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Toyota axes all-electric plans, aims to advance hybrids and fuel cells

on May 23 2014 | in Industry news, Latest news | by | with Comments Off

Toyota is turning away from a 20-year effort to build a viable battery-electric vehicle in favour of advanced petrol-electric hybrids and, later, hydrogen fuel cells. The Japanese company has ended its 2010 deal with America’s electric-car company Tesla Motors to supply batteries over three years for 2600 all-electric Toyota RAV4s. Its North American CEO Jim Lentz said battery-electric vehicles have a place in the world, if only in a short-range role. “But for long-range travel primary vehicles, we feel there are better alternatives, such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids, and tomorrow with fuel cells,” Lentz said in an interview with America’s Automotive News. Lentz said the deal with cialis dose

Tesla was never about open-ended volume. “It was time to either continue or stop,” he said. “My personal feeling was that I would rather invest my dollars in fuel-cell development than in another 2600 EVs.”

Prius powerplant

Prius powerplant

Toyota says hydrogen fuel cells are cheaper on a cost-per-vehicle basis and are more efficient on a well-to-wheel basis. It is helping to build a network of hydrogen refueling stations in California by late next year that it expects will grow to 50 by the end of 2016 and 70 by 2018. It has calculated that it will take 68 refueling stations to meet the needs of 10,000 California fuel-cell customers to not worry about being stranded. Most of the hydrogen fuel will initially have to be trucked in before self-generating hydrogen stations can become affordable, said Lentz. “My hope is that other automakers will see our investment and will invest as well. Unlike hybrids when we were cialis for a 20 year old

on our own, all the major players will be out there with us in fuel cells,” said Lentz.

Meantime, the emphasis on petrol-electric hybrids coincides with Toyota’s development of a semiconductor that could improve fuel efficiency in hybrid cars like the Prius by up to 10 per cent.

It says early trials show a 5 per cent improvement. The semiconductor –developed with Japan’s Denso Corporation, Toyota’s largest supplier – is made of a more energy-efficient silicon-carbide instead of the traditional silicon. Semiconductors sit within the power control unit (PCU) and manage the flow of electricity between a hybrid vehicle’s battery, motor and generator. But they currently account for 20 per cent of all the energy lost in hybrid vehicles. Toyota says the new semiconductors use only a tenth of the energy of the current power-hungry PCU chips.  

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