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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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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.

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