Monday, December 14, 2009

Toyota PHEV in 2011, Finally

Toyota officially launches plug-in Prius program, retail sales in 2011:

In Japan today, Toyota officially launched its Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) lease program. Over the next six months, Toyota will be building and deploying 600 examples of the plug-in Prius for testing, primarily in Japan, the United States and Europe. The Japanese market will get 230 units, with 150 coming here and 200 going to Europe. The cars will be leased to government, commercial, and university fleets for field testing that help to gather more data on how PHEVs are used in the real world.

To accommodate plug-in charging, the Prius gets a 5.2 kWh lithium ion battery pack in place of the standard nickel metal hydride unit. The battery and associated charging hardware appear to be the only significant mechanical changes to the PHEV. The motor and other hybrid hardware are apparently carried over intact. Even with the standard motor, Toyota claims a maximum EV speed of 62 mph.

On the Japanese JC08 cycle, the Prius can run about 14.5 miles before depleting the battery. It's not clear what the performance level will be in EV mode and what sort of driving will trigger the engine to start up while the battery still has available power. Based on that driving cycle, the PHEV is rated at 72 mpg (U.S.) in post-EV hybrid mode which compares with the 50 mpg or so that we typically see in real use. Since the hybrid system is essentially unchanged, the 14-mile range is probably a bit optimistic. The combined efficiency based on a utility factor of .436 (43.6 percent of driving in EV mode) the Prius is rated at 134 mpg (U.S.). The PHEV Prius will undoubtedly get very good mileage, but triple digits are unlikely for most people. During the presentation, Toyota also announced a target of retail sales for the PHEV of late 2011 at an 'affordable' price. Video of the presentation and the press release are after the jump.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Smith Electric Vehicles in Kansas City!

Smith Electric Vehicles has just launched low volume assembly of its Newton plug-in delivery truck in Kansas City. However, it's not clear how long Smith will keep building trucks there. Smith currently has 14 people working in a former aircraft maintenance hanger at Kansas City International airport, but only has a one year lease on the facility. Smith has yet to make a decision on a larger permanent factory.

A number of other locations are actively courting Smith to build that permanent facility somewhere else. Part of Smith's ultimate decision on where to build its electric trucks will come down to where a battery plant is located. Because batteries are so bulky, manufacturers prefer to put EV plants in proximity to the batteries to minimize shipping costs. Besides the Newton, Smith is also working with Ford on the battery EV version of the Transit Connect that will be launched in mid-2010. The Transit Connect BEV will only be offered on lease to commercial fleet customers at first; volumes still haven't been announced.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

American Made Reva

I've been on an EV kick lately for some reason... Reva, an Indian company that builds the more well know G-Wiz, is planning to build and sell the NXG in the states.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Nice VW EV on the way

The Green Autoblog has a nice writeup on the VW E-Up. I can't wait to see this rolling around town. Maybe by 2015 I'll be ready to trade in the Jetta.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Peugeot on the EV Bandwagon

It's nice to see more and more of these making it to mainstream. Makes me wonder why the Volt is such big news. I guess anything close to revolutionary coming from Detroit is big news.

Japanese Electric Car Has a French Cousin
We now have confirmation of a deal that we reported on 9 months ago; PSA Peugeot Citro├źn will be selling a version of the Mitsubishi i MiEV electric car in Europe. It will be called iOn (the name is a slight improvement on the original). Peugeot targets the end of 2010 for a launch, though the question is: will they only lease them to fleet operators, or to private citizens too?...Read the full story on TreeHugger

Monday, September 7, 2009

Elegant Solar Chargers

DesignBoom has a great story on a very elegant and functional solar charger for your electronic devices. It's called a Sunny Flower and comes from designer Fandi Meng.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Subaru EV going on sale... In Japan

I know, I know we won't see an all electric car in the states until gas goes above $4.00/gallon. People just aren't willing to give up their status symbols just yet.

At least Subaru is jumping on the band wagon. Hopefully it won't be too long. Otherwise we'll all be driving golf carts around town.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Small Wind Turbines

CNet has a good article on small wind turbines.

If we could only purchase a couple of these and put them on the roof next to our solar panels that plug directly into our electric meter.

Until we upgrade the grid, and how homes connect to that grid, we will always have problems with alternative forms of energy. Google has some great ideas on how to fix this issue.

When we can see just how much power we are wasting, we will really be able to start conserving.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Space Based Solar Power

I have always thought this was a good idea. Looks like I missed the boat, again. Slashdot has this great story on Space Based Solar Power. Here is the direct link.