Why Toyota’s 5 Million Hybrid Goal by 2016 is Important for Plug-Ins Too


Recently, Toyota chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada made the following remarks at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C.

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

Prius Plug-In Hybrid

“Some people say hybrid vehicles such as the Prius are only a bridge to the future. But we think it could be a long bridge and a very sturdy one. There are many more gains we can achieve with hybrids.”

“Today I wish to call on the industry to sell 5 million hybrids in the US by the end of 2016. It’s only when we put ourselves under the same kind of intense pressure we faced in developing the Prius that we can achieve great goals. That’s what it takes. I want our industry to achieve this goal.”

While it’s Toyota’s vision to see hybrids prosper seemingly forever, several other automakers out there don’t hold a similar view.  The consensus is that hybrids are today’s technology leading to tomorrow’s technology.

Tomorrow’s technology is the plug-in.

As more and more Americans purchase hybrids, they become acquainted with electric-drive, albeit only at certain speeds and under unique circumstances.

However, most of today’s hybrid owners believe that they are driving some type of electric vehicle.

That’s good news for plug-ins, because soon these millions of hybrid drivers will be in need of a replacement vehicle.  While most may stick with the Prius, some will be inclined to seek out other electric-drive offerings.

The steps in automotive evolution are obvious: hybrid to plug-in hybrid to pure electric vehicle.

So, if we get more butts in conventional hybrids like the Toyota Prius, then eventually that means more plug-in owners in the future.

Seem logical?

Categories: Toyota


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9 Comments on "Why Toyota’s 5 Million Hybrid Goal by 2016 is Important for Plug-Ins Too"

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In light of the advancement of plugin tech, I can’t wait to see the next gen Prius. For the first time, a competitor has approached Prius numbers using a new energy transfer system that utilizes a much more powerful drive motor than in any Prius, and an entirely electrical transfer of power from the ICE to that motor, except for at full interstate speed. A hybrid very much forced to adopt more plugin technology, because that technology is simply improving and providing more opportunities to redesign the hybrid system around. I speak of course of the new hybrid Accord. It gives me great hope that Toyota can significantly bump up the MPG of their less-sporty Prius.

I think regular hybrids need to go away. At this point, especially with government incentives, it should not cost any more to the consumer to buy an entry level plug-in hybrid than a conventional hybrid. Even if it just has 12 miles of range. That’s enough to get people hooked. For their next car, they’ll want more electric range, and more, and more.. until eventually why bother with the gas engine at all.

I’m crossing my fingers that Toyota is going to pull a rabbit out of their hat with their next Prius. I’ve heard some of the rumors. If they can build a great looking Prius PHEV with the batteries under the car and at least 20 miles of all EV range with a true EV driving mode…. And then price it so that after government incentives it ends up costing the same amount as a standard Prius…I think that would be the end of the regular hybrid.

The benefits, besides reducing gasoline consumption is increasing manufacture of associated components. The only problem is that almost all Toyota hybrids are still using NiMH so don’t help increase lithium cell demand.

Great article. I really believe that hybrid owners pave the way for plug-ins. I think Toyota has a clear image on the short term. I have found that many Prius owners are so committed they will not make the change to a plug-in unless Toyota takes them there. Again, that is in the short term of five to ten years. I don’t fight the regular hybrid for it will change in time. I too want to see the planet with nothing but plug-ins but I have found that forcing it or snubbing those who don’t get it yet does not move the goal forward. It’s a sloooww education process but with each passing month it gets more promising.

I am looking to see an updated cumulative progress chart of plug-ins vs hybrids. It currently is looking really good for EVs. I noticed that even against current numbers “EVs vs regular hybrids”, sold nearly 1-to-5 in August and 1-to-4 in September. If the goal of 5 million by 2016 hybrids were achieved that would widen the divide unless EVs picked up the pace as well. Bottom line, it’s all positive progress toward an electrified highway.

While I agree that hybrids are part of an evolutionary bridge to PEVs, and agree that Toyota should continue to improve the hybrid section of that bridge that they have excelled at, I feel they are overall doing a disservice to that bridge and the long term health of their business by ignoring the other pieces of that bridge. While other companies are at least making some effort to try out their ideas of pure electric vehicles, albeit reluctantly, it seems like Toyota has to be dragged kicking and screaming to try to go beyond the hybrid. I hope that Toyota realizes before it’s too late that they need to contribute more energy to other aspects of the evolution to electric car before they become extinct.

Well, their aim will be to improve the efficiency and driving dynamics of their hybrids (especially NiMH) to extend their life and make life as hard as possible for plug-ins.

Toyota maximizes profit with the failure of plug-ins.

It’s because Toyota will offer more plug-in hybrids that has the next largest and growing market after hybrids, like the rest of the auto industry. But not full EVs.

Toyota is preparing for it’s catch up game with Ford with plug-iin hybrids, as Ford chases after Toyota with hybrids.

But neither will bank on full EV demand growing enough for real volume to be profitable until after 2016.

I can see Toyota making more PHEV’s Camry (to compete with Fusion Energi and Accord Plug-In) possibly a Hybrid drivetrain on a van…. But the next Prius has to be a good game changer….longer EV Range with a slightly larger battery and still maintaining full cargo room inside will keep it on the top of the EV List for toyota.

Time will tell

I would add the EREV between the plug-in hybrid and the pure EV and I would follow pure EV by next gen EV perhaps even pure photonics with photonic engine and photonic energy storage.