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Toyota Hybrid X Concept
Don't expect any impressive MPG gains in the next generation Toyota Prius

Toyota's next generation Prius likely won't have the spectacular boost in fuel economy that was once expected. In late May, the Japanese newspaper Nikkan Koyogo reported that Toyota was considering nixing the idea of putting lithium-ion batteries in the next generation Prius. The newspaper stated that there were concerns within the company about the safety of lithium-ion batteries -- something that Sony is already well aware of.

The Wall Street Journal confirmed today that the next-generation Prius will not use lithium-ion battery technology -- at least for the first few years. The lithium-ion batteries that were to be used in the Prius would have been provided by Panasonic EV Energy Company.

The Prius will instead continue to use nickel-metal hydride batteries -- albeit in a higher capacity form to boost mileage over the current generation vehicle.

Toyota's decision to not use lithium-ion battery technology could be a big break for General Motors. GM has long been in Toyota's shadow when it comes to hybrid technology, but the company is looking to reverse its fortunes in the coming years.

The company has launched its new "mild hybrid" Saturn Aura Green Line sedan and is nearing the release of dual-mode hybrid Chevrolet Tahoe and GMC Yukon full-size SUVs. GM's coup de grâce, however, could be the upcoming Saturn Vue Green Line mid-sized crossover.

In 2009, the Saturn Vue Green Line will be equipped with a 2-mode hybrid powertrain and plug-in capabilities. Owners will be able to charge their vehicle overnight via a standard 110-volt outlet and drive 10 miles on fully charged lithium-ion batteries before the internal combustion engine takes over. In addition, GM says that its plug-in hybrid Vue Green Line is good for 70MPG.

All hope is not lost for the Prius in the quest for increased fuel economy. Current and future Prius owners can always look to third-parties to retrofit their vehicles with lithium-ion batteries. Lithium Technology Corporation has produced a lithium-ion battery pack (comprised of 63 LTC LiFePO4 cells) for the current Prius. When coupled with a plug-in system, fuel economy jumps from 46MPG combined to 125MPG.

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By mdogs444 on 6/14/2007 11:09:22 AM , Rating: 4
I love the fact that these car makers are making an attempt for alternative fuel sources - hybrids, diesels, electrics, Li-Ion batteries.....

But for god sake, can't they make the car that its powering looks decent? The Prius is god awful, and this example looks like a futuristic grocery getter.

Whats wrong w/ throwing some hybrid/alternatives into something that LOOKS like a BMW 3 series or a Honda S2000?

RE: Batteries
By Mitch101 on 6/14/2007 11:13:57 AM , Rating: 2
It might look like a lamborghini puffer fish holding its breath but I like it. Color choice might make a difference. Or having a few pimped out might change the view of it.

RE: Batteries
By GoatMonkey on 6/14/2007 1:10:05 PM , Rating: 5
Where's Xzibit? This thing needs some TVs in the trunk, a shag headliner, and 24" spinners.

RE: Batteries
By andylawcc on 6/14/2007 5:14:21 PM , Rating: 2
LMAO!!! so true

RE: Batteries
By kilkennycat on 6/14/2007 11:19:21 AM , Rating: 2
Need space for the batteries besides the fuel tank and spare tire and adequate trunk-space. Hence the ugly high rump on the Prius and the poor rear-visibility, with the attempt to compensate with the "window" in the trunk -- unless the trunk area is jammed full.

RE: Batteries
By creathir on 6/14/2007 11:19:38 AM , Rating: 2
I do agree that the Prius line is... not extremely attractive.

The only thing I can imagine, is that usually, the good looking cars are also fairly high in performance. The buyers of this market are looking for not just the looks, but the performance under the hood.

This would explain the lack of hybrid trucks.

Also, the shape of the car is extremely important when it comes to its fuel efficiency. It is possible that some of the more, sportier cars, may not have the same properties of a fuel efficient automobile.

- Creathir

RE: Batteries
By jak3676 on 6/14/2007 11:23:28 AM , Rating: 3
well if you don't mind paying $100,000 and waiting a loong time for delivery, check out Tesla motors. They're making an all electic roadster.

RE: Batteries
By TimberJon on 6/14/2007 11:31:38 AM , Rating: 2
Aye, id rather have a tesla vehicle (maybe not the roadster..) than anything else. Or that jet-car with the 4 independent turbine pods... VTOL baby! Would be nice to fly over the freeway in the morning. Ahem.. I meant southern california freeways.

RE: Batteries
By Moishe on 6/14/2007 11:35:24 AM , Rating: 3
funny thing though is that Honda has been pumping out hybrid Civics and Accords that look almost identical to their non-hybrid versions and they have been not selling.

I don't know why frankly, because I would rather have a car I want that looks like a normal car. I really don't like the look of Toyota or Honda in general though.

I say make me an Audi A4 wagon (or sedan) that is diesel/hybrid, put some nice wheels on it by default and tint the windows and watch how it sells.

RE: Batteries
By arazok on 6/14/2007 12:16:01 PM , Rating: 4
The Honda's fail because they look like the gasoline versions. Hybrids have nothing to do with rational purchasing decisions and everything to do with being able to look down your nose at others while you pat yourself on the back for being tree hugger #1.

RE: Batteries
By RogueSpear on 6/14/07, Rating: 0
RE: Batteries
By omnicronx on 6/14/07, Rating: 0
RE: Batteries
By Oregonian2 on 6/14/2007 5:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
And the damn thing is that he's probably right!

RE: Batteries
By RogueSpear on 6/14/2007 6:35:49 PM , Rating: 2
I have to admit, that was pretty good :P

RE: Batteries
By GoatMonkey on 6/14/2007 1:17:00 PM , Rating: 2
He's right. The Prius is like antimatter to an Escalade.

RE: Batteries
By goz314 on 6/14/2007 2:01:09 PM , Rating: 4
The Prius is like antimatter to an Escalade.

So, when they come in close proximity to one another the vehicles along with their drivers annihilate in a flash of light. Now that would be cool to see! Now, if we could just find some way of harnessing all of that energy, the pains of using fossil fuels could be solved!

RE: Batteries
By EndPCNoise on 6/14/2007 12:18:41 PM , Rating: 2
People ultimately vote with their wallets.

Hence, the market system.

The market is saying that these "newer" technologies need to mature more.

Econ 101

RE: Batteries
By omnicronx on 6/14/2007 12:56:19 PM , Rating: 2
hondas hybrids dont fail because they look the same.. the fail because a low end civic already has close to the same mp/g as the hybrid versions.. hell the difference between a civic le or whatever and the current prius is so small, i would buy a gasoline civic over that ugly thing anyday

RE: Batteries
By Domicinator on 6/15/2007 11:15:30 PM , Rating: 3
Once again, complete BS about hybrids. Take it from me, I own a Honda Civic Hybrid. The one we own gets about 10 more mpg, city AND highway, than its gasoline counterpart. Maybe that's not true on all models, but it is on this one.

The Prius is outselling all other hybrids because it was first to market. That's all. There are some people out there that think the Prius is pretty much the only hybrid car you can get, because it's become a household name at this point.

And furthermore, when you take the total amount of hybrids out on the road vs. the total amount of cars out on the road, you come up with a VERY small percentage that are hybrid. Most of that very small percentage is the Prius. The rest of it is everybody else. It's like the iPod vs. all the other MP3 players on the market.

A lot of you guys have been posting a lot of untrue things about hybrids the last couple of days. Do some homework before you spew complete BS about things you have no idea about.

RE: Batteries
By FITCamaro on 6/14/2007 1:53:43 PM , Rating: 3
Yes but the Hybrid Camry has almost no trunk.

And I think the Camry is fugly anyway.

RE: Batteries
By karrock on 6/14/2007 4:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
The Camry Hybrid has 10.6 cubic feet of trunk space while the conventional gas burners have either 14.5 or 15 cubic feet, depending on trim level. Sure you lose one third of your tail room, but wouldn't call it "almost no trunk".

RE: Batteries
By Hoser McMoose on 6/14/2007 12:20:21 PM , Rating: 5
The current-generation Prius, as well as this 'Hybrid X' concept pictured, were designed much more with aerodynamics in mind rather than looks. Aerodynamics can play a pretty important role in fuel economy, particularly at highway speeds.

This is made obvious by the fact that the coefficient of drag on the Prius is only 0.26. For comparison, the BMW 3-series has a coefficient of drag of 0.30. With a frontal cross-section of 2.544m^2 for the Prius and 2.582m^2 for the beamer (323i Sedan), that gives you a drag figure area figure of .6615 vs. 0.7746. So for any given speed the 3-series encounters 17% more drag force against it and would result in roughly 4 or 5% more fuel consumption at highway speeds (assuming everything else were exactly equal).

I couldn't find any numbers for the S2000, being a convertible it's almost certainly going to be worse, especially with the top down.

Now, that's not to say that you can't make a hybrid car with a higher level of drag. Certainly the Ford Escape Hybrid of the Toyota Highlander Hybrid will generate MUCH more drag than a BMW 325. Also there are some other cars that are more attractive than the Prius (in my mind at least) that have similar levels of drag, such as the Infiniti G35 or some Porsches.

RE: Batteries
By FITCamaro on 6/14/2007 1:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
The Vue Green Line will look exactly like the current Vue which in my opinion looks damn good.

RE: Batteries
By Darith on 6/14/2007 3:31:42 PM , Rating: 2
it looks like elvis' blue suede shoe, i agree with ur notion.

RE: Batteries
By Haltech on 6/14/2007 6:30:57 PM , Rating: 2
RE: Batteries
By AlmostExAMD on 6/15/2007 6:25:05 AM , Rating: 2
THANK YOU, Finally someone who thinks the same about these hybrids, Why can't they just put this technology into nice looking cars we have now or sporty looking ones, I have always hated the look of the Prius, And yes looks do INDEED influence my car purchasing decisions Toyota!

I couldn't have said it better, "and this example looks like a futuristic grocery getter".
BMW 3 series looks on a hybrid and i would trade my car in tomorrow!

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