T2 wrote: I, for one, don't see Toyota getting it wrong with the Prius either. They were putting out untried technology as far as the automotive sector is concerned. They were setting themselves up for enough risk with liquid cooled high power inverters. You think they should have put themselves on the line for $10k NiMH batteries also ?
Regarding motor systems :
The fact that they sold a couple of million units meant that in a few short years Toyota had to know that they would challenge the existing industrial base by becoming the largest manufacturer of AC inverter drives in the world. Outselling, in the 25Kw-125Kw segment, the total shipped by Siemens, Emerson, Yaskawa, Parker-Hannifin, Indramat, etc.
Regarding batteries :
The distinction here is that Toyota started out with a powertrain that needed a battery configured for POWER rather than ENERGY, they chose the smallest size that could reach that power (21Kw) and then hold on for at least a couple of minutes. We should remind ourselves that the Prius battery holds only 1.3Kwhrs while the average automobile 72A-hr PB-acid battery is not far behind in the energy department with its 0.9Kwhr rating. OTOH had Toyota gone for energy (16kwhr) it would have been an entirely different price segment e.g. as GM is demanding for the VOLT.
With Li-Ion you can change the electrode structure and make some strings of cells more energy proficient while ensuring the provision of enough strings of cells oriented for power within the battery pack. Of course, a 16Kwhr capacity gives many choices for how fast or how far.
Since Nissan's Leaf is the topic here, I can say that it's getting lots of support here in North America. You can sign up for $99 on their website. I don't have the figures but I heard that in the 4 months the site has been up it has had three times the takers that the Volt has been able to manage in two whole years.
With the Leaf announcement it will be interesting to see if that softens demand for the VOLT. Whether most of those deposits do in fact firm up into true orders, GM will soon find out.
The Nissan Leaf, being a pure electric,will naturally come in at a lower price point. On that it has to be said that : The right technology is always the affordable technology.
People may have said they want PHEVs, but they may sing another tune when the reality of ponying up for the extra $10k premium comes due.
Both vehicles are eligible for govt stimulus spending and we are now hearing that with the financial problems of Greece likely to spread futher, warnings are going out for all govts to pull back on their spending - particularly stimulus spending.
Yes indeed, it'll be very interesting to see if the first generation of pure EV's will detract from the sales of such vehicle as the VOLT, Prius etc, in any significant numbers, without government subsidies.
I suspect that the effect will be the same as Australia.
Australia produced the first modern functioning,production quality EV private automobile, The Blade Electron. But without subsidies it has languished. The small Electron is the equal to iMev and in many ways superior, but without subsidies, the Blade remains a curiosity, and only survives on exports to NZ.
I believe given the present economic uncertainties, the next big break for EV's will come from the development of either Lithium-air, or Zinc-air technology, or the Ford battery development incorporating a very cheap annual battery replacement/service scheme.