One of the debates that have been sparked by the Toyota Prius is the way it’s manufactured. Hybrid haters have long pushed on us the fact that during its total life cycle, the Prius is actually fairly damaging to the environment, according to a report in Automotive News.
Although the Prius may lead the pack in terms of fuel efficiency, the Prius actually ranked below average in all five categories related to the materials manufacturing aspect of the cycle. Most notably, the electric motors, inverters, and nickel-metal hydride batteries are the most at fault. According to Automotive News, these three components increase the emissions of non-methane hydrocarbons and particulate matter.
Toyota is aware of this and they say that they have begun working in reevaluating eight different vehicles in the Japanese market, including the Prius. The Japanese automaker hopes to put the Prius at the top of life cycle list.
Like it or not, the Prius is one of the most successful cars ever launched by Toyota. Looking to capitalize on this, the Japanese automaker might bring two new models to market that will carry the Prius name for 2012.
Sources at Toyota told the Wall Street Journal that the company would bring two all-new models to the United States that carry the Prius name, one smaller than the current version and one larger.
The smaller model will be around the size of the Yaris and will boast outstanding fuel economy thanks to a smaller gasoline motor. The larger variant might be a sport-utility-type vehicle, according to the sources. We aren’t sure what it will be based off of or the size of it, but we will keep you informed when we get more information.
We are expecting the new plug-in Prius to arrive in 2012. It will be able to travel 13 miles on its batteries alone, before the hybrid drivetrain fires up.
Gas prices might not be high here in the Untied States currently, but they sure are in other countries and Toyota is reaping the benefits. The Prius hybrid is selling so well, that Toyota is looking to extend production of the car to Thailand.
According to Japan’s Nikkei, Toyota would use Thailand as an export base for all of Southeast Asia. That might even include Japan, where the Prius has been the best-selling car for 15 straight months.
Thailand is currently building the Camry Hybrid, which should make it easy to expand Prius production. It will be so easy in fact, that production could begin by the end of this year. The car’s batteries and other various components will still come from Japan.
Currently, the hybrid is built in China and Japan. Toyota was going to bring production to the United States, but a slumping economy last year threw that plan into the grave.
Like a ditzy party animal or an all-out slacker, Honda was late for work. The Japanese automaker went into the office and decided to wage war against the Toyota Prius, only to discover that Toyota has moved on from the model they were aiming for.
The weapon that Honda has chosen in the green wars is the new 2010 Honda Insight, a sloped-nosed four-door hybrid that looks about the same as the Prius, just cheaper. Honda’s aim with this new car was to take away Toyota’s customers by offering 41 miles per gallon without the premium price tag.
We had a chance to drive the new Insight for a weekend and our test car was around $20,000, well below the Honda Civic Hybrid and the last generation Prius.
Seems too good be true? Honda is offering the same sort of thing that you get in the Toyota, but at a price that is far more affordable for the masses. Amazing.
Sadly, it’s not as good as you might think. Toyota has moved on from the Prius that Honda’s fighting and created an all-new version that’s massively better. The new model is capable of 50 miles per gallon, a number that will let Toyota keep it’s standing as the most fuel-efficient car in the United States. At least for now.
Hit the jump to read on
Things don’t necessarily come out as planned and Toyota is one carmaker that definitely knows that to be true. And, no, we are not talking about its recall woes, although those are good lessons for the Japanese company. What we are discussing is the U.S. production of Toyota’s gasoline-electric vehicle, the Prius. Toyota’s original plans were set to have the hybrid built at its Mississippi facility, but when a plant in California formerly co-owned by GM shut its doors, Toyota turned its attention to the Corolla and left the Prius overseas.
Now, according to Reuters, the Toyota Prius may see its production in the Land of the Free by 2016. Executive Vice President Atsushi Niimi says that is when the next remodeling of the Prius is expected and that is when Toyota would feel comfortable enough in the U.S. economy to move it over.
"If you look at unemployment, housing, and other economic indicators there’s not much good news. I think it will take time for the market to recover," Niimi said. He added that he doesn’t agree with reports stating that the U.S. market could recover to above 12 million units next year or 14-15 million in 2012.
As you might know by now, Toyota will bring a "compact people-mover" version of the hybrid Prius. And why not? The Prius has been a tremendous success forToyota and adding space for the kiddies cannot possibly be a bad idea. The car, set to be called the Alpha, is in its final stages of development and will be unveiled in March 2011. We can safely assume it will make its first appearance at the Geneva Motor Show. This will be the first vehicle in the Prius line to use lithium-ion batteries.
Based on the current Prius sedan platform, the future Alpha will grow in dimensions in order to accommodate an extra row of seats in the back: 300 mm in length and 20 mm in wheelbase.
The new Alpha will inherit the Prius’ 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle petrol engine and THSII hybrid system, that together will develop a total of 135 HP. Fuel economy will likely be slightly less than the current Prius sedan’s 50 mpg combined, due to the Alpha’s extra size and weight.
Hit the jump for the full story.
Dogs wearing chauffeur get-ups and driving cars can only be found in movies, right? Apparently, as somebody is claiming, they can be found in Minneapolis too - without the get-up of course.
We were able to find this from a forum member at Star City Racing who posted his friend’s Facebook status message, which reads:
"I came out of getting coffee to see that a red (Toyota) Prius t-boned my car. Dog in front seat. Lady comes out 2 min later and claims it happened while she was gone. Says someone got into her car and did it. Then she says her dog may have done it. This is what I’m dealing with right now. Awesome."
For a split-second there, we thought Snoopy was behind it. Then common sense took over and we realized just how unfathomable this scenario is. Either someone was trying to put the blame on a canine or there’s more to this accident than meets the eye. Either way, we’re not particularly thrilled for the owner of that Volkswagen Jetta who now has to explain to his insurance company that the offending party in this accident is, of all things, a dog.
Good luck with that, buddy.
To what lengths will you go to to prove that your Toyota Prius is not a push-over on the road. Apparently, for Timothy Hird of Winder, Georgia, far enough to get him thrown in jail.
The Toyota Prius owner became so incensed at the lack of ’road cred’ his Toyota Prius was getting that, in a fit of rage, he attempted to race a Honda Civic just to show that his Prius could hang with the non-hybrid types. The incident occurred at a Publix supermarket near Braselton, Georgia when the driver of the Civic pulled out in front of Hird, inciting him to the point that he ran to his Prius, sped up, and caught the Civic before shouting "Watch this!" at the passenger of the Civic and began blocking their car. In an attempt to get past the raging Hird, the driver of the Civic almost ran into a police car.
As a result of the incident, both drivers were booked for reckless driving with Hird suffering the brunt of the punishment - he got thrown in jail - for his highly aggressive, and obviously dangerous attempt in proving that his beloved hybrid Prius was no slouch on the road.
Way to go, Mr. Hird. You did prove your point, although we didn’t see the whole point of it in the first place. Hey, more power to you and your stay behind bars.
The Toyota Prius isn’t exactly a car that you’d mistake to be all-terrain-ready, but apparently for some people – celebrities, even – all-terrain tires and Toyota’s hybrid car go together like peanut butter and jelly.
A few weeks after purchasing a Toyota Prius, the lovely Eliza Dushku wasn’t necessarily impressed with the standard tires they came in, so she decided to sell those tires on eBay for charity and replace them with all-terrain tires.
We shudder to think what a Toyota Prius will look like when it’s on an off-road excursion, but Eliza Dushku seems to think that it’s a good idea. And because she’s sizzling hot, we’re going to give her the benefit of the doubt.
We barely had time to do some follow-up checks regarding the runaway Toyota Prius in San Diego a couple of days when reports began circulating that another Prius – this time from the other side of the country in New York – figured in another unintended acceleration, only this time, the 56-year old driver didn’t have the assistance of the California Highway Patrol so she ended up crashing into a stone wall.
Fortunately, the incident happened just outside her home when after pulling out of her driveway, the car began to accelerate across the street straight into the awaiting wall. According to reports, the lady was lucky enough to escape the crash without any major injuries, but we all know that it could’ve been much worse.
That’s precisely why these defects with Toyota vehicles is getting way too out of hand and if the Japanese company doesn’t do anything about it soon – they don’t have a fix for the ‘entrapped’ accelerator pedals – there’s a chance that this may not be the last time we’re going to report a crash of this nature in the future.
We may have an obligation to report incidents of this nature, but - for the sake of those involved in these accidents - we prefer to not do it this often.
If Toyota wanted any more proof as to how dangerous those sticky accelerator pedals can be, they can look no further at this traffic incident that occurred in San Diego where the driver of a Toyota Prius placed an emergency 911 call because the accelerator of his Prius ‘jumped’ and he couldn’t do anything to make the car slow down.
According to the California Highway Patrol, the runaway Prius was travelling on Interstate 8 near San Diego when the accelerator of hybrid inexplicably got stuck leaving the driver, 61-year old James Sikes, in a high-speed, no-stopping vehicle. Fortunately, the CHP responded quickly and as soon as they caught up with the Prius, put their patrol car in front of the Prius and used it slow down the hybrid car before coming to a stop near the La Post Bridge with the patrol car directly in front of it.
Here’s the news report that was given by NBC’s local San Diego affiliate who was able to get a few words from Sikes as he explained exactly what happened to his Toyota Prius.
With Toyota embroiled in the biggest crisis in company history, you’d figure that there’s no way to go but up for the embattled auto giant. Unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more apparent that Toyota’s problems are far from over.
After already recalling an estimated 8 million vehicles over sticky accelerator, a new problem has arisen from a number of Toyota units, forcing the Japanese-based automaker to recall about 437,000 more units of the Toyota Prius, the Lexus HS 250h, and the Toyota Sai.
What makes is worse for Toyota is that the recall of these units is completely different from the over 9 million vehicles that Toyota has previously recalled. While those cars suffered from sticky accelerators pedals, this latest batch consisting mostly of Prius and Lexus HS 250h models involve “inconsistent braking during slow and steady application of brakes on rough or slick road surfaces when the ABS is activated in an effort to maintain traction.”
It may sound a little too complicated at first but the bottom line is that these cars have a very serious braking problem, which could end up leading to fatal accidents down the road. While accidents stemming from this problem have been minimal, Toyota isn’t taking any more chances in making irreparable damage to its already hard-hit reputation.