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Father of the Prius recalls the early program and its challenges

Takeshi Uchiyamada is an important figure at Toyota. Not only is he the chairman of the automaker, but he is also considered to be the father of the Prius. The Toyota Prius has been the most popular hybrid in the world since its introduction over a decade ago.
Uchiyamada recently indicated that there is nowhere to go but up for hybrid production/sales. "I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 percent of global sales from about 13 percent to 14 percent now," said Uchiyamada.
Hybrid vehicles remain a niche market as improving fuel economy for traditional vehicles has improved significantly making the value of a hybrid less defined.

Toyota FT-Bh concept
Sales of hybrid vehicles rose 40% in Europe last year reaching 214,237 units (that is still less than the number of Toyota Prii sold in the United States last year). That tally gives hybrid vehicles under 2% of the overall European auto market. To boost that market share, many automakers are working to reduce the price of the battery packs and other hybrid components.
Toyota is preparing to launch its next generation Prius within the next year. The company is hoping for at least an 8% fuel efficiency gain compared to the current generation vehicle.

Source: Autonews

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RE: Weird Toyota!
By FaaR on 3/13/2014 12:25:42 PM , Rating: 2
Just like nobody pays premium for ordinary ICE diesel cars vs. petrol? Please!

RE: Weird Toyota!
By Nutzo on 3/13/2014 12:41:23 PM , Rating: 3
People will pay a premium for Diesel or a premium for a Hybrid, each generally about $3,000. Very few people would be willing pay a dual premium ($6,000?).

Most hybrids run the ICE using the Atkinson cycle, which is more efficient than a normal ICE engine. This eliminates much of the mileage advantage they would get by also going with diesel.

Just look at 2 similar sized cars. The Toyota Camry Hybrid is rated at 38MPG on the highway, and the Jetta TDI diesel is rated at 42. Really not that much of a difference.
On the several longer trips I’ve taken in my Camry Hybrid, I’ve averaged in the mid 40’s on the highway. Noticably better than the ratings.

RE: Weird Toyota!
By ChronoReverse on 3/13/2014 1:25:32 PM , Rating: 2
Especially since diesel costs more than gasoline now it's especially true.

Up here in Canadaland, diesel is like $1.50/L while gasoline is $1.35/L

RE: Weird Toyota!
By Samus on 3/13/2014 10:36:03 PM , Rating: 2
It's primarily the diesel fuel costs that keep diesel hybrids off the market, especially in the USA.

But it's also additional maintenance, weight, NVR, emissions BS, and diminishing returns compared to cost. I'd be surprised if a diesel hybrid could best a petrol hybrid in city driving (where hybrids are most effective) because diesels can't run the miller combustion cycle because they can't "time" their detonation with a spark (although there is some diesel technology that incorporate spark plugs) and the start-stop cycles will cause additional wear and harshness.

They will have to get very creative with diesel technology to actually make it work. I know Fiat and some others have diesel hybrids but they are not well received. BMW discontinued there's after one year on sale. The problem is in order to eliminate a lot of the NVH and wear issues associated with constant start-stop when transitioning to battery power, the compression ratio has to be dropped (down to 13:1, or lower) in order to meet the expectations of someone not used to diesel engines.

The last point is diesels are really good enough on their own. They are VERY efficient at idle. Not as efficient as an electric motor (which uses zero power) but a Golf TDI will burn a coffee-cup amount of fuel an hour idling.

RE: Weird Toyota!
By JediJeb on 3/14/2014 5:37:45 PM , Rating: 2
the compression ratio has to be dropped (down to 13:1, or lower) in order to meet the expectations of someone not used to diesel engines.

At 13:1 that would be almost perfect for an LPG engine.

RE: Weird Toyota!
By Flunk on 3/13/2014 1:10:20 PM , Rating: 2
Depends where you live, diesels are popular in Europe but very scarce in the US.

RE: Weird Toyota!
By Spuke on 3/13/2014 2:32:15 PM , Rating: 2
There's quite a few regular diesels now but they're mostly premium makes. Look at the only diesel hybrid on the market, the Volvo V60. Base price on that is $81,000 USD. Like another poster said, the premium for both would be at least $6000 plus the additional equipment that would be made standard because now you've moved that car into a higher price category where people expect certain features for the money.

RE: Weird Toyota!
By sigmatau on 3/13/2014 5:12:29 PM , Rating: 2
There are already loud complainers on the fact that hybrids cost more than a standard car, even if the hybrid will recoup that extra initial cost within a few years. A diesel addition will only add to that length of time to recoup the extra initial cost by at least 100%.

A current Toyota Prius that starts at about $24k would instead be priced closer to $28k if not more.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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