Toyota Prius V Why NiMH still matters and plugins don’t rule Hybridcar

12 Июн 2014 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Toyota Prius V Why NiMH still matters and plugins don’t rule Hybridcar отключены
Toyota Prius Electric Cars

Toyota Prius V: Why NiMH still matters and plug-ins don t rule

Is it about perception or sales?

Prius V extends Toyota s battery dominance

The other day I read some commentary regarding all the different cathode technologies being utilized in lithium ion batteries. This variety, it was suggested, demonstrates all the innovation now underway in the battery space, and the commentary concluded that Toyota, stuck on NiMH, was probably focused on the beta of battery technologies.

How absurd, I thought, and the latest sale s data on the Toyota Prius V just continues to demonstrate Toyota s major advantage in the battery-powered space. Moreover, the idea that Toyota is dependent upon NiMH technology is provincial. Even Toyota knows NiMH has no future.

Neither does the gasoline engine, but that isn t stopping tens of millions gasoline-powered car sales per year, is it?

Furthermore, the idea that Toyota couldn t produce a series plug-in hybrid, a parallel plug-in hybrid, or a full battery electric vehicle to compete with most plug-ins now on the road is silly. In fact, the completely disruptive nature of today s battery technologies proves Toyota s NiMH point. Today s battery technologies ALL of them are already irrelevant.

All of them.

So, what s the rush into batteries that ultimately really have no future, especially in terms of today s extremely disruptive lithium space? Besides, once a battery technology makes a giant leap forward, it s still going to take massive scale meaning widespread adoption by numerous automakers to truly become mainstream.

Nevertheless, automakers need to do something to counter Toyota s green halo driven by the success of the Toyota Prius. Likewise, every automaker needs a serious chip in the battery space to drive innovation and to keep up perceptions. Still, oddly enough, even when it comes to plug-in perceptions, a majority of average consumers still think Toyota first, despite not one plug-in sale.

Ultimately, no other automaker was willing to invest in NiMH. Everyone knew it wasn t the future, even Toyota. But that wasn t the point.

Toyota used NiMH to help develop its Hybrid Synergy Drive the same basic drive that powers Toyota s hybrids, its upcoming plug-in hybrids, its fuel cell concepts, and it s also the basis of Toyota s Scion iQ electric car. More important, over the last decade, Toyota has used NiMH batteries to sell millions of hybrid cars and procure thousands of patents related to electrification, while also creating the most robust battery-powered supply chains the auto industry has ever witnessed.

Likewise, during this last decade of Toyota Prius success, Toyota has been testing numerous battery technologies. But it s clear, according to a preponderance of experts, that significant breakthroughs are still needed in the battery space, and Toyota has concurred. There isn t a battery technology being utilized today that is going to power the future of electrification. Even then, massive supply chains need to be developed and built.

So excuse Toyota for breaking practical.

I mean Toyota doesn t just offer the best selling hybrid car today, the Toyota Prius V has become the second best selling hybrid in America, and the Prius C promises to extend Toyota s Prius domination even further. In just a few years, the Prius could be Toyota s best selling car. In a few years, the best selling Big 3 vehicles will still be 20 mpg pickup trucks.

And while many … plug-in advocates mock the upcoming Toyota Prius plug-in hybrid for its limited EV range, the fact of the matter is that the plug-in Prius was also built on practicality. For instance, the average trip in the US is 12 miles exactly the range of the Prius plug-in. And since batteries are the biggest cost in plug-in technologies, why not keep plug-in technologies as practical and cost-effective as possible until a battery breakthrough can truly move the segment forward?

Toyota Prius PHV Electric Cars

I mean, is it about perception, or is it about sales?

Because when it comes to battery vehicle sales, obviously Toyota is way ahead of the pack.

Besides, let s say a battery breakthrough is achieved tomorrow that results in a 300 mile battery that is as cheap a gasoline engine, but significantly cheaper to fuel. Would automakers keep developing plug-in hybrids like the Prius plug-in, Chevy Volt, or Ford Fusion Energi?

I doubt it. Instead, they d put more effort into quick chargers, knowing full well that two powertrains simply aren t cost-effective compared to one once battery costs decline significantly. Unfortunately, according to experts it will be decades before that kind of cost-effectiveness is achieved on a scale to dominate the auto industry.

Most experts even admit that it will be a decade or so before even today s plug-in vehicles can like today s hybrid cars sell without any tax incentives.

The point is, there is a long road ahead to electrification, and Toyota is selling what can sell today.


So, I ask, is it better to sell millions of hybrid cars every year built on an essentially obsolete technology, or is it better to sell tens of thousands of plug-ins built on an essentially obsolete technology?

I guess it depend on whether you re driven by results or just image.

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