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Toyota working on 21 new hybrid models, limits release of EV mini-car

Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation will be launching 21 new hybrid vehicles from now until the end of 2015 but has scrapped the planned worldwide release of their “eQ” all-electric mini car.

The automaker released a statement detailing their vehicle deployment plans through 2015 including their progress on the development of environmental technologies to improve fuel efficiency, reduce emissions and diversify fuel sources.

As part of this, the company intends to continue developing hybrid vehicles for the global market – including new versions of their best-selling plug-in hybrid Prius. Aside from the Prius, 21 other hybrids will be developed and launched by Toyota from now to 2015.

Toyota expects global sales of their existing hybrid models to surpass 1 million units in 2012 and are forecasting global sales to be at least 1 million units a year from 2013 and 2015.

The company has developed an enhanced engine for use in hybrid vehicles that has a thermal efficiency of 38.5 percent for high fuel efficiency and output. Hybrids launched starting 2013 will use this enhanced engine.

While the company seems high on hybrids, they’ve suffered a setback when it comes to pure electric vehicles with the announcement that the eQ, an electric variant of their iQ minicar, will only have a limited release in the United States and Japan.

In a Reuters report, the automaker said they would only sell about 100 of the eQ’s, a sharp drop from planned several thousand a year that was announced when the eQ was unveiled in 2010.

The eQ is a mini-car designed for daily commutes and short distance travel with a driving range of 100 kilometers squared on a single charge and a top speed of 125 km/h. It’s said to have the world’s best electric power consumption rate of 104 Wh/km.

The Panasonic Corporation will be supplying lithium-ion batteries for the eQ building on an existing supply agreement with Toyota by which they the batteries to Prius models.

Toyota is also continuing work of their proprietary fuel cell stack for vehicles. Toyota’s FC stack has a power output density of 3 kW/L but it’s approximately half the size and weight of current FC’s.

Toyota intends to launch a sedan-type FCV around 2015 and is working on the development of a FC bus for launch in 2016. – EcoSeed Staff

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