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J

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This article from autoblog says that the big 3 were working on diesel hybrids, when was this??!!

Article:

Despite Sam A's recent post about hybrids losing some appeal relative to the upcoming cleaner diesels, I tend to feel hybrids are here to stay and will include ever growing part of the auto market. To back me up, is the recent survey by those wild guys over at Consumer Reports. More than 1,800 people were polled and more than 50 percent said there were willing to switch to smaller vehicles if that improved fuel efficiency. It does. Not quite as many - about 40 percent - said they were willing to pay more for fuel efficient vehicles. About 30 percnet were willing to pay more for alternative fuels.

There are a lot of factors at play here. Most of our fuel is imported so when we buy petroleum we are exporting our dollars. Buying less fuel means we export fewer dollars. However, buying an imported hybrid car means we are exporting dollars once again. Depends on who you are exporting the dollars to. Of course, hybrids were developed and perfected in the US. The Big 3 worked on them during the 1990s with government funding. But they did not have to build them and they didn't. They were too busy selling SUVs then. So Honda and Toyota, coming from a country with absolutely no oil reserves, jumped right in with their own system. Shame on us.

Consumers Reports favors higher mileage standards. They estimate that each car owner would save $865 a year if the mileage standards were raised to 35 MPG for cars and light trucks. Now, that is $865 out of pocket expense for each car. That means earning about $1,330 before taxes or $2,660 for a 2-car family. Anyone here have that kind of extra cash lying around?

As far as Diesel vs. Hybrid, I think the two features will be merged into one. A small diesel engine and a hybrid system seems like an ideal package for the long run. The diesel can be optimized for low emissions in its operating "sweet spot" and the extra load can be taken up by the energy storage system. As a matter of fact that is what the Big 3 each came up with in the 1990s.
 
J

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from edmunds - toyota is readying a plug in hybrid
TOKYO — Toyota appears to have slipped past the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid — at least for the time being — with the news on Wednesday that it has developed a plug-in hybrid that is bound for tests on public roads in Japan. The automaker said "there are also plans to conduct public-road tests of the Toyota Plug-in HV in the United States and Europe."

The test fleet in Japan will consist of eight plug-in vehicles for the government. The vehicle's power source is household electric power.

GM has yet to make a similar announcement about the Volt. Toyota's new five-passenger Plug-in HV runs on the same nickel-metal-hydride battery as the Toyota Prius and has a limited cruising range of 13 kilometers (8 miles) on electricity. The maximum vehicle speed is 100 km/h (62 mph). The charging time ranges from 1-4 hours, Toyota said.

The advantage of the new Toyota Plug-in Hybrid is that it can run longer on electricity than conventional hybrids. The Toyota Prius, for instance, has a cruising range of about 1.9 miles as an electric vehicle.

"Although challenges still exist in the development of pure electric vehicles, such as a limited cruising range and issues related to cost, TMC still views plug-in hybrid vehicles as a promising technology for allowing electricity to serve as a viable power source for automobiles," Toyota said in a statement.

General Motors is developing the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid and has speculated that such a vehicle could hit showrooms by 2010. Ford is working with Southern California Edison to test rechargeable hybrid vehicles.

In a related development, Toyota's U.S. arm announced on Wednesday that it will give Prius-based plug-in hybrid prototypes to the Advanced Power and Energy Program at the University of California/Irvine, and the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California/Berkeley, as part of its "ongoing sustainable mobility development program."

The vehicles will be able to store "significantly higher levels of electricity" than the current-generation Prius. Toyota said the prototypes will be "powered by oversize packs of nickel-metal-hydride batteries that effectively simulate the level of performance Toyota expects to achieve when it eventually develops its own more advanced, compact and powerful battery systems."

Toyota said its long relationship with the universities is moving into the "next phase" with the goal of incentivizing "the use and production of alternative fuels and vehicles." This phase will include working in conjunction with the Alternative Fuel Incentive Program developed by the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission.

"Our goal with this program is to evaluate various advanced vehicle technologies, as well as key factors such as infrastructure, intelligent transportation systems and urban design," said Dave Illingworth, Toyota Motors Sales USA senior vice president and chief planning officer. "We see this pilot program as a significant step in the advancement of the technology.

What this means to you: Toyota takes a step closer to making plug-in hybrids ready for prime time.
 

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eh, I'll just wait until the next gen hybrids are out before I decide on getting another car. Right now, I am a diesel fan and will stay that way until something really better comes along and I don't think the current gen of hybrids are it.
 
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