Toyota Prius Plug in Hybrid Prototype 2007-2010
Toyota Motor Corporation President Katsuaki Watanabe has committed the company to launching a lithium-ion battery Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle (PHV) by the year 2010. Toyota has developed the Toyota Hybrid System as a solution for lower fuel consumption and lower emissions for the automobile propulsion. The Toyota Prius was first launched in Japan in 1997, then in North America and Europe in 2000. A second generation was introduced in 2003 and global sales have increased gradually for a total of 1,2 million units between 1997 and 2008. Toyota is announcing that by 2020 it will offer all models with a Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain derivative. Hybrid Synergy Drive will serve as a core technology applicable to all future models. The system has been specifically designed to be readily adaptable to use in both full electric and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
Verification tests are conducted in Japan since 2007 for a Plug in Hybrid Prius with extended battery capacity ( 12 kWh rather than 6,5 kWh) and an on board charging system. This evolution is intended to improve fuel efficiency by increasing the range in gasoline-free full electric mode. Yoshikazu Tanaka, PHV Chief Engineer, explains: " Like early Toyota developed hybrid cars, the Toyota Plug-in Hybrid runs on both a gasoline powered internal combustion engine and an electric motor. However, what sets the PHV apart is the increased battery capacity that enables a longer electric motor only cruising range, and a battery charging function that allows users to recharge the batteries externally using household electricity."
The present limitation for full electric propulsion is the high cost of the batteries , the limited cruising range on one charge, the time for charging and the need for an infrastucture of electric filling stations. Toyota has selected a gradual approach that takes into account the existing technologies and infrastructure. The PHV solution is very easy to charge from conventional power outlet and it takes one and a half to two hours to fully charge it. Charging the vehicle at night, in countries where evening electricity rates are lower, allows cutting further the running costs of the PHV. For driving distances of less than ten kilometres between recharges, actual driving causes zero emissions. The same car can also cover the trips with a distance of several hundreds kilometres without the necessity to be recharged since the power train technology is based on the Toyota Hybrid System. " This vehicle represents the evolution of the automobile, a real shift in how cars are powered," says Yoshikazu Tanaka. " Until now, evolutionary changes were made inside the car, but the Plug-in Hybrid vehicle is evolutionary in the sense that energy can be supplied from outside the car."
In order to effectively measure the PHV's cruising range and battery capacity, Toyota has begun to conduct public road tests in Japan, the United States and Europe. One of the immediate challenge is to define market trend for the EV cruising range and to find optimal balance with the battery capacity. Earlier prototypes were still using Nickel Metal Hydride batteries but starting in 2008 Lithium-ion batteries were adapted. Some 500 prototypes are scheduled for public road testing. EDF power company and Toyota have announced partnership for Plug-in Hybrid vehicles in France and the United Kingdom. 100 prototypes will be part of the three years Strasbourg based PHV fleet with innovative charging system that ensures safe charging, communication between the plug and the vehicle, identification of the vehicle and automatic invoicing of electricity. A large number of charging points will also be established in users homes, the offices of business partners, in public parking and on public roads. Toyota will deploy over 500 new PHV globally including in Europe, Japan and the USA by 2010. 150 vehicles in the United States , 150 in Europe, in France, the United Kingdom the Netherlands and Germany.
One of t he key elements for the introduction of a Plug-in Hybrid is the sales price that customers are ready to pay for the technology. Operating cost is reduced by the price of the additional battery capacity and in board charging system have to be balanced.
Texte Paul Damiens - Photos Toyota
wallpaper of the Toyota Prius Plug in Hybrid Prototype 2007-2010 click to enlarge