Monday, January 12, 2009

Riding the grid


So I get one of these and pull up and park at work after my 30+ mile commute to my office. Will the county let me plug in to re-charge my car? Probably not or if so I'd need a 100 yard long extension cord at the very least. LOL

Give me light rail.

Toyota to Sell Tiny U.S. ‘Urban Commuter’ Battery Car by 2012
By Alan Ohnsman (Bloomberg) --

Toyota Motor Corp., working to hold a lead in advanced vehicles over General Motors Corp. and smaller startups, plans to sell a tiny, battery-powered car in the U.S. by 2012 that can be recharged at electrical outlets.

A concept version of the FT-EV “urban commuter” car will be at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit starting tomorrow, Toyota said in a statement. The world’s largest seller of hybrids didn’t say how much the model, a modified version of the iQ minicar sold in Japan, may cost.

Toyota is readying the FT-EV as alternatives to gasoline expand. They range from plug-ins, including a version of Toyota’s Prius and GM’s Volt, to electric cars from Nissan Motor Co., Tesla Motors Inc. and Fisker Automotive Inc. Gasoline prices, which set a record in the U.S. last year, and pressure from governments to trim carbon dioxide emissions, are driving demand.

“Last summer’s $4-a-gallon gasoline was no anomaly, it was a brief glimpse of our future,” Irv Miller, U.S. group vice president of environmental and public affairs for the Toyota City, Japan-based company, said in the statement today.

“We must address the inevitability of peak oil by developing vehicles powered by alternatives to liquid-oil fuel, as well as new concepts, like the iQ, that are lighter in weight and smaller in size,” he said. “This kind of vehicle, electrified or not, is where our industry must focus its creativity.”
Plug-In Prius

Toyota’s two-door electric car, similar in size to Daimler AG’s Smart minicar, seats four people and would travel at least 50 miles “between home and work,” the company said. Toyota hasn’t yet set a total driving range per charge for the FT-EV, said Jana Hartline, a spokeswoman.

The company also said today that later this year it will begin delivering an initial 500 plug-in Prius hybrids with lithium-ion battery packs. Of the fleet customers that will lease them, 150 will be in the U.S.

Toyota hasn’t yet said when such Priuses, which can be recharged at household electric outlets, will be sold to individuals. Its current hybrids, as well as those sold by Honda Motor Co., GM, Nissan, Ford Motor Co. and Mazda Motor Corp., use nickel-metal-hydride batteries that recharge from braking and deceleration when the vehicle is moving.

Toyota plans to unveil a new Lexus hybrid tomorrow in Detroit and a restyled Prius on Jan. 12. The company will have as many as 10 U.S. hybrids on sale in the early 2010s, Miller said. Toyota’s U.S. sales unit is based in Torrance, California.

U.S. hybrid sales fell 11 percent last year to 316,013, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Toyota sold 158,884 Prius hatchbacks, a 12 percent drop from a year earlier. Toyota’s share of all hybrid sales fell to 76 percent, from 78 percent.