Toyota Motor Corporation, building on its success with global class-leading hybrid technology in the Prius lineup, eventually used that technology to convert other Toyota and Lexus models to Hybrid Synergy Drive. Today, Toyota Hybrid Electric Vehicles [HEV] are the most driven and recognized on the road.
In keeping with its class-leading fuel economy and putting down greener roots, Toyota has released eighteen hybrid models since 1997, with over four million vehicles sold worldwide. Toyota is planning to release an additional 21 new hybrid models in the next three years.
This year, Toyota released the 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, powered by a drive-train jointly developed with Tesla Motors. Next year, Toyota plans a limited release of an EV based off the Scion iQ model, probably no more than one hundred vehicles to fleet operations.
The new EV is expected to cost $45,000, which is probably higher than most buyers considering an EV are willing to part with, if it ever makes it to broader production. With a 12 kWh battery and 47 kW motor, the new 2013 Scion iQ EV [Toyota eQ in Japan] has a range of just over 60 miles. The smaller battery can be recharged in just under 3 hours on an LII [240V] charger, and can get an 80% in under 20 minutes on an LIII [480V] charger.
Toyota has been experimenting for years with rechargeable Lithium-ion [Li-ion] battery technology in both HEV and pure electric vehicles [EV], and this has led to ever-increasing efficiency in their HEV models, as well as making possible the release of the two new EV models. Toyota has also been working on s hydrogen fuel cell [HFC] technology, but until recently, fuel cells have been too large to put into a vehicle any smaller than a cargo van. After much experimenting with metals and materials, Toyota has announced an HFC vehicle for production in 2015, but hasn’t given any details on that model.