View Full Version : Toyota Remains With Nickel After Lithium Prius Test
09-14-2009, 05:13 PM
http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/2/AmericanFlag.jpg Sticking with nickel. (http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aI7Ov7Jyo2nU)
http://www.cleanmpg.com/photos/data/501/A123Systems_-_32_Series_Cel.jpgAlan Ohnsman - BLOOMBERG (http://www.bloomberg.com) - September 14, 2009
I hope they know what they are doing. This is opening up a hole for another manufacturer to step into the lead in this category. --Ed.
The biggest seller of hybrid autos, is sticking with nickel as the preferred battery material for most of the vehicles after three years of secretly testing Prius hatchbacks with lithium-ion packs.
Toyota last month ended road tests of 126 Priuses in the U.S., Japan and Europe that began in 2006, Jana Hartline, a company spokeswoman said in an interview. Details of the program, in which the cars’ nickel metal hydride batteries were replaced with more expensive lithium models, weren’t released.
Automakers are introducing models all or partly powered by lithium-ion batteries holding twice the energy of nickel packs. While Toyota’s lithium version performed well and gave... http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601101&sid=aI7Ov7Jyo2nU
09-14-2009, 05:56 PM
Hmmm, Toyota is usually pretty good in respect to this sort of business "guess." I can certainly see their point in respect to the Prius. If The Lithium battery drops maybe 45 lbs, but if it costs $2000 more per car, them many moderately equipped Prius will be waaaay too close to $30000 with TTL.
Toyota might also be right on the pure electric plugins.If they are going to cost well over $25000 then they aren't going to sell many until gasoline gets to $4 or so. At $5 gallon a Prius is a 10 cents/mile vehicle. A pure plugin would be 4 cents mile with 16 cent electricity. Plugins have to be no more than $3000 more than a Prius to make $ & cents sense-and that is with $5 gas(16 cent electricity seems about right if gas is $5-but it could be 20 cents).In theory a new Prius can cost as little as $22000, so plug ins better be no more than $25000.
A Smart is as little as $14000 or so, and it has unlimited range-same for Scion/Focus/Corolla/Fit. The limited range plug ins will be a tough sell with cheap gas, and cheap is anything less than $4.
There are a lot of good FE small cars now for low prices.The plug ins will have problems if gas stays cheap.GM probably made the right call way back when.Of course they can't seriously think anyone will pay $45000 for the Volt, so...?
09-14-2009, 08:02 PM
Toyota does have a good sense in respect to their marketing plans. I was hoping that the option was going to be cutting edge though. With what Enginer is doing with their kits, it may be a better value.
09-14-2009, 10:08 PM
I have wondered for a long time about Toyota's seeming hesitance with Li batteries - after all, not that long ago the P-III was expected to have them. Having more experience than anyone else and having knocked the first one out of the park, I can understand them being cautious.
Also, they actually make a profit on the Prius and want to make sure they can keep doing so. Sounds like they have decided that in a HEV (where battery density isn't as critical as in a BEV), the incremental benefit of going Li still doesn't justify the cost. At least in terms of how much of it they can pass along to the consumer without cutting into sales too severely. No doubt their economists and marketers have run hundreds of different scenarios, involving different types of vehicles and both battery types in various sizes, at various price points, before making this decision.
Does this spell trouble for the Volt? Technically, probably not. In terms of sales, probably. I think most of us here already know the Volt is going to be too expensive to sell in significant numbers, and that's where the decision to go Lithium may hurt them, and that's why I answered YES to the poll.
This also underscores that NiMH works. If it works in hybrids there's no reason it can't work in a BEV too. Sure it's not optimal, but unlike lead-acid it's reasonably feasible, and for a fraction of the cost of Lithium. It disgusts me to no end that carmakers are stymied from being able to offer Nickel based BEVs.
09-15-2009, 01:48 AM
I can't wait to start making the same comparison between Prius and Volt that people are doing with Hummer and Prius. Lithium mining seems to be even more difficult than mining for nickel.
I think that Toyota are realizing that lithium will be too limited for mass production.
09-15-2009, 05:24 AM
I don't think lithium availability will doom the Volt. A lot of other factors will doom the Volt, however. Like, when people figure out that the Volt gets less than 30 MPG for nearly twice the price of a Prius, I don't think the battery chemistry will matter that much.
Right Lane Cruiser
09-15-2009, 06:20 AM
I still believe you are off base with the 30mpg estimate for the Volt's charge sustaining mode, but new information points to a price point between $39,500 and $45,500 before the $7,500 tax credit. :( That's definitely a nail in the coffin of my hopes to own one of those.
That Focus BEV is looking better and better!
09-15-2009, 07:53 AM
Unfortunately, as fuel costs go up, the cost of batteries will go up as well...these things don't grow on trees. They're mined, refined, manufactured, transported and recycled using fossil fuels, and the workers who are paid to do all this stuff and engineer them use fossil fuels as well.
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