Toyota moves to corner the ‘plug-in’ market

calcars.jpgPlug-ins are on the way! We’ve said it many times, but then we aren’t the world’s leading auto maker. The Christian Science Monitor reports:

Toyota’s revelation Tuesday that it will develop a new “plug-in hybrid” – which uses a wall socket at night to charge and relies on an electric motor to go many miles before sipping any gasoline – could presage a major shift in automotive technology, some industry analysts say.

Detroit’s Big Three have each said the technology is being looked at – after years of outright dismissal. But Toyota’s announcement was more significant because the company is presumed to have the technology to actually bring such cars to market, they say….

On Tuesday, the president of Toyota’s North American subsidiary, Jim Press, said the company is looking at developing a plug-in vehicle that can “travel greater distances without using its gas engine.” The technology would “conserve more oil and slice smog and greenhouse gases to nearly imperceptible levels”

The later claim assumes, of course, the electricity is greenhouse-gas free, which it will have to be if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming (though even running on current grid electricity, a plug in is much cleaner than a regular car).

Looks like we may have a race for the first practical, consumer plug-in between Toyota and G.M.

One Response to Toyota moves to corner the ‘plug-in’ market

  1. jcwinnie says:

    Please be mindful that Cleanova, a unit of the Dassault Groupe in France, with the help of Heulieux, are currently testing series hybrid vehicles with an eye toward offering them to the public in 2008.

    The test vehicle has a 55hp engine running a generator to charge the lithium ion battery, but it can also drive the vehicle in conjunction with the electric motor developed by Hydro-Québec’s affiliate, TM4. Cleanova claims a range of 120 miles on the battery and a top speed of 80 mph. They are testing batteries with capacities ranging from 16 to 30 kWh.

    Note that this is a series hybrid, like the General Motors CADM concept, a.k.a., Chevy Volt, being used to discourage an increase in CAFE standards.

    Unlike the General Motors concept, the CLEANOVA drive train actually is being tested by the French postal service. Maybe the Volt will do well in Second Life, eh?