Toyota plug in hybrid and other efficient and electric cars

Toyota Motor Corp. the world’s biggest maker of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles, plans to lease cars whose batteries can recharge from normal electrical sockets by 2010, matching General Motors Corp.’s target for introducing the fuel-efficient vehicles.

The planned new plug-in hybrids would use lithium-ion batteries. Toyota plans low- exhaust diesel engines for large Tundra pickups and Sequoia sport-utility vehicles in the `near future.’

Toyota also is trying to perfect its own methods of making ethanol fuel from wood waste, rather than crops.

GM announced that it may begin production of a plug-in hybrid Saturn Vue Green Line as soon as 2010.

Saturn Vue

The new hybrid-electric Saturn Vue will leapfrog models like the Toyota Highlander hybrid to become the world’s most fuel-efficient V6 SUV when it goes on sale late this year or early in 2009, General Motors promises.

Saturn hasn’t revealed final fuel economy figures, but early tests have shown a 60% improvement in city fuel economy and nearly 50% on the highway. The mileage improvements Saturn insiders talk about would work out to 25-26 m.p.g. in the city and around 34 m.p.g. on the highway.

General Motors Corp’s estimated 2010 timeline for production of its Chevy Volt, electric vehicle, could prove challenging but remains the company’s target.

“It means everything has to go right and so far everything has gone right,” Lutz said. “Right now we are very confident of getting it but normally for a program this complex and with a technology the company has never executed before, you would like to give yourself more time.”

BYD auto chinese hybrid car
BYD auto chinese hybrid car

China’s BYD, car maker that produced 100,000 cars in 2007, showed four models at Detroit, including the F6 large sedan with BYD’s DM (dual mode) electric hybrid system, a technology that the company claims will revolutionise alternative powertrain systems.

The F6DM has a range of around 60 miles in electric mode and a further 190 miles when using the gasoline engine as a generator to charge the battery pack. And the ferrous batteries have a rapid charge facility – BYD Auto said they can be recharged to 50% of capacity in just 10 minutes, though a full recharge takes 9 hours. The F6DM will go on sale in China later this year, with a $6,000 price premium over the standard F6. The cars won’t go on sale in the US until 2010 at the earliest.

Honda CEO Takeo Fukui says 10% of the vehicles the automaker sells worldwide will be driven by hybrid powertrains by 2010. [About 4000,000 to 500,000 cars per year] Honda will introduce its “global family” hybrid in 2009. This car will be equipped with the latest version of Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist system. Fukui also promises the company’s second-generation i-DTEC diesel engine will come to North America in 2009.

Fukui said that Honda will introduce a clean diesel to its Acura line in 2010.

Honda plans to have the most inexpensive hybrid in 2009 at under $20,000 with expected sales of 200,000 units