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Toyota's big sedan gets hybrid power

Toyota continues its push to spread hybrid technology throughout its automotive lineup, and the latest recipient is the Avalon. The 2013 Avalon was first shown at the New York Auto Show in April, but details on its powertrain options weren't made available at that time.
 
Today, Toyota is revealing that the 2013 Avalon will now be available with the same hybrid powertrain that is found in the Camry Hybrid and the Lexus ES300h. That means that a 2.5-liter, Atkinson-cycle, four-cylinder engine is found under the hood that is paired with a pair of electric motors located in the transaxle. Unlike its competitors, Toyota still hasn't made the move to lithium-ion battery technology, so it's still stuck with less efficient nickel-metal hydride batteries.

 
Despite the older battery technology, the Avalon Hybrid is good for 200 total system horsepower and achieves EPA ratings of 40 mpg in the city and 39 mpg on the highway (40 mpg combined). Those rating absolutely obliterate competition like the Buick Lacrosse eAssist which is rated at only 29 mpg combined.
 
Toyota says that the Avalon Hybrid can travel at up to 25 mph on battery power alone; however, you'll be able to travel one mile at that pace (you can blame the nickel-metal hydride batteries for that poor showing).

 
For those that prefer a little more grunt under the hood, the 2013 Avalon will still be available with last year's 3.5-liter V6 which pumps out 268hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. That extra power also means that you'll be hitting the gas pump much more frequently with EPA ratings of 21 mpg city and 31 mpg highway (25 mpg combined).

Source: Toyota



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RE: Atkinson cycle = no thanks
By protomech on 6/26/2012 10:56:35 AM , Rating: 2
The electric motors are indeed limited by maximum battery power - but to about 44 hp (33 kW). The 25 mph speed restriction is due to not wanting to draw the battery too far down. Toyota does not fully charge or discharge the NiMH pack for longevity reasons; the 1.6 kW pack only exposes a portion of its energy to the user (in the SOC display) at any given time.

(on the Prius, too, the ICE has to turn over above a certain speed due to some gearing choices - this also applies to the plug-in prius, which cannot do highway speeds without turning on the ICE)


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