Sunday, May 17, 2009

Does the car industry give us the cars we want?

Toyota has introduced a Toyota Prius to arrive this summer, but it's still the same thing with very a limited electricity-only range (2-3 km). The batteries are still of the old kind and despite the car being very low in terms of CO2 emissions, it's not what many Prius owner has hoped for as a next generation Hybrid. The so called Plug-In Hybrid will come later, much later, probably 2011, first field tests are starting this years but only for fleet owners.
Interesting enough there's a company TODAY in the Netherlands to retro fit a Toyota Prius with better batteries and some electronics to convert it to a plug-in hybrid, a car you can charge up at home and then drive some 40-60 kms with electricity only. The company's name is TTd. The means applied to engineer this car seem to be fairly simple and straight forward, so why doesn't sell us Toyota the same thing. Reasons may be the price (I estimate some 20k Euros on top of a standard Prius) and more importantly the reliability. Modern hybrid cars are complex, lots of "decisions" need to be taken by the car, i.e. when to warm up the engine, when to load and unload the batteries, keeping the batteries in the optimal loading condition, break management, etc. But at the end, a key question should be, what customers want also. And I am pretty sure that pioneering users would love the plug-in principle as the best thing about the Prius is to run it quietly with the electrical motor only. So, Toyota, please speed up!

1 comment:

Thomas Lundqvist said...

What is your take on the following list: