Toyota Advances Hybrid Power Technology

hybrid power technologyYou might be wondering what Toyota’s entrant in next month’s Le Mans 24 hour race has to do with hybrid power technology … after all race cars are more about burning fuel than conserving fuel.

You might also be wondering what Toyota is doing about hybrid power technology. Sure they produced the Prius and the hybrid Camry but is that all there is to hybrid power technology? Have they gone cold on the technology?

Well the short answer to that question is a resounding … no! And Toyota’s entrant in the Le Mans 24 Hour race is proof that Toyota is working hard to use hybrid power to save even more fuel.

At the heart of the hybrid power technology found in the Prius and the hybrid Camry is the power control unit that governs the flow of electricity from the battery to the motor during acceleration and from the motor back to the battery when the car is braking or slowing down.

Unfortunately the amount of electricity that moves to the motor or back to the battery is not 100 percent of the electricity stored or generated and around 20 percent of that power loss can be attributed to the semi conductors … the computer chips … in the power control unit.

And that is what Toyota has been working on … and testing in their Le Mans 24 Hour cars.

The new hybrid power technology incorporates a new generation of computer chips that will cut power loss and increase fuel economy by as much as 10 percent. At the same time the size of the power control unit will be reduced by a whopping 80 percent.

On the left is the old power control unit and on the right is the new, smaller one

On the left is the old power control unit and on the right is the new, smaller one

While it will still be some time before we see the new power control units in production they are undergoing some rigorous testing and next month’s race will be one of their major tests to date.

The new unit in the TSO4O Hybrid has led to an increase in power of around 18 percent while fuel consumption has been cut by 25 percent.

Testing of the new units under normal road conditions is expected to begin within the next year so Toyota hasn’t gone cold on the development hybrid power technology. In fact they are pushing ahead with it and the future for hybrid power looks interesting.

By | May 28th, 2014|Hybrid Vehicles|Comments Off on Toyota Advances Hybrid Power Technology

Hybrid Cars Have a Noise Problem …

Prius-sound… when they’re running in electric mode they don’t make any noise.

Now if you live near a busy highway the possibility that one day the roads might be populated with cars that make no sound must seem like a dream come true but for people who rely their hearing to stay safe when they’re around any sort of roadway the lack of sound can be extremely dangerous.

Sight-impaired people are particularly at risk when there are quiet hybrids and electric vehicles around and so are those foolish people who don’t pay attention, talk on their mobile phones or are just otherwise distracted when they’re crossing a road and car makers understand that this is a problem that needs to be addressed.

It isn’t as simple as just installing some sort of warning system that might sound an external alarm when the car comes close to a pedestrian … after all you just want to let them know that there’s a car around rather than scaring them so much that they jump. So what do manufacturers do?

Well as you will see here, the Chevrolet Volt produces a ‘friendly’ sound that would warn people that an otherwise quiet car was approaching.

By | November 28th, 2009|Electric Vehicles, Hybrid Vehicles|Comments Off on Hybrid Cars Have a Noise Problem …

How Electric Hybrid Cars Work

voltIf you haven’t been following hybrid vehicle technology you may be surprised to learn that not all electric hybrids work in the same way. For example Honda’s Integrated Motor Assist technology that they use in the Honda Insight is quite different to the Hybrid Synergy Drive that you will find in a Toyota Prius while what we will see in the Chevy Volt when it arrives here in 2011 has some similarities to what Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive but in other ways is quite different.

In the Honda system the petrol engine is turning all the time but not actually supplying power all the time however it will cut in once the vehicle reaches around 45km/h. At speeds below 45km/h the Insight is running on battery power alone.

In the Toyota system the petrol engine is completely switched off and remains off if your around town at relatively low speeds and only cuts in if you accelerate hard or the battery becomes depleted.

The Chevy Volt also uses a system where the petrol engine remains switched off when the battery is charged but the petrol engine doesn’t switch on at any time unless the battery has become depleted.

Why does the Chevy Volt keep the petrol engine switched off while there’s some charge left in the battery? Simply because the electric motor provides 370 Nm of instant torque … in layman’s terms that’s more than enough torque to get a jump on everyone at the lights … and that means that it doesn’t need any help from the petrol engine.

To give you a better idea of how the system works on the Chevy Volt here’s a short video that will explain it very clearly.


By | November 26th, 2009|Hybrid Vehicles|Comments Off on How Electric Hybrid Cars Work

China’s First Hybrid Car

China’s first mass-produced hybrid car was launched today by BYD Auto. Based on their F3 model … a modest four-door sedan – this hybrid can even be charged from a power point in the owners home.

By | December 16th, 2008|BYD Auto, Hybrid Vehicles|Comments Off on China’s First Hybrid Car

Holden’s Hybrid Car

If there is one thing that both Ford and Holden are lacking in Australia it’s a hybrid car to attract buyers who want to be environmentally friendly.

Sadly neither of the big two seem interested in filling that gap anytime soon. Holden may have unveiled the Chevy Volt at the Sydney Motor Show last week but it’s still not set to arrive here in Australia till 2012 despite the fact that it was on display in America as long ago as January 2007. 

Chevy Volot

How long can they go on building cars in Australia that fewer and fewer people want to buy?

By | October 15th, 2008|Holden, Hybrid Vehicles|Comments Off on Holden’s Hybrid Car

Toyota is Building a Bigger Hybrid


Newspapers in Japan are reporting that Toyota will have a new hybrid on the market by 2009. The new vehicle won’t be a replacement for the very successful Prius but will target the next level of engine capacity. It could even appear with a 3 litre motor.

By | June 26th, 2007|General News, Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota|Comments Off on Toyota is Building a Bigger Hybrid

Sales of Hybrid Cars Set to Boom

Honday Civic hybrid

While the Honda Civic hybrid (pictured) and the Toyota Prius – perhaps the best known hybrid in Australia – did not seem to attract much attention at the Brisbane Motor Show that could all change in the next few years.

A recent survey by KPMG of 140 automotive executives from around the world found that almost 90% of them felt that sales of hybrid cars were set to boom in the next five years.

What that means for the local Aussie manufacturers does not look good. No one has a hybrid on the horizon and the industry is still geared towards big vehicles that are less fuel-efficient than the market may want.

By | March 9th, 2006|Honda, Hybrid Vehicles, Toyota|Comments Off on Sales of Hybrid Cars Set to Boom