Toyota Green Tech Archives

Toyota’s racing unit has conquered the Nuburgring track with a fully-electric racing car completing the 12.8 mile loop, lovingly called the Green Hell, in fewer than 10 minutes.

The battery-powered car whirring like an artist’s drill knocked off 25 seconds from the record that had been set nearly two years ago by the TMG EV 002 jockeyed by Jochen Krumbach. Though in the production department Toyota remains devoted to hybrids, not electric vehicles, the automaker admits that its racing efforts and its electric runs up Pikes Peak each year help the Japanese carmaker improve its green vehicle technology.

2012 Toyota Prius C Mileage a Mystery

Though the gas mileage of the 2012 Toyota Prius C is indeed impressive, there exists much confusion online and on the roads as to just what the correct mile-per-gallon rating actually is.

On the one hand are the white lab coats at the Environmental Protection Agency who rate the hybrid with a city mpg figure of 53, highway 46 and combined 50. Happy numbers, these are, no doubt. Moreover, these are ratings that other real drivers are achieving in their own day-to-day driving.

However, that is not the whole story, for, as is often uttered, mileage will vary.

Some folks in online Prius chat rooms are reporting ratings of as low 31 miles to the gallon. There’s even one poster who reported just 22 mpg at, ahem, 100 miles per hour. People are learning that engines that have been engineered to be efficient are especially inefficient at higher speeds.

BMW has announced that it is partnering up with Toyota to develop fuel cell vehicles. The decision ends the German automaker’s partnership with General Motors that had been in place for the same purpose. The Memorandum of Understanding between the two carmakers lays out their plans to develop a sports car making the use of electric powertrains, fuel cell technology and light-weight technology.

The fuel cells that they will work on will be hydrogen technology and lithium-ion batteries. It is also believed that they will tighten up their diesel engine technology as well. The current rumors are that BMW will fit this yet-to-be created technology into an entry-level sports car called the Z2, while its Japanese friend will use it for the hybrid offspring of the old Supra.

Toyota is thrilled that BMW has jilted GM in its favor. Speaking about this, Toyota CEO, Akio Toyoda, said, “Toyota is strong in environment-friendly hybrids and fuel cells. On the other hand, I believe BMW’s strength is in developing sports cars. I am excited to think of the cars that will result from this relationship.”

2013 RX 450h Hybrid & GS 450h Hybrid: Prices Released

The waiting is over. Toyota has released the official prices for its 2013 RX 450h hybrid crossover and GS 450h hybrid sedan. 

The 2013 RX 450h hybrid crossover will begin at $45,910 for the front-wheel-drive models and $47,310 for the all-wheel-drive models. The GS 450h hybrid sedan meanwhile comes in at $58,950, the exact same starting price as the model it is replacing.

The 2013 RX 450h hybrid crossover prices are $675 and $485 more than the FWD and the AWD models respectively had last year. The RX will continue to sport Lexus’ Hybrid Drive system.

Check here for Lexus RX hybrid deals in your area, or the Lexus official site for specs.

Toyota insiders have let it slip that the Japanese automaker has “received about 120,000 orders for its new Aqua [called the Prius C outside of Japan] compact hybrid between its December 26 release and Jan 31, 10 times the monthly sales target of 12,000 vehicles.” What makes these figures especially impressive is that even before the late-December release Toyota had received 60,000 Aqua preorders.

However, Toyota, only now coming off of a couple of off years, is learning that you’ve got to be careful for what you wish, since, at this point, the automaker simply does not have the capacity to produce such a great number of units. The company is presently configured to roll out 12,000 Aquas a month, and there is no simple way to increase this number without adversely affecting the production of other models.       

toyota aqua

Image by exo_duz

These last few years have not been kind to Toyota. With its ongoing recall issues, last year’s earth quake and tsunami in Japan and just the overall malaise of the worldwide economy, the Japanese automaker can only hope that its future will bring a rosier dawn. And, with the Toyota NS4 concept car, the carmaker just may have good reason to be optimistic.

The NS4 is a display of what a plug-in hybrid Camry will probably look like in model-year 2015. Stylistically, its body does not offer much of a departure from the more aerodynamic sedans that are tooling about our roads today. However, with the NS4 being a concept car and one made for the auto show no less, this one came with powered doors that opened and closed with nary a whisper and touch-screen cluster controls. Moreover, it boasts the pre-collision warning system that some other models already feature.        

Its power source is where the Toyota NS4 concept is to truly distance itself from its ancestors. The engine on display at the auto show appeared to be a hybrid motor that is a step forward from what the most-recent Prius offers.  Check here for the latest Toyota Camry deals and incentives.