Archive for the ‘GM vs Toyota’ Category

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Challenge X Equinox goes 40 miles per charge

December 9, 2007

Despite general, widespread enthusiasm, several sources in the automotive industry have thrown a lot of cold water on the Volt and non-HSD hybrids and EVs in general. Most prominently, Irv Miller of Toyota went on record describing the kind of batteries that could 1) Fit within a hybrid vehicle architecture and 2) capable of propelling the vehicle for 40+ miles as being “theoretical”.

I already took Irv to task in a prior post. However, here’s some additional evidence for why we can comfortably discount Irv as an authority on anything engineering-related. The Dept. of Energy and GM run an event called Challenge X, where university students are given a Chevy Equinox, some money, and told to go wild on improving the “green-ness” of the vehicle. One of those teams, UC Davis, has taken their Equinox, added a 1.5L Atkinson-cycle engine (pulled from a Prius, admittedly), beefed it up with bigger electric motors at each axle, and fitted some lithium ion batteries.

The result? Well, it’s a plug-in hybrid SUV that’s capable of going 40 miles on a charge!

Sorry, Irv.

Source: LA times.

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Taking the Toys to Task

September 13, 2007

Toyota has been on a bit of a PR binge lately, in which they have been taking some shots at GM and the hype surrounding the E-Flex/Volt development. Specifically, one of their hacks in Japan put together an internal presentation where it was claimed that the parallel plug-in hybrid approach was inherently superior to the series configuration. After that presentation was leaked, it caused a bit of a stir in the blogosphere, causing one of Toy’s North American execs the pen the following article as a clarification.

Irv reiterates the Toyota standpoint with the following assertions:

-Lithium ion technology is nowhere near ready for automotive use yet
-GM’s claims of 40 miles on one charge are totally unrealistic
-The series hybrid wastes energy by hauling around a heavy engine that doesn’t directly power the car.
-The parallel plug-in Prius is a super design because it uses a much lighter battery pack and can use the ICE for propulsion, not just electricity.

Now, I work in the sciences, so I always appreciate intelligent skepticism. But Mr.Miller made some sweeping and rather uneducated comments.
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