Toyota Has Taken #SaveTheManual Quite Seriously; To Introduce Manual Gearbox For EVs
With EVs becoming ever more prevalent, it seems, the opposite is happening to the manual gearbox. The sad truth is, more and more carmakers are ditching the three pedals and the stick from their lineups, in favor of fast-shifting automatics. However, Toyota’s recently filed patents suggest that Toyota is planning to introduce a manual gearbox for fully electric vehicles.
This Self-Driving Toyota Supra Drift Car Aims For a Safer Future
We’re all familiar with Toyota’s TRD (Toyota Racing Development). Other than looking to squeeze the best performance out of its cars for off-road or track use, the Japanese carmaker is also running TRI.
TRI stands for Toyota Research Institute, a division founded in 2016 which allows the Japanese brand to channel its efforts on making cars a safer place. Within TRI, Toyota is developing the Guardian, an automated safety system that learns how to spot a dangerous situation and react in due time. Right now, this advanced form of AI is learning how to drift a Supra.
Think Driving Nannies Are Bad Now? Toyota Wants to Tell You When You Can and Cannot Drive
Driving nannies are already starting to get a little ridiculous. If you try to take a turn too quickly, your car’s advanced stability control system may automatically apply the brakes and keep you in check. Perhaps the car doesn’t think you brake soon enough, so it brakes for you – hell, there are even situations where autonomous braking systems have been accused of braking for no reason. What if your car could evaluate your driving skills and determine what you’re able to do? What if your car can determine whether or not you drive on the freeway, in snow, or in the rain. What if your car determines how close to the imposed speed limit you can get? Sounds ridiculous, right? Well, Toyota thinks that’s the answer to driving safety.
Toyota Showcases its "Toyota Guardian" Technology that Could Create Superhuman Drivers
Every automaker is working towards road and vehicular safety in some way or another. While most of them are doing it through autonomous technology, Toyota Research Institute had a breakthrough last year to fulfill its moral obligation towards road safety. In a nutshell, the technology, called “Guardian,” coordinates the skills of the human driver and the vehicle they’re driving. What’s even better is that Toyota intends to share this with other automakers as well.
Best Used 2016 SUV for Fuel Economy
The market trend is quickly shifting from sedans to crossovers and SUVs. However, SUVs have two major cons when compared to their segment counterparts - high retail price and poor fuel economy. Even though they are a practical choice thanks to additional cabin and cargo space, it’s a little difficult for everyone to afford an SUV. So why not go for a used SUV instead? You don’t take the depreciation hit that first owner does, and since SUVs are built to last a lifetime, you can get an almost-new SUV at half the original price.
Now that we’ve planted this seed in your head, let’s have a look at the best used SUVs from 2016 with high fuel efficiency.
Toyota Thinks Manual Labor is the Solution to Efficient and Cheap Ride-Sharing Services
A patent recently discovered by Autoguide reveals that Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing has devised a pedal and crank system to help charge ride-sharing EVs, ultimately reducing their need to recharge and giving discounted fares depending on how much work each rider does during their ride.
Toyota’s Next-Gen EV Motor Will Use Less Rare Earth Metals; Cost Less
Toyota has developed a new type of magnet that relies less on neodymium, a rare earth metal that’s used in the world’s most powerful permanent magnets, including those that are used in motors for electric cars. According to the Japanese automaker, the new magnet has 20 percent less neodymium in them, lessening the reliance on the precious metal as the production of hybrid and electric cars ramp up in the coming years. It is believed that lessening the reliance on neodymium will go a long way in cutting down the costs of producing electric cars.
New Toyota And Lexus Vehicles To Get Amazon Alexa; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Still No Go
These days, having the right infotainment and onboard technology is critical to new car sales, as evidenced by the huge number of automakers present at the Consumer Electronics Show this year. The latest comes from Toyota and Lexus, which just announced it would equip “select” models with advanced feature control courtesy of Amazon Alexa.
For those of you who may be unaware, Amazon Alexa is the online retain giant’s personal digital assistant. First used in the Amazon Echo, Alexa is able to provide a host of services via voice command, including music playback, the creation of to-do lists, alarm setting, real-time traffic status, and news. If properly integrated with devices and systems at home, Alexa can also perform other tasks, such as adjusting the temperature settings for the heater and A/C.
In total, Amazon Alexa can connect to “thousands” of things for added digital convenience. As for in-car features, Alexa can handle all the basics, such as remote door lock and unlock, as well as remote engine start and basic smartphone operation.
Starting this year, Amazon Alexa will be included with new Toyota vehicles equipped with the Entune 3.0 App Suite, as well as new Lexus vehicles equipped with the Enform App Suite 2.0. Toyota says the lineup of Alexa-equipped models will expand in 2019.
Meanwhile, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are still not included in Toyota’s lineup, which is a bit of a head-scratcher considering the platforms are two of the most popular smartphone support systems for modern passenger cars today. It’s great that Toyota and Lexus are stepping up their connectivity game, but with competitors flocking to Android and Apple, we can’t help but wonder how far Alexa will actually carry the brand in terms of winning over consumers.
CES 2018 – Toyota’s New Mobility Ecosystem Brings Together Companies Like Uber, Mazda, Pizza Hut, And Amazon
As one might guess by glancing at the news coming out of the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, autonomous technology and electric vehicles are a pretty hot topic right now. And not just when it comes to passenger vehicle, either – these two major advances look to revolutionize a variety of businesses as well, offering reduced costs, greater energy efficiency, and higher levels of productivity and safety. Now, Toyota is giving us a glimpse at what the future of business transport might look like with its new e-Palette Alliance and accompanying e-Palette Concept Vehicle.
Toyota’s stated goal is to “meet the demands of future multi-mode transportation and business applications” through the utilization of a “new mobility ecosystem.” That includes Toyota’s Global Mobility Services Platform, as well as a series of partnerships and a flexible, modular, self-driving, all-electric concept to power it.
Basically, the e-Palette is a big four-wheeled platform that drives itself and runs on electrons, offering a large degree of adaptability for businesses. It includes a purpose-built interior space that can be leveraged for a variety of services, including “parcel delivery, ride sharing, or on-the-road e-commerce.” Toyota says it’s planning three different sizes for the e-Palette, with measurements varying between 4 meters and 7 meters (13.1 feet and 23 feet). For reference, the model at CES measures in at 4,800 mm (189 inches) in length, 2,000 mm (78.7 inches) in width, and 2,250 mm (88.6) inches in height.
So far, Toyota’s partners include companies like Mazda, Uber, Amazon, Pizza Hut, and DiDi, all of which offer input on “vehicle planning, application concepts and vehicle verification activities.” To adapt each e-Palette to the needs of each individual company, there’s an open control interface that will enable other companies to use their own automated drive systems if desired, as well as a bevy of connected features and the possibility for over-the-air updates.
The e-Palette is more than just a good idea. Toyota says it will conduct feasibility testing in various locales in the “early 2020s,” while also bringing the concept in some capacity to the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
Toyota’s New E-Palette Concept Can Serve as an Open Platform for Developers
As part of its future autonomous mobility service, Toyota has introduced the e-Palette Concept at the Consumer Electronics Show. If you’re a fan of aesthetically pleasing concept vehicles, now’s the time to turn away because the e-Palette is anything but attractive. The concept is actually just a box on four wheels, albeit one that serves a lot of different purposes depending on who’s using it.
Will Toyota’s New E-Palette Concept Show Us the Future of Inner-City Travel?
Toyota may be known for its affordable Corolla and fast Supra, but the Japanese firm is also selling buses and boats in its home market. The Coaster, the only bus it offers right now, is quite famous. It’s been around for nearly 50 years, sold under license to Hino, and copied by numerous brands throughout Asia, especially in China and India. Come 2018 and Toyota wants to expand its bus production overseas. But its vehicle of choice is far from being a regular people hauler. The e-Palette concept wants to revolutionize public transportation and change the way we look at minivans and commercial trucks.
Toyota’s Solid-State Battery: Game Changer or Utter Disappointment?
Toyota has said that it’s solid-state battery will be a “game changer” at the Tokyo Motor Show but at the same show, Chairman and Engineer, Takeshi Uchiyamada told Reuters that there are still some issues with the batteries:
“We are scrambling to finish developing this technology, but a few issues still remain as we try to mass produce this.”
Apparently, there’s an issue with the life-span of the battery, which uses a solid material instead of a liquid electrolyte – something that is said to improve performance and safety since it isn’t flammable either. Uchiyamada didn’t specify what kind of life Toyota was getting from the batteries that it had tried to mass produce, but it was mentioned that people wouldn’t buy an electric car if the battery pack only last three years. If that’s the kind of lifespan these batteries currently have, that’s certainly far from the “game-changing” technology I told you about when I brought you news about Mazda getting the shaft in the Toyota-Mazda-Denso EV partnership.
And, in case you’re questioning Uchiyamada’s credibility, he was behind the design of the first Prius, so he happens to know a few things about batteries and what makes them tick. Despite this seemingly huge setback that Toyota is experiencing in producing these batteries, the brand still believes the batteries will be the bee’s knees when they are perfected. It’s an unproven technology, but they can supposedly provide greater energy density, which would allow a SSB the same size as a traditional lithium-ion battery to hold more electricity, ultimately leading to smaller, lighter batteries. Or, depending on the situation, larger batteries with much longer range.
So, what can we expect? Did Mazda luck out not being involved with the solid-state batteries? Keep reading to learn more.
Toyota Gives Mazda the Shaft on Battery Technology
Despite the partnership between Toyota, Mazda, and Denso to develop structural technologies for electric cars, Toyota showed up at the Tokyo Auto Show with news that its new solid-state battery technology is a “game changer,” but that it would not share the new technology with its partner Mazda. Apparently, the two brands will still share a platform that can support either current Lithium-Ion batteries on the new solid-state units that Toyota has developed in-house and will keep in-house.
This news comes just a few months after the initial deal between Toyota and Mazda was announced that included an investment from both automakers to build a $1.6 billion plant in the U.S. to develop “electric vehicle technology.” A month later, Denso was added into the mix, and a new contract was signed. The new plant will reportedly be built in the south and employ 4,000 people that will have a hand in producing 300,000 vehicles annually. Essentially, the companies will be sharing factory space and pulling certain parts – now, apparently, EV platforms – that they can all use in their vehicles, something that should help both companies shed a little bit of production costs.
Of course, we haven’t heard a word from Mazda as to whether or not it was expecting to get Toyota’s battery tech as well, but there certainly could be some drama flying around if it was an expectation of the deal. On the other hand, the move should help keep the companies competitive and hopefully Mazda has something up its sleeve as well. At this point, both companies really need to step up their EV game as stricter emissions laws are forcing automakers to shift into delivering more and more EVs in the coming years and some countries are outright banning the ICE altogether. There’s no word as to when Mazda will put its first EV on the road, but Toyota plans to launch its first EVs (probably SUVs or Crossovers) in the first few years of the next decade. Exciting stuff to say the least.