View topic - Toyota's plug-in Prius - only 13 miles in electric drive

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PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 9:04 am 
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Carries on from another thread... are you reading this, NB?

:wink:

OTOH GM's Volt and Nissan's Leaf are predicted to be 40 and 80 miles per charge. At Toyota's info site, the reasons for keeping electric range low are battery cost, weight, volume and carbon footprint.

It sounds like Toyota may be providing the straight goods here while trying to minimize environmental footprint where the rubber meets the road (sorry)... so are GM and Nissan hyping their electrics unrealistically or are they leaving something more critical out?

Quote:
Prius PHV FAQ

What is the EV driving range for the PHVs?

The lithium-ion battery powered PHV has approximately 13 miles of EV only driving range. Range will vary based on a variety of conditions and driving styles.


What is the EV driving maximum speed for the PHV?

The PHV demonstration program vehicles can achieve highway speeds (up to approximately 60 mph) on electric only power.


Why is the Prius PHV range so short?

Toyota is of the belief that the smaller the battery in a PHV the better, both from a total lifecycle assessment (carbon footprint) point of view, as well as a cost point of view. Research has shown that plug-in hybrid vehicles with smaller batteries, charged frequently (every 20 miles or less) with average U.S. electricity produce less green house gas emissions than conventional hybrid vehicles. (according to a 2009 Carnegie Melon University study). And as battery size increases, so does the battery cost resulting in higher overall vehicle cost.


Further on Toyota states that the benefits of plug-ins will be limited, given current costs and technology... this doesn't sound too optimistic for sales.

Quote:
Toyota believes that PHVs can be part of a solution to climate change and for energy security,

•for certain customers,
•in certain geographic areas,
•with certain grid-mixes,
•with certain drive-cycles,
•and with access to charging.

There will be an important role for PHVs, but it will not be in high volume until there are significant improvements in overall battery performance…and battery cost reduction.



http://www.toyota.com/esq/articles/2010 ... hicle_(PHV)_FAQ.html

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PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 9:19 am 
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13 miles would easly get me to work and back....

I guess that is their market.

You can bet that those GM numbers are inflated!

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PostPosted: July 13th, 2010, 10:23 am 
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Toyota has probably done the market research to balance off battery size and cost against daily distance driven, especially in cities... maybe < 13 mile range on short trips does provide the best solution.

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 4:53 am 
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Maybe they have such a short range because that is the battery they have. While Toyota was one of the first (and the most successful) in the hybrid market, they entered into the plug in hybrid market behind the others.
The average US commute is around 16 miles, one way.

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 6:07 am 
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13 miles may well be a good design decision. If your commute is more than that, you run the bulk on the battery and the rest on the gas engine - then plug it in and recharge.

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 11:55 am 
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It's worth noting that the Prius, Leaf and Volt are all quite different vehicles. The Leaf is pure EV, once the batteries are depleted, it needs to recharge and isn't going anywhere. The Prius can be powered (ie - wheels driven by) by gasoline and/or battery. The Volt is different from the Prius as the gasoline engine does not power the car directly. Once the batteries have been depleted it acts as a generator and powers the electric motor (and I believe will charge the batteries if surplus is available).

Not claiming that either method is superior to the other, just different. That being said, the Leafs range would appear to limit it to mostly urban operation (no canoe trips!).

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 2:48 pm 
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the volt gas engine only recharges the batteries, never runs the car directly (although a moot point I suppose, since that is a function of design not efficiency).

13 kms Prius? even if 50 kms? who will spend the huge surcharge for so little? (we are talking $40k + for a smallish, boring car). plus assuming most of us get electricity from relatively dirty sources, at times anyway, the plug in doesn't solve much, even if it was efficient.
this seems like an unrealistic middle step in the evolution of green driving to me. a camry hybrid is a guzzler compared to a hybrid Prius, but a very efficient car all the same, a realistic 6.3 km/litre, or better (in cold, worse to 7.0)
anyone concerned the low sales for these 'electric' vehicles will deter development, or make the public feel there is no solution and turn away from the options? I think we are a generation away yet from any meaningful capacity.

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 3:49 pm 
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Technically, the Volts gasoline engine powers a generator which powers the electric motor, any excess then powers the batteries.

I'm not so sure that it's a moot point on whether or not the IC (internal combustion) motor powers the wheels or not, I guess it depends on how it is implemented. I'm not sure if the IC motor in the Volt just fires up and then sits at a fixed (ie, most efficient) RPM, or if it will change RPM dependent on the power requirements.

Awhile back one of the car rags did a test in quite a few different conditions with a Golf TDI, Ford Fiesta and a Prius. The Prius won all categories (they were only testing fuel efficiency), some of them quite handily.

I'm not so sure what all the fuss is about the plug-in Prius. It's a Prius with a slightly different battery configuration and a socket so it can be plugged in. After the 13 miles or so, it reverts to regular (IC/electric motors) operation.

Anyways, I think it's all good. I don't think the IC motor is going anywhere soon, but time will tell. I think alot of these cars are stepping stones, and we're seeing some of this technology trickle down to the 'mainstream' cars (i.e., stopping the engine at idle, alternator runs only on decel, etc.).

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 5:34 pm 
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Plug-in hybrids strike me as a great solution for inner-city air pollution problems, but perhaps not all that effective for reducing overall fossil fuel consumption--at least here in the states where most of the power going into the plug will be coming from natural gas, oil, or coal.

I've never looked at costs and performance of plug-in vehicles--it's not a solution that would make much sense for the way I usually drive.

By contrast, a standard hybrid would make sense for me--but no more sense than any other vehicle that could deliver 40+ mpg.

$40,000 for a Prius? Not where I've looked, unless you're including lots of options I wouldn't choose on my car.

$22,800 US. http://www.toyota.com/prius-hybrid/trim ... &vehicle=0

That's a bit over $23,000 CA according to this online calculator.
http://coinmill.com/CAD_USD.html#USD=22800

Shoot, the top-of-the-line model with alloy rims, leather interior and various other gewgaws is still under $30K.

It's still on my list for my next car purchase, but I'm more inclined to think about a Civic hybrid until I'm convinced Toyota's fixed it's safety problems.


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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 8:05 pm 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chevrolet_Volt

good Wik info on Volt. I meant the Volt would be $40,000 in Canada, but you're right, the Prius can be less. although in Canada there are around 15% taxes plus all the gouge costs,

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PostPosted: July 14th, 2010, 9:26 pm 
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frozentripper wrote:
Toyota has probably done the market research to balance off battery size and cost against daily distance driven, especially in cities... maybe < 13 mile range on short trips does provide the best solution.

Lots of engineering decisions ... for sure, and each with their own advantages and downsides. According to this review, Toyota is making a bet that frequent quick charges of a small and affordable battery will meet consumer driving habits better than a more expensive and large battery that is charged overnight. If there are charging stations throughout a city (as there are in many Canadian cities to power an engine block heater), this makes a lot of sense. The US will just have to catch up.

http://www.insideline.com/toyota/prius/ ... drive.html
Quote:
Toyota is betting that smaller, cheaper batteries with the ability to sustain themselves with frequent, quick recharges will prove to be more compatible with real-world driving habits than a single large battery that recharges once overnight. It's a strategy calculated to allow Toyota to hit a lower price point with its car than a vehicle with a large long-charge battery like the forthcoming Chevy Volt.


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PostPosted: July 15th, 2010, 11:55 am 
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I believe the PHEV Prius adds about $2,500+ to the standard Prius cost. This premium seems excessive for the addition of a 13 mile electric only range.
The fossil fuel consumed in 13 miles by most any comparable car is likely far less than the "total life cycle assessment" of the batteries and rare earth metals consumed in the manufacture of the car.
Has anyone seen any studies?
From a purely cost perspective, it certainly isn't worth it.


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PostPosted: July 15th, 2010, 1:17 pm 
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http://online.wsj.com/video/pm-report-us-data-suggest-toyota-driver-error/E622841B-7053-4C41-A208-E781CEA1F28A.html

It's starting to look like Toyota will be getting a big apology!

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PostPosted: July 16th, 2010, 10:53 pm 
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The Prius ranks amongst the most efficient gasoline cars. The fact that it employs electricity for short range (low rpms) trips makes it even better. All other vehicles that have not been engineered as hybrids from the get-go (camry) are crap. No regenerative brakes, no reduced weight.... just an electric engine tossed into a gasoline car.

I find the new hybrids to be less efficent than the after market mods done on older generation Prius. Adding a second Lion back up battery pack, and thus transforming the older prius into plug-ins, makes that car the best one around. Also the cheapest solution out there.

77mpg
http://priuschat.com/forums/prius-hybrid-news/46392-lithium-titanate-battery-equipped-prius-gets-77-mpg.html

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PostPosted: July 17th, 2010, 7:59 am 
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You might want to check your facts.

Almost all hybrids (at least the ones sold in North America), including the ones that were not engineered from the get go as a hybrid, have regen brakes. Ford Escape/Fusion, Chevrolet Silverado, Nissan Altima, Civic Hybrid, Cadillac Escalade, Mercedes S400, etc., etc( by no means a complete list). Even the Malibu, which is classified as a mild hybrid, has regen brakes. AS far as the weight comment, they frequently do employ aluminum and other weight-saving measures - but that is to offset the additional weight of the hybrid system. It's usually not enough to completely offset, but 'adding lightness' costs money, and that's on top of the cost of the hybrid system.

One needs to remember that the ability to drive on electric power isn't the only reason the Prius gets good gas mileage. Careful attention to aerodynamics, a small Atkinson cycle engine, tuned for efficiency, and attention to numerous other details are the rest of the reasons. I have a relatively long highway commute to work. If I was driving a Prius, the electrics would be almost out of the equation once I hit the highway, but I'd still get excellent gas mileage, due to the attention paid to the rest of the bits. Makes you wonder what kind of mileage a Prius would get less all the electrical bits. Certainly inferior in the city, but probably better highway mileage, and a cheaper car.

Certainly not knocking the Prius, lets not get evangelical about it though.

Thanks,

Brian


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