Toyota Motor Corp. (TM: Quote,TYT.L) on Monday said it plans to launch 21 new hybrid vehicles models from 2012 to 2015. The Japanese automaker expects global sales of its hybrid vehicles to surpass 1 million units in 2012 and sees sales to be at least 1 million units annually from 2013 to 2015.
The company reportedly said it needs to lower hybrid costs to promote their diffusion, as profit from conventional cars are much higher. Toyota is reported to be considering shifting the production of core hybrid engine parts to the U.S.
Toyota plans to enhance the appeal of the 'Prius PHV' plug-in hybrid vehicle launched in January of this year. The company intends to expand available vehicle grades and offer an accessory outlet to use the hybrid system as a power supply that can also be used in times of emergency.
Further, Toyota said that starting December its compact electric vehicle eQ would be offered to local governments and selected users in Japan and the U.S. on a limited basis.
The eQ features a high-output lithium-ion battery that uses a minimum amount of space and has improved electric power consumption rate of 104 Wh/km. Despite its small capacity of 12 kWh, the battery enables a driving range of 100 km on a single charge and a top speed of 125 km/h. With an AC 200 V power source, the battery can be fully charged in around three hours.
Separately, Panasonic Corp. (PC) said it would supply lithium-ion batteries for Toyota's eQ. With growing environmental concerns and escalating oil prices, demand for rechargeable batteries for eco-friendly vehicles is expected to grow rapidly, the firm noted. Panasonic is building up its battery business to meet such demand.
Toyota is developing environmental technologies to conserve energy by improving fuel efficiency and reducing emissions. The automaker is also diversifying fuel sources by encouraging the use of electricity, hydrogen and other alternative energies.
Hybrid vehicle models equipped with an enhanced engine will be launched starting 2013. These engines achieve the world's highest maximum thermal efficiency of 38.5 percent, realizing
both high fuel efficiency and high output.
Starting 2014, TMC plans to launch a vehicle with a new 2.0 liter, turbo-charged AR engine. This will also be based on the 2.5 liter AR gasoline engine.
The firm has developed new battery cells that offer improved output density over all-solid-state batteries. Toyota is also working on wireless battery charging, which will enhance the charging convenience of plug-in hybrid vehicles and electric vehicles.
TM is down 1.5 percent in early morning trade at $80.30.
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by RTT Staff Writer
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