius) from a failed endeavor to a master stroke. One of the core tenets of capitalisim is making what the customer wants, which up until recently was trucks and SUV's. What Detroit did wrong was ignore the other market segments, which is why they are where they are at this very moment.

By DigitalFreak on 9/17/2008 7:36:40 AM , Rating: 3
There is much douchebaggery in this thread.

TOYOTA Concerns
By wrw on 9/17/2008 10:04:43 AM , Rating: 2
REFERENCE; Green Car Congress Article, September 16, 2008

Dr. G. Abbas Nazri from GM Research was a bit more blunt in his talk at ALBAA, saying “most of the current chemistry is not going to make it for plug-in and particularly for EV applications."
While lithium-ion has become the battery platform of choice for electric-based transportation, none of the different existing lithium-ion cathode/anode chemistry pairs can meet all four of the most important criteria for longer-term, broader application: performance, life, abuse tolerance and cost, said Tien Duong, Team Leader in the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) Vehicle Technology Program, in the opening talk at the 1st International Conference on Advanced Lithium Batteries for Automobile Applications (ALBAA), organized by Argonne National Laboratory.”

Simply, GLOBAL work on alternate battery construction or medium(s) is rapidly proceeding, however, 'vaporware' is RAMPANT as vendors taut their latest research and wares.
Interesting to see HONDA rejoin this competition for 2009 with Civic Hybrid and Insight offerings. An Accord Hybrid for 2010.
The Japanese vendors typically real world TRIAL their wares BEFORE European or U.S. export. (a.k.a. "Kiichiro, it works!" :-)
Last time I checked GM displayed or talked about electric propelled wares while TOYOTA drove and produced, future 'Made In U.S.A.' ware announced, their 'Prius'.

Volt Tax Credits
By cavalmi on 9/17/2008 10:07:37 AM , Rating: 2
Tax credits are not as valuable as many people think they are. You may get the whole credit amount under certain income and deduction conditions, but you also may get only a little or none. When I bought a Civic Hybrid, I got about $1950 of the available $2100, even though I had a very small dollar amount in deductions. I have read that some people got none.

By tech329 on 9/17/2008 1:44:50 PM , Rating: 2
Lets face it. In the current climate you gotta accept the reality that Washington is trying as much as possible to find ways to give US corporations an edge. I thnk it is a piece of the equation that is very much a part of the package. You can discuss the competing technologies all you want but not understanding that the congress is under the gun with legislation such as this is to completely miss the precarious state of the US economy.

aweee poor toyota
By omnicronx on 9/17/2008 1:49:48 PM , Rating: 2
Toyota Unhappy About Proposed $7,500 Tax Credit for Chevy Volt
You mean they are unhappy about their a country trying to preserve their assets? Kind of like how Japan artificially keeps their currency low so that it is cheaper to export to another country? I have ZERO sympathy for Toyota here..

By Haltech on 9/17/2008 8:08:39 PM , Rating: 2
"It will discourage..consumers from purchasing plug-ins that are affordable to the greatest number of consumers."


By gochichi on 9/21/2008 5:39:39 AM , Rating: 2
I think it should basically be a matter of fuel efficiency (electricity is still fuel, they just need to come up with a reasonable way to compare electric and gas. It's something that just about ANY decent engineer could come up with in a few weeks.

It does seem kind of random to say 6kWh or whatever... if a Prius can beat everything today by smartly using less than a 2kWh reserve, then 6kWh is a lot (too much). Besides more power is not a good thing, we need less power overall... if it were a hybrid, it would take a bigger engine to recharge that thing, it defeats the point.

This isn't green by way... riding a 250cc motorcycle is green, car pooling is green, living close to your work is green. These electric cars are going to produce all kinds of ooze (hazz mass). Producing batteries is horrible for the environment. All for a 40 mile range... I'm not exactly sure why we should all pay $7500 for Bob to have a Chevy Volt. For that matter, I don't see why the heck the government had to pad Toyota's profits on the Prius. Demand has outstripped supply anyway, and the consumer just ended up paying a higher pricetag overall. If a Prius has a market value of $22,000.00 they increased the price to $25,000 to offset the tax break.

For the most part, the fewer dollars something costs to make, the better for the environment (given ethical practices, and decent engineering). You'd better believe that if a battery costs $8,000.00 it's bad for the environment.

I kind of wish the government would stop babying us, it just hurts everyone in the long run. Whenever the government subsidizes something the private sector increases the price in order to regain supply/demand equilibrium. This is exactly what happened with the housing market. Govt lowers interest -> cheap loans. But still people were willing to pay $1500.00/mo or whatever... so the price of the house adjusted up to get the payment back up to that $1500.00. The caveat is that it was instant funny money profits for those lucky people that jumped into the housing market government giveaway. It totally caused a balloon, because it wasn't the payment that went up, it was the price of the house. In a totally artificial way. I hate that the government is padding the housing market all over again, a lot of people went laughing to the bank in the past 6 years by buying and selling houses... making way more money than they had earned (welfare for the well-off). This corporate welfare, and welfare for the rich is really upsetting to me.

Since we're going on $10 trillion in debt, why don't we add a $500/yr fine for cars that get less than 25MPG and a $1000 for cars that get less than 20MPG. And how about instead of another huge tax break for a few people how about spreading the incentives around a little bit. Motorcycles should get incentives, cars with over 35MPG as well (so long as they don't exceed 12,000 miles a year), and on down the line. How bout not making up more reasons to print funny money? I'm ready for a recession... we have too much junk we don't need, America could drive for ten more years without any problems without a single new car being made.

Five+ passenger cars with cargo space are a bad (inefficent)way to transport individual people... why don't we start there? It's like these hybrid SUVs... , "listen dumbasses, the reason we're in this mess is because you all decided that you needed a car that can pull 2 tons to commute 30 miles to work with." We need to set new goals man, we need lightweight transportation or mass transit. I want to see one or two passenger cars spread like wild fire.I want to see low performance motorcycles on the road, and more telecommuniting.

I drive much more than I need to, I have a Corolla... should I get a free check? No... I waste as much gas as most people b/c I drive wasteful distances.

By trisct on 9/22/2008 10:54:40 AM , Rating: 2
Its not just about making the technology more affordable, its also about pushing the envelope. The government is trying to accomplish two of its objectives with this one "stone". Not only do they help make electric cars an economic reality, but they push carmakers to stretch for even bigger goals.

These rebates shouldn't just be a car buying subsidy, they should encourage companies to go beyond the current product offerings. In my view the 6kWh point is just right, it rewards innovation. Toyota enjoyed a tax credit for some time after the Prius came out, now they have to step it up a notch if they want some more subsidy lurv.

It doesn't matter
By somegenius on 9/22/2008 4:57:01 PM , Rating: 2
It (Volt) won't fly anyway.

By Myg on 9/17/08, Rating: 0
By JonnyDough on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 7:57:45 AM , Rating: 2
The Volt only costs $10,000 to make? What are you smoking? The battery alone is a few thousand dollars. And even if it did, there is more than the cost of materials in the price of an item. There is the research and development of the vehicle and all the systems in it to pay for. Engineers don't work for free.

Tax credits were available on the Prius too which is hardly a rich persons vehicle. If you're too poor to afford a $22,000 car, that's no ones fault but your own. And tax credits only help the less fortunate afford things. Many people can afford a $30,000 car but not a $40,000 one. The tax credits will help put the Volt in their price range.

Now me personally, I'm not for any tax credits on any cars.

By JonnyDough on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
By lightfoot on 9/17/2008 10:36:50 PM , Rating: 3
You clearly don't understand the auto industry.

The margin (mark-up) on automobiles in this country is fairly small.

Toyota - the most profitable automaker in the US - earns less than $5000 per vehicle. In many cases GM and Ford actually LOSE money on each vehicle sold. How does this work? Auto manufacturers subsidize small fuel efficient cars in order to maintain Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) targets. Large gas guzzling vehicles are profitable, but have to help subsidize the smaller less popular vehicles. In the last few years the automakers have had difficulty selling the larger vehicles and thus they started taking HUGE losses. In many cases it is cheaper for the companies to sell vehicles at a loss than it is to simply reduce production - either way they still have to pay their unionized employees.

Even cheap vehicles cost more than $10,000 to build (at least ones that comply with US safety laws.) The Volt is NOT a cheap vehicle and probably costs at least 3 times that amount. And yes, I am including BOTH fixed costs and unit costs - to do otherwise is to ignore reality.

For a good breakdown of what costs go into a vehicle check these sites:

PS - Personal attacks don't support your argument; they undermine it. You shouldn't call other people "blabbing kids" and "punks" when you yourself are the one acting childish.

By Boiler99 on 9/17/2008 2:24:41 AM , Rating: 3
The electric companies have already said that they would prefer the loads to be more level anyway, without the current peaks and dead times. Having the cars charge at night during "off peak" times would help them to do that, which increases their generation efficiency.

The idea is that the cars would know what time it was, and help out by charging during off-peak times automatically. If you had the need to charge up immediately you could do this as well.

Besides, as posted elsewhere in this thread if a charge costs between ~$0.50 and ~$1.50 depending on where you live, that is a really cheap 40 miles no matter how you slice it.

By Mogounus on 9/17/2008 4:00:02 AM , Rating: 2
So what is it that you are saying; Lets not fix the problem because it may possibly cause a little pain in the short term?
Even if electricity costs jumped so that people ended up spending the same as they did on gas before, at least that money would be going to AMERICAN energy producers and would stay inside of our economy. Also, once the infrastructure is in place prices would come back down.

By Byte on 9/17/2008 7:38:26 AM , Rating: 2
I've been waiting for a fully electric for a long time. Sure it uses electricity from the grid, but the grid could be changed to use anything from wind, ocean, whatever is going to be the next best thing. Unless we find a huge oil load of oil in Florida, we'll continue to be at the mercy of whoever wants to sell us their $100/barrel oil.

By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 8:02:18 AM , Rating: 2
There are huge amounts of oil off the coast of Florida. And natural gas. As well as off the coast of South Carolina, Georgia, California, etc. Our lovely politicians are stopping us from getting it.

The House just passed a drilling bill. But it basically allows no drilling because it restricts it to 50 miles off shore where there isn't oil. Not to mention it will drastically increase the price of gas by repealing the tax breaks for oil companies, require power companies to have 15% of their power provided by alternative sources which are vastly more expensive (thus raising your electric bill), and remove oil from the Strategic Oil Reserve. All so the Democrats can say they voted for drilling in their reelection campaigns.

Way to go Congress! Let's hope this dies in the Senate or gets drastically altered first.

By vapore0n on 9/17/2008 8:42:19 AM , Rating: 2
Its all part of the
"suffer a little more today so you can have a better tomorrow"

I was pro the huge increase in gas at the pump this year.
Less traffic, less "big as a yatch" SUVs in the road.
It was great, even if I was paying for it too.

By FITCamaro on 9/17/2008 8:47:27 AM , Rating: 3
And people like you scare the sh*t out of me.

So according to your logic I can kill 1 billion people and its ok because its better for tomorrow since it reduces the environmental impact mankind has on the world.

All the higher fuel prices did is make those who were less fortunate have to choose between buying gas and buying food. Some families don't fit in a Camry. And minivans aren't really any smaller nor do they get much better gas mileage than many large SUVs.

By cingkrab on 9/17/2008 11:36:22 AM , Rating: 1
The last time I checked the average family size in the US is 3.14, which easily fits in a Camry.

Also, minivans such as the Mazda 5 gets 22 city/28 hwy on EPA figures, which aren't far off on Camry's 21/31 rating. If you can't fit your family into a Mazda 5 then you'll probably need a small bus of some sort, which is another category altogether.

Don't exaggerate. There's plenty of things the US government could be doing to help less fortunate people (universal health care, for example), and high gas prices (which aren't really their fault anyway) isn't any worse just because you don't like it either.

By vapore0n on 9/17/2008 1:21:25 PM , Rating: 2
kill 1 billion, right. Like this is about population and pollution.

American people got too big for their mold and now cant adapt themselves to fit in the old one.
House they cant afford but got dupped by the mortgage companies, cars that they dont really need but buy because of the social status, etc.

I know lots of women that buy SUVs for the perceived safety. And you cant convince them otherwise that they are not any safer.

I know people that buy trucks for "I may need to carry a big TV some time". Those are the people that are really having problems with the high gas price. those that were already on their limits.

A push to reality was needed. The economy is suffering because people now think twice before buying. But it was due. And history will repeat itself.

By Spuke on 9/22/2008 7:19:02 PM , Rating: 2
Those are the people that are really having problems with the high gas price. those that were already on their limits.
Are you on crack? Those people can afford to buy another car! The poor and lower middle class CAN'T no matter how much they want to.

By Kugar on 9/23/2008 8:57:29 PM , Rating: 2
Are you on crack? Those people can afford to buy another car! The poor and lower middle class CAN'T no matter how much they want to.

Are YOU on crack? Most pickup trucks are driven by working class people. And a LOT of SUVs are driven by the middle class. Not every SUV is an Escalade or Hummer driven by the rich.

Did you mean for this to be a blog post?
By crimson117 on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Did you mean for this to be a blog post?
By JonnyDough on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
By omnicronx on 9/17/2008 1:52:39 PM , Rating: 3
But know this, it's DT bloggers that are contantly down-rating anyone that disagrees with them.
Almost every article or blog I have seen, the author has at least one post afterwords. Once they do this any vote they made is reversed.. so much for your theory..

By GlassHouse69 on 9/17/08, Rating: -1
"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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