Hybrid Vehicle Top Safety Pick

An auto insurance trade group, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, has named a hybrid vehicle as a top safety pick. The Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid vehicle with a small gasoline engine, achieved the honor along with the all-electric Nissan Leaf. The Insurance Institute offered the judgment after the group’s first US crash tests of plug-in and pure electric cars. Anyone wondering if hybrid vehicles are going to be safe can rest easy.

The Volt earned its top rating of “good” for front, side, rear and rollover crash protection. The Institute also noted that both the Volt and the Leaf have standard electric stability control which the group considers a crucial safety feature. Makers of hybrid vehicles are clearly using the same standards of safety in the production of these new types of cars as in the more common internal combustion engine vehicles.

Critics have long argued that hybrid vehicles could not be made economically and that safety would be compromised in the rush to “go green,” but the recent crash tests show that this is not the case. These hybrid vehicles are as safe or safer than any car produced today.

Both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt are small cars which initially would seem to indicate a lack of safety. Both, though, have battery packs adding significant weight to the vehicles making them safer than other cars in their class. This, too, was demonstrated by the Institute’s crash tests.

Additionally, the tests proved that using technology to boost fuel economy, such as the electric batteries in both these vehicles, is preferable to simply downsizing and lightening the weight of cars to save fuel. Hybrid vehicles are actually safer than standard cars of the same size while remarkably fuel-efficient at the same time.

These hybrid vehicles are perfect for highway driving. Should a crash occur, these cars will protect the drivers better than the vast majority of standard cars.

In fact, these electric cars are far safer than the low-speed vehicles, such as the GEM e2 or the Wheego Whip, which were judged dangerous after crash tests last year. These are golf-cart-like vehicles which are becoming increasingly popular, but are not required to meet the national safety standards of passenger vehicles.

The image of the electric and hybrid car was damaged in the mind of the consumer by these small carts which were never meant for highway driving. Nevertheless, industry observers think that the new tests will propel the Leaf and the Volt forward in the minds of eco-minded consumers who have been waiting for a chance to purchase a reasonably green, fuel-efficient and safe car for at least five years. The time has finally arrived. Both the Leaf and the Volt are extremely safe, fuel-efficient and will not harm the environment. Auto makers have finally turned the corner on producing desirable hybrid vehicles.

Toyota Believes in the Future of Its Hybrid Vehicles

By 2020 Toyota expects hybrid vehicles to be 20% of global car market

Takeshi Uchiyamada, a top engineer for car make Toyota, made some interesting predictions this week. He expects that hybrid vehicles, including extended-range plug-in hybrids, will become 20% of all global car sales by 2020.

You might be wondering what these predictions are based on. Well, the Toyota’s executive vice president overseeing R&D and engineering pointed out that hybrid car sales are already 20% of annual vehicle sales in Japan, but that most of the developing world is at or below 10 % in hybrid sales. But obviously he believes that these markets will develop in the same way the Japanese market has.

What will Toyota’s market share in hybrid vehicle sales be?

What car manufacturer Toyota’s market share of the hybrid car market pie would be, is something the Toyota engineer refused to expand on though. Up until a shirt while ago, Toyota’s market share in hybrid vehicle sales in the United States had been as high as 80%. However, it has slipped a little bit since new competitors have entered the market.

Toyota does plan to continue its successful run with its high hybrid car sales and hopes to further expand its hybrid presence in all vehicle markets, including in the United States with the Prius V, Prius C and Prius Plug-In by the middle of next year.

According to Takeshi Uchiyamada, the automotive company also hopes to double the U.S. sales volume of the Toyota Camry to about 50,000 units in 2012. On the European car market, a hybrid version of the redesigned Yaris will be released.

Toyota production management in relation to hybrid car sales growth?

For the car manufacturer to be able to meet the expected rise in demand, the production process needs to be adapted. That is why car maker Toyota is looking into using suppliers outside Japan to build hybrid components. After the March earthquake in Japan, it became clear to the company that it is too dangerous to rely on a single source for key components.

Toyota engineer’s predicts grim future for electric vehicles

Up until now, Toyota has concentrated on building hybrid cars and plug-in hybrids to live up to the increasing demand for ‘green vehicles’. Electric cars have not been a priority for the car brand. So it doesn’t come as much of a surprise that Uchiyamada doesn’t predict a positive future for electric vehicles.

He expects that electric vehicles will fall short of their hype. “Based on the current data, the targets announced by other players show they are not on track,” Uchiyamada said. “Compared to the target, it’s pretty disappointing for them.”

PHEV’s Set To Revolutionise The Hybrid Vehicle Market?

Hybrid and electric vehicles have already proven to be a global success; however the economical benefits and environmental gains of conventional hybrid vehicles have always been limited by the restrictions on battery-only driving distances. The use of lithium-ion batteries within Plug-In Hybrids (PHEVs) however could change all of this. More efficient and capable of producing up to 3 times the energy of a NiMh battery, lithium-ion technology is set to revolutionisethe hybrid vehicle market.

Whereas the battery pack in a conventional hybrid is charged exclusively from the on-board internal combustion engine and regenerative braking, a plug-in hybrid can be plugged into the mains and charged to give extended travel time running on battery power alone. PHEV’s are able to give drivers the best of both worlds, providing the performance and journey distance of conventional hybrid cards, whilst offering the substantial fuel economy, emission reduction, and petroleum displacement benefits of pure battery electric vehicles. With today’s ever increasing oil prices, electric and hybrid vehicles have never been so relevant, and with performance figures of over 100mpg it’s easy to see why PHEV’s are being hailed as the future of the auto industry.

Lithium-Ion Technology

Previous hybrid vehicles used nickel metal hydride (NiMH) batteries, which can be engineered for relatively short battery-only driving distances. The larger energy storage and electrical power capacity that lithium-ion battery technology provides however, means that next generation plug-in hybrids will be capable of travelling much further using battery power alone. PHEV designs currently beingtrialledboast top speeds of 62mph in EV mode and an electric-only range of 12.5 miles, a significant improvement on the previous 2 mile range of conventional hybrids.

The environmental gains and economical benefits of PHEV’s are significant, the increased power, endurance and acceleration in EV mode means that during town driving the vehicle is able to perform using battery only power, leaving the combustion

engine to kick in for higher speed driving or when battery power runs out. When the battery power does run down, PHEV’s operate like conventional hybrids and use the engine power and regenerative braking to charge the battery and drive the vehicle, eliminating the practicality issues with pure electric vehicles and their restricted travel distances.

The Future of Hybrid Vehicles

This extended battery-only power means reduced fuel consumption and lower emissions, especially when powered using electricity from renewable energy sources. Offering the best compromise between efficiency and usability, PHEV’s are predicted to be popular with consumers looking for increased economical benefits and environmental gains while retaining the function and performance of a conventional hybrid. Toyota are alreadytriallinga new plug-in hybrid version of their popular Prius, and with other manufacturers following closely in their lead and indicating the release of PHEV vehicles in the next 2 years, plug-in hybrids could soon be commonplace on our roads.