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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 marvdmartian on 3/13/2014 3:52:25 PM , Rating: 2
A big problem with introducing any diesel in this country, has been the use of ultra-low sulfur fuel, which many of the diesels in Asia and Europe simply couldn't burn. Heck, talk to diesel owners here, in the USA, and most of them will fondly recall the old days (even the low sulfur diesel days, before we went, "ultra-low"), and curse the newer fuel.

As diesel engine technology advances, I'm sure we'll first see more diesel engine options on vehicles (like the new Ram pickup truck), THEN someone who will be willing to try it on a hybrid.

Then the only problem will be making a diesel hybrid that gets BETTER mileage than its gasoline counterpart, to help offset the difference in price between the two fuels.


RE: Weird Toyota!
By Mint on 3/13/2014 4:22:49 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know where you're getting this from. Europe has long had lower sulfur diesel than the US:
http://www.ifqc.org/NonMemberContentDetails.aspx?T...
http://www.ifqc.org/GeneralDownloadFile.aspx?Conte...

quote:
All EU countries placed within the top 50; nearly 100% market penetration of 10 ppm (or "sulfur free") diesel is expected in the EU in 2009


ULSD in the US today is 15 ppm, and well below 100%.


RE: Weird Toyota!
By Spuke on 3/13/2014 4:32:00 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
ULSD in the US today is 15 ppm, and well below 100%.
Are you sure about that (the below 100% part)? You can't sell diesel in the US without it being ULSD. It was mandated back in 2006. And I think that was completed in 2010.


RE: Weird Toyota!
By Mint on 3/14/2014 1:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct, and I was wrong. It was well below 100% when they first started with these regulations in 2006, but now it's all ULSD.

Still, there's no basis for saying Europe has higher sulfur in its diesel, either today or the last 5 years.


RE: Weird Toyota!
By sigmatau on 3/13/2014 5:07:46 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know where you are getting your information from either, but we had low sulfur diesel requirement before Europe. That is why Mercedes and all couldn't sell here for a year or two.

It was mandated in the US starting with 2007 models by the EPA. Refineries had to make at least 80% of their diesel as 15 PPM sulfur in 2006. Europe only had a similar mandate in 2009. Some European diesel cars were banned from the US until they could process this diesel which took most manufactures 1-2 years to comply.

This is why Mercedes started using urea in the US.


RE: Weird Toyota!
By Mint on 3/14/2014 1:48:06 PM , Rating: 2
Europe hit near 100% ULSD in 2009. It didn't happen overnight or without warning. Most European diesel engines have been running on ULSD for a long time.

Anyway, let's get back to the main point: A couple years of regulation delay in EU vs US isn't the cause of the massive difference in diesel presence among cars for sale. It's a non factor, and for at least 6 years, Europe had less sulfur in its diesel.

That runs counter to marvdmartian's assertion.


RE: Weird Toyota!
By sigmatau on 3/14/2014 11:26:54 PM , Rating: 2
You are right. Europe now has a higher standard than the US for sulfur at 10ppm vs. 15ppm.

I have no clue why we don't have more diesels in the United States myself. I am guessing that diesel is closer to the price of gas in Europe, even though the 10% or so difference in the US isn't that much. We also had some extremely gross examples of them in the 70s and 80s, so maybe the public is turned off by them.

What do you think?


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