Category: Hybrid Vehicles

Join LAcarGUY At The AltCar Expo Friday And Saturday

September 29, 2011 lacarguy Fisker, Fisker Santa Monica, High MPG Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles, Lexus, Lexus Santa Monica, Toyota Santa Monica, Volkswagen Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Join LAcarGUY at the 6th Annual AltCar Expo & Conference Friday September 30th and Saturday October 1st from 10am until 5pm at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium.

This event provides one of the most extensive presentations of Alternative technology vehicles and transportation, infrastructure, renewable energies, energy efficiency and urban planning found worldwide.

There will also be world renowned experts speaking to consumers and professionals about what is possible in todays world and the differences we all can make.

LAcarGUY will be out in force, we will have Volkswagen Santa Monica bringing the Golf TDI, Touareg TDI and the all new 2012 Passat TDI, Lexus Santa Monica will be bringing the Lexus HS 250h and the CT 200h, Toyota Santa Monica is bringing two Prius Hybrid and 5 Prius plug-ins for the ride and drive as well as the 2012 Camry and 2012 Rav 4 and Rav EV on Display. Fisker Santa Monica will have a booth with the Karma on display.

Admission is free, we hope to see you there.

A Closer Look: Toyota’s 2012 Prius V

June 29, 2011 lacarguy Green Articles, Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

As you may know, Toyota is growing its Prius family line of vehicles in hopes that a few variations on our most successful battery-powered recipe will offer buyers solutions that the conventional Prius simply couldn’t match. Have you been considering a Prius but felt that the standard vehicle would not accommodate your growing family? Or do you lead a more active lifestyle and require something that will easily carry all your gear without you having to master the art of packing? Well, do we have the vehicle for you.

When it came to designing the Prius V, Toyota’s designers wanted to make sure that the newcomer would still be instantly recognized as a member of the Prius dynasty. Up front, the vehicle wears both stylized head lamps and a rounded front fascia that’s remarkably similar to the 2011 Prius. It also worth noting that the front fenders and hood are completely new sheetmetal. Also, the headlight housing has been altered to incorporate a new ridge that reduces wind turbulence around the side view mirrors. As a result, the small change has a huge impact on interior noise.

From the side, the wagon-like presence of the Prius V is inescapable with its long roof, similarly lengthy rear doors, and an extended cargo area. The rear offers a fairly sizable hatch that terminates in a unique rear spoiler which serves an aerodynamic purpose. Toyota designers and engineers made an effort to decrease the vehicle’s coefficient of drag as much as possible to increase fuel efficiency. Enhancements include touches like protrusions from the front and rear bumper, specially designed side skirts and extensive underbody cladding that help the Prius V return its .29 coefficient of drag.

Engineers essentially stretched the Prius floorplan to give the Prius V an extra three inches of wheelbase and six inches of overall length. Combined with a taller roof, additional glass and large rear hatch, this newcomer weighs 3,274 lb. Opting to skip throwing extra horsepower to all that weight, engineers simply changed the axle ratio from 3.268:1 to 3.704:1. As a result, the Prius V feels just as adequate on the road as the third-generation Prius. The new gear ratio means that acceleration is perfectly acceptable for matching wits with traffic in town or on the highway with 0-60 mph sprints taking an estimated 10.4 seconds. A total of four drive modes are accessible via buttons mounted on the center console, including EV, Eco, Power, and Normal modes.

Under the hood, the same 2ZR-FXE 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle four-cylinder engine found in the base Prius supplies power in conjunction with a pair of liquid-cooled motor generators. Engineers designed the transaxle case in the Prius V with integrated water jackets for the first time to keep the motors at a steady temperature, thereby increasing longevity and performance at the same time. Combined output sits at 134 hp at 5,200 rpm and 105 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm. The exhaust recirculation system was also redesigned to decrease the drivetrain’s warm-up period, as a result, the Prius V can reach optimum operating temperature up to a minute sooner than vehicles equipped with the old system.

As most other automakers are flocking to lithium-ion batteries, Toyota has decided that there is no need to pursue the added cost of the technology for the Prius V. Instead, the hybrid wagon uses a modified version of the same nickel-metal hydride battery pack found in the third-gen Prius. Total output has been boosted slightly to 650 volts, and the more compact battery configuration keeps from impeding on interior room. Additionally, the battery pack’s cooling duct now draws ambient air from a hidden location under the second-row seats.

If you’re looking toward a small SUV, a crossover, or a wagon, the Prius V has all the functionality of those vehicles with the fuel economy and panache that only the Prius name can offer. With improved functionality, the Prius V can be the vehicle to accommodate a growing family with an active lifestyle. Contact us to book your test drive today and we will notify you as soon as the vehicle hits our showroom. Follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community to keep up with the latest updates. Looks Forward To The Opening Of Fisker Santa Monica

May 27, 2011 lacarguy Electric Vehicle Extended Range, Fisker Santa Monica, Green Articles, Hybrid Vehicles Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

At the beginning of 2011, I heard rumors of a Fisker store coming to town. A few weeks ago, while I was at Lexus Santa Monica testing the new 2011 Lexus CT 200h, I learned that Sullivan Automotive Group (Lexus Santa Monica’s parent) was building a Fisker store next to its Volkswagen Santa Monica dealership.

The location, at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and 25th Ave, is the old Lexus Santa Monica site that is now the internet sales department for the VW dealership. The building is relatively small, but you don’t need a large space for the Fisker brand because they only have one model, the voluptuous $95,900 – $110,000 Karma electric extended range sports car.

Sullivan Automotive Group is the 33rd largest dealership group in the US (2010). In 2010, it sold a total of 21,239 units (new, used and wholesale) and had total revenue (including parts, service, etc.) of $632,338,233 – with only seven dealerships:

Lexus Santa Monica
Toyota/Scion Santa Monica
Toyota/Scion of Hollywood
Volkswagen of Santa Monica
Pacific Audi
Pacific Porsche
Pacific Volkswagen
Fisker Santa Monica (opening Spring/Summer 2011)

The group uses the catch-all website to promote its stores and, if you live in LA, you’ve seen billboards for LACarGuy and TV commercials featuring patriarch, Owner/President Michael Sullivan. All of Sullivan’s dealerships have adopted environmentally-friendly practices, both in the showroom and in the service bays. Green is good for business these days.

LACarGuy claims that it’s the number one hybrid dealer in the world. I know the Lexus store is the number one Lexus hybrid seller in the US. So I wouldn’t be surprised if the combination of hybrid sales from the two Toyota dealerships, the Lexus store and a few niche hybrids like the VW Touareg, Porsche Cayenne, and Porsche Panamera Hybrids, put it on top. We do love our hybrids in LA.

The group also has EV charging stations “live” at some of their dealerships. Odd, as none of the vehicles they sell are plug-in hybrids – yet. The Fisker Karma is a plug-in hybrid EV and the upcoming plug-in Prius will also use the charging stations.

The Fisker brand is a good fit for Sullivan Automotive and the City of Santa Monica. So far, it’s the only Fisker dealer in greater Los Angeles. The next closest store is in Orange County.
If you’ve never been to Sullivan’s flagship Lexus Santa Monica dealership, it’s worth your time to see this video. I give them props for restoring this beautiful, historic building.


The People’s Republic of Santa Monica is the perfect location for the plug-in EV Fisker Karma. It’s home to ultra-wealthy aging hippies, environmentalists and lefty socialists. Entertainment industry and creative-types populate trendy restaurants and condos. Expensive boutiques on Montana Avenue attract celebrity shoplifters. You’ll find LEED-certified buildings and the most creative, modern architecture there.

Santa Monica is home to Heal the Bay. It’s the unofficial “Home of the Homeless.” The City hosts four terrific Farmers Markets each week in three different locations. Organic and locally-sourced food is pervasive.

Santa Monica banned smoking on public beaches and the outdoor patios of restaurants. Plastic bags are banned from supermarkets. The City’s fleet of non-emergency vehicles is mostly hybrids or alternative fuel vehicles. The City’s Big Blue Buses all run on compressed natural gas (CNG). It’s not uncommon to see an old diesel Mercedes that’s been converted to run on B20 bio-diesel or used vegetable oil. The Prius appears to be the unofficial transportation appliance of Santa Monica — you can’t throw a stone in any direction without hitting one.

Santa Monica is ground zero (in the LA Metro) area for everything environmentally-friendly, progressive and “green.” There are many wealthy early adopters of EVs and other advanced hybrid technology living in or near Santa Monica. In short, it’s the perfect market for a $100,000 extended-range electric vehicle.

The Fisker Karma is a plug-in electric vehicle with a gas engine that drives a generator to charge the batteries for extended-range driving. Fisker claims the Karma can travel 50 miles on the batteries and an additional 200 miles in extended-range mode. The concept is much like the Chevy Volt; but the Karma’s execution is very different and the target audience is wealthier.

The Karma packs a GM Ecotec 2.0 liter direct-inject turbo I-4 engine just behind the front wheels. It drives a generator to charge the large-capacity 20 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that forms a rigid spine down the center of the car. The Karma is a proper rear-drive sports car (albeit a bit heavy at 4,100 lbs) driven by rear-mounted dual 300 kW electric motors good for a total of 403 hp with a heart-stopping 981 lb-ft torque available from the moment your foot hits the electron exciter. The Karma seats four adults and can hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds.

Fisker Automotive got more than $500 million from the Department of Energy to build the Karma in the US. Fisker bought a shuttered GM plant in Delaware and is in the process of converting it into a shiny modern factory to produce its sleek sports car. It’s going to have to sell lots of cars to pay back its investors.

Below is the Fisker Karma’s first “Get Hot” commercial:


In the meantime, the Karma is being built in Uusikaupunki, Finland by contract manufacturer Valmet Automotive. Valmet also builds the Boxster/Caymen line for Porsche at this plant. The Karma began production on March 21, 2011 so deliveries may happen as soon as this summer. I’m sure Fisker Santa Monica is taking orders. Just have your checkbook ready.

Motor Trend’s Technical Editor, Kim Reynolds, gives his take on the Karma:


Reprinted with permission from Todd Bianco’s Blog The Truth About Cars and the Car Biz in LA

Lexus Santa Monica Unveils All-New Lexus CT 200h

March 9, 2011 lacarguy Hybrid Vehicles, Lexus, Lexus Santa Monica 0 Comments

More than 300 exclusive guests attended the launch of the all-new Lexus CT 200h premium compact Hybrid yesterday at Lexus Santa Monica—the first dedicated Hybrid vehicle in the premium compact segment and the most affordable of the Lexus Hybrid fleet.

Drivers had the opportunity to step behind the wheel of the new sporty, cleanest luxury model, while noshing on tray passed hors d’oeuvres, a make-your-own chinese chicken salad and taco station, and beverages courtesy of HOPE Wine, VeeV Acai Liquer and O.N.E. Coconut Water. Ninety percent of the waste from the sustainable event was diverted from the landfill with the help of composting and recycling stations. All service wares and utensils were plant-based and composted after use, with Sustainable Works on hand to educate guests on reducing their waste. Exhale Spa at the Fairmont Miramar also treated ladies to complimentary manicures at their pop-up salon, with live music by DJ Mateo.

To wrap up the evening, Lexus representatives presented Lexus Santa Monica with the coveted Hybrid Sales Leadership award, which recognizes the number one Hybrid dealer in the country. This is the second consecutive year the dealership has been honored with the award. In 2010 alone, Lexus Santa Monica sold more than 560 hybrids helping push Los Angeles toward cleaner fuels.


LAcarGUY Helps Zipcar Program Expand in Hollywood

December 24, 2010 lacarguy Hybrid Vehicles, LAcarGUY Sustainability, Toyota of Hollywood Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Vehicles Can be Rented for Up to Four Days

The Zipcar program uses Toyota Priuses that were purchased from Toyota of Hollywood. (photo by Edwin Folven)

People who don’t have cars in the Hollywood area have a new option for getting around through an expansion of the Zipcar program, which provides vehicles that can be rented by the hour, day or longer.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and City Council President Eric Garcetti, 13th District, joined representatives of Zipcar on Dec. 16 to announce the expansion of the program, which had previously only been available in Los Angeles at universities such as USC, UCLA and Loyola Marymount. Zipcar uses Toyota Priuses, Mazdas and Scions that will be parked at five locations near Hollywood and Sunset Boulevards. People can sign up for the Zipcar program via the Internet, and make arrangements to use the vehicles for up to four days. The start-up cost is $25 for registration, plus a $50 yearly fee. Zipcar completes a driver’s license check, and within three to seven days, issues a card to users. The Zipcars can then be reserved for a particular time and at a particular location. Users in Hollywood must be 21 years old and have a valid driver’s license. The rates are $8 per hour, with a daily rate of $66. Weekends cost a little more, with hourly and daily rates at $9 and $72, respectively. The fee covers gasoline and insurance. Once a reservation is made, the user’s card is activated electronically and they can use it to open the pre-rented vehicle, which has a key inside.

Garcetti said the Zipcar program is another component of the city’s push to get people to use alternative forms of transportation, and added that he hopes the program will expand even further into other parts of the city.

“A little over one year ago, we kicked off the pilot program and brought Zipcars to college campuses. [Hollywood] has become a highly walkable neighborhood, with lots of public transportation opportunities,” Garcetti said. “Now, Hollywood is again at the center of showing people what is possible. Living in Los Angeles without a car, who would have thought?”

While the Zipcar program is useful for residents, it is also viewed as a valuable asset for business travelers or tourists visiting the Hollywood area. Ten of the Zipcars will be located in Hollywood, with two vehicles parked curbside at five separate locations. They include Vine Street between Sunset Boulevard and Selma Avenue, and near the intersections of Hollywood Boulevard and Western Avenue, Wilcox Avenue and Sunset Boulevard, Highland Avenue and Yucca Street, and Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue. Zipcar worked with Garcetti’s office to determine the best locations for the vehicles where there is heavy foot traffic and nearby links to public transportation. The Los Angeles Department of Transportation is working with Zipcar to ensure the curbside locations are clear and accessible. Users can chose between a hybrid or gasoline-powered vehicle. The Toyota Priuses and Scions used by the program were purchased from Toyota of Hollywood, further boosting the program’s impact on the local economy.

Villaraigosa also hailed the Zipcar program for its benefits to the environment and its potential for reducing traffic congestion. Officials estimate that the Zipcar program can take 15 vehicles off the road each day. With the addition of the new Zipcars in Hollywood and the others located at universities, there are currently 75 of the vehicles located in Los Angeles.

“Imagine if we had thousands of these?” Villaraigosa said. “We could have a major impact on the environment and on our roads. It’s an innovative approach to transportation, one that will clean and green our city.”

Representatives of Zipcar estimate that the vehicles can save people up to $500 per month depending on how often the vehicles are used. The savings result from not having to buy gasoline or insurance. Users are asked to leave at least a quarter-tank of gas in the vehicle for the next user, and there is a Zipcar credit card for gasoline in each vehicle if necessary. Zipcar uses the honor system with the gas card, but safety measures are in place to prevent abuse, according to Coleen McCormick, a spokesperson for the company. The credit card is attached to the car by a pull-cord so it will only reach a pump that is nearby, and the user is required to enter their Zipcar identification number and the mileage of the vehicle at the pump. Zipcar allows the user to purchase gasoline for approximately 180 miles in driving, and the pump will not be activated if the correct information is not used. If someone does not leave a quarter-tank of gas for the next user, they are charged $20. An additional $50 fee is charged if the vehicle is returned late, and Zipcar can charge up to $150 if the vehicle needs extensive cleaning. Zipcar also offers free 24-hour roadside assistance.

“We applaud the City of Los Angeles and its commitment to embracing innovative transportation options,” said Dan Grossman regional vice president for the West Coast for Zipcar. “Zipcar wants to be a star in Hollywood. As we looked to expand our vehicle locations in Los Angeles to meet our growing Zipcar base, Hollywood was the logical location.”

While the Zipcar program is relatively new in Los Angeles, the program is already well established in 28 major cities and states including New York City, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco and Boston. Representatives of Zipcar said they next hope to expand the program to downtown Los Angeles.

For information, visit

Thanks to Park LaBrea News and Edwin Folven

The Perfect SUV. In Other Words: 2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid

December 2, 2010 lacarguy Hybrid Vehicles, LAcarGUY Sustainability, Pacific Porsche, Porsche Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 1 Comment

There’s a lot of buzz around alternatives. Actually, around here, there’s always buzz. So how do you get away from the buzz and get into reality? Hop into a 2011 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid and go in (green) style! Pacific Porsche and LAcarGUY welcome to the only true performance vehicle in the utility class that carries a light footprint and can kick pavement between the eyes…

Yes, the Cayenne Hybrid is different. While it is not the highest performance Cayenne in the lineup, it’s other attributes are very evident and welcome. Carrying all of the same highlights of the completely redesigned Cayenne gas versions, this new model goes way beyond what you’d expect. Its Hybrid system is unlike any other on the market. While there is nothing subtle about the Porsche performance, the only giveaway of this car’s Hybrid status is the two badges just behind the front wheel wells.

Check out this quick video and see for yourself how Porsche has set the bar high on the perfect SUV. In our opinion!


This Cayenne Hauls…Efficiently!

November 27, 2010 lacarguy Hybrid Vehicles, Pacific Porsche, Porsche Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

So there’s hype, buzz and then a mix of those with reality when you talk about luxury and conscientiousness. Porsche has taken an interesting venture into the Hybrid fray with no different an approach than all of their other engineering (well, let’s say nearly all). The 2011 Cayenne Hybrid is amazing: Porsche performance with a green halo! So what makes this one tick?

Unlike a typical full hybrid model, in a parallel full hybrid system the electric motor is integrated into the drivetrain. The hybrid module sits between the transmission and the combustion engine where it docks to a decoupler. The heart and brain of the drive system is the Hybrid Manager: supplied with all the relevant information, it coordinates the combustion engine and electric motor to suit the current driving style. The 240-cell, 288-Volt battery with a 38-kilowatt capacity is situated in the spare wheel recess. A useful space-saving, because it minimises the intrusion into the luggage volume. With the aid of a special cooling system, its temperature is maintained at below 40°C.

And for a little more techie speak, what makes the Cayenne Hybrid work so well? The parallel full hybrid system also comes into its own when driven at higher speeds. Without drive power needed from the engine and electric motor, the gasoline engine is automatically disengaged from the drivetrain and shuts off: The Cayenne S Hybrid continues to “coast” along. Engine drag and the associated deceleration effect are eliminated, and efficiency is increased.

The “e-power” function expands the range in which the vehicle can be run solely on electric power. The throttle map is adapted so that the combustion engine is engaged later than when in “Normal” mode, depending on performance requirements. This function is activated via a button on the center console.

All things considered, this is what it comes down to: More dynamic. More powerful. More efficient. Keep that in mind if you’re already been by to drive the completely redesigned gas Cayenne. This Cayenne hauls, at a whole new level!

Porsche Green Lights 718-HP 918 Spyder; Hybrid Said to Get 78 Miles Per Gallon

August 13, 2010 lacarguy Electric Vehicles, Green Team, Hybrid Vehicles, LAcarGUY Sustainability, Porsche Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

The Supervisory Board at Porsche this week gave the green light for series development of the 918 Spyder, the 718-horsepower all-wheel-drive hybrid sports car with outstanding fuel economy and claimed 3.2-seconds 0-62 mph quickness.
Taken from drawing to 2010 Geneva Auto Show in less than five months, the 918 Spyder mixes a 500-hp, 9,200-rpm, 3.4-liter gasoline V8 with two electric motors for a combined 718 hp. Porsche has calculated that it could be quicker than the old Carrera GT around the Nordschleife.

The 918 Spyder, one of three hybrid models Porsche presented in Geneva, can go up to 25 kilometers (15 miles) on electric power. The two-seater reportedly limits gasoline consumption to three liters per 100 kilometers (78.4 miles per gallon) and emits just 70 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometer.

No time line has been given for when the car  will be ready for the road, but Green Car Advisor doesn’t expect the first production models before the spring of 2012. Pricing has not been announced, but Bloomberg news service has reported it could cost $630,000. Porsche said more details will be disclosed in coming weeks.

The car was just unveiled for West Coast US eyes last night at the Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Thanks Green Car Advisor

Toyota Celebrates 10 Years of Successful Prius Sales

July 29, 2010 lacarguy Green Team, Hybrid Vehicles, LAcarGUY Sustainability, Toyota of Hollywood, Toyota Santa Monica Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

TORRANCE, Calif. — This week marks 10 years since Toyota launched the Prius, its highly popular hybrid vehicle with the gas/electric powertrain. To commemorate the occasion, executives shared a wide array of data connected with this model’s success.

During the past decade, the automaker has moved more than 1.8 million Prius models worldwide, with almost 900,000 of those sales in the U.S. alone.

Toyota calculated the environmental savings Prius owners provided. Based on formulas from the Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. consumers who own a Prius have prevented an estimated 9 million tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere versus if they operated a conventional vehicle.

Furthermore, the automaker contends Prius owners have conserved approximately 650 million gallons of gas, resulting in a net savings of about $1.5 billion.

Toyota recalled the first Prius came to North America in July of 2000. That year, executives remembered that the toast of the North American International Auto Show in Detroit was the Hummer H2, while national gas prices averaged about $1.50 per gallon.

Starting out, the automaker established modest sales goals for the Prius of 12,000 units per year. OEM officials remained steadfast in their defense of the vehicle despite some unflattering early reviews.

“With a real-world 35 mpg, this is a car that neither enthusiasts nor greenies can fully embrace,” Toyota recollected one industry magazine stating.

Toyota also contends competing manufacturers announced that hybrids were “not an economical or practical solution” to America’s future needs. The company believed many OEMs insisted that Toyota had provided the solution to a problem that did not exist.

“Prius owners, however, felt otherwise,” Toyota officials declared. “Widely characterized as extreme environmentalists, early Prius adopters were actually more likely to be tech-savvy professionals.

“Those first owners, well aware of public events and global developments, were conscious of the impact of their own choices,” Toyota management went on to say. “They became articulate advocates for the technology. Soon, demand outstripped supply, and production had to be stepped up as waiting lists became months long.”

As fuel costs spiked, the automaker discovered a clear economic rationale for purchase emerged.

“Driving a Prius delivered a new kind of satisfaction, based on a new set of values,” Toyota officials determined. “It was a car enriched with advanced features, in tune with global issues that assumed greater importance every year. It provided an affordable transportation solution that earlier all-electric cars did not, as it was able to use existing infrastructure without concerns for recharging or range limitations.”

Now, Toyota said the Prius is the third-best selling vehicle in its lineup. The company also asserts owner loyalty figures are among the highest in the automotive industry.

“Toyota recognized in the 1990s that sustainable transportation would become a huge challenge in the coming decades,” said Jim Lentz, president and chief operating officer of Toyota Motor Sales USA.

“Those realizations proved accurate, and if anything, even more profound considering what we know today,” Lentz added.

Refining the Prius

Toyota delved into how the Prius’ technology has improved since its launch.

With the first-generation compact Prius, buyers got 97 combined horsepower and were told to expect 41 mpg. Now a decade later, the midsize Prius has 134 horsepower and delivers an EPA rating of 50 mpg overall.

Compared to the original model, Toyota believes the 2010 Prius is bigger, faster and even cleaner. While the first generation was classified as a Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle (SULEV), the automaker noted the current Prius is a SULEV/AT-PZEV, meaning that it meets super-ultra-low-emissions-vehicle requirements, and emits zero emissions at rest.

As the technology improved, Toyota remembered how reviews significantly changed, too. When Motor Trend named the Prius the 2004 Car of the Year, Toyota indicated magazine officials declared they were “thoroughly impressed with the Prius as not only a technological marvel, but as a truly liveable sedan.”

At the same time, Toyota recalled how The Car Connection described the Prius as “nothing less than the world’s most sophisticated powertrain ever delivered to ordinary customers.”

Insights into Prius Development

Toyota shared some of the details of how its company brain trust developed the vehicle.

According to officials, creating the unit that became the Prius was accomplished in a relatively short amount of time through use of computer models to design and prove ideas. By minimizing the use of prototypes, Toyota engineers believe they changed the way vehicles are designed and built.

The automaker indicated many of the components had to be invented from scratch. Those that had already been invented, such as regenerative brakes and electronic power steering, needed to be improved and adapted for mass production. Global standards for electronic components had to be set and new software needed to be written.

Toyota pointed out a total of nine on-board processors were needed to manage the power delivery between engine, battery, brakes and motor/generator. Many motors and batteries were developed, tested, and discarded before they could be proven. Engines had to be converted to run on the more efficient Atkinson Cycle to power a new, unique transaxle.

Furthermore, the manufactured stressed a completely new type of instrumentation had to be developed. With the Prius, Toyota said there was a need to monitor the interplay between the engine and the battery, leading to a display that kept the driver informed of the status on both counts.

The OEM declared the new instrumentation empowered the drivers to improve mileage by altering their technique, turning driving into an interactive game.

“Today, mileage feedback displays are in use on almost every new vehicle on the market,” Toyota interjected.

The automaker went on to note unprecedented quality-control standards had to be instituted. The reason was motors and batteries had to be reliable enough for stationary use also proved vulnerable to heat, cold and vibration. Officials established multimillion-dollar joint ventures in order to assure the G21 Project, as it was called, could one day lead to a mass-produced vehicle.

“These investments were made in an automotive environment that was dominated by sales of trucks and SUVs; in a world that The Economist described as ‘drowning in oil,'” Toyota recalled.

“Through it all, Toyota management remained convinced that their goal of combining fuel efficiency with environmental performance would one day be appreciated,” executives added.

Today, Toyota contends there are nearly 30 hybrid models on the road from 12 brands with more on the drawing boards. The manufacturer indicated many of the patents filed during the development of the original Prius are now licensed to other OEMs that also take advantage of Toyota’s initial R&D investment.

“Nevertheless, one out of every two hybrids on American roads is a Prius, which remains the benchmark to which all hybrid cars are compared,” Toyota emphasized.

Prius of the Future

One significant advancement is the Prius Plug-In Hybrid.

The company indicated a fleet of Prius Plug-In vehicles is now in a global-demonstration program aimed at proving their capabilities and fine-tuning the design to meet customer expectations.

Toyota mentioned that the unit is designed with small Lithium-Ion battery packs that are aimed to help the PHV produce less greenhouse gas emissions than conventional hybrid vehicles. A commercial PHV is scheduled to go on sale in 2012.

Longer term, Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive components and software are intended to provide a direct bridge to clean, efficient drivetrains of the future. And while breakthrough technologies are on the horizon, the automaker believes continuing gains in battery technology and internal combustion engines keep the Prius competitive.

“Even in a world of alternative fuels, electric cars and hydrogen fuel cells, it’s a good bet that Prius cars based on Hybrid Synergy Drive will be around for a long time to come,” Toyota declared.

Prius Timeline with Significant Dates and Milestones

—1990: Meetings begin concept work on Project G21, “a car for the 21st Century” in Toyota City and at the Higashifugi Technical Center. The fuel economy target was 20 kilometers per liter, about 50 percent better than other passenger vehicles of the time.

—January 1994: Project team addresses drivetrain, chassis and packaging decisions. The team was granted the right to develop new parts from scratch “if necessary.”

—July 1994: G21 Project, Phase III begins, accelerating development for production of the Prius parallel to development of Toyota’s experimental hybrid system.

—June 1995: Toyota Hybrid System approved and code-named 890T.

—October 1995: Hybrid concept Prius displayed at Tokyo Motor Show with propulsion system described as Toyota-EMS (Energy Management System).

—December 1996: Anticipating the future EV and hybrid vehicle market, Panasonic EV Energy was established as a joint venture between Matsushita and Toyota.

—December 1997: Gen 1 Prius launched in Japan after a final design period of 17 months. Wins Japan Car of the Year award and Global Climate Protection Award from the U.S. EPA, among other accolades.

—1998: Announced in July that Toyota would export 20,000 units annually to North America and Europe.

—2000: Post-Prius era of automotive history begins. From this time on, the concept of environmental performance begins to take root, and all economy cars would be compared to the Prius.

—2003: Prius sales hit 24,000 units, double the number originally planned.

—2004: Second generation Prius launched, called Car of the Year by Motor Trend.

—2007: Total U.S. Prius sales reach 500,000 units since it first launched in July 2000.

—2008: National average gas prices hit $4.09 per gallon on July 7.

—2009: Third generation Prius launched as 2010 model with larger 1.8-liter engine, 0.25 co-efficient of drag and 51 mpg city.


LACarGuy’s Mike Sullivan Unveils Open-Access “Level 2” Electric Vehicle Charging Stations During Fisker Karma Preview Event

July 1, 2010 lacarguy Charging Stations, Electric Vehicles, Green Team, Hybrid Vehicles, LAcarGUY News & Events, LAcarGUY Sustainability Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

LAcarGuy to be the First Automotive Dealership in the U.S. to Have Charging Stations for the New Plug-in Hybrid & Battery Electric Vehicles

LOS ANGELES – June 30, 2010 – Mike Sullivan, president of LAcarGuy, announced the installation of “Level 2” SAE J-1772 Electric Vehicle Charging Stations during a preview event for the upcoming Fisker Karma car ,the world’s first luxury hybrid plug-in electric vehicle with zero emissions.

Beginning this summer, anyone with a plug-in and hybrid vehicle will be able to drive up to an LAcarGuy dealership: Toyota Hollywood, Toyota Santa Monica, Fisker Santa Monica and Lexus Santa Monica and get charged.

LAcarGuy will be the first automotive dealer in the U.S. to offer the “Level 2” SAE J-1772, the new industry standard for electric chargers. The “Level 2” chargers are compatible with all electric hybrid and plug-in vehicles. The number one hybrid dealer in the country has taken on the initiative to make adopting a greener lifestyle easier for Los Angeles residents.

“LAcarGuy is proud to be the first U.S. automotive dealership to offer the only industry-approved electric charging stations on the market,” said President of LAcarGuy, Mike Sullivan. “This is yet another step for us to support the community with sustainable options. It’s our commitment to ensuring that our daily driving habits contribute to a healthier planet.”

Winning the coveted Stevie Award for the “Most Innovative Company of the Year” from The 2010 American Business Awards program, the Fisker Karma is the first eco-chic sports car developed in eco-friendly facilities.

Driven by their mission to reduce America’s dependency on foreign oil and lower emissions, the Fisker features all carefully sourced environmentally sound materials like wood trim from ‘non-living’ trees, EcoGlass derived from recyclable sand, and soft-hand textiles composed of 100-percent bamboo viscose.

LAcarGuy’s Fisker Santa Monica will be the only automotive retailer to carry the Fisker Karma in Los Angeles.

About LAcarGuy: As the number one hybrid dealer in the country, Mike Sullivan’s LAcarGuy houses 10 automotive dealerships throughout greater Los Angeles with a commitment to the environment and a cleaner America. A fixture in the Los Angeles community since Mike’s father, “Sully” opened his first dealership in 1964, Mike serves on the Regional Board of Directors for Global Green and on the Advisory Board for the Environmental Media Association. Practicing what he preaches, Mike’s home is completely off-the-grid with 100-percent solar power and a seventh electric car charger that has been installed in his garage. He was honored as “Man of the Year” by the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Organization in 2009 and was Richmond Family Center’s 2009 “King of Hearts.” Today, he is committed to making a difference for our planet with “green teams” implemented at each of his dealerships and the “Driving Green” incentive program, which donates $100 of every car sold to a green charity of the driver’s choice.

For more information visit or contact Susan Emmer at or 917-841-4407.