Jul 11, 2005 (From the CalCars-News archive)
This is from EVWorld editor Bill Moore's "Insider" weekly column
Changing Their Tune California Cars Initiative founder and guiding light, Felix Kramer has been keeping track of shifting carmaker positions on the subject of plug-in hybrids. Here’s what he’s found.
Nick Cappa, manager of advanced technology communications:
"It's just an idea program," -- Automotive News
"…a great opportunity to develop the vehicles we foresee in the future." -- Business Week
"This is part of a small program investigating these technologies." -- New York Times
"In the end it should be viable and economic for our customers." Rolf Bartke, head of the Mercedes-Benz van division -- Time.
FORD MOTOR COMPANY:
Gerhard Schmidt, VP of Research and Advanced Engineering:
"We are looking at a range of potential alternative fuel solutions to address the issues around eliminating our dependence on fossil fuels and global warming - and it may include a plug-in hybrid. -- Individual Correspondence
TOYOTA MOTOR SALES U.S.A.:
Cindy Knight: "We're exploring every avenue" for reducing reliance on petroleum, she says.-- Automotive News
David Hermance, Toyota's executive engineer for environmental engineering: "We keep looking at the concept, and at some point it might be feasible, but it isn't there yet".
"They say this is the next great thing, but it just isn't" ..."The electric utilities really want to sell electricity and they want to sell it to the transportation sector because that expands their market. They have an agenda". -- Business Week
"Toyota said that batteries today were not durable enough to handle the wide range of charging up and charging down that a plug-in hybrid would need, calling that the most damaging thing you can do to a battery .... Mr. Hermance said the feature [EV Button] was disabled in Priuses sold in the United States because of complications it would have created in emissions-testing rules". -- New York Times
MORE RECENTLY (as PHEVs and PRIUS+ have gotten considerable attention):
Ed LaRoque, National Manager for Advanced Technology Vehicles with Toyota Motor Sales, asked at sessions of the Clean Cities Conference (May 2005), "Will your hybrids be able to plug in to recharge for local travel?,"replied, "We're listening."
"Customers," says Ed LaRocque, "are not telling us plug-in hybrids are something they'd like to see at no cost, let alone what we estimate would be an additional $15,000." -- Time.
"The situation is evolving,' said Cindy Knight, a Toyota spokeswoman in Southern California. "’We're studying the matter, and keeping a careful eye on the projects happening around California". -- San Jose Mercury News.
Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight said, "We are watching [plug-in designs] with interest. It is probably within the range of solutions we would consider" eventually as an alternative power plant design. -- Los Angeles Times.
[Felix note: add to this today's comment from Wired.com:] Toyota spokeswoman Cindy Knight warned that EDrive's modifications will void the Prius' power train warranty, and said the company is "dubious" about a pluggable Prius. "Right now, we don't see this as commercially viable," she said. "We think there need to be breaktrhoughs in battery technology to make it commercially viable."