Category: Plugin Hybrid Vehicles
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.
This year’s Los Angeles Auto Show served as the unveiling of the all-new Audi A3 for the North American market. Filling the spot of the A3 Sportback, the new A3 will shun the hatchback configuration for most models and will instead adopt more traditional sedan and convertible bodystyle.
If you’re a die-hard fan of the A3 Sportback, don’t lose hope yet, as Audi will continue to offer the hatchback body in the e-tron Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle model. As the name suggests, this model will be able to run on electricity alone for some miles before its gas engine kicks in.
For those of us interested in saving fuel at the pump, but not quite ready to make the transition to a plug-in hybrid car, the new A3 will be offered with Audi’s 1.8 TFSI and 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder engines, producing 170 and 220-horsepower respectively. Audi will also offer a 150-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine that will offer extended range and fuel efficiency over its gas-powered brethren.
If you’re a speed demon, you can also make your way up to the 290-horsepower S3 model. Expect a future RS3 model offering in excess of 300-horsepower.
But the A3 isn’t so much about horsepower, as it is about bringing Audi’s pursuit of luxury and technology to the masses. With a base price of $29,900, the all-new A3 gives customers the opportunity to own the first vehicle in its class with 4G LTE connectivity. This technology allows the all-new A3 to incorporate features such as Google Earth and Google Street View in its MMI infotainment system.
Operating in conjunction with a 7-inch screen that rises from the dash, MMI’s latest trick is the incorporation of a touchpad onto its rotary wheel. Teamed with the A3’s available 705-watt Bang & Olufsen Sound System, the compact Audi is turned into a miniature A8.
With available safety features such as active lane assist and adaptive cruise control, the Audi A3 incorporates a host of technologies to keep its passengers safe. Whether your new to the Audi brand, want to cut your emissions by investing in the A3 Sportback e-tron PHEV, or feel the need for speed that is the sporty S3, Audi’s latest compact model will leave you more than impressed with its available luxury and technology features.
Toyota has announced the development of a new vehicle-to-grid-like setup capable of sharing power between plug-in vehicles like the Prius Plug-in or RAV4 EV, and a home. The vehicle-to-home system (or V2H as the carmaker is calling it,) can cycle energy from an EV or PHEV into the home during periods of outage or to balance out the power load during peak hours of energy usage. The system will begin testing in ten Japanese households by the end of the year.
Toyota says the technology is being developed as part of the “ToyotaCity Low-Carbon Verification Project” it started two years ago, partnering the carmaker with 19 other companies in an effort to help households and cities optimize their energy management, with the overall goal of reduced CO2 emissions. Vehicle-to-home and other energy-balancing systems require a means to build up and store energy during times of lower usage so that it can be used later, when there is more demand and utilities tend to charge more for power. Plug-in vehicle batteries have long been identified as potential sites for this kind of energy storage, and in recent years a wide array of carmakers and charging station manufacturers have announced plans to develop such systems.
In addition to helping utilities avoid strain on the grid (and the environment,) V2H benefits electric vehicle owners in several ways. Most attractively, it helps to lower overall utility costs by diverting peak usage to off-peak hours, when electricity is cheaper. Those savings can help to offset the added cost of an electric vehicle battery pack by providing multiple uses for the pack. During emergency situations or when power is scarce or unavailable, V2H can also allow a plug-in owner to power his or her home for anywhere from a few hours to a few days depending upon the kind of vehicle.
Plug-in hybrids like the Prius Plug-in are particularly useful in this situation, because their engines can act as generators, converting gasoline to much-needed electricity. According to Toyota, a fully charged Prius Plug-in with a full tank of gas can power the average Japanese home for up to 4 days.
As the 2012 Toyota Prius Plug-in begins to arrive at U.S. dealerships, Toyota wants potential buyers to be aware of the fact that the plug-in Prius is eligible for the State of California’s Clean Vehicle Rebate Program (CVRP). Designed to promote the use of clean vehicle technologies, the $1,500 CVRP incentive is available on a first-come, first-served basis, and is in addition to the $2,500 federal tax credit offered on the 2012 Prius Plug-in hybrid. The Prius Plug-in is eligible for the State of California’s green HOV sticker, allowing it access to the carpool lane during rush hour―a distinction other Prius hybrids no longer share.
Now that the Prius Plug-in is officially in the U.S., Toyota has also released its EPA-confirmed fuel economy numbers. According to Toyota, the Prius Plug-in has an EPA-rated electric-only range of up to 11 miles. Additionally, during “EV Mode” driving, the Prius Plug-in is rated at 95MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent). In hybrid mode, the plug-in Prius returns an EPA combined mileage rating of 50 mpg. Total driving range for the plug-in Prius is listed at up to 540 miles.
The base MSRP for the Prius Plug-in is $32,000, though the Advanced version starts at $39,525. Initially, the Prius Plug-in will only be available in the following 14 states: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Maine, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia. A nationwide rollout is scheduled for 2013.
The market for plug-ins has been soft of late, with GM last week announcing that it would suspend production of the Chevy Volt until it could sell off inventory. But there are signs that the Prius Plug-in may be entering the market at exactly the right time. Sales of Toyota and Lexus’s plugless hybrids were up 60 percent last month, as gas prices in many parts of the country roared past the $4-per-gallon mark. If gas were to continue on that trend going into the summer months, it’s possible that prices could break record highs this year―a turn of events that would undoubtedly help to build some steam behind not just the Prius Plug-in, but the electric vehicle market as a whole.
by Zack McDonald: HybridCars.com
Slated to debut for 2015, Volkswagen says that its seventh-generation Golf will feature a slew of powertrain options—including a plug-in hybrid version that Auto Express recently rated 5-stars after briefly driving an early prototype. The plug-in hybrid Golf will join the forthcoming 2013 VW Blue E-Motion electric as one of two electric-drive variants on the carmaker’s most popular vehicle.
The prototype plug-in hybrid Golf is based on the currently available Golf platform—not on the Golf VII vehicle—but its powertrain is the same as the one in development for use in production versions of the Golf and other plug-ins. That powertrain features a 1.4-liter TSI turbocharged gasoline engine and an 80-kW electric motor. For the next-generation production version, the powerplants will sit on Volkswagen’s new Modular Transverse Matrix platform (abbreviated MQB in German,) which will allow the company to drop an array of drivetrain configurations into any MQB-based vehicle.
Volkswagen claims the plug-in hybrid Golf will offer up to 30 miles of electric-only range, which is similar to the Chevy Volt. Furthermore, VW notes that its plug-in Golf should be rated at approximately 117 MPGe U.S. (based on European test results) and emits 46 grams per kilometer of CO2.
“On the move, the plug-in Golf is very impressive indeed. Under most driving conditions it’s effectively an electric car—and you really need to press very hard on the throttle for the petrol engine to cut in at all,” according to Auto Express. “In town, it’s fast enough for you to breeze through traffic. Plus, the motor is so powerful, the engine is barely used on high-speed roads.”
Volkswagen expects the Golf Plug-in to be priced similarly to its turbocharged Golf GTI model, which currently starts at just under $24,000. That’s an impressive price point that should make the car competitive with other electric-drive options like the Nissan LEAF, Chevy Volt and Ford Focus Electric.
A closer-to-production Golf Plug-in concept is scheduled to be shown at the 2012 Paris Motor Show this September.
By Laurent J. Masson
The Audi A1, the smallest model wearing the Audi badge, was unveiled last year at the Geneva motor show. As you would expect, the manufacturer had many models on its stand. There were production models and two prototypes: one as a sports version, the other a plug-in hybrid. A year later, Audi has built at least 20 more A1 e-tron plug-in hybrids, which are currently part of a pilot electric mobility project in Munich.
The Fisker Karma has achieved 83 km/51.6 miles running in silence on electric-only mode during independent fuel efficiency tests carried out by Europe’s regulatory body, the Technischer Ueberwachungs Verein (TUV).
Founded in 1871, TÜV Rheinland is a global leader in independent testing, inspection, certification, and consulting services. The company inspects technical equipment, products and services; oversees projects; and helps to shape processes for U.S. companies seeking entry to worldwide markets.
The TUV have carried out the most thorough tests yet of the Karma’s real-world urban performance. This is an independent process that measures every element of the Fisker Karma luxury plug-in hybrid’s performance.
“We are delighted that the TUV has confirmed that most owners will achieve a 50 mile range running purely on electric during their daily commute,” said Fisker Automotive CEO and co-founder Henrik Fisker.
The Karma has already been awarded the highest possible score of 10 out of 10 for fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions on its label from the US Environmental Protection Agency.
A stunning new version of the Fisker Karma was turning heads at Fisker Automotive’s booth at the Frankfurt Autoshow. The brand new Fisker Surf delivers on Fisker’s promise of Pure Driving Passion and Uncompromised Responsible Luxury.
The new Fisker Surf is the world’s first electric luxury/sports automobile for an active and eco-friendly lifestyle. The Fisker Surf builds on the success of the ground-breaking Karma Electric Vehicle with extended range (EVer™). Along with its own independent, spirited attitude, it brings additional, flexible load-carrying capacity. The Fisker Surf combines performance, luxury, style, utility, and economy with an enduring concern for the sustainable use of resources and respect for the environment. The Surf is Fisker’s version of a crossover between the sports car and the station wagon. The addition of the Surf exemplifies how Fisker is expanding its Karma platform rapidly with models that create a new market niche.
“The Surf is a first-of-its-kind eco-friendly lifestyle vehicle that offers space, performance, and luxury design for people who live an active, environmentally conscious lifestyle and like to drive beautiful cars,” Henrik Fisker, CEO/Executive Design Director, Fisker Automotive.
Fisker Automotive also announced its partnership with BMW who will now cover the supply of engines and other components for future Fisker models. BMW will supply a four-cylinder turbocharged engine for the next generation of Fisker cars, code named ‘Project Nina,’ which are scheduled to go into production at the re-commissioned GM plant in Wilmington, Delaware. Production will begin by the end of 2012 and cars will hit showrooms globally in 2013. The first Project Nina production will be a mid-sized premium sedan that will utilize Fisker’s EVer™ technology to deliver on Fisker’s corporate vision of Uncompromised Responsible Luxury.
According to Henrik Fisker, “The BMW engine was an obvious choice for us, as BMW is known for producing the best and most fuel efficient gasoline engines in the world. We are very pleased to have signed the agreement with BMW.”
In addition to growing its fleet of vehicle models, Fisker Automotive is proud to announce its RESERVE customizable options program developed in collaboration with Claus Ettensberger Corporation (CEC). This exclusive Fisker authorized accessory program will be available through Fisker retailers. The first car equipped with accessories from the program features a variety of aerodynamic components and two wheel options (forged and monoblack) for the Karma. There are a number of other new and exciting products in development.
It is quite fitting that HSH Prince Albert of Monaco was the one to put the Fisker Karma through its paces at the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix. His Serene Highness is known for his commitment to the environment and has always expressed a strong interest in encouraging innovative solutions for environmental protection and sustainable development around the world.
According to Henrik Fisker, it was actually the Sovereign Prince that was the inspiration behind the development of the Karma. Fisker commented: “The Fisker Karma project has a distinct Monaco link. Prince Albert was one of the people who inspired me to create the Fisker Karma. When I met him at the Top Marques Show in Monaco in 2006 he commented that he would love to see a fuel-efficient luxury car, and from that small seed grew the concept of what became Fisker Automotive and our focus on premium EVer cars that deliver pure driving passion.” We want to thank both the principality of Monaco and Prince Albert for not only being the inspiration, but also a great support for our groundbreaking automotive green initiative,” continued Fisker.
Visitors to the world’s most prestigious motorsport event were among the first to see the first Fisker Karma off the production line as it made its European driving debut on the famous street circuit. On Saturday 28 May 2011, before official race qualifying began, the first European production version of the Fisker Karma, the world’s first true Electric Vehicle with extended range, took to the streets of Monaco, completing a couple of laps.
The Fisker Karma is the first American-designed and engineered luxury vehicle specifically developed to appeal to world markets, inspired by Henrik’s paradigm of Responsible Luxury. It is the only luxury sedan in the world that meets future fuel consumption and emission requirements, making it suitable for any international city. It is the only true Electric Vehicle with extended range where its rear wheels are powered using two rear-mounted 201.5 horsepower (150 kW) electric traction motors that draw energy from the lithium-ion battery pack for up to 50 miles (80 km.) The gasoline engine drives a 175 kW electric generator to power the motors and there is no mechanical link between this engine and the drive motors.
The Fisker Karma is unique in that it can operate in two separate modes: Stealth and Sport. Stealth Mode maximizes efficiency, giving it the greatest range on battery power before having to activate the gasoline engine-driven generator to sustain the battery charge. In this mode, the Karma is capable of accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 7.9 seconds and tops out at 95 mph. In Sport Mode, the gasoline engine drives the generator to provide enough electricity for 403 total system horsepower, which accelerates the Karma from 0 to 60 mph in just 5.9 seconds, topping out at 125 mph.
The Fisker Karma was designed to be a true driver’s car. Its proprietary aluminum space frame gives it the necessary rigidity and strength that enable world-class ride and handling characteristics. It is the first production car that has been specifically tuned to run on standard 22-inch aluminum wheels, giving it that final air of sophistication.
Fisker plans on delivering vehicles to all current deposit holders during the 2011 model year. We invite you to come in for a test drive as soon as the first vehicles hit showrooms. Follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook community to stay in the loop of the latest updates.
After several delays, production of the Fisker Karma finally began last week. Based in Orange County, California, Fisker builds the Karma at the Valmet Automotive plant in Finland, who also builds cars under contract for Porsche. Deliveries are expected within the next month which is fantastic news.