Category: Hybrid Vehicles

Souped-Up Toyota Prius Becomes a GT300 Racer

January 28, 2016 lacarguy Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota Tags: , , ,

When you think about high-octane racing vehicles, chances are the Toyota Prius isn’t the first one to come up. After all, the Prius is known far and wide as the ultimate hybrid vehicle, not a gas-guzzling racecar. However, all that is about to change, as Toyota has just unveiled a high-performance version ready for Japan’s Super GT racing series. Introducing the 2016 Toyota Prius GT300!

The 2016 Toyota Prius FAQ: What We Know Right Now

September 11, 2015 lacarguy Green Articles, Green Auto Technology, Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota, Toyota of Hollywood, Toyota Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , ,

2016 Toyota Prius-1

The big question: When is it coming out?

No firm date was given, but it looks like early first quarter of 2016

What is going to cost?

Again, no firm numbers were given, but we’d bet that it will be very close in pricing to the current one, even though there is more content and safety items available.

How big is it?

The new Prius is 2.4 inches longer, 0.6 inches wider and 0.8 inches lower than the model it replaces, providing a planted on-road presence while delivering more occupant and cargo room.

Will it get better fuel economy?

With an expected ten percent improvement in EPA estimated MPG on core models, Prius will offer best-in-class fuel economy among vehicles without a plug.  A soon-to-be unveiled Eco model will achieve an even greater improvement, strengthening Toyota’s leadership in hybrid fuel efficiency.

What is the interior like?

The Prius’ new, premium interior adopts advanced technology complemented by features that are functional, fun and have high visual impact. The wrap-around dash design, form-hugging seats, ease of controls and improved visibility put the driver in complete control.

What has Toyota done to make the Prius safer?

The new global architecture that the 2016 Prius is built on also provides a more rigid structural framework to help enhance occupant protection in the event of a collision. The high strength upper body is designed to distribute frontal collision impact energy. Plus, the Prius will be among the first U.S. models to offer Toyota Safety Sense (TSS), a new multi-feature advanced safety package anchored by automated pre-collision braking.  TSS bundles cutting edge safety technologies including:

  • Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection
  • Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist
  • Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control
  • Automatic High Beams

What inspired the design?

From the side, it is longer and sleeker with the overall outline evoking an athletic shape.  Inspired by a runner in the starting blocks, the sporty design conveys a feeling of forward motion.

The hood is lower and the distinctive roof peak has been moved forward. Bold character lines run along the side from the front fenders – one just above the sill that sweeps up towards the rear fender, while the upper crease morphs into the rear spoiler, which has been lowered.

The use of new standard LED headlamps minimizes the Prius’ front fascia and, at the same time, provides an arresting lighting display which helps define the vehicle’s character. The unique and striking rear combination lamps express the distinctive lines of the Prius from the rear spoiler to the trailing edges of the sides.

When can I place my order?

Make sure that you follow us on Facebook and Twitter and we will let you know just as soon as you can.

Toyota and Mazda Plan a Partnership for More Efficient Vehicles

May 10, 2015 lacarguy Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota Tags: , , , , , ,

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.

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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.

Are Electric Cars the Future of the Premium Segment: Porsche Thinks So

March 29, 2015 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Electric Vehicles, Green Articles, Green Auto Technology, Hybrid Vehicles, Porsche Tags: , , , ,

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.

cayenne hybrid

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.

Toyota Continues to Develop Cutting Edge Auto Tech Thanks to Brilliant Engineers Like Eric Dede

July 7, 2014 lacarguy Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Plugin Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota 0 Comments

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.

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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.

Come meet SpongeBob Squarepants and see the all-new Highlander Hybrid at the LA Auto Show this weekend

November 28, 2013 lacarguy Charity, Green Auto Technology, Hybrid Vehicles, LAcarGUY News & Events, New Cars, Toyota, Toyota of Hollywood, Toyota Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

LA Auto Show

Toyota’s Highlander Hybrid has always been a near-perfect combination of size, luxury, fuel efficiency and power, and for 2014 a dose of style can be added to its long list of positive attributes.

With the recent redesign of the gas-powered Highlander, the Highlander Hybrid benefits from fresh new looks. With an increase in length and width over the outgoing model, the new Highlander Hybrid has road presence like no Highlander before it.

Using the same powertrain as it predecessor, the V6-powered 2014 Highlander Hybrid should manage the same combined EPA fuel economy rating of 28 mpg.

The 2014 Highlander Hybrid will be available in two trims: Limited and Limited Platinum. Starting at $47,300, the Highlander Hybrid Limited comes standard with an eight-inch touchscreen display with navigation and Toyota’s Entune system, eight airbags, and a backup camera among other things.

Moving up the Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum adds Safety Connect subscription emergency services, a radar-based cruise control with Toyota’s Pre-Collision safety system to help in avoiding accidents, a lane departure warning system, panoramic moonroof, and heated seats in the second row. The Highlander Hybrid Limited Platinum will be priced at $49,790.

spongebob squarepants, nickelodeon, toyota, highlander

Meet SpongeBob Squarepants

If the passengers you’re hauling in your 2014 Toyota Highlander or Highlander Hybrid happen to be children, be sure to stop by the Los Angeles Auto Show this weekend (Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) to meet SpongeBob Squarepants and see the SpongeBob Squarepants Toyota Highlander.

Teaming up with Nickelodeon, Toyota will offer a build your own SpongeBob booth, airbrush tattoo artists, and a chance to win a surfboard by Santa Cruz Surfboards from the non-profit environmental group Heal the Bay.

On top of this, Toyota and Nickelodeon will work together to donate $5 to Heal the Bay for each individual who Tweets or Instagrams a picture of the SpongeBob Squarepants Highlander with #SpongeBobHighlander up to $10,000.

To learn more about the 2014 Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, or the SpongeBob Highlander keep following LAcarGUY News.

Lexus to Show Updated CT 200h in China

November 12, 2013 lacarguy Green Articles, Hybrid Vehicles, Lexus, Lexus Santa Monica, New Cars Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

lexus, ct 200h, china, facelift
The compact Lexus CT 200h is the latest Lexus to incorporate the company’s trademark “spindle grille” into its front-end design. Like other Lexus vehicles, the CT’s styling benefits from the aggressive maw, giving the car an added dose of character and aggression.

Scheduled to be unveiled at the Guangzho Motor Show in China, Lexus states the car will also receive a revised rear-end design and new alloy wheels.

Currently the CT is a hybrid only affair, affording the compact hatchback with impressive gas-mileage; however, Mark Templin, Lexus International executive vice president, recently told Motoring Australia that he hoped in the future Lexus might add a second powertrain option to the CT to target “people who want fast cars.”

Lexus recently revealed that it will show a compact SUV concept called the LF-NX with a new turbocharged four-cylinder at the Tokyo Motor Show. This engine is expected to eventually replace the IS250’s V6 engine, but will it also find its way under the hood of the updated Lexus CT? We’ll find out when the car debuts on November 21. Be sure to continue to follow LAcarGUY News for the latest Lexus news.

Image credit: Lexus

Volkswagen XL1 Makes U.S. Debut in Chattanooga

October 15, 2013 lacarguy Green Auto Technology, High MPG Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Volkswagen Tags: , , 0 Comments

Original source VW USA

The Volkswagen XL1, the most fuel-efficient and aerodynamic production car in the world, made its U.S. debut at the 23rd Annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference at the Chattanooga Convention Center today. The XL1 offers an estimated European combined fuel consumption rating of 261 mpg (more than 200 mpg estimated in the U.S. cycle) and can cover up to 32 miles as a zero-emissions vehicle in all-electric mode.

volkswagen-XL1
“The XL1 offers a glimpse into Volkswagen’s present and future eco-mobility capabilities, and highlights the ultimate successes of ‘Thinking Blue’,” said Oliver Schmidt, General Manager of the Engineering and Environmental Office (EEO), Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “Volkswagen is proud to debut this ultra-fuel-efficient vehicle before the Society of Environmental Journalists, a group that shares in our commitment to environmental stewardship.”

In addition to the XL1 display, Volkswagen’s participation in the SEJ Conference included a tour of its LEED® Platinum-certified Chattanooga manufacturing plant and solar park; test-drives in its line of eco-friendly cars, such as the e-Golf, Passat TDI Clean Diesel and Jetta Hybrid; and a bird-watching expedition on Volkswagen Chattanooga’s sanctuary grounds.

The XL1 is an automotive standout that follows pure sports-car design principles: light weight (1753 pounds), exceptional aerodynamics (Cd 0.19), and a low center of gravity. This super-efficient Volkswagen has the ability to cruise down the road at a constant 62 mph while using just 8.4 PS (6.2kW) horsepower. In all-electric mode, the XL1 requires less than 0.1 kWh to cover more than a kilometer.

The XL1 emits just 21 g/km of CO2, thanks to its high-tech lightweight design, aerodynamic efficiency, and a plug-in hybrid system consisting of a 48 PS (35kW) two-cylinder TDI® engine, a 27-hp electric motor, a seven-speed DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission, and a lithium-ion battery.

The estimated European driving cycle of 261 mpg fuel consumption figure is a record that has not been achieved by any other vehicle to date, showing that Volkswagen is redefining what is technically feasible in the automotive industry. The XL1 also has a top speed of 99 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.

Conceptually, the XL1 represents the third evolutionary stage of Volkswagen’s 1-liter car strategy. When the new millennium was ushered in, Prof. Dr. Ferdinand Piëch, now Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, formulated the visionary goal of putting into production a practical car that had combined fuel consumption of one liter per 100 km (235 mpg). In the two-seat XL1, this vision has become reality.

Despite the tremendous efficiency of the XL1, the engineers and designers successfully came up with a body design which delivers more everyday utility than the two previous prototypes. In the L1, the 1-liter car that was shown in 2002 and 2009, the driver and passenger sat in a tandem arrangement for optimal aerodynamics; in the XL1, the two occupants sit slightly offset, side by side, almost like a conventional vehicle.

The XL1 is 153.1 inches long, 65.6 inches wide, and just 45.4 inches tall. By comparison, a Volkswagen Polo is slightly longer (156.3 in) and wider (66.2 in), but is significantly taller (57.6 in). Even a purebred sports car like today’s Porsche Boxster is 5.1 inches taller. The XL1 will look spectacular going down the highway—a car of the future, built for today.

Subaru Announces Pricing On XV Crosstrek Hybrid

October 4, 2013 lacarguy Green Auto Technology, Hybrid Vehicles, Subaru, Subaru Pacific Tags: , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Subaru’s XV Crosstrek has been a sales success since entering the market last September. Subaru reports having sold 45,000 of the little crossovers in its first year and the brand as a whole is set to top 400,000 U.S. sales this year – the fifth year in a row the company has witnessed a sales increase.

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In order to keep the momentum going, Subaru is introducing its very first hybrid-electric vehicle for the 2014 model year, the XV Crosstrek Hybrid. Sure Subaru may be a little late in coming to the hybrid party, but it’s better late than never.

Starting at $25,995, the XV Crosstrek Premium takes the topline non-hybrid XV Crosstrek Touring and builds on it. That means besides added fuel efficiency the new XV Crosstrek Hybrid comes with features such as LED rear taillights, a standard 4.3-inch LCD display, a standard rearview camera, keyless access and ignition that allows owners to unlock and start the vehicle without removing the key from his or her pocket, and automatic climate control.

Step up to the $29,295 XV Crosstrek Hybrid Touring and you’ll receive a standard navigation system with a 6.1-inch display, leather seats, and a sunroof.

To learn even more about the capable and fuel efficient XV Crosstrek Hybrid, as well as the standard XV Crosstrek, stop by Subaru Pacific today.

Prius Was California’s Most Popular Car in 2012

February 4, 2013 lacarguy Green Articles, Hybrid Vehicles, HybridCars.com, Toyota Tags: , , 0 Comments

by Zach McDonald of hybridcars.com

Be it restaurant smoking bans or Pinot Noir, California has a way of setting trends that seem to inevitably spread throughout the country. For carmakers though, the importance of pleasing California drivers goes beyond their apparent influence on trends: not only is the state the U.S.’s largest auto market, it accounts for more than 10 percent of sales nationwide each year.

prius california

Now, for the first time, a hybrid has topped the list of the most popular new cars in the Golden State. In 2012, the Toyota Prius outsold the second-place Honda Civic line by more than 3,500 units, making it the most widely purchased platform in the state with a total of 60,688 vehicles sold.

The figures include sales of the Prius, Prius v, Prius c, and Prius plug-in hybrid, which combined to sell more than 236,000 vehicles in the United States last year—up 73 percent from 2011. Toyota also regained its lead as the world’s largest carmaker in 2012, thanks in part to robust hybrid sales. In Japan, the Prius and the Prius c were the two best selling vehicles last year, with the state of California ranking as the top market for Toyota hybrids outside of their home country.

What has led to the Prius’s meteoric rise in California? One contributing factor last year may have been gas prices, which hit record highs in the state thanks to refinery fires and other supply setbacks. But independent of the ups and downs of the oil market, Californians have always been a little greener in their driving preferences. The state was the first in the country to popularize the Prius, and has led all other states by leaps and bounds in hybrid and electric vehicle adoption.

Does this most recent feat mean that the Prius will overtake Ford’s F-150 pickup truck this year as the most popular vehicle in the U.S.? Probably not. At the very least though, it signals that hybrids are here to stay and should continue their brisk growth in popularity throughout the United States.