Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Toyota Hybrid Breakthrough! One-mile EV Range Highlander Hybrid!

AutoBlogGreen has the details on the '08 Highlander, and it includes an EV mode! Now you will be able to move the car across the street for street cleaning days without using gasoline. Useful to be sure, but more a green merit badge on a $30,000+ SUV with real world mpg still under 30 than a significant environmental choice.

Mistakenly blaming the battery type (NiMH) for the meager all-electric performance, AutoBlogGreen remains as confused as most auto journalists about plugs and cars, plug-in hybrids, electric cars, and batteries. The 24 NiMH batteries in my Toyota RAV4 EV take the car 120 miles without gasoline. Toyota could deliver a plug-in hybrid highlander, get 20 miles all-electric and 75 mpg using NiMH today! Would a Lithium-ion battery be better? Theoretically, yes. But they don't have the hundreds of millions of miles of trouble-free real world experience as NiMH. That's why every hybrid on the road uses NiMH.

We recognize the need for cars that can use something other than petroleum for national security and environmental reasons. We need to be able to buy plug-in hybrids and electric cars now with the technology we have, not he technology we wish we had. We can't afford to wait for the perfect battery, any more than we can wait for the miracles required to make hydrogen and fuel cell technology viable.

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

Marc,
I think you have some frustration in how the manufactures are moving toward PHEV's (as do I). Today, most HEV's are "mild" in the sense that the electric drive train can not provide full electric power (~80hp) to the road over the full operating speed of the vehicle (~65mph). But you are correct in wondering why NiMH can power an EV, so why not a PHEV-20?
Today's HEV's have a ~1.2 kWh battery pack that is about 5-10% utilized (charge sustaining mode) and gives pretty good life. The PHEV pack would have to be about 5kWh total, and ~3.4kWh useable (charge depleteing mode) with more life degrading stresses. To make a successful PHEV the manufactures would really need to upgrade both the electric drive and the battery with an overall cost impact of aobut $3500 (and a modest reduction in engine costs?). So PHEV's are coming, but they may need a few more years to be successful... and we haven't even debated the relative merits or cost adders of Lithium systems.

Patiently waiting,
Herman Wiegman
wiegman at ieee.org

Marc Geller said...

I think you've proved my point that this could be done now. Did you know that the Highlander Hybrid uses the same motor as my all-electric RAV4 EV (29KwH NiMH battery), which does drive the car from 0-80 mph? What is missing is not research or exhorbitantly costly changes. It is the will to do it.

Anonymous said...

Are you starting to get the picture that some paid GM flacks are continuing the lie, over and over, that "the batteries don't exist".

No matter how many times you correct the paid liars, they continue to print the lies, and never respond to the question: Why not NiMH??.

Doug Korthof
email doug@seal-beach.org

It's almost as if these people are trying to induce an hysterical blindness, as if the hundreds of Toyota RAV4-EV ALL-ELECTRIC plug-in cars don't even exist.

Paid liars, no honest journalist, not even ONE. Not one has even dared ask GM the question, Why not NiMH??.

Because they know that any answer is going to be transparent dissimulation.

Anonymous said...

Today, at the Clean Heavy Duty Vehicle Conference sponsored by WestStart/CalStart, I engaged two representatives from Cobasys and asked why Panasonic was sued over the production of the NiMH batteries for the RAV 4EVs. They basically stated what I already knew: Cobasys owns the patent for NiMH technology and Panasonic did not properly apply for a license to produce the RAV 4EV batteries. When the courts ruled in favor of Cobasys, they then agreed to issue a license but prohibited the production of propulsion sized units. To further complicate matters, the only units that Cobasys produces that would be suitable for PHEVs or PEVs are priced at $11,000, less for OEMs. Worse yet, they are water cooled, requiring a water pump, piping and a radiator. So, bottom line is: Toyota cannot obtain the necessary batteries to duplicate the performance of the RAV 4EVs, at least not until 2015 when the patent expires.
You can read more about how Cobasys came into ownership of this valuable patent and the resultant court battle with Panasonic at http;//electrifyingtimes.com/hurryupanwait.html.
By the way, Toyota owns a major interest in Panasonic EV Energy and perhaps they will find a way around the Cobasys-types of roadblocks that are nothing more than protectionism for the sinking U.S. automakers.
Bill Provence

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