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10 September 2008 | Source: just-auto.com editorial team

Toyota and energy company EDF today (10 September) announced plans to trial plug-in electric hybrid vehicles in the UK but, interestingly, the trial is not so much about the technology as understanding the way that people use their cars.

One of the problems with electric cars is that they have a limited range (because of battery limitations) and most vehicle manufacturers have been working on increasing this so that it is more comparable with conventional engines and thus more acceptable to consumers.

But Toyota's new plug-in version of the Prius will only travel 10km (six miles) on a single charge. Toyota reckons that most journeys are short and that owners would prefer to charge their car for two hours at a time between short journeys, rather than have to charge for eight hours overnight, for 100km (60 miles) range, for example.

A similar strategy is being adopted by GM for the Chevrolet Volt, due to go on sale in 2010. The Volt - production-ready photos were leaked on the internet this week - became feasible when executives recognised that average daily distances travelled in the US were just 53km (about 31 miles). So the Volt has been designed to run 60km (about 35 miles) on a single overnight charge.

It is important to point out that the Toyota/EDF trial announced today is taking place within the London area (inside the M25 London orbital motorway). A 10km range may be fine for London, which already has the lowest car ownership rates in the country, but what about the rest of the country? A local solution maybe, but at least Toyota cannot be accused of 'over-engineering'.

So are these cars green? According to EDF, by using electricity instead of petrol, the amount of carbon emitted by cars in the UK can be reduced by 40%, even with a relatively low proportion of nuclear and renewables in the electric power mix. Further carbon reductions can be achieved for miles driven in pure electric mode. In France, where trials are already underway, Toyota has found that on journeys below 25km the plug-in version of the Prius delivers 60% fewer emissions compared to the standard Prius.

One aspect of the Toyota/EDF trial in the UK is that some of the 50 cars will be tested over the next year with people who generate their own electricity at home using solar panels, for example. This could be a much quicker route to achieving carbon-neutral driving than waiting for energy companies to get their act together.
 

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I love the shots that Toyota takes here for no real apparent reason. From the sound of the article, Toyota is going a different routs than GM. They are choosing a quicker charge time at the expense of range. GM is choosing a longer charge time to gain more range.

My gut feeling is GM is probably making the right call. But suggesting Toyota is under-engineering is just silly. Perhaps Toyota has been surveying too many Prius owners who actually do only drive less than 7 miles at a time.
 

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I love the shots that Toyota takes here for no real apparent reason.
I think it is because people react quite strong at times to Toyota's arrogance.

In this case, Toyota is probably making the best of the situation they find themselves in - namely, their decision to stick with their Japanese battery supplier, even though that manufacturer's technology is inferior, rather than going with a foreign battery manufacturer for a better technology battery.
 

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Well, to me, if GM uses high-quality bateries, wouldn't the Volt still get the 10km distance out of the same short charge time used on the Prius? Only instead if you wait a little longer you get even more? I say why limit it. In fact, new idea, allow consumers to upgrade the quantity of bateries based on their daily drive! You drive 10mi a day? Buy the base. You drive 20, but the mid. You drive 30-40 buy the premium. That way the person only driving 10mi / day will recoup the cost in around the same period as the person driving 30mi/day based on gas savings. Just a theory I suppose but it'd get me excited to have the option. Especially if it were dealer installed and could also be done at any time over the life of the car.
 

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It's not under-engineering. It's that they can't cram a giant battery into a Prius without scrapping the whole design. Giant battery = more range, pretty simple.

They basically got blindsided by the Volt and are trying to sweet talk their way out of this major shortcoming... but people are going to want to charge at night.
 

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This is why the Volt is so much better, it is designed around the battery they need to get the 40 miles distance as opposed to trying to cram a battery into an existing platform.

This can work to some extend in say the CMT900 Hybrids as they are such big vehicles with more room under the rear seats etc, but the Prius needs a basically a full redesign to get a more distance from batteries.

Given the range of the Prius, I would be more inclined to pay more for the Volt. The Prius barely covers my drive to work and back and it is 2.7 miles one way. I could see the Prius recharge being more of a hinderence than a help, but they seem to be playing me too so they aren't embarassed by the Volt which they though could never happen and now it is a very real though not production vehicle.
 

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I love the shots that Toyota takes here for no real apparent reason. From the sound of the article, Toyota is going a different routs than GM. They are choosing a quicker charge time at the expense of range. GM is choosing a longer charge time to gain more range.

My gut feeling is GM is probably making the right call. But suggesting Toyota is under-engineering is just silly. Perhaps Toyota has been surveying too many Prius owners who actually do only drive less than 7 miles at a time.
So, we drive 6 miles to work and plug it in for its 2 hour charge. Plug it in, during the day when the grid is the most taxed and overworked and the cost for a KW is more. Then we drive to lunch, hope that restaurant is within 3 miles from the office, get back to work and plug it in again. Hope the whole staff doesn't own one of these suckers. Thats not how the American driver does things. Oh, what a feeling!
 

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I would equate Toyota's problem to a man with a prostate problem. If you have to get up and pee 4 times a night, it takes the joy out of a good nights sleep. With Toyota if you have to stop and charge every 8 miles, it takes the joy out of the Sunday drive. I would say the Prius should be renamed the Peeus.
 

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So, we drive 6 miles to work and plug it in for its 2 hour charge. Plug it in, during the day when the grid is the most taxed and overworked and the cost for a KW is more. Then we drive to lunch, hope that restaurant is within 3 miles from the office, get back to work and plug it in again. Hope the whole staff doesn't own one of these suckers. Thats not how the American driver does things. Oh, what a feeling!
I bolded and underlined that for emphasis.

I agree, Toyota just doesn't understand that 6 miles of EV isn't going to cut it. 40 is more like it-it would last me a whole day, but 6 miles? It won't cut it.
 

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10 September 2008 | Source: just-auto.com editorial team

But Toyota's new plug-in version of the Prius will only travel 10km (six miles) on a single charge. Toyota reckons that most journeys are short and that owners would prefer to charge their car for two hours at a time between short journeys, rather than have to charge for eight hours overnight, for 100km (60 miles) range, for example.
That is just stupid! That is such a hassle. I would totally rather charge my car overnight and have it ready for a full days worth of driving back and forth to work.

Toyota Peeus....LOL! :lmao:
 

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There's simply no reason the cash rich and profiting Toyota shouldn't produce an 80 mile range electric vehicle well before GM comes to market with the Volt. If a cash strapped, losing billions for years domestic automaker can do it, there simply no no excuse for Toyota no to.
 

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Keep in mind guys, I am pretty sure this Prius has the rechargeable setup in addition to gas engine. So it isn't a completely useless, but in reality, how many people are going to be willing to charge a care this much just to not use gas? Let alone how many errands you will run where you cant make it on electric power alone.

GM has got it right, at least in the USA you need a decent distance of electric only driving to make a car like this really work. Also, with the Volt ICE being only there as a generator to recharge the batteries you completely do away with the concern of all electric only vehicles of needing a charging station to go beyond X miles.
 

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Alrighty then, so this article states 60KM is about 35 Miles? How about 37.28 Miles. So the writer of the article is off by how much? Let me put it this way if we compared the 2.28 miles error to the Peeus' expected 9 miles electric range. Then 2.28 miles would equal 38% of a Peeus' electric only range. Chevy Volt it is for me....and anyone who thinks they will not sell out the first yrs production in a few weeks is not being intellectually honest. They will and I will have to wait for yr 2 or 3 production to get one!
 

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unless somehow the toyota plugin has an alternative way of recharging the battery (such as the volt has a small gas engine) it will basically be useless. the good thing about the volt is that it fits into work schedules quite well: drive to work (30miles), stay at work for 8 hours, recharge car during that time if possible (maybe some companies will install outlets to parking lots?), drive home, recharge, repeat and no gas is used. the toyota plugin however wont be as efficient because it's alt recharge option (if they have one) will be used, causing the driver to fork up unneeded money. what i truly love about the volt is that it is a great transition vehicle allowing america to slowly change from gas combustible engines to earth friendly electric. the gas stations are already there, so americans and the government dont need to deal with a sudden change to an alt resource. this is the first step to making a difference, and chevy is doing it right.
 

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Funny how they try and make a car with less elec. range than the competition sound like a benefit. Huh? Who's going to fall for that line? I'm going to WANT to recharge MORE often? Sure!:rolleyes:
 

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This is why the Volt is so much better, it is designed around the battery they need to get the 40 miles distance as opposed to trying to cram a battery into an existing platform.

This can work to some extend in say the CMT900 Hybrids as they are such big vehicles with more room under the rear seats etc, but the Prius needs a basically a full redesign to get a more distance from batteries.

Given the range of the Prius, I would be more inclined to pay more for the Volt. The Prius barely covers my drive to work and back and it is 2.7 miles one way. I could see the Prius recharge being more of a hinderence than a help, but they seem to be playing me too so they aren't embarassed by the Volt which they though could never happen and now it is a very real though not production vehicle.
I agree, Toyota got caught with their pants down on this one. The Volt will eat the Prius' lunch.
 

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There's simply no reason the cash rich and profiting Toyota shouldn't produce an 80 mile range electric vehicle well before GM comes to market with the Volt. If a cash strapped, losing billions for years domestic automaker can do it, there simply no no excuse for Toyota no to.
Actually, there is a reason; they don't have the technology, didn't think the technology would work. It takes more than money, it takes a willingness to "think out of the box", something Toyota has shown very little capability of.
 

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unless somehow the toyota plugin has an alternative way of recharging the battery (such as the volt has a small gas engine) it will basically be useless. the good thing about the volt is that it fits into work schedules quite well: drive to work (30miles), stay at work for 8 hours, recharge car during that time if possible (maybe some companies will install outlets to parking lots?), drive home, recharge, repeat and no gas is used. the toyota plugin however wont be as efficient because it's alt recharge option (if they have one) will be used, causing the driver to fork up unneeded money. what i truly love about the volt is that it is a great transition vehicle allowing america to slowly change from gas combustible engines to earth friendly electric. the gas stations are already there, so americans and the government dont need to deal with a sudden change to an alt resource. this is the first step to making a difference, and chevy is doing it right.
That is just stupid! That is such a hassle. I would totally rather charge my car overnight and have it ready for a full days worth of driving back and forth to work.

Toyota Peeus....LOL! :lmao:
Just wanted to welcome you all to GMI. Enjoy the posting here, this is a really good forum. IMO.
 

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So, we drive 6 miles to work and plug it in for its 2 hour charge. Plug it in, during the day when the grid is the most taxed and overworked and the cost for a KW is more. Then we drive to lunch, hope that restaurant is within 3 miles from the office, get back to work and plug it in again. Hope the whole staff doesn't own one of these suckers. Thats not how the American driver does things. Oh, what a feeling!
You do realize the Prius has a gas engine when the batteries are depleted?
These cars don't stop running just because you drive 6 miles -- sheesh.

Way too much drama. For short trips -- plug-ins are awesome. Why fire up the gas motor when you don't need to? When the price premium comes down for a hybrid -- I'm looking forward to owning one.
 
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