Tag: Toyota Prius hybrid

A Glance at the Nissan Note E-Power Hybrid Car

Image via autoevolution

Image via autoevolution

This year marks 20 years since the first hybrid car entered the US market with the Toyota Prius. It is thus, an appropriate time to get a rethink of the original technology that would move us in a cleaner direction. The e-Power version of the Nissan Note fits the bill. This car is neither a pure electric nor a hybrid car. It is in between the two types of vehicles. It is not a kind of hybrid car that has ever been produced in the past. The industry refers to the e-Power as a series hybrid, implying that it can be used for all purposes and intents. The car falls into the electric category because it operates via an electric motor. This motor is responsible for driving the front wheels.

The car also has a three-cylinder, gasoline engine with a capacity of 1.2 liters that serves the role of generating battery charge. The engine does not play any part in driving the wheels, a concept that is entirely new. A comparison between the e-Power and the Nissan Leaf electric car will reveal the uniqueness of this powertrain. The electric motor or e-Power has 40kW, whose potency is half that of Leaf’s. The battery pack of e-Power is a twentieth the Leaf’s size, in a vehicle tipping the scales at 1220 kgs, 109 hp and a torque of 254 Nm are produced. According to Nissan, the vehicle is capable of achieving 80 mpg. Contrary to comparable cars such as BMW i3, Nissan e-Power lacks a plug-in facility.

The model has been tested on the roads surrounding Nissan’s world headquarters and the results are exemplary. Once the starter button is pressed, no sound is produced, just like a typical electric car. Similar to the Leaf, Nissan e-Power provides smooth and instant acceleration. With the engine, motor, and inverter located at the lower side of the chassis, the e-Power experiences minimal body roll, especially in the corners. It has great stability even at highway speeds. Just like the Nissan Leaf, the e-Power’s steering is precise and well-weighted, with a minimal understeer. The working of regenerative brakes is effortless as they play the role of charging the batteries when decelerating. The brake pedal is progressively firm and rigid. Another feature concerning the e-Power is that it is capable of being driven using a single pedal. In D or normal modes, the regenerative brakes of e-Power run almost similarly to a normal gasoline vehicle’s brake feel. According to a commentator, ten years from now, every new vehicle will somehow be electrified.

Leave a Comment February 11, 2017

Toyota Starts a New Electric-Vehicle Project

Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius

Toyota Motor Corporation is trying to follow the footsteps of Tesla Motors, Nissan Motor and General Motors in the development of electric cars. Toyota is well-known for the production of hybrid cars that utilize traditional engines, and it has been skeptical of delving into the fully electric car market. Instead, it has been investing in researching on hydrogen fuel-cells. The automaker’s president, Akio Toyoda, who was in charge of branding the luxury division of Lexus, will oversee the newly set-up electric car Department of Business, planning alongside other executives. The push for electric cars follows Toyota’s president’s move to increase autonomous car research.

A one million dollar investment has been made on the project with several employees hired in Silicon Valley. Toyota, which is the largest car maker globally in terms of profit and sales, has substantial financial resources to utilize in future projects. Meanwhile, Volkswagen AG, its primary competitor has settlement costs and fines amounting to billions of dollars in relation to cheating on emissions tests in the United States. Mr. Toyoda, who is the grandson of the automaker’s founder, has plans of manufacturing cars that can drive themselves by the year 2020. However, Toyota has a likelihood of engineering vehicles that require driver engagement in the operation process.

While the pioneering work of Google on autonomous cars has resulted in a great investment in driverless-car research, electric-car research is also making progress. It is essential for automakers to react to the current regulatory and emission pressures that are overshadowing the lack of demand for battery cars such as BMW i3 and Nissan Leaf. Although Toyota has been focusing more on fuel cells, the automaker seemed to be interested in joining the electric car market many years ago. Toyota started by investing in Tesla in 2010 before launching the Model S electric car sedan. Toyota made an agreement with Tesla to purchase batteries from Tesla, a deal which ended following disagreements between Toyota and Elon Musk.

Toyota still has plans of selling thirty thousand fuel-celled cars per year by 2020, which will coincide with Tokyo’s Summer Olympics. But there are some challenges currently faced. For instance, there have been delays in constructing hydrogen refueling stations, especially in California. This has hampered the sales of Mirai’s fuel-cell car. Recently, Toyota announced that it had plans of setting up a unit for building a battery-powered vehicle that will be marketed quickly. This move has come at a time when the Prius hybrid car sales have been declining in the United States.


Leave a Comment December 9, 2016

Comparing Plug-in Cars and Regular Hybrids

bmw_330e_f30_rearOne of the key advantages of plug-in hybrids is that charging the battery allows one to travel for a long distance without emissions. Currently, plug-in hybrid vehicles are eligible for federal tax credits, as well as subsidies. Hence, the government covers part of the car’s purchasing cost. Despite the mentioned advantages, plug-in hybrids cost more than the regular hybrid cars. The cost increase is because of its higher and more powerful capacity, as well as an advanced battery. There is also additional equipment necessary for charging the vehicle from the main. The manufacturing costs may also be higher compared to those of a standard hybrid car. Basically, the additional complexity and technology of plug-in hybrid cars make them more costly in comparison to regular hybrids.

It is essential to keep in mind that for you to use hybrid plug-ins facilities, you have to access parking that is close to a fast-charger or mains supply. Daytime or overnight charging may be tricky for those who find it hard to park outside their offices or homes.  Another difference between the two forms of vehicles is in terms of range. Customers need to be aware of the distance that plug-in hybrid cars can cover before choosing to purchase one. The electric range differs from one vehicle to another. However, by charging your car during the day or overnight, you can be sure of driving further compared to regular hybrid cars.

As an example, BMW 330e plug-in car’s electric range is approximately 25 miles, which is sufficient to cover most morning commutes. In the higher-speed portions of the journey, the petrol engine is available to boost the battery. Low emissions are especially valued in situations such as congested areas or traffic jams, where only electric power will be used for driving. The Toyota Prius is a perfect example to illustrate the difference between a plug-in and a regular hybrid. The all-electric range of the standard Prius hybrid is 0.6 miles, which does not sound a lot. However, this car is mainly used to make low-speed journeys where traffic is heavy. The electric motor of this car is used nearly 70 percent of the entire driving time.

Toyota introduced the Prius plug-in hybrid with the sole intention of further reducing vehicles’ dependence on the petrol engine. This plug-in hybrid’s range is 15 miles with a facility to allow charging of the battery pack. The charging process takes approximately 90 minutes. The 2017 version of the plug-in hybrid will even have an extended electric range of 31 miles.


Leave a Comment October 28, 2016

The Cost Advantage of Hybrid Cars over Diesel Cars

2015toyota_priuszvw50_a_2wd_rear1It has been almost two decades since the first ever Toyota Prius officially entered the market in Japan. Since then, the hybrid technology cost is now lower when compared to diesel. This is according to Satoshi Ogiso, the original lead engineer of the Prius.  Ogiso said during an interview with Bertel Schmitt, the Forbes’ contributor, that the hybrid technology that he has been part of since its inception has a cost advantage. In Europe and America, the cost of producing a diesel and an automatic hybrid system is now the same. This means that hybrids would, in the long run, have a cost advantage over the costs of battery electric cars. Now, after the Volkswagen diesel-gate, car manufacturers are required to set up more expensive emission treatments in order to adhere to government-mandated standards. According to these standards, car makers should produce vehicles with lower greenhouse gas emissions, especially nitrogen oxide.

A while back, diesels occupied almost half of the market share since they were perceived as the only solution to meeting the regulations and were cheaper compared to hybrids. Things have now changed considering higher cost of installing systems for treatment of such emissions. The hybrid and electric car batteries have become more powerful and cheaper, which has further magnified the hybrid case.  When it comes to pure battery electric vehicles, Ogiso said the numbers are likely to go up although they will not be the key transportation form. It has been estimated that on a global scale, over 50-60% of vehicles will be fuel cell or hybrid for the next ten or twenty years. The grounds behind this estimation are that the cost of batteries is gradually going down following increased access to battery research across the world.

The pure electric car cost is very much dependent on range with battery electric cars that can go for up to 250 km, requiring less production cost compared to hybrids. The market generally demands cars with a higher range. Battery electric cars with a range of more than 186 miles will still cost more through 2025. Automakers are aware of governmental emission standards and are gradually shifting to PHEVs from diesels. Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW already have plans of incorporating PHEVs to their fleet of cars. A PHEV is basically a standard hybrid car with an additional large-sized battery that you can easily recharge at home. The gasoline engine comes into operation after depletion of the battery energy so that the car can run as a hybrid.


Leave a Comment September 30, 2016

Comparing the Toyota Prius Prime and Hyundai’s Ioniq Plug-in

Hyundai_Ioniq_01For a long time, Toyota has been the world’s top-selling gas-electric vehicle. This may no longer be the case when Hyundai’s Ioniq is launched in the United States later in the year. The new release will compete against the standard Prius hybrid and the recently launched Prime plug-in. The Ioniq will be the first car in the world to have a third battery electric powertrain. There are a number of similarities and contrasts between the Prime and Ioniq.

In terms of design, a major similarity is that the cars have hatchbacks, front-wheel and aerodynamics. The Ioniq can accommodate five passengers just like the previous Prius plug-in as well as the current Prius. The Toyota Prime on the other hand can only accommodate four passengers, which saves weight. Both cars will have a similar coefficient of drag, which has been estimated at 0.24. The interior space will be similar for both with slight variations here and there. Toyota Prius has a design emulating that of the base Prius, while the Ioniq has been thought to be easier on eyes.

Regarding the powertrain, both vehicles are plug-in hybrid cars with a system based on ultra-efficient Atkinson cycle. While the GDI unit of Hyundai is 1.6 liters, Toyota’s unit is 1.8 liters. The thermal efficiency of both cars is approximately 40%, and this is an accomplishment set by Toyota three years ago. Neither manufacturer has given a specific EPA number, though Toyota said that the Prime could have a figure similar to that of its non-plug-in counterpart. The Prime could have around 52 mpg, while Ioniq could have around 56 mpg. The EPA will most likely exceed 51 mpg for both vehicles.

Another comparison is with respect to electric range following the doubling of the traction battery by Toyota to offer a capacity of 8.8 kWh compared to Hyundai’s 8.9 kWh. The miles projected by Toyota before the ultimate EPA certifications are a 22 miles range. Hyundai’s projected range is between 25 and 29 miles. Assuming the miles presented are to be trusted, it is clear that Hyundai has a better EV range compared to Toyota. In terms of performance, both cars have promised to offer an amazing experience. This is considering Toyota’s New Global Architecture, as well as the independent suspension. Hyundai has also promised to enhance Ioniq’s performance through its novel dedicated platform. Given the information above, Hyundai is clearly a big competitor for Toyota Prius Prime.


Leave a Comment April 22, 2016

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