Category: Electric Vehicles
Developing new automotive technologies can be extraordinarily expensive and it makes sense to advance technology in the most affordable way possible. That’s why many car companies are starting to work together to try and lower research and developments costs for new technology. Toyota is considering a partnership with Mazda so that both companies can improve their lineup affordably. Toyota is known for its hybrid and fuel cell technology and Mazda has some highly efficient gas and diesel engines. By sharing these technologies amongst each other both automakers could improve their vehicles noticeably.
An Existing Relationship
Toyota and Mazda already have a mutually beneficial relationship and this latest deal would just be expanding upon the benefits that both are already enjoying. Currently Toyota is making its gas-electric technology for some of Mazda’s lineup and Mazda is working on developing a small car at its Mexico plant for Toyota. Mazda should start development on the vehicle later on this year.
Meeting Strict Emissions Requirements
All around the world governments are cracking down on fuel efficiency and emissions standards. The governments want cleaner vehicles. They want less pollution going into the air and they want their nations to stop depending on fossil fuels so much. What this really means is that automakers have a lot of work ahead of them and they will probably spend a great deal on research and development to meet the new guidelines and remain in operation legally. While some automakers are focusing on lobbying and stopping these new laws, or at least softening the requirements, other car companies are striking up relationships to try and spread these developments costs amongst themselves. With the new Mazda engine technology Toyota will be able to make its lineup more efficient and improve MPG across its lineup. Toyota fans can expect even more impressive vehicles in the future with technology that was only available to Mazda previously. Mazda will be able to make similar changes to its own lineup and will likely begin offering some hybrid and possibly fuel cell cars in the future to help reduce its dependency on gas and diesel.
Mazda plans to form additional partnerships in the future, and with Toyota giving out information and working to expand its fuel cell technology so aggressively it’s likely they will form new partnerships in the future as well. Each new partnership helps bring better more technologically advanced vehicles to the marketplace for everyone to enjoy.
When most people think about electric vehicles one of those dinky little Prius models comes to mind, or even an under powered all-electric commuter. It’s vehicles like these that make it hard to imagine Porsche utilizing electric technology to enhance their own vehicles, but that’s just what the automaker intends to do.
Porsche believes that all-electric, and hybrid electric vehicles are the future of the premium segment. There are a few major benefits to using the technology, and one of them is something you might not have considered, added power!
Enhanced Torque and Power
In vehicles like the Cayenne hybrid, or the Tesla Roadster you can really feel all the power and torque available. That’s because electric motors provide a nearly instantaneous power source and ridiculous levels of torque. Even just adding in a small electric motor alongside a standard gasoline engine will add in a noticeable amount of torque to the equation. This makes cars feel more responsive and improves acceleration capabilities dramatically.
Reducing Turbo Lag
Today most automakers are switching over to smaller turbo-charged engines, Porsche included. With turbo’s being used more frequently it makes sense to try and come up with a good reliable fix for turbo lag. There are many advanced turbo systems that remedy lag pretty well, but one of the best solutions is to include an electric motor as well. The electric motor can provide that initial power burst while the turbo-charged engine gets up to speed, masking nearly all of the lag.
More Fuel Efficient Sports Cars
Consumers looking for top-level sports cars normally don’t care about fuel efficiency figures, but the EPA and other sources do. Porsche has to follow fuel efficiency and emissions regulations just like every other automaker in the industry, and electric technology can help them meet the requirements. As regulators become more strict about fuel efficient requirements Porsche will likely lean on electric power more and more to keep their dynamic cars from becoming sluggish when meeting efficiency demands.
All of these very real benefits pretty much guarantee that the Porsche lineup is going to become thick with electric models. Someday every vehicle may integrate some type of electric engine into the mix, but for now you’ll just see more electric and hybrid variations popping up.
Even though Toyota seems to be focusing on Hydrogen Fuel Cell vehicles as the transportation of the future, they are still working hard to develop their electrical technology, and they have quite a few developments up their sleeve. The automaker has two different powerful battery technologies in development that could both dramatically improve the performance capabilities of electric-driven vehicles, one of which is in the prototype stage already, solid-state batteries. Solid State Batteries Toyota is developing a technology known as solid state batteries and they have already produced a coin-sized prototype that manages an impressive level of energy density compared to current lithium-ion batteries. The battery manages an energy density of around 400 Watt-hours per liter, or 400 Wh/L. This is currently close to two times as dense as lithium batteries being used today, which could do great things for electronics in general outside of the automotive industry. On top of offering more energy storage capabilities, this battery can also put out a power stream about five times as powerful as lithium-ion batteries are capable of doing. That means more powerful motors can be driven using fewer batteries. This technology is expected to be released in 2020 and should be perfected enough to hit between 600 and 700 Wh/L by 2025. What Makes them Different Solid state batteries are known as such because they rely on a solid electrolyte in place of the liquid electrolyte that’s used in lithium ion batteries. Instead of nickel-metal hydride or a lithium ion, solid ceramic or a polymer is used instead. This packs more energy into a smaller area allowing for a greater storage capacity. What the Batteries Can Do With solid state batteries being at the current energy density of the prototype in development a family sedan would be able to drive for around 300 miles on a single charge. While this is quite a ways off from the 600 miles that many automakers are shooting for, this is still a huge step forward for the industry overall and something to get excited about. Lithium Air Batteries Toyota is also developing lithium air batteries, but they expect these to take about five to ten years longer to develop than solid state batteries. These batteries rely on a small cathode that interacts with oxygen and requires less materials overall. This makes it possible to squeeze even more energy into a tiny area and could allow up to 1,000 Wh/L of storage by 2030. These two advances represent major breakthroughs for the electronics industry and will make it possible to produce long-distance electric vehicles that are much more efficient than the ones we see today. It’s hard to say if they are simply hedging their bet on Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with this technology or if they plan to incorporate it into future vehicles to create something even more sophisticated for drivers to rely on.
Volkswagen recently announced the release price and date of the e-Golf electric hatchback vehicle. It’s set to go on sale in November and the SEL premium model will be sold at around 35,000 not including the destination fee. This price point is relatively affordable for such a capable electric vehicle that produces no tailpipe emissions but the even more remarkable thing is that VW went to the trouble of buying a carbon emission offset from 3Degrees for each of the vehicles produced to help the environment.
Capable and Spacious
The e-Golf is comfortable on the inside and offers the most interior space of any compact electric vehicle with a whopping 93.5 cubic feet of space for up to five passengers. The rear of the vehicle offers 22.8 cubic feet of storage space unless the seat is folded down and then the number goes up to 52.7 cubic feet in total space.
The e-Golf is capable of achieving a range of over 100 miles when driven carefully but automakers state that it averages between 70 and 90 miles on a single charge. The 199 lb.-ft. torque provided by the engine offers plenty of power for quick acceleration and enjoyable driving. A rapid charging system makes it possible to recharge the battery up to 80 percent full in just 30 minutes making a series of short trips in the car much more convenient than in other electric vehicles. This compact car is built on the same MQB architecture as the rest of the Golf lineup, giving it a sporty feel and agile handling. The e-Golf is also the first VW vehicle to offer complete LED headlights in the US, giving it a higher level of visibility while consuming less power.
Equipped with satellite radio, Bluetooth technology and an advanced media system with a remote app, the e-Golf is certainly a well-connected vehicle. It offers all the features that you would expect in the latest luxury sedans and that makes the driving experience all the more enjoyable. Dual-zone automatic climate control keeps the vehicle at an ideal temperature, and three different driving modes help you adjust how much energy you burn through while travelling. Heatable seats and keyless entry add further conveniences to the vehicle and a rearview camera and Park Distance Control make driving more convenient.
The Carbon Offset
Volkswagen worked with 3Degrees to offset all of the CO2 emissions created during the production and distributions of the vehicles as well as for charging the vehicles during the first 36,000 miles of operation. This helps lay the argument of whether electric vehicles are actually useful for reducing CO2 emissions to rest. With the offset purchased the e-Golf is clearly the superior choice for the health of the environment.
This latest release will bring more usable all-electric vehicles to the masses in a fun little platform. No information has been released about lower trim packages if there are going to be any, but the e-Golf SEL looks like a lot of fun to drive around.
There’s a reason that Toyota hybrid technology manages to stay ahead of the pack, despite very heavy development in the sector. It all boils down to talented researchers and engineers that work tirelessly to come up with improvements to the technology. Eric Dede is one of these engineers, and he recently developed a new invention at Toyota’s research lab that will noticeably improve the efficiency of Toyota’s future line of hybrid vehicles.
About Eric Dede
Eric Dede is currently the manager of the electronics research department at the Toyota Technical Center, but that doesn’t mean that he just sits on the sidelines telling others what to do. Previously Dede was the senior engineer for the University of Michigan Space Physics Research Lab and he likes to get his hands dirty and take part in the research process. While making sure the facility is running smoothly, Dede is chiefly responsible for developing future elemental technology for Toyota’s hybrid vehicles and EV’s. His invention in 2013 earned him the R&D 100 Award, essentially an Oscar for an inventor.
His Hybrid Invention
Eric Dede invented a micro-channel cold plate, or a more efficient way of transferring heat through Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. This invention improves heat transfer by up to 70 percent, reduces the total pump power needed by 50 percent and has the potential to increase hybrid performance by up to 10 percent, which is an awful lot in vehicles that are already getting over 50 MPG in the city.
Dede’s patent and subsequent R&D 100 Award isn’t the first that a Toyota engineer or scientist has earned, but it is the first time that all of the research was done in-house at Toyota. This is a sign that Toyota is continuing to expand their research facilities and create more cutting edge technologies for the future.
Even though it’s only Dede’s name on the patent he isn’t taking all the credit for the invention. He stated that “This was a great collaborative project that established useful methods for the advanced design and optimization of electromechanical systems.”
Toyota Leads the Pack
Most people already recognize Toyota for having some of the most sophisticated and accessible hybrid technology on the market today. The technology improvements by Dede, and the 1,355 patents filed by their engineers and scientists in 2013 proves that they want to continue holding that position in the industry. Toyota is working hard to develop the most sophisticated vehicles on the market, and they aren’t afraid to forge ahead on an unfamiliar path. Their development of the original Prius proves that, and they’re proving it once again with the Hydrogen-fuel-cell vehicle that’s set to be released in 2015.
Volkswagen continues to prove its commitment to green technology with the unveiling of the e-Golf at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. With a full array of diesel vehicles and the recent introduction of the gas-electric Jetta Hybrid, the e-Golf moves Volkswagen into the realm of all-electric vehicles.
Boasting a range of between 70 and 90 miles, the e-Golf is able to manipulate its electric motor’s power delivery to give drivers the option of more horsepower or greater range.
Three different driving modes are available: Normal, Eco, and Eco+. In Normal mode the e-Golf makes a full 115-horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, or enough power to take the e-Golf from 0-60 mph in a reasonable 10.4 seconds.
Stepping up to Eco mode improves the vehicles range, but also pulls back some of the e-Golf’s modest power. With 94-horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque available in Eco mode, the e-Golf scoots from 0-60 in 13.1 seconds.
For owners who really want to get the most range from their e-Golf, there’s Eco+ mode. With power pared down to 74-horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque, and the A/C shut off, Eco+ mode is ideal for city use.
In the event a Volkswagen e-Golf owner does find his or her car out of electricity, Volkswagen is offering an exclusive roadside assistance plan that will take an owner and his or her e-Golf to a charging station at no cost, provided that the owner is within 100 miles of his or her home.
Furthermore, if an owner does not want to wait with his or her e-Golf as it charges, Volkswagen will cover the cost of a cab ride home; though, such an event will likely be rare as the e-Golf’s battery can be recharged to 80-percent of its capacity in approximately 30 minutes when using a DC Fast Charging system.
Volkswagen designed the e-Golf to help owners cope with potential range anxiety. A range monitor provides the driver with general information, such as the impact auxiliary systems like the A/C will have on the e-Golf’s range. And regenerative braking will be offered in three different levels in order to allow e-Golf driver’s to recapture the most kinetic energy back if they so desire.
Unlike many modern electric vehicles, the e-Golf is unique in that its architecture was designed from the start to use electric propulsion. As such, the battery and electric motor don’t intrude into the passenger compartment.
Sporting the familiar styling of the all-new Golf, the e-Golf wears a unique fascia with “C-shaped” LED daytime running lamps that will become a signature cue of all electric Volkswagen’s. Volkswagen also added LED headlamps that use less energy than halogen or xenon units.
The e-Golf marks the beginning of a new electric age at Volkswagen and we at LAcarGUY News look forward to seeing the next steps the company takes on the road to electrification. LAcarGUY News will be at the Los Angeles Auto Show posting the latest news and images from the show on our Facebook pages. Be sure to “Like” Pacific Volkswagen and Volkswagen Santa Monica on Facebook to get the latest information from the show floor.
At a quick glance, the Toyota RAV4 EV looks a lot like the gas-powered RAV4; however, upon closer inspection Toyota has done a lot to differentiate the two RAV4 models that serve very different purposes.
As noted in the video below, Toyota incorporated a more aerodynamic front-end design to the RAV4 EV, as well as power saving LED headlights and daytime running lights. Revisions extend to the rear end too, where unique taillights sit below an extended rear spoiler and next to a tailgate that forgoes the RAV4’s signature hatch mounted spare tire (the latter feature being available to the gas-powered RAV4 as well).
Design changes reach underneath the car too. Redesigned spats near the wheels, and a smooth underbody aid in vehicle aerodynamics.
Inside, the RAV4 EV gains a new gauge pack and center console controls that reflect the high-level of technology the car packs. Watch the video below to see these new features in action on the Toyota RAV4 EV.
Living with an electric vehicle doesn’t mean having to live with compromise. To assist owners of the new RAV4 EV, Toyota has designed its Entune app to specifically accommodate their needs.
From the vehicles multimedia system owners can access Entune’s variety of apps, one of which is a list of the nearest charging locations. Owners can also set the time their RAV4 EV will begin charging if leaving it on a charger for an extended period of time. This feature can save RAV4 EV owners money as charging during off-peak hours is often less expensive.
Other interesting features include the ability to set a “pre-climate” mode from the owner’s smart phone. Selecting this mode engages the vehicle’s air-conditioning system before the driver arrives at the vehicle so that the RAV4 EV’s interior temperature is already set to his or her preferences. But don’t take it from us, watch the video below to see the RAV4 EV’s Entune features in action:
With a slated launch date of mid-2014, the A3 e-Tron will be Audi’s first all-electric vehicle. Watch LAcarGUY’s Mike Sullivan describe highlights of the vehicle which include lithium ion batteries with a range of approximately 85 to a 100 miles per charge and 199 lb-ft of torque with zero pollutants.
As the industry moves forward with alternatively fueled vehicles, Audi will have several offerings including the Q5 in a diesel and hybrid and the all-electric A3.
Watch as Mike describes how LAcarGUY plans on preparing for a future with all-electric vehicles:
by Zach McDonald — hybridcars.com
It’s been a little more than two years since Toyota and Tesla shocked the automotive world by announcing their intention to work together on electric vehicles. At the time, the nature and extent of that cooperation were unclear, but just months later we learned that the two companies were hard at work adapting Toyota‘s RAV4 crossover into an EV.
This won’t be the first Toyota RAV4 EV to hit the market, though it will be completely technologically distinct from its predecessor. Released in 1999, the original RAV4 EV is still beloved (and driven) to this day by hundreds of passionate owners. This time around though, the RAV4 plug-in will carry a lithium ion battery pack and strong reminders of Tesla’s DNA.
Toyota has been famously reluctant to build fully-electric vehicles, due mostly to the carmaker’s unease about expensive, limited-range cars that won’t take you 100 miles in between charges. Surprisingly, Tesla feels largely the same way: the most affordable version of its Model S carries a range of 160 miles at highway speeds, more than twice the range of cars like the Nissan LEAF and Ford Focus EV.
In a pair of videos recently released by Toyota, engineers from the project tell the story of how the two carmakers came together to build one of the most intriguing vehicles to come along in years.
Both companies played to their own strengths. Tesla took the lead in providing the car’s electric drivetrain and 41.8 kilowatt-hour battery, capable of at least 100 miles of range (though a recent New York Times review found the SUV easily exceeds that number.)
Toyota was responsible for applying its renowned regenerative breaking technology, which is balanced with the Tesla drive architecture to provide an efficient, responsive ride. Modifying the body and undercarriage of the car to ensure optimal aerodynamics were another challenge, since any drag can greatly diminish an electric vehicle’s range. The RAV4 was given an enhanced spoiler, redesigned front fascia and covered underbody to achieve a coefficient of drag of around 0.3 (about 25 percent better than a standard RAV4.)
Together, Toyota and Tesla have constructed the first lithium ion-powered electric SUV on the market. Though initial production will be limited to just 2600 vehicles, demand for the car should be strong given its unique blend of attributes. If response to the first RAV4 EV is any indication, expect a chorus of calls for Toyota to build more.
Have you considered a fully electric vehicle? Or would you like to consider one but are concerned that it might not make it as far as you would like it to. What if the vehicle ran out of power? What if it leaves me stranded? Well, you are not alone. There are others out there who would consider purchasing an electric vehicle but have what we call, range anxiety.
Watch the following video as Toyota executives, engineers and designers discuss the RAV4 EV and how they plan on eliminating range anxiety by creating an aerodynamic, fully functional, and fun-to-drive vehicle without any compromises.