Toyota Sees Hybrid Costs Decreasing | Extreme Tech…….

Two bits of good news.

First, Toyota expects hybrid cars to have the same profit margin as gas powered vehicles by 2010.  This is important because it would make licensing Toyota’s hybrid power train more attractive to other car manufacturers.

And then there is this bit about the new Prius:

Industry watchers expect the current Prius to be remodeled late next year or in early 2009, using a lithium ion battery for the first time. Takimoto declined to confirm the speculation but added that Toyota’s lithium ion battery, under development with Matsushita Electric Industrial, was technically ready to be mounted on hybrid cars "any time."

read more | digg story

Obama Criticizes Automakers on Fuel Economy | The New York Times…….

Obama nails the critical failing of U.S. automakers: while foreign manufacturers had anticipated a need for cleaner, more efficient vehicles, their U.S. counterparts ignored the obvious and chose to do nothing.

“For years, while foreign competitors were investing in more fuel-efficient technology for their vehicles, American automakers were spending their time investing in bigger, faster cars,” he said, according to a text of his remarks. “And whenever an attempt was made to raise our fuel efficiency standards, the auto companies would lobby furiously against it, spending millions to prevent the very reform that could’ve saved their industry.”

To read the whole article, click here.

Help Bring the Toyota Estima Hybrid to America…….

American families need more environmentally friendly options when it comes to choosing the family car.  Toyota’s recent decision to scrap the U.S. version of it’s Estima hybrid minivan was a step in the wrong direction.

Luckily, the Union of Concerned Scientist has come up with a plan to change Toyota’s mind:

Toyota is aiming to sell about 8,400 Estimas in Japan this year. Let’s show Toyota that the demand for more fuel-economy focused hybrids is even stronger in America. Please sign the petition below, and get others to join you by May 28, 2007. We will deliver your signatures to Toyota executives on Memorial Day—the unofficial start of the summer driving (and higher gas price) season, and just before the Toyota annual shareholders meeting.

If you would like to sign the petition, click here

Electric Motorcycle Powered by Li-Ion Batteries Sets World Speed Record | Green Car Congress…….

A123Systems has earned another round of applause.

The KillaCycle, powered by 990 A123Systems Nanophosphate cells, now holds the world record for the ¼ mile at an elapsed time of 8.16 seconds.  The bike also earned the top speed record for the same distance with a blistering 156 mph.

The 165 lb (74.8 kg), 375 V, 7.5 kWh battery pack powers the KillaCycle from 0 to 60 mph in less than 1.5 seconds. The A123Systems Nanophosphate cells are next-generation Automotive Class Lithium-Ion batteries designed for power, safety and life.

To learn more about this exciting bike, click here.

VIDEO: Roadster Gets 600 HP from Lithium Batteries…….

See the future of the automobile courtesy of PopularMechanics.com via Digg:

"Watching a car burning off an inch or two of rear rubber in almost dead silence is eerily unnatural. If electric cars are where we’re headed, their quiet operation, especially performance cars, is gonna take some getting used to. But 0-60 times of 3.1 seconds could help ease us into the future."

read more | digg story

Your Car + Your Commute = A Visit to Your Doctor | The Washington Post…….

padded cell

Americans are the fattest people on Earth. It is time to rethink our use of the automobile. Learn more from The Washington Post via Digg:

Cars once aided in people’s lives and were considered a saving grace for long hauls, recreation, and convenience. Now they are poised to do us more harm than good, from environmental costs to personal health costs.

read more | digg story

Ethanol versus Fuel Economy: The False Debate | HybridCars.com…….

corn

Walter McManus, once again, cuts to the chase and nails why the American auto-maker’s love affair with ethanol is just another way to game CAFE requirements, while blurring the public’s demand for more fuel efficient cars–with a new fuel with a green buzz.

But to argue alternative fuels versus fuel economy improvements is to engage in a false debate. Each could continue to be cynically manipulated to support different and incompatible policy goals (corporate welfare for corn state firms and fig leaves for automakers). And to pursue one without the other would be foolhardy. It takes more ethanol than gas to travel a mile, and without fuel economy, there are not enough acres of land to grow corn or brush grass to fuel our transportation needs. Congress should rise above the argument and treat cellulosic ethanol (incentives and research support) and fuel economy (standards and incentives) as complementary tools they can use to achieve a common policy goal—reducing greenhouse gas emissions.


To read the whole article, click here.

Hybrids on the Horizon | HybridBlog…….

Prius

One of my favorite areas of Hybridcenter.org is the Hybrid Timeline, which tries to give a clear and accurate picture of what new hybrid vehicles are slated for production in the near future.   

The list has just been updated.  Here is one of the juicy nuggets from HybridBlog:

Generation 3 Prius-mania: Rumors are running wild about what the next version of the hybrid standard-bearer will be able to do. Will it be a plugin? Probably not, but it may well have some electric-only driving capacity given the redesigned Highlander Hybrid has an electric-only mode (it can only travel about a mile in this mode, however). Will it get substantially better mileage than the Gen. 2? Very likely, but how much higher is still all conjecture (a recent report from a UK magazine has it topping 100 miles per gallon, but others have it in the 70-80 range). And, most importantly, will you be able to see out the back a little better as you hear the incessant beeping when the car is in reverse? Signs point to yes there, too. Expect the new Prius to hit dealerships in the fall of 2008.

To read the whole list, click here.

When Automakers Went before Congress | HybridCars.com…….

Walter McManus, auto economist at University of Michigan and contributor to HybridCars.com, deconstructs automaker testimony as it relates to carbon caps, improving CAFE, and the role of bio-fuels in a warming world.

AUTOMAKERS SAID: They are making cars in Europe that meet CAFE proposed by President Bush. “For those who advocate 4 percent annual CAFE increases over the next ten years — which translates to a 50 percent fuel economy increase — we know how to do that too. In fact we already do it in Europe. The U.S. Combined fleet averages 24-25 and in Europe the fleet averages 36 mpg. That’s a 50 percent difference.” (LaSorda, Chrysler Group)

FACT IS: Good point, very good point.

This is a very informative piece and worth reading in its entirety.  To read more, click here.