Race to Make 100,000 Vehicles with Lithium Batteries

Race to Make 100,000 Vehicles with Lithium Batteries

By John Addison (updated 11/22/11)

Lithium batteries are everywhere. They are in your mobile phones, iPads, notebook computers, game players, music players, and a lot more. Soon lithium batteries will be in millions of hybrid and electric cars.

As electric and hybrid car competition intensifies, Nissan, GM, Toyota, and Ford are in a race to sell the most vehicles with lithium batteries. I have driven cars from each of these automakers that use lithium batteries. The cars performed beautifully and delivered great fuel economy.

Nissan will be First with 100,000 Freeway Speed Electric Cars

Nissan LEAF batteryOver 20,000 Nissan LEAFs have been delivered globally, putting Nissan ahead of the competition in the electric car race. My wife and I took delivery of our LEAF in late April and have enjoyed driving it ever since. Nissan backlog grows as it expands sales to more states. Nissan is currently constrained to making 50,000 LEAFs per year to by production from one plant in Japan.

Nissan will deliver 50,000 LEAFs in 2012. They heroically recovered after Japan’s tragic earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear meltdowns. As part of the Renault-Nissan alliance, the lithium battery numbers are much higher. In 2013, a new plant opens in Tennessee with the ultimate capacity of 150,000 LEAFs per year plus 200,000 lithium battery packs per year.

Nissan’s Mark Perry, Director of Product Planning, “Electrification of transportation is no longer an ‘if’ rather a when. Most manufacturers have active programs in HEV, PHEV,EV and FC. New 2025 CAFE regulations will require more advanced technology deployment to achieve 54.5 targets than today. Nissan forecasts 10% market share will be pure EV by 2020.”

The LEAF lithium-nickel-manganese polymer battery packs are produced by AESC, a joint venture of Nissan and NEC. The new Nissan hybrid system uses the same AESC li-ion design as the LEAF with fewer kilowatts being needed. By switching from NiMH batteries to li-ion, weight can be removed from the vehicle. A wider state-of-charge with lithium can also improve mileage. All 2012 Nissan hybrid cars use lithium batteries including the Altima Hybrid and the Infinity M35H.

General Motors Leads with Plug-in Hybrids

Chevy VOLTGeneral Motors and LG Group are jointly designing and engineering future electric vehicles, expanding a relationship built on LG’s work as the battery cell supplier for the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera extended-range EVs. The GM-LG joint development will expand the number and types of electric vehicles that GM makes and sells by using LG’s proven expertise in batteries and other systems. In 2012, GM will deliver at least 60,000 Volts and Amperas with LG Chem advanced lithium battery cells.

“Many solutions for tomorrow’s transportation needs may be available more quickly by building on our partnership strategy,” said GM Vice Chairman Steve Girsky. ”Consumers benefit by getting the latest fuel-saving technology faster if we work with the best suppliers and we save time and money in the development process.”

The success of the extended-range propulsion system in the Volt and Ampera led to exploring other collaborations in the electrification of the automobile. Teams of LG and GM engineers will work on key components, as well as vehicle structures and architectures. Vehicles resulting from the partnership will be sold in many countries.

The GM-LG relationship that began with LG delivering the cells for the battery pack of the Chevrolet Volt and Opel Ampera expanded last year with work on a demonstration fleet of Chevrolet Cruze electric vehicles. These vehicles were used as official vehicles of the G20 summit in Seoul are now in the phase of market-testing to learn more about capabilities and requirements.

GM is not putting all of its eggs in one basket. The new pure-electric 2013 Chevrolet Spark EV will use A123 lithium-ion nanophosphate prismatic cells.

Ford Switching to Lithium Batteries for All Hybrids

FORD C-MAX ENERGIFord will only use lithium batteries in all 2013 model Ford hybrids which start selling in the middle of calendar year 2012. Ford is currently second only to Toyota in global hybrid sales, thanks to vehicles like the Escape Hybrid and Fusion Hybrid.

Although the Renault-Nissan Alliance is most likely to be first with 100,000 lithium-battery cars, Ford may be the first car maker to sell 100,000 cars annually that includes lithium batteries. When I lasted interviewed Nancy Gioia, Director Ford Global Electrification, she said that Ford has a 2020 goal of 10 to 25 percent of its vehicle sales including lithium batteries. Her best guess is that 70% would be hybrids, 20 to 25% plug-in hybrids, and 5 to 10% battery-electric. Everything from technology innovation to oil prices will affect the future mix.

Ford Motor is admired for refusing bailout money and returning to strong profitability. Ford’s electrification plans have the potential for better profit margins as it builds many vehicles for the global market on a common platform. For example, we will see a growing number of hybrid and electric vehicles on the C platform including the Ford Focus Electric, Transit Connect Electric, and new C-MAX Hybrid and C-MAX Energi.

With the C-MAX, we will see that Ford powersplit hybrids and blended plug-in hybrids share about 85 percent of the same components including electric traction motor, generator, inverters, DC/DC converters, electric accessories, transmission, and engine. Both the C-MAX Energi and C-MAX Hybrid models, with a common chassis, will be built alongside the all-new 2012 Ford Focus and Focus Electric at Ford’s Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Mich.

Ford, however, will use different pack design and cell chemistry for its hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and battery-electric. While some of Ford’s competitors focus on joint ventures with a single battery company, Ford controls pack design and assembly. Different cell manufacturers are considered for different vehicles. Lithium cell providers include LG Chem/Compact Power (CPI) for the Ford Focus Electric and Johnson Control for the Transit Connect Electric.

Toyota’s Incremental Approach to Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Car

Toyota Prius PHVToyota Motor Corp is bringing to market four vehicles with lithium batteries – the Prius PHV, the RAV4 EV, the Scion IQ EV, and rumors of a Camry Plug-in Hybrid. These electric vehicles give Toyota a shot at selling 100,000 vehicles with lithium batteries in 2013, but Toyota is not likely to be first with 100,000. It will be Nissan, GM or Ford.

Toyota has over 3 million hybrids on the road with NiMH batteries. Why fight success? Toyota will be careful in switching to lithium-ion. Economics, reduced vehicle weight, and more interior room will eventually make the switch compelling.

Toyota is not afraid to partner with potential competitors if it accelerates time to market for the right vehicles. Toyota, which owns 2 percent of Tesla, contracted with Tesla for lithium battery packs and drive system integration for the new Toyota RAV4 EV. Toyota has a long history with battery giants Panasonic and Sanyo. Recently, Toyota and Ford announced that they would equally collaborate in the development of advanced hybrid systems for rear-wheel drive trucks and SUVs.

Clean Fleet Report Forecasts One Million Vehicles with Lithium Batteries

Production of electrified vehicles is gearing up all over the world, and automakers are planning to launch an increasing variety of new models over the next few years.  Hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), and battery electric vehicles (BEVs) will all share the market stage as electrified vehicles continue to capture a larger portion of the total vehicle market.

Clean Fleet Report forecasts that in 2014 over one million vehicles will be sold with lithium battery packs and electric motors as demand grows for electric cars and hybrids. With manufacturing volume and technology improvements, lithium battery pack costs continue to drop. Three years ago, automaker pack costs were around $1,000/kW. Today, they are around $500. By 2020, they could be at $250/kWh. If oil prices rise, we could see the tipping point in this decade where electric cars are less expensive than gasoline and diesel powered cars.

According to a new report from Pike Research, cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), the category that includes both PHEVs and BEVs, will reach 5.2 million units by 2017, up from just under 114,000 vehicles in 2011.  By the same year, cumulative sales of HEVs will represent an additional 8.7 million vehicles, for a combined total of 13.9 million units in all electrified vehicle categories.

Energy storage is a $30 billion industry with steady growth. Michigan is now home to 17 advanced battery companies in various stages of construction and production, representing nearly $6 billion in capital investment and expected to create an estimated 20,000 new direct jobs over the next 10 years. The state is expected to make approximately 20 percent of the world’s lithium ion batteries. The Battery Show will be held October 25-27 in Novi, Michigan.

Some automakers want to be first to market with electric cars and advanced batteries; others want to be first to volume. As Nissan, GM, Toyota, Ford, and other automakers compete for hybrid and electric car leadership we will continue to see technological advancements and cost reduction in advanced batteries, electric motors, and electric drive system components. The race is on and the car driver is the sure winner.

Top 10 Electric Car Makers

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid – Good MPG Sedan

2012 Toyota Camry Hybrid – Good MPG Sedan

By John Addison

The new 2012 Toyota Camry family of sedans offer improved fuel economy and more for the money. The new Camry Hybrid delivers a combined 41 miles-per-gallon (mpg), soaring past the current midsized sedan MPG leader, the Ford Fusion Hybrid.

The Camry is so popular that 15 million have been sold. It has been America’s best selling car for 9 years. Toyota has sold more than 3 million hybrids; more than all competitors combined. Toyota announces its new seventh-generation Camry family as a bold, sophisticated new design with a more spacious interior, class-leading safety features, improved driving dynamics and quieter ride than before.

The 2012 Camry Hybrid model features a highly revised Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain that includes a new 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine, which produces a combined 200 horsepower and offers better MPG and lower price. The improved 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is equipped with Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) for reduced noise and vibration levels. The impressive hybrid mileage is with a six-speed automatic transmission.

The Camry Hybrid LE not only delivers the best MPG of any mid-size sedan, achieving manufacturer-estimated 43 city/39 mpg highway/41mpg combined, but it will also carry a MSRP of $25,900, an impressive decrease of $1,150 compared to the 2011 model. The excellent fuel economy will not take long to pay for the $3,360 premium over the non-hybrid LE that delivers 28 mpg combined.

The LE has some distinguishing features. The LE model a new Display Audio system, which features a 6.1-inch touch screen that provides vehicle information and offers phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology. The LE model also includes remote keyless entry, auto on/off headlamps, side rocker panels with chrome inserts, steering wheel with audio and Bluetooth controls, and variable intermittent wipers.

The Camry XLE adds premium content with additional standard features like the all-new Display Audio, 17-inch alloy wheels, premium chrome exterior accents, heated outside mirrors, integrated chrome fog lamps, leather-wrapped steering wheel with integrated audio and Bluetooth controls, wood-style interior trim, dual-zone auto climate control with rear air vents and eight-way power driver seat. The premium Camry Hybrid XLE model features a MSRP of $27,400, a decrease of $800 compared to the previous model with upgrade package.

Better Mileage for non-hybrid Camry

“Despite all of the enhancements to the all-new Camry, prices for all popular models have been reduced with dramatic repositioning on SE, XLE and Hybrid models, representing the best value in the segment,” says Bob Carter, Toyota Group Vice President and General Manager. “Competing in the industry’s most competitive segment, we expect the Camry to continue as America’s best-selling car.”

The new Toyota Camry is powered with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine produces 178 horsepower, an increase of nine horsepower, and 170 lbs-ft. of torque. Fuel economy is also improved with EPA estimated mpg ratings of 25 city/35 hwy/28 combined. All four-cylinder models are matched with six-speed automatic transmissions.

All 2012 Camrys are equipped with a class-leading 10 standard airbags, and like all Toyota models, the Camry will feature Toyota’s Star Safety System™ standard, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. It also features the standard Smart Stop Technology brake-override system. An electronic tire pressure monitoring system is also standard.

Camry Hybrid Competition

Some will prefer the Camry SE to the Camry Hybrid to save about $3,400 and get better cargo flexibility. The Camry has a 60/40 fold-down back seat, handy when you’re hauling lots of shopping, sports equipment, school supplies, luggage and the rest. The Camry Hybrid only has a pass-thru space for skiis and boards.

If a mid-sized sedan is ideal for you, the Camry Hybrid offers better mileage than all competition. If you are open to a 5-door liftback, the Toyota Prius is now a family of four vehicles with exceptional mileage, passenger room, and valuable cargo flexibility with 60/40 fold-down back seat. Toyota Prius Family

If you’re willing to pay $7,000 more for a beautiful sedan, the Lincoln MKZ will surround you with premium features and still deliver 39 mpg. Its popular hybrid cousin, the Ford Fusion Hybrid is also worth a test drive. The new Camry Hybrid will prove to be tough competition for other well featured hybrid sedans including the Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, the Kia Optima Hybrid, and the Nissan Altima Hybrid.

The Camry and Camry Hybrid are made in Kentucky, where Toyota employs 7,000. Eighty percent of the parts are from U.S. suppliers. Toyota has invested $5.4 billion in plant and facilities and continues to invest to maintain its hybrid leadership.

10 Hybrids with Best Fuel Economy

Hertz Expands Electric Car Rental in United States and China

Hertz Expands Electric Car Rental in United States and China

Hertz EV RentalBy John Addison (8/25/11)

New EV Rental and Lease Programs for World’s Largest Market

Hertz (NYSE:HTZ) expands its Global EV initiative to China, making it the first global rental car company to offer electric cars on three continents. Hertz now offers the Nissan LEAF, Chevrolet Volt, Smart ED, Tesla Roadster and other electric cars in U.S. cities including New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Hertz is expanding the availability of pure electric cars and plug-in hybrids at airports, downtown hotels, university campuses, condos and co-ops and fleets. Hertz operates in over 8,500 locations in 146 countries.

In London, you can rent the Mitsubishi iMiEV. Mitsubishi will soon start deliveries of the U.S. version of this popular electric city car. In other European cities, Renault electric cars are offered. Now Hertz is expanding into the world’s biggest EV market.

In China, Hertz established a partnership with GE Industrial Solutions China to advance the rollout of EVs and charging stations that includes the co-location of electric vehicles and GE EV Infrastructure as a combined offering. Bundled lease offers of EVs and chargers will make it easy for corporations and government agencies to expand use of electric cars.

“China has committed to rapidly expand electric vehicle travel and Hertz is committed to supporting the ambitious EV Pilot City program,” said Mark Frissora, Hertz Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Working with our existing rental car network in China and partners such as GE, we are dedicated to helping build the necessary EV infrastructure in China and to create a new transportation solution that employs the latest technology and harnesses innovations being launched in China today.”

China’s 100 Million EV Owners

Over one hundred million in China ride e-bikes, e-scooters, and light electric vehicles. A growing middle class and major employers are interested in full-function freeway-speed electric cars. In Shanghai, Hertz will be part of the International EV Pilot City, a program to accelerate EV rentals by building out the infrastructure across the Jiading district of Shanghai. Other EV Pilot City partners include auto manufactures, energy suppliers, and insurance companies. Hertz is the first rental car company to sign an agreement to become a partner of the China (Shanghai) International Electric Vehicle Pilot City.

A few weeks ago, Hertz also reached an understanding with BYD for a rental trial of its electric car the e6 in Shenzhen. BYD is years late in bringing its electric cars to the U.S.

The partnership supports the Twelfth Five-Year Plan objective for the promotion of EVs in China and will serve as a foundation for further innovation and development of the infrastructure.  The current five-year plan identifies EVs as one of the seven strategic initiatives for China in the next few years and calls for a significant ramp up in both EV charging station deployment and EV manufacturing.   The Chinese central government is currently offering 60,000 RMB (about $9,400 USD) rebates for EV purchases and a number of leading cities including Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen are offering additional rebates.

“At the Clinton Global Initiative last September, we announced a commitment to provide electric vehicle access on a global scale – an ambitious goal,” commented Frissora. “In less than one year, Hertz is now the leading provider of EV mobility solutions, offering an unparalleled selection of EVs and PHEVs in cities worldwide. We are firmly committed to adding new retail and business to business EV car rental locations internationally as auto manufacturers ramp up EV and PHEV production over the next few years.”

Hertz plans to increase its global EV presence by deploying vehicles in other countries in the coming months. Hertz Global EV will continue to leverage the company’s rental and car sharing locations as bases for vehicles and charging stations, and tap into its technology – including sophisticated fleet management tools to help form an EV grid.

Car Sharing – Hertz On Demand Competes with Zipcar

Some only think of Hertz as a rental car company. Hertz is also aggressively expanding with its car sharing service Hertz On Demand (formerly Connect by Hertz). Competing with Zipcar, Enterprise, and others, Hertz On Demand eliminated membership fees, expanded one way service to 175 locations, guaranteed availability Monday through Thursday in New York City, added electric cars at select locations, simplified the reservation, and enhanced 24/7 in-car assistance. Hertz On Demand has approximately 40,000 members in six countries and on approximately 60 university campuses.

Electric car sales and charging are off to a good start in the United States with drivers who have single family homes with garages to install chargers, but in multi-tenant dwellings costly utility meters must be added, upgraded transformers, EVSE located near meter rooms, new bylaws, and tenant agreement about preferred parking spaces. Shared electric cars charged in shared spaces provide a wonderful multi-tenant solution. Hertz on Demand has Nissan LEAFs available at Seward Park Co-op is one of the largest free market co-ops in Manhattan with more than 1700 apartments, approximately 50 commercial tenants, 13 acres of land and more than 4000 residents.

 

Hertz is showing smarts and agility with its electric car programs from San Francisco to Shanghai and for everyone from fleet managers, to people living in large apartment buildings, to new university students. If you’re a business traveler, you know what its like to be late to catch a plan and have a corporate requirement to bring back the car with the gas tank fuel. When renting electric cars, there is no added cost with Hertz if you bring back the EV with the battery mostly empty.

Do Oil Companies Pay Their Fair Share?

Do Oil Companies Pay Their Fair Share?

Texas Oil Prop 23By John Addison (8/24/11)

$380 Billion in new Green Scissors 2011 Report

Millions of Americans are demanding common sense fixes to our broken economy. Wasteful spending needs to be cut, free giveaways of our natural resource stopped, and tax dodging corporations to start paying the same rates as middle-class taxpayers.

Senator Dirksen is attributed with the famous quip, “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money?”

$380 billion of wasteful government spending, subsidies, and loopholes is detailed in the new Green Scissors report.  The amount is for 2012 to 2016. I’m not sure which is most surprising, the common sense distilled to 32-pages or the fact that the report is sponsored by both conservative and environmental groups. Green Scissors 2011 is published by four organizations: progressive environmental group Friends of the Earth, deficit hawk Taxpayers for Common Sense, consumer watchdog Public Citizen and free-market think tank The Heartland Institute.

The report does not pretend to solve everything. It focuses on wasteful spending and subsidies that both harm the economy and the environment. The sponsoring groups make it very clear that they do not agree on all issues. They agree on the analysis and recommendations in Green Scissors. The report is balanced in pinpointing specific waste in subsidizing oil drilling and hybrid car buying, dirty coal and dangerous nukes, giving away land and giving away gold.

Senate Backs Common Sense on Occasion

Before you think that common sense does not have a prayer in this Congress, consider this report excerpt:

“[A] bipartisan bill to end one of the most egregious tax preferences, the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, was brought to the Senate floor thanks to the tireless work of bipartisan Senate champions. In a sign that things really are changing in Washington, the Senate overwhelmingly voted to end a subsidy that just a few months earlier had been extended yet again. In the end, 73 senators took on the powerful corn lobby and supported fiscal responsibility and the environment by voting to end a wasteful subsidy that has been on the books for over 30 years.”

The report is likely to be popular with citizens who want to shrink the deficit, protect our global competitiveness, and not subsidize the destruction of our future. It will not be popular will oil executives whose companies pay no income tax, mining companies that extract gold from public lands for free, and farmers paid to use massive energy to make ethanol that contains less energy. These powerful companies will ask that we protect their jobs and their profits, yet the more that we do, the more the United States as a whole suffers lost jobs and profits.

$61 Billion in Subsidies to Oil and Related Fossil Fuel Giants

Green Scissors 2011 states, “For nearly 100 years we have given generous government subsidies to the incredibly lucrative fossil fuels industry. The lion’s share of these subsidies comes in the form of tax breaks that cost the government tens of billions of dollars annually. This tax spending is particularly advantageous for the industry because most of it is permanent law and does not require regular review from Congress. Thus, it can be counted on year after year.” The report identifies specific oil and other fossil fuel subsidies that, unless eliminated, will cost taxpayers over $61 billion. Here are some specific examples:

  • Last In, First Out Accounting 29,661,000,000
  • Domestic Manufacturing Tax Deduction for Oil and Gas Companies 6,679,000,000
  • Intangible Drilling Costs 6,268,000,000
  • Percentage Depletion Allowance for Oil and Gas Wells 4,657,000,000
  • Oil Royalty Relief 4,033,000,000
  • Deductions for Foreign Tax — Dual Capacity 3,896,000,000

This focused report identifies many more specifics. The report tries to focus on what is politically feasible, ignoring the even bigger costs of offshore drilling damage, such as the $40 billion BP Gulf Oil damage. Ignored are externalities like the damage of pollution to health and the damage of  draughts, wildfires, and crop failures that correlate with global warming.

The U.S. is now paying more to borrow due to our credit rating being downgraded to AA+ by Standard and Poor’s and to A by Dagong, Asia’s largest credit agency. We owe trillions to people and governments who experienced the recent threat of not getting repaid and the reality of getting repaid with cheaper dollars. The government shutdown threat was lead by extremists who want to “starve the beast of government” and stop new revenue in any form. This approach is keeping fossil fuel giants on welfare, thereby funding their damage to our health and polluting our future.

Quotable Conservatives and Environmentalists

Former Representative Robert Inglis (R-SC) pointed out that protecting the fossil fuel industry hurts innovation and global competitiveness. Protecting aging industry hurts our future revenue and jobs from the innovative leaders of tomorrow.

“At a time when working families are expected to belt-tighten, so too must wasteful public investments in mature, polluting technologies,” said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program. “For too long lobbyists kept these undeserving programs and tax preferences for the fossil fuel and nuclear industry funded.”

“The Green Scissors report documents the breadth and depth of damage that government spending does to our environment,” said Heartland Institute Vice President Eli Lehrer. “Cutting government in the right places can make for a cleaner, healthier environment.”

“We can go a long way toward solving our nation’s budget problems by cutting spending that harms the environment, and this report provides the Super Committee with a road map,” said Friends of the Earth climate and energy tax analyst Ben Schreiber. “At a time of great polarization, Super Committee members can and should find common ground by ending wasteful polluter giveaways.”

“These common sense cuts represent the lowest of the low hanging budgetary fruit,” said Taxpayers for Common Sense President Ryan Alexander. “Lawmakers across the political spectrum should be scrambling to eliminate these examples of wasteful spending and unnecessary tax breaks that are squandering our precious tax dollars while the nation is staring into a chasm of debt.”

Ford and Toyota Partnership for Hybrid Trucks and Hybrid SUVs

Ford and Toyota Partnership for Hybrid Trucks and Hybrid SUVs

Ford Toyota HybridBy John Addison (updated 8/23/11; original 8/22/11)

Look for Major MPG Gains in Ford F150 and Toyota Tacoma Trucks; Toyota Highlander and Ford Escape SUVs

Ford and Toyota– the world’s two leading manufacturers of hybrid vehicles –announce that they will equally collaborate on the development of an advanced new hybrid system for light truck and SUVs.

In the past, Ford licensed 21 patents from Toyota related to the hybrid drive system in exchange for patents relating to emissions technology. The licensing included a financial transaction. This new memorandum of understanding (MOU) creates the foundation for serious collaboration in new product development. This type of collaboration has been successful in the information technology field for decades, where core technology is jointly developed and then companies compete with final products in the market place. The term “coopetition” is often used.

Toyota has sold over 3 million hybrids, leading with the Prius, to achieve significant hybrid market share leadership. Ford has taken hybrid market share from Honda with the Ford Fusion Hybrid and achieved impressive SUV mileage with the Ford Escape Hybrid. Toyota, Ford and Honda dominate our list of the 10 Hybrids with Best Mileage.

Toyota has also partnered with Tesla to bring to market the exciting new 2012 Toyota RAV4 EV, a 100% electric full-function SUV. Ford and Toyota are expanding their use of advanced lithium batteries in new hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric cars. The new powerful and fuel-efficient trucks and SUVs from this partnership will almost certainly use lithium batteries, thereby increasing lithium battery volume and lowering cost for all future hybrid and electric vehicles.

Both companies have been working independently on their own future-generation rear-wheel drive hybrid systems. The two now have committed to collaborate as equal partners on a new hybrid system for light trucks and SUVs. This new full  hybrid powertrain will bring exceptional fuel efficiency improvements to a new group of truck and SUV. Ford and Toyota believe that their collaboration will allow them to bring these hybrid technologies to customers sooner and more affordably than either company could have accomplished alone.

Takeshi Uchiyamada, Toyota executive vice president, Research & Development, said: “In 1997, we launched the first-generation Prius, the world’s first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid. Since then, we have sold about 3.3 million hybrid vehicles. We expect to create exciting technologies that benefit society with Ford – and we can do so through the experience the two companies have in hybrid technology.”

The two companies also agreed to work together on enablers to complement each company’s existing telematics platform standards, helping bring more Internet-based services and useful information to consumers globally.

The two companies will bring the best of their independently developed hybrid powertrain technology and knowledge to a new co-developed hybrid system, which will be used in rear-wheel-drive light trucks arriving later this decade. The MOU states that Ford and Toyota will:

  •     Jointly develop as equal partners a new rear-wheel drive hybrid system and component technology for light trucks and SUVs
  •     Independently integrate the new hybrid system in their future vehicles separately

Ford CEO Alan Mulally and Toyota President Akio Toyoda

“By working together, we will be able to serve our customers with the very best affordable, advanced powertrains, delivering even better fuel economy,” said Ford President and CEO Alan Mulally. “This is the kind of collaborative effort that is required to address the big global challenges of energy independence and environmental sustainability.”

Toyota President Akio Toyoda added: “Toyota is extremely proud to join Ford in developing a hybrid system for pickup trucks and SUVs. Not only is this tie-up clearly one aimed at making automobiles ever better, it should also become an important building block for future mobility in the U.S. By building a global, long-term relationship with Ford, our desire is to be able to continue to provide people in America automobiles that exceed their expectations.”

This rear-wheel-drive hybrid system will be based on an all-new architecture to deliver the capability truck and SUV customers demand while providing greater fuel economy.

While the rear-wheel-drive hybrid system will share significant common technology and components, Ford and Toyota will individually integrate the system into their own vehicles. Each company also will determine the calibration and performance dynamics characteristics of their respective light pickups and SUVs.

Telematics Partnership for Better Safety and Infotainment

In addition, as telematics plays an increasingly more important role in the in-car experience, both companies have agreed to collaborate on standards and technologies needed to enable a safer, more secure and more convenient in-car experience for next-generation telematics systems.  The telematics collaboration relates only to standards and technologies, and each company will continue to separately develop their own in-vehicle products and features.

Ford has partnered with Microsoft to more quickly bring better telematics to its vehicles. Now Ford will also partner with Toyota. “Ford has made tremendous progress in the area of telematics,” Kuzak said. “We have unique and very good solutions today with SYNC and MyFordTouch. Working together on in-vehicle standards can only enhance our customers’ experience with their vehicles.”

Uchiyamada added: “Toyota has also invested heavily in telematics in various countries around the world, with services like the G-BOOK and G-Link. In the U.S., we have just introduced the accessible, easy-to-use Entune. By sharing our know-how and experience, we would like to offer even better telematics services in the future.”