by Zach McDonald: HybridCars.com
According to a recent report by What Car, Audi has plans to release a small plug-in hybrid boasting fuel efficiency in the neighborhood of 1 liter per 100 km—or roughly 235 mpg. Audi’s head of research and development, Wolfgang Durheimer, told What Car that although the car hasn’t yet been confirmed for production, it’s one of several new plans for high-efficiency vehicles he has been trying to institute since taking over his post in September.
The vehicle would be built around the carmaker’s A1 platform, but would likely be fine-tuned for optimal aerodynamics and outfitted with ultra-lightweight materials. The conceptual and technological underpinnings of the car are based around parent company Volkswagen’s “one-liter” program, which has been experimenting with vehicles capable of hitting the vaunted efficiency mark for more than a decade.
Confirmed for release in Europe for 2014, the Volkswagen XL1 will be the first “one-liter” production vehicle ever sold. A prototype of the two-seat XL1 was photographed testing in March sporting a set of gullwing doors. The car draws its power from a two-cylinder turbo-diesel engine paired with a 27-hp motor attached to a small lithium ion battery pack. The car will be tuned to switch between electric and gas-electric modes depending upon use to ensure maximum efficiency. Audi’s version of the vehicle would likely carry a very similar configuration.
Despite the range of measures geared at optimizing efficiency, Audi’s attempt at a one-liter would remain true to the carmaker’s luxury standards. “I’m not talking about a car with a lot of deficiencies and things lacking, but a car that delivers everything that a car needs to deliver to the customer, in terms of seat space, climate conditions and comfort,” said Durheimer to What Car.
It’s still not known how much the VW XL1 will cost when it hits the market next year, but given the cost of high strength, light-weight materials, it figures to be very expensive for a two-seat car. An Audi version of the vehicle would likely add a significant luxury premium to whatever the XL1 costs. Neither car would be expected to post earth-shattering sales numbers, and at this point it’s a relative long shot that either are headed to the U.S. market.
Still, Volkswagen and Audi are further demonstrating their commitment to high-efficiency vehicles through a wide range of drivetrain configurations headed to different markets around the world. After establishing a reputation for clean diesel TDI vehicles in the 2000s, both Volkswagen and Audi have lagged somewhat in releasing battery powered hybrids or plug-ins. Now, with multiple plug-in concepts headed to market and in test fleets, it’s beginning to look like the Volkswagen Group’s answer to fuel economy will be “all of the above.”
by Dan Grey: MPGOmatic.com
I can hear what you’re thinking … Volkswagen, selling a hybrid sedan?
Aren’t VW’s fuel-efficient TDIs the best-selling passenger car diesels in America?
Indeed they are, but VW faced a dilemma.
The typical Toyota Prius owner, they say, rarely considers buying a diesel.
So Volkswagen decided to build a hybrid of their own. A very different hybrid. One with a turbocharged engine. Marketed to folks that love to drive.
The typical hybrid has a continuously variable (CVT) transmission, lackluster handling, and a rather unsporting demeanor. The Jetta Turbo Hybrid, by contrast, has a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission and a suspension that’s rewarding to drive through the twisty bits.
In order to best show the Jetta Hybrid’s potential, Volkswagen invited a group of automotive journalists out to New Mexico, to enjoy a spectacular drive from Santa Fe to Taos and back. I had the good fortune to be able to tag along.
The Jetta Hybrid boasts the most rear-seat legroom and largest trunk in in its class. To prove the latter point, Chicago-based automotive journalist Jill Ciminillo, a.k.a. The Girl in the Trunk, applied her rather unique method of measurement. (The video is a must see!)
A rear spoiler, front air dam, extended side skirts, and underbody trickery lower the Jetta Hybrid’s Coefficient of Drag (Cd) to 0.28, a solid improvement over the standard Jetta’s already respectable 0.30.
While the official EPA estimates were not available at the time of testing, Volkswagen is aiming for 45 miles per gallon (MPG) combined. Through four hours or so of driving, we averaged approximately 46 MPG, with some hefty climbs through the hills and plenty of foot on the throttle. Volkswagen claims a 0-60 mile per hour (MPH) time of 8.6 seconds, and while we didn’t have the opportunity to time (or shoot) a run, it’s clearly that fast.
Faster than one might expect from a 1.4-liter hybrid … were it not turbocharged.
In Boost mode – with the electric motor working in concert with the turbocharged 1.4-liter gasoline-powered engine – the drive train produces a total of 170 horsepower (HP).
The Jetta Hybrid will run under electric power at speeds up to 37 or 44 miles per hour, when in “E-mode.” The engine will shut off while foot-off coasting at speeds all the way up to 84 MPH. The transitions between modes are seamless.
The dashboard includes a unique “Power Meter” to the left of the speedometer to indicate regeneration and efficient driving. It’s quite different from what most hybrid drivers may be accustomed to. While the LCD screen provides historical fuel economy data, we’d like to see more depth and features here. Adding a fuel economy training application would help drivers exceed the official mileage estimates.
Overall, VW’s engineers have hit the mark. The Jetta is the driver’s hybrid sedan.
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:
by Zach McDonald: HybridCars.com
Fisker announced this week it had completed a successful round of fundraising worth more than $100 million dollars, bringing total financing for the company to more than $1.2 billion. The new influx of private capital was necessary for the carmaker to move forward with its second model, the Atlantic sedan, which will reportedly be priced between $50,000 and $60,000.
Following a path similar to that of Tesla, Fisker hopes to work its way toward building increasingly affordable cars as its production volumes increase. Currently, it’s unknown where the Atlantic will be built or where the remaining money to begin production will come from.
As recently as last year, the carmaker had planned to use the bulk of its $528 million Department of Energy loan to outfit a former GM factory in Delaware and begin production on the Atlantic. However, the DOE withheld $359 million of that loan money after Fisker failed to meet some of the loan’s requirements.
Though the setback delayed the release of the Atlantic somewhat, Fisker has spent the better part of the last year focused on the rollout of its current model, the Karma sports sedan. In addition, the carmaker garnered praise this summer for the hiring of its new CEO, Tony Posawatz, the former GM executive responsible for overseeing the Volt program.
Posawatz said recently that the company would announce production details for the Atlantic in December—including a timeline and manufacturing site. The company has also said that the original proposed Delaware site remains in consideration. “The intent and plan is to utilize that Delaware facility and build cars there in the future,” Posawatz said, as reported by Bloomberg.
The CEO also said his company resolved its DOE loan requirement issues and hopes to draw the remaining $359 million of the loan. The carmaker is currently exploring partnerships with other OEMs as it seeks to work toward an IPO stock offering down the line.
Fisker Automotive, the leading manufacturer of luxury Electric Vehicles with extended-range (EVer™), today announced that the company’s flagship Karma sedan already surpasses its 2025 fuel economy target under Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards – recently finalized by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
“It’s a testament to the disruptive power of technology that a premium luxury sedan like the 2012 Fisker Karma beats its fuel economy target for 2025 – today,” said Fisker CEO Tony Posawatz. “We applaud NHTSA and the Environmental Protection Agency for their efforts to increase fuel economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the Karma, we have brought to market the technology that these regulations are designed to encourage, and we’re pointing the way for the rest of the industry.”
On August 28, NHTSA and EPA finalized fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards for model years 2017 through 2025. The rule sets an average fuel economy target for an automaker’s entire fleet of new vehicles, based on the footprint of each individual model in the fleet. For a vehicle of the Karma’s size, the fuel economy target for 2025 is 45.6 MPG. Current NHTSA methodology – notably different than the EPA label – assumes the Karma will drive half its miles on gasoline and half on electricity and takes into account the energy consumption of both, giving the Karma an equivalent fuel economy of 47.3 MPG.
“The Karma is way ahead of the curve, and we are pleased that these fuel economy standards demonstrate that,” said Henrik Fisker, Executive Chairman. “Regulations must make assumptions about how a car is driven on average, but the appeal of the Karma is that the driver can decide when to drive on electricity and when to drive on gas. The car’s performance in the real world is what matters most – and customer feedback so far suggests Karma owners are outperforming the assumptions behind the regulations.
On a recent conference call, Karma owners were asked to report their fuel economy. The results were impressive: the group of over 30 respondents averaged 150 MPG. One customer reported achieving 57 MPG for the previous 5,500 miles of driving, which included weekend trips of over 300 miles, while another averaged over 100 MPG with 5,000 miles on the odometer. One owner reported consuming only 20 gallons of gasoline over the last 3,500 miles – for an average of 175 MPG – and many others reported average fuel economies of well over 200 MPG.
“This is just a small sample of Karma owners, but they demonstrate what we’ve said all along – the Karma’s fuel economy performance depends on how you use it,” said Henrik Fisker. “The Karma’s technology puts the freedom in drivers’ hands. We’re thrilled to see from these early reports that Karma customers are relying predominantly on the electric range – plugging in at home and maximizing their zero emission driving – but not compromising on their driving habits.”
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.
by: Zach McDonald – HybridCars.com
An Australian couple has set a new record for single-tank fuel economy this week, making the more than 1,600-mile trip from Houston, Texas to Sterling, Virginia on just one tank of gas. The duo used an American-built 2012 Volkswagen Passat SE TDI Clean Diesel to set the new mark, beating the old one (also set in a diesel-powered Passat,) by 99.5 miles.
Over the course of their journey, Helen and John Taylor drove 1.626.1 miles, using 19.3 gallons of diesel and averaging more than 84 mpg. Their fuel costs averaged out to less than 5 cents per mile, whereas the average new vehicle currently sold in the U.S. will cost its owner more than three times as much to drive.
The couple used a regular, stock Passat TDI (which is rated at 30 mpg in the city, 40 mpg on the highway, and 36 mpg combined) for their drive, but were able to use so-called “hypermiling” techniques to get even better fuel economy from a car that is already one of the most efficient non-hybrid sedans on the road.
“The Passat TDI was the perfect car for the trip. It offers plenty of interior and cargo space, yet is frugal enough to help us achieve this record,” said John Taylor, in a press release provided by Volkswagen.
Though the Taylors have used a lot of Volkswagen-built diesels for their trips, their mission is about more than just promoting a single vehicle maker’s cars. Last year, they achieved nearly 75 mpg in a Toyota Prius hybrid driving across South Africa, and drove through every U.S. state in a Chevy Cruze Eco at an average of 64 mpg.
In fact, you might say that the couple have turned personal fuel economy into their life’s work. In addition to several record-setting attempts each year, the Taylors teach green-driving seminars through their Australia-based driving school, Fuel Academy. In all, the husband-wife team hold more than 90 world driving records.
It’s been twelve years since the Toyota Prius first came on to the American stage. Thought of as a science experiment then, and in many ways it was, now in it’s third generation the Prius Liftback IS the face of Toyota.
While the hybrid and plugin electric market may only be 2.5% of all vehicle sales in the U.S., the Prius accounts for more than 50% of those sales. The most shocking statistic is that 96% of all Prius’ sold, are still on the road today. Looking to expand the sales of the Prius, Toyota have expanded the sub-brand of Prius into four models, with the goal of the Prius family of vehicles surpassing Camry in sales.
The first expansion of the Prius family was the v, not quite a crossover, yet more than a wagon, it was Toyota’s move to get growing and active families more space to fit their lifestyle without compromising fuel economy or the integrity of the Prius name. The Plugin Prius will be the current Liftback model that will have the ability to drive 15 miles on pure electric, then revert back to a standard Prius Hybrid once the charge has been depleted. The last component is the source of our review, and that is the Prius c. It is a B-segment car, which will be competing against the likes of Toyota’s own Yaris and iQ, along with the Mazda2, Ford Fiesta, Chevy Spark, Honda Fit, Nissan Versa, Kia Rio and Hyundai Accent.
Powering the Prius c is an updated version of the venerable 1.5 liter inline four cylinder engine. It has been updated to improve efficiency with lighter weight valve springs, lighter tension weight piston rings along with a few other items like the elimination of an accessory belt so now that the power steering, air conditioning and water pump are all driven via electric motors to reduce drag and friction and improve fuel economy. This is paired with a Ni-MH battery pack that is about 2/3rds the size of the one found in the Liftback, which provides an additional 25.9 horsepower to the 73 horsepower engine. The transaxle in the Prius c is an all electric unit that has no belts.
Fuel economy is the raison d’etre in the Prius family and the Prius c will deliver that in spades. Rated by the EPA 53 city, 46 highway and 50 combined. We had the opportunity to drive for a short 25 mile loop that was an equal mix of surface roads and highway. On the surface roads we pulled down 63.5 mpg without really making an effort to maximize fuel economy, and at the end of the loop we had a combined 54.7 mpg, and that was while driving highway speeds of 70-75 mph. Keeping with the rest if the Prius family, the c also has start/stop technology, so that the car is running only when it needs to when stopped in traffic. If you are in stop and go driving, this is an excellent way to save a few extras drops of fuel.
Lest you think this B-segment car is cramped inside, it is not. Front seat passengers have plenty of room, no fear of rubbing shoulders with your passenger. For back seat passengers, two normal sized adults will be able to ride comfortably. We had the drivers seat set for us at 5’11”, then jumped in the back seat behind and were able to get in and out with no problem, and our knees were not touching the back of the driver seat either.
The rear seats do fold in a 60/40 arrangement allowing for good load flexibility, bicycles and snowboards will have no problem fitting inside. With the seats up there is 17.1 cubic feet of space in the hatch area, which should be more than enough room for day to day items, or runs to the grocery store.
In the upper trim levels Toyota have made Softex synthetic leather an option. Listening to their consumers, Toyota have eliminated the use of natural leather in the Prius family of cars. The Softext in our test car, was comfortable, had a quality feel to it, and was grippy so that we did not slide around in the seat.
There will be four trim levels to the Prius c, One, Two, Three and Four. Stepping up to trim level’s Three and Four will net you a smart key, which offers the ability to not have to take the key out of your pocket to get in the car, or need it for starting. The upper two levels also get you the top end audio system with navigation. It has a 6.1 in touch screen with AM/FM/SirusXM/HD Radio and also will play CD’s along with MP3 and WMA files through a six speaker system.
All trim levels have bluetooth as standard but trim levels Three and Four allow for advanced voice recognition. The top end audio system also includes Entune. Entune is a system that Toyota have developed that works with the data connection on your smart phone to supply Pandora, iHeart Radio, OpenTable, MovieTickets.com along with real time traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports scores and weather to you.
You register on a specific Toyota website with your cars VIN number, and then you can assign up to four different phones to the system so that everyone can taylor the system to themselves, if multiple people in a household share the car.
The Prius c also contains a 3.5 inch TFT display to the right of the offset digital speedometer. There are multiple levels of menus to explore within. Items like energy monitors, drive information, scoring the last 100 drives and how economical the current one is, 5 minute consumption. There is an ECO Savings level where you can program the current cost of gas in, and also the mpg of another vehicle to see how much you are saving with the Prius c. It also calculates the current cost of your current trip, and past trips, and brake it down into a cost per mile. It will also grade you on how economically you are driving and braking on a scale of 1-5 and display it in a bar graph.
Many people worry about safety in cars that are as small as the Prius c. To address this Toyota is including nine standard airbags along with items like ABS, traction control, vehicle stability control, brake assist, brake force distribution and smart stop.
Smart stop is a system that intervenes when both the brake and gas peddles are pressed at the same time. In a panic situation one might press down hard on both peddles without meaning to. The system senses this, and disengages the gas, it also incorporates a hill assist into the system so that if you are on a hill and stopped, you do not roll backwards when transferring from the brake peddle to the gas peddle.
Pricing for the Prius c in trim level One starts at $19,710, Level Two is $20,760, Level Three is $22,395 and Level Four is $23,990, all prices include the $760 destination fee. While this is certainly on the higher end of the B-Segment price structure, cars like Ford’s Fiesta can quickly top $20,000 as well once they are optioned up. The base price of the Prius c is about a $2,000 premium over the Yaris to give some context.
Out on the road the Prius c drives very well. While the handling can’t be called sporty, it is very competent. It is very agile, has a better ride quality than the Prius Liftback or v, and also transmits less road noise through the tires than the Liftback or v as well. The Prius c engineers took extra time to mitigate as much NVH from the car as possible and their work shows.
Acceleration in city traffic from 0-40 miles an hour is good, though not quick. Merging onto the highway the power can be best described as adequate. It is able to get on to freeways and merge without drama, and while you may feel you need to be going faster or accelerating quicker, once you look at the speedometer, you will see you’ve already gotten up to the speed of surrounding traffic. The car can engage an EV mode where it can run up to a mile with a max speed of 25 miles an hour.
The Prius c was able to run 75 miles an hour on the highway with no issues, it was not moved around by semi’s going past, it felt very stable, and the interior is quiet enough to hold a conversation in a normal tone of voice.
While the other versions of the Prius have never excited us all that much, we feel that the c is the first Prius that we can get behind. It truly was a fun and satisfying car to drive. In a time when gas is again approaching $4/gallon in the U.S., having a car that can pull down 50 mpg is an attractive proposition. And when that proposition asks very few compromises from you, it’s even more so. No the car is not a sports car, or a sporty car, what it is, is a small car that gets the job done, can be well equipped, and you don’t mind driving. While in the past, and even now with the Liftback and the v, the Prius’ could be described as automotive appliances, the c does not have that vibe, it feels like a car first, a hybrid second.
Designed to function as a city-friendly vehicle with an engaging driving experience, hatchback utility, and an EPA-estimated city fuel economy rating of 53 mpg, Prius c offers the highest city mpg rating of any vehicle without a plug. The all-new Prius c joins the Prius Family, which includes the third generation Prius Liftback, the versatile new Prius v and the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, which will be available in early 2012.
Unique Place in the Prius Family
A gateway into the Prius Family, the new Prius c will find favor with younger shoppers seeking a smartly designed, fuel-sipping subcompact car packing advanced drivetrain and in-car technology. The SULEV (Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicle) rated Prius c will offer engaging driving dynamics and superior urban maneuverability. When the 2012 Prius c arrives in showrooms in March 2012, this all-new hatchback will offer:
* The highest rated city fuel economy of any vehicle without a plug*; 53 mpg in the city, and 46 mpg on the highway, for a combined rating of 50 mpg
* A starting MSRP of $18,950 with a proven hybrid powertrain and premium technology
* A premium hybrid experience thanks to a wide array of convenience and advanced in-car electronics features, including a standard 3.5-inch full color TFT multi-information display, Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability, USB port with iPod® connectivity, and available Display Audio system with Navigation and Entune™
Prius c: Four Grades
The Prius c will be available in four grades, offering desirable features, equipment, and enhanced capability providing consumers compelling value. All Prius c models will be equipped with a Hybrid Synergy Drive 1.5-liter DOHC, 16-valve engine with VVT-i, a 60 hp permanent magnet AC synchronous motor, and a 144 volt nickel-metal hydride battery which generates 25.9 hp of electric propulsion for a total hybrid system net output of 99 horsepower. The Prius c will be equipped with 9 standard airbags, driver and front passenger Advanced Whiplash-Injury-Lessening seats and Toyota’s Star Safety System ™ that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
The Prius c One base grade will offer many standard features such as automatic climate control, tilt-telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, multi-information display and Bluetooth® hands free phone controls; and remote keyless entry with illuminated entry.
The Prius c Two grade offers a 6-speaker audio system, variable intermittent windshield wipers, a 60/40 split fold-down rear seat with adjustable headrests, cruise control, engine immobilizer, center console with armrest and storage compartment, and a cargo area tonneau cover.
The Prius c Three grade enhances the technology in the vehicle with improved audio and connectivity. The Prius c Three includes a Display Audio system with Navigation and Entune™ that adds a 6.1-inch touchscreen, Sirius XM Satellite Radio capability (includes 3 month trial subscription to XM Select Package), HD Radio™ with iTunes® Tagging, USB port with iPod® connectivity and control, vehicle information with customizable settings, and advanced voice recognition. Toyota Entune™ includes Bing™ and Pandora®; real-time info including traffic, weather, fuel prices, sports, and stocks. Apps available spring 2012 at no charge include iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com and OpenTable®. Access to Entune™ services is complimentary for three years. In addition, the Prius c Three grade includes color-keyed outside door handles with touch- sensor lock/unlock feature, a tilt/telescopic steering wheel with audio, climate, Multi-information Display, Bluetooth® hands free phone and voice command controls, a Touch Tracer Display, and a Smart Key System on the front doors and liftgate with Push Button Start and remote illuminated entry. The Prius c Three allows buyers to add 15-inch alloy wheels and a power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade as optional equipment.
The Prius c Four grade is distinguished by its 15-inch, 8-spoke alloy wheels, Softex-trimmed heated front seats, color-keyed heated power outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, and integrated fog lamps. Optional equipment for the Prius c Four includes 16-inch, 8-spoke alloy wheels with 195/50R16 tires and power tilt telescopic moonroof with sunshade.
2012MY Prius c Pricing Sheet
PRIUS c ONE $18,950
PRIUS c TWO $19,900
PRIUS c THREE $21,635
PRIUS c FOUR $23,230
2012 Prius c Options and Packages
Available for Prius c Three:
Power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade – MSRP $850
15-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels with P175/65R15 tires- MSRP $390
Available for Prius c Four:
Power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade – MSRP $850
16-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels with P195/50R16 tires – MSRP $300
16-inch Alloy Wheel Package: combines 16-inch 8-spoke alloy wheels with P195/50R16 tires and power tilt/slide moonroof with sliding sunshade – MSRP $1,150
Available Exterior Colors:
Blue Streak Metallic
Summer Rain Metallic
Black Sand Pearl
Magnetic Gray Metallic
Classic Silver Metallic
by Zack McDonald – HybridCars.com
At last year’s Detroit Motor Show, Toyota vice president for U.S. sales, Bob Carter, offered a bold prediction for the direction his company plans to take in the United States over the next decade―and for the country’s vehicle market in general. “We will end the decade with Prius being the number one nameplate in the industry,” said Carter, predicting that the Prius would soon overtake the Camry as the company’s most popular model in the U.S.
Almost a year later, it has become increasingly clear that Toyota’s big talk about hybrids is no greenwash. After almost singlehandedly growing the hybrid market from obscurity in the United States, Toyota now sees hybrids primed to conquer the mainstream―and has no intention of ceding its dominance in the sector.
According to a report in Automotive News, Toyota plans to as much as double the number of hybrids it sells in North America by 2015, to 400,000 vehicles per year. Top executives at the company told the publication that Toyota will seek to greatly expand its manufacturing base here―particularly hybrid drivetrain components―in an effort to reduce its reliance on the Japanese supply chain. Growing the American hybrid market will do a great deal to make that shift possible, and Toyota is in the process of radically expanding its U.S. lineup to include more than a half-dozen hybrid models by the end of next year―with even more reportedly on their way.
“Hybrid technology is a trump card for fuel-economy improvement,” said Toyota global research and development head, Takeshi Uchiyamada, in the article.
Toyota also told Automotive News that it plans to complete work with Ford on a brand new hybrid system for pickup trucks by the end of next year. The first Toyota vehicle to be outfitted with the drivetrain will likely be a hybrid version of the Tundra, the carmaker’s largest and most fuel-thirsty pickup, with a combined rating of just 16 mpg.
Even a few miles-per-gallon improvement in a truck like the Tundra will pay big dividends in terms of its operating cost, which could make the car a hit among the fleets and private businesses that make up a substantial portion of the pickup market. Ford’s F-150 EcoBoost model has led all F-150 models in sales this year―accounting for 40 percent of purchases―thanks to its EPA-rated 22-mpg fuel economy.
By expanding its gas-electric offerings across more and more segments, Toyota will be able to grow production of hybrid components, allowing it to reach the economies of scale necessary to diversify its supply chain in the Americas. For hybrid buyers, the important takeaway is that Americans can expect more models and shorter waiting periods in the coming years, as the gas-electric leader seeks to broaden its hold on the market.