Toyota executives cited two reasons for their choice of nickel-metal hydride.
"It’s a tried-and-true technology that has a decade of success behind it," Toyota spokesman Greg Thome told us. "It's also got the lower-cost technology that we can offer to younger hybrid adopters." The nickel-metal hydride battery pack is located under the rear passenger seat, near the center of the vehicle, and sits low in the chassis to lower the vehicle's center of gravity.
Toyota engineers also made an effort to optimize the motor-generator for the five-door subcompact, Thome said.
"In addition to making the battery smaller, we took special pains to keep the motor-generator smaller, as well," he said. "It's constructed the same as the Prius Liftback's motor-generator, but we tried to optimize the sizing and packaging for a smaller vehicle." The motor's output is 60hp, versus 80hp on earlier Priuses.
The Prius family, unveiled two years ago at the Detroit Auto Show, also includes the Prius Liftback, the Prius v, and the plug-in Prius PHV, which will be introduced this year.
For a deep look at GM's Chevy Volt, we recommend you go to the Drive for Innovation site and follow the cross-country journey of EE Life editorial director Brian Fuller. In the trip, sponsored by Avnet Express, Fuller is taking the fire-engine-red Volt to innovation hubs across America, interviewing engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and students as he blogs his way across the country.
Good point vivianam, however, even by brining the final net price down, the car itself is much lower than its price point competitors with respect to features. For the same price you can be getting a much nicer car.
Hybrid automobiles are extremely popular, but few individuals can say that the love affair lives on once they check out the sticker price. Toyota thinks that their new take on the Prius - the Prius C hatchback - will keep the fires burning. As reported by reports, the cost of the Prius C will fall under $19,000 before destination fees. Resource for this article: Toyota Prius C hatchback makes hybrids affordable
Thanks for the details, Dave. It's still tough to really get the size abstractly, but these numbers help a lot. Looks they are all too small for me, except for the standard Prius, assuming it's the same size as the original my friend has.
Our first Prius is a used, compact 2003, 1.5L Prius bought in 2005 for $17,000. The new "Prius c" specifications are close to the NHW11, 2001-03. Both have identical wheelbase, width, and engine displacement. Although the "Prius c" is 265 lbs heavier, the electric motor has gone from 44 to 73 hp improving regenerative energy capture and acceleration. By driving within the optimum NHW11 profile, we consistently get 52 MPG so the predicted 53 MPG is easily achievable.
Several years ago, we bought the midsize, 1.8L Prius and it is our highway and load carry car. I recently towed a 1,000 lb pontoon boat trailer 600 miles and returned with a 700 lb airplane along with the paper work and spare parts. Although the 1.5L Prius can tow the load in town, the 1.8L Prius is the better highway vehicle . . . the same performance 5 mph faster.
The new Prius fills an important nitch, an affordable commuting vehicle very much like the first
What about a new federal safety standard, one that falls between motorcycles and full automobiles? Call it the city-safety standard, where crashworthiness requirements are eased because the car is designed strictly for city use, and limited to speeds of 45mph?
Eased safety requirements will bring cost, complexity, AND weight down, adding to the mpg number.
I'd much rather see the government spend money on a new safety standard instead of hybrid or electric subsidies. A new standard would make it easier to design, build and sell a vehicle without entitlement programs.
Why should battery weight be that important a factor?
Remember that all losses must be accounted for. With added power required to get extra mass up to speed there will be higher losses in the acceleration phase (motor heat and other electrical inefficiencies), more loss due to increased rolling resistance (this is a direct function of mass), and increased losses during the regen-cycle (heat... etc)... to mention a few.
If this were not true... weight would not be a factor when regen-braking is used no matter the mass comes from... and 1000 lb batteries would solve the range issue just like that.
Why should battery weight be that important a factor? if you sacrefice some acceleration performance you can roll back some of the additional energy required to get a larger mass into motion. And if you use regenerative braking, something you can do with great precision with four axle mounted electric motor/generators, the kinetic energy, stored in the vehicle's motion can be converted back to potential energy (literally speaking) in the battery. The greater mass of the bigger battery ultimately means you will be storing more kinetic energy per unit of velocity when in motion.
In the case of the 100% electric drive you are still using the battery mostly as a booster with the ICE providing most of the power except when it is switched off rather than idling at stop lights. The real issue is conversion efficiency and the losses associated with the ICE driven generator and the axle driven electric motors.
You can eliminate all of the mechanical linkages, belts pulley's gears shafts when you use direct drive electric motors. Now if you can increase the efficiency of the "transducers" motors and generator and control circuitry to the point where it equals the savings from the mechanical linkage frictional losses, you'll be on your way.
In place of heavy copper power wiring you increase operating voltage to reduce interconnect/power transmitting losses as solid state controllers become more HV capable.
Think about what you have to do to increase power handling with a mechanical drive. You have to make the gears, belts, bearings and driveshafts bigger and heavier. In an electric system all you need to do is raise the voltage after maybe applying slightly thicker or better quality insulation on the same size supply wiring.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
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