Toyota is Answering Your Questions ~ Hybrid Car Review
Hybrid Car Review: Toyota is Answering Your Questions

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Toyota is Answering Your Questions

Toyota representatives are answering questions all week long at the guardian in the UK.  Although there is some European slant on some of the questions and answers, the answers are interesting and thoughtful.  For instance, when asked about diesel-hybrids, the reps from Toyota have some good points to make:

Hybrid technology can be applied to diesel and we actually sell a diesel hybrid truck in Japan. The main reasons we do not have a diesel passenger car are:
- Technical: Vibrations on a diesel engine are much stronger during starting and stopping than for a petrol engine. This would make the switch from electric drive to engine drive less comfortable and not ideal for a passenger car. This is less essential in a commercial vehicle which is why we sell diesel hybrid in a small truck in Japan.
- Environmental: Diesel engines cannot achieve the same low particulate emission level as petrol engines, for example NOx is still considerably higher than with petrol engines. This means a petrol hybrid is better for air quality issues as well as low CO2 emissions.
- Cost: A diesel engine is more expensive than a petrol engine to manufacture, even before you add addition components (turbos, catalysts). So a diesel hybrid would be more expensive and not as clean overall.
I've never thought of the vibration detail, so that's something new. The Toyota reps are also face the whole environmental impact of building a hybrid.
Over its lifetime, a Prius emits 37% less CO2 than a similarly sized, UK-built petrol vehicle (with a conventional 2-litre engine) and 47% less NOx than a diesel vehicle.

The short video in the attached link explains the environmental impact of Prius over its entire lifecycle. It also includes information about the recycling of the battery:
Want to know more about the future of lithium-ions?  What's coming next from Toyota?  What you can expect from Toyota hybrids?  Or just make a comment about how you're car already gets XXX mpg, why do I need a hybrid?  (These are some of the questions or issues already raised).  Or do you want to know something else?  Go get your questions in while you can.

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