Capitalizing on the success of its Prius hybrid, Toyota, the world’s largest automaker, has announced that it will introduce six new hybrid models by the end of 2012. Toyota, whose Prius is the top-selling car in Japan, is stepping up its competition in the growing green vehicle market by introducing two hybrid versions of its luxury Lexus brand and four new Toyota
The relationship between Toyota and Tesla Motors will soon bear fruit. The two companies will be bringing RAV4 EV back from the scrap heap upon which it was tossed in 2003 after only a short time on the market. Tesla Motors will provide the powertrain for the all-electric small SUV.
Toyota made a small ($50 million)
The End of the World…Or the End of the World As We Know It? The Gulf oil nightmare deepened, as crude oozed deeper into Louisiana’s wetlands and British Petroleum sputtered in its attempt to “top kill” the leak. Yet as the Deepwater Horizon officially surpassed Exxon Valdez to become America’s worst oil spill, another, quieter event seemed destined to compete with it in the history books. Craig Venter created a bacterial cell that is, as he called it, “the first self-replicating species we’ve had on the planet whose parent is a computer.”
Elite electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors has revealed in a revised S1 filing with the SEC that it will cooperate with Toyota on the development of Tesla’s Model S sedan. To grease the deal, Tesla will pay Toyota $42 million for the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc.( NUMMI) auto plant in Fremont, California where the vehicles will likely be produced.
The NUMMI facility, which had been the site of a joint venture between Toyota and General Motors, had closed its doors earlier this year as part of GM’s financial liquidation. Indications are that several thousand laid-off auto workers from the area could be rehired as a result of the agreement.
The Oil Spill’s Unlikely Victim: As oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill continued to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, it tarred the feathers of an endangered creature: the climate bill. Sens. John Kerry and Joe Lieberman introduced a retooled American Power Act on Wednesday to little fanfare. Perhaps that’s because the media’s klieg lights were already divided between the grilling of oil executives on Capitol Hill or the so-far hapless efforts to plug the leak. Or maybe it’s because the two senators took to the dais without their erstwhile Republican ally, Lindsey Graham. Nevertheless, it was ironic to see a solution to our fossil-fuel addiction pushed to the side because of a fossil-fuel disaster. Must we cap the gusher before we get a cap on CO2?
More Electric Cars Roll to the Starting Line: You’ve heard that the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt are on the way, but how about the Think and the Wheego? Wheego, a maker of electric putt-putt vehicles based in Atlanta, hopes that 200 highway-ready copies of its Whip Life will roll off the assembly line by August, months ahead of the well-publicized launch of the Leaf. Meanwhile, the Norwegian carmaker Think raised $40 million this week and plans to start assembly of the tiny Think City in Elkhart, Indiana in early 2011.
There’s a big reason that Toyota Motor Company is the world’s largest carmaker: It responds nimbly to the demands of the marketplace.
The latest evidence of this is the company’s plan to launch a subcompact version of its hugely popular hybrid auto, the Prius.
A Detroit News report this month revealed that TMC is developing an all-new gas-electric car that will be smaller and more affordable than the Prius. It will also surpass the Prius’ 50 MPG average. The plan is to unveil a concept version of the new car at the Detroit auto show, which starts next week.
The Obama administration is hoping that $1.5 billion will finally be enough to make the U.S. a player in the global manufacturing of advanced batteries, which until now has been dominated by Asia.
Since most of the hybrids sold to date have been from Japanese manufacturers (with Toyota and Honda leading the way), it’s no surprise that the batteries that power their electric drive trains are also mostly from Japan. However, Ford has been purchasing batteries for its Escape Hybrid from Sanyo, and GM is buying batteries from Korean company LG Chem for the upcoming Chevrolet Volt. GM had been buying batteries for its hybrids from troubled U.S.-based Cobasys, which was just acquired by Japan’s Samsung.