Hybrid Cars - Alternative Energy

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Hybrid Cars - Alternative Energy


"Hybrid Nation"

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Toyota Prius just keeps on going

Four years since its last redesign, there's more competition on the market, but the hybrid car is still a hit.

By Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNNMoney.com staff writer
September 25 2007: 6:45 PM EDT

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Nowadays, most car models get a major redesign about every 4 or 5 years. By that time, sales have started to slow as competitors have introduced fancier, better cars in the auto industry's endless cycle of one-upsmanship.

In that respect, the Toyota Prius is entering its golden years and should be ready for retirement soon. Rumors are even circulating about a possible replacement.

But there's something different about the Prius. Even now, the Prius is selling at a pace any car company would call hugely successful. Of all hybrid vehicles sold in America so far this year, more than half were Priuses and, thanks to increased production, Prius sales this year are up 76 percent so far this year.

The Prius is the company's third best-selling car here so far this year. With sales of 124,620 cars, it ranks behind only the Camry (324,000 cars) and Corolla (262,000).

As it ages and the market becomes more competitive, the Prius is losing little of its steam. "That's not been true of any other model that I'm aware of," said Tom Libby, an analyst with Power Information Network.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

World's smallest four-seater car takes centre stage


The world's smallest four-seater micro-car was unveiled by Toyota at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

The 'IQ' prototype is just 9ft 9 inches long - about three inches shorter than the original Mini - and is expected in showrooms within two years priced between £9,000 and £10,000.

It has enough room for three adults and a small child, but a sliding seat arrangement means it can be driven as a two seater with added boot space.

A Toyota spokesman said:'It's the world's smallest four seater car.'

It was one of a series of small and 'green' cars on display at the show where manufacturers were anxious to display their environmental technology.

Britain's new Mini Clubman started production at BMW's Oxford plant as the car was shown simultaneously for the first time in public at the Frankfurt Motor Show.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Toyota Wary of Lithium Ion Batteries

Fire-prone batteries too hazardous for use in cars, automaker decides

By Joe Benton

September 3, 2007

the lithium battery technology to still be too hazardous to put in hybrid cars and trucks for widespread consumer use.

Lithium ion batteries can overheat and catch fire. There have been numerous incidents in recent years of laptop computers and cell phones suddenly bursting into flames.

Just last month, a Georgia hospital administrator said his Dell wide-screen laptop's batteries exploded into flames. It "looked like fireworks which would have been cool had it not been in my house," Douglas Brown said.

Lithium ion batteries are any important part of the future of plug-in hybrids that will be charged overnight with household electrical current, reducing the need to consume gasoline.

Plug-in hybrids, however, could cause the lithium ion battery to experience severe charging and discharging cycles, a process that decreases the life of the battery and causes heat to build increasing the possibility of fire.

GM is planning to use the batteries in a production version of the Chevrolet Volt plug-in concept, possibly as early as 2010.

While Toyota executives said safety concerns still bar using lithium ion technology in cars, the number-two worldwide auto company hopes to squeeze more performance from nickel-metal hydride batteries.

Nickel-metal hydride is the hybrid battery standard but automakers are planning for lithium ion as the next generation of hybrid power because the batteries can be smaller and lighter, producing better performance.

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