Archives – December 30, 2016

Toyota to Share Its Hybrid Technology with Major Competitors

toyota_prius_plug-in_hybrid_-_paris_motor_show_2016_01Toyota has made quite a number of remarkable decisions over the past half year concerning its present, as well as future vehicle technologies. After opposing the battery-electric cars for several years, the automaker has finally made a commitment to launch one by the year 2020. Now, Toyota has made the decision to share its hybrid technology with other automakers. This decision was announced in the last two weeks as a part of the company’s power train strategies. The move by the automaker marks an evident change of course.

Since the launch of the Prius Hybrid in 1997 in Japan, the automaker has been known to fiercely guard and protect its hybrid-electric technology. A few licensing deals have been signed including one with Nissan for an Altima hybrid (2007-2011 models) that have been sold in the United States. Toyota also signed a deal with Mazda for the Mazda 3 compact hybrid that was sold solely in Japan. A notable aspect concerning those deals is that they were not only limited, but also fairly low-volume. According to the description given in a report by Reuters, Toyota has a plan of working with the suppliers at an early stage to allow standardization of components and make it easy for other automakers to utilize its hybrid technology.

The fourth generation of Toyota Prius was launched last year. The car’s drive is considerably better, while its fuel-efficiency is also better compared to the previous versions. Unfortunately, the sales seem to have lagged, probably due to factors such as continued cheap gasoline, a change in consumer preferences, and the model’s extreme styling. Toyota also made a shocking decision in its 2017’s Prius Prime, which is the most recent plug-in hybrid. The latest technology defaults the vehicle to run only in the electric mode when the battery charge is still present. This is contrary to a majority of other plug-in hybrid cars except the Chevrolet Volt.

There has been an increased understanding of the advantages of fully-electric propulsion by Toyota. The strategy of sharing the hybrid technology would be of a long-term nature. Changes will be made to technical standards and parts specifications, with most of them being invisible to buyers. The suppliers of Toyota have been known to produce technology that can only be utilized by Toyota. As the simple battery-electric cars gradually gain market popularity, they have a high likelihood of surpassing the continually low market penetration of hybrid cars. Either way, consumers should get ready for more hybrid cars utilizing the Toyota technology. The company is trying to match up to its competitors including Tesla and General Motors.


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Lucid Motors to Reveal an Air Electric Sedan Car in 2019

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Reports indicate that that Lucid Air will have the capacity to cover up to four hundred miles on a single charge. The key question is the length of time or period it would take for the car to be produced and sold. This startup electric vehicle manufacturer, formerly known as Atieva, made an  announcement last week concerning its plans to produce an Air sedan. It further revealed an interesting photo gallery of the vehicle in question. Now, Lucid Motors hopes that deliveries will begin in early 2019. Production is set to start in 2018 at the new assembly plant worth $700 million in Casa Grande, Arizona. The plant will break ground early next year. Lucid’s Global Manufacturing Director, Brian Barron, confirmed the above information during an interview with Automotive News, adding that the timeline was quite aggressive.

Baron spent around twenty years working for one of the most popular automaker models, the BMW. Because of his vast experience, Lucid Motors believes in Barron to lead and ensure that the Lucid Air sedan is delivered within the set timeline. One of the challenges that Lucid faces is that of introducing a car manufacturing plant to the community for the very first time. Currently, the startup is working collaboratively with community colleges around the area of Casa Grande to not only train, but also hire and certify workers who would enhance production. Barron said that when BMW was established in South Carolina, the region had no automotive industry. Textile industries were the most common.

The state of Arizona has transformed from farming and mining and has become attractive to external investors. The popularity of the location has further increased because of its close proximity to interstate highways linked to the West Coast’s major ports, flight and rail routes. Lucid is trying as much as it can to streamline the process. A positive move is to have a third party that would handle the part of the assembly inside the plant. Currently, Lucid is facing a historic challenge that is usually encountered by startup car manufacturers. The automaker has to grab the interest and attention of the market, followed by manufacturing of the vehicles within a timeframe that is realistic, at a reasonable cost. The company has to set up a factory within a short time. Additionally, Lucid Motors has to compete with major car manufacturers such as Tesla Motors, as well as other startups such as Faraday Future, Karma Automotive and Fisker Inc. The automaker plans to roll out 255 units in 2019.

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