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Internal Combustion Engines Remain Priority at Toyota

Lexus UX Blueprint

In an interview with Automotive News, new Toyota powertrain boss Hiohisa Kishi outlines the company’s strategy in keeping internal combustion engines competitive as the auto industry shifts towards electrification. Unsurprisingly, hybrid technology will play a major role, with Toyota developing engines that can work on their own or as a gas-electric powertrain:

Kishi believes EVs will still cost more, even in 2030. Gasoline-electric hybrids, by contrast, have already reached parity with gasoline-only engines, when fuel economy is taken into account, he said. While it is technically feasible to make a gasoline engine that delivers the same fuel economy as a hybrid, it would cost more, he said.

“An internal combustion engine, with things added to equal the fuel economy performance, can actually be more costly than a hybrid,” Kishi said. “Therefore, in terms of technology, it’s possible to make happen. But we don’t think it’s appealing from the marketing perspective.”

It’s expected that new engines and transmissions will power 80% of new Toyota vehicles by 2023, and that the overall number of engine types will be reduced by 40%.

Electrification remains a top priority, with more than 10 EVs planned for released by the early 2020s — even so, Kishi believes 90% of all Toyota vehicles will still have a gas or gas-electric powertrain by 2030.

Comments
Levi
Tech that would be worth for ICE, is infinitely variable timing (cam-less).
I remember reading a patent that, IIRC, was owned by Toyota, which described a solenoid-controlled valvetrain. It had a pair of valve springs on each valve. One pushes the valve open and the other closed. When the system is off, the springs hold the valve in a partial-open position. The valve stem is made f a non-magnetic material (titanium?) with a ferromagnetic piece in the middle, between the springs. There are then two electromagnets, one above and below, which alternate on and off to pull on the ferromagnetic piece, which opens and closes the valve.

It's a neat idea. I don't know how energy efficient it would be because that would take a lot of electrical power to make it work, but it does have the benefit IVVTL. Perhaps, with more advanced materials and electronics, it could work. I'm not 100% sure that my description is accurate since I saw that patent about 5 years ago. If I can find it again, I can post a link.

Edit: https://patents.google.com/patent/US6332446
TheNerdyPotato
I remember reading a patent that, IIRC, was owned by Toyota, which described a solenoid-controlled valvetrain. It had a pair of valve springs on each valve. One pushes the valve open and the other closed. When the system is off, the springs hold the valve in a partial-open position. The valve stem is made f a non-magnetic material (titanium?) with a ferromagnetic piece in the middle, between the springs. There are then two electromagnets, one above and below, which alternate on and off to pull on the ferromagnetic piece, which opens and closes the valve.

It's a neat idea. I don't know how energy efficient it would be because that would take a lot of electrical power to make it work, but it does have the benefit IVVTL. Perhaps, with more advanced materials and electronics, it could work. I'm not 100% sure that my description is accurate since I saw that patent about 5 years ago. If I can find it again, I can post a link.

Edit: https://patents.google.com/patent/US6332446

It looks exactly like Freevalve by Koenigsegg. Didn't know Toyota patented it.
Levi
It looks exactly like Freevalve by Koenigsegg. Didn't know Toyota patented it.
Not the same, but they perform the same function. Here's a youtube video that explains the Freevalve. Spoiler: Freevalve is mostly pneumatic instead of all-electric.

Joaquin Ruhi
Ever since I started reading about Nissan's VC and Mazda's Skyactiv-X, I've been wondering whether the two could be combined, or if it was even worth doing so. Alas, the automotive press, to my knowledge, has remained silent on this subject. Yours is the first comment and guesstimate I've ever seen on the subject.
I think my estimate was based on a very old EPA paper from ten years ago. In that analysis they projected the timeframe for ICE technologies to trickle down into mainstream. They correctly predicted dual VVT, dual-injection, and Miller-cycle operation to become standard before 2020. They incorrectly predicted continuous VVL to be cheap enough to be widely adopted, but as of 2018 only BMW and FCA use it extensively (while Honda/Nissan/Toyota limited CVVL to selected applications).

VC is a pre-requisite for HCCI operation to avoid nasty NOx problems. My prediction is that Mazda will keep refining Skyactiv-X and come close to 48% thermal efficiency around 2025, while the industry play catch-up until near 2030 (SkyActiv-G was almost 5 years ahead of its time).

mediumhot
I'm personally mostly interested in their RWD hybrid program and I'm curious if they will ever achieve price parity. It's so freakin complex and they keep on adding more stuff to it (like 4 speed auto) that I'm wondering if they have a long term plan for it at all.
I do agree the multi-stage THS is unneccessarily complex. Ever since the original GS450h they kept adding components to the system that it has blown up in complexity and weight. Meanwhile their transverse FWD hybrid package has become really cheap, compact, efficient, and gets the job done.

From one literature review that I read recently, it seems that TMC had never had consistency in its RWD hybrid programs. Their longitudinal hybrid powertrains are always experimental and not optimized for mass production. They have the same problem with their E-Four applications, which are super complex and inefficient.

The fundamental problem is still their battery tech (or their conservative approach to new battery tech), which lacks in both power density and energy density, so they have to make up the deficit from mechanical tricks here and there.

The 500h is certainly impressive as it beats the old 600h system in every aspect imaginable. But they could do much, much better than that. The multi-stage THS needs consistency and modularity so engineers could keep working on refining it, instead of trying something new every time they need to develop a new hybrid system.

mediumhot
Their RWD hybrids might end up being PHEVs with ICE range extenders to justify the price spread between gasoline model and hybrid in RWD vehicles. I don't know I'm just guessing here but what I do know is that $10,000 difference between RWD car with the gasoline engine and exact same RWD car with exact same gasoline engine with mounted hybrid components will get them nowhere.
They won't be doing a RexEV on RWD because it makes no sense. What is your reasoning that it makes sense? RexEV and serial hybrid are both stupid ideas for high-power applications. That's why GM went down the same input-split serial-hybrid route on 2nd gen Volt.

mikeavelli
While the Nissan's new engine is a marvel, the specs don't really wow anyone. Barely a bump over the VQ engine in regards to MPG and power is average.
100kW(134hp)/L with 40% maximum thermal efficiency. That's the impressive part about it. Nobody builds any turbocharged engine even close to that kind of specs. Well I guess to the general public it's a little bit hard to comprehend. What they do understand is that it's mated to a hated CVT. What a missed opportunity there.

They also claim it has same level of NVH as V6, at least they have that going for them. But Honda said their 2.0T is as good as V6 too and we all know what happened to the new Accord.
@ssun30 Upcoming Skyactiv-X is nowhere close to hybrid level efficiency though, few first drives that report mpg, it was way below hybrid or diesel... for instance:
https://jalopnik.com/i-drove-mazda-s-holy-grail-of-gasoline-engines-and-it-w-1800874806
https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/...review-new-compression-ignition-petrol-engine
https://www.autoblog.com/2018/01/26/mazda-skyactiv-x-review-compression-ignition-engine/

with lower rpm range driving... so real life 14% improvement with faster engine and NVH like a diesel. Also price less than a diesel but more than petrol. It is also not replacement for their diesel, so it clearly wont get diesel mpg numbers, let alone hybrid.
@spwolf I'd say let's wait for the production version before making any conclusive comments. Engine calibration is one of the later engineering stages so I'm sure the press prototypes are far from final.

Mazda could certainly need Toyota's help on full hybrids. I wonder how far their strategic alliance will go. Maybe when TMC feels secure enough it will buy out Subaru and Mazda.
ssun30
@spwolf I'd say let's wait for the production version before making any conclusive comments. Engine calibration is one of the later engineering stages so I'm sure the press prototypes are far from final.

Mazda could certainly need Toyota's help on full hybrids. I wonder how far their strategic alliance will go. Maybe when TMC feels secure enough it will buy out Subaru and Mazda.
Question is if they want to buy them, and vice versa... also Suzuki too.

As to the hybrids, problem with using this and hybrids is cost.

Reviews mentioned how mild-hybrid tech was off, this is start/stop system, so thats partially what would bring official numbers up a bit, but not real life. I dont expect changes to increase MPG, only NVH since despite heavy sound proofing, it apparently is knocking away to the oblivion still.

They also are expected to unveil new diesel by 2019, so they would not be doing diesel if they expected these numbers to be actually much higher. It is apparently not replacing their diesel, rather be mid-spec upgrade for their petrol engine lineup.
spwolf
Reviews mentioned how mild-hybrid tech was off, this is start/stop system, so thats partially what would bring official numbers up a bit, but not real life.
I don't understand this sentence, in particular the word "off". Did you mean that "mild-hybrid was unavailable for the press prototype" or "mild-hybrid was off-target when it comes to MPG"? Did Mazda plan to combine SkyActiv-X with mild hybrid? I could be missing something here.

spwolf
it apparently is knocking away to the oblivion still.
Care to explain? Was the press prototype engine knocking? It sounds funny since No.1 rule for drivetrain engineer is never allow a knocking engine on the road.
ssun30
I don't understand this sentence, in particular the word "off". Did you mean that "mild-hybrid was unavailable for the press prototype" or "mild-hybrid was off-target when it comes to MPG"? Did Mazda plan to combine SkyActiv-X with mild hybrid? I could be missing something here.



Care to explain? Was the press prototype engine knocking? It sounds funny since No.1 rule for drivetrain engineer is never allow a knocking engine on the road.
It was turned off... I would guess it is new 48v system that will also turn off engine at low speeds like 7mph, not just at stop. So it will help with in town mpg.

As to knocking, very loud despite a lot more special sound deadening... But that's something they will have to fix by launch, so it should not be that bad . However I suspect it will sound always like diesel.

Knocking won't be ever completely solved , it happens when it changes between combustion methods. Engine has been strengthen to diesel like level to deal with this.
krew

Internal Combustion Engines Remain Priority at Toyota
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90% of all Toyota vehicles will still have a gas or gas-electric powertrain by 2030.
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Anyone remember the Yaris Hybrid R concept from about 5 years ago? That was a sick little concept car. Too bad they never actually built one for production.

https://newsroom.toyota.eu/toyota-yaris-hybrid-r-420hp-hybrid-powertrain-details-revealed/

I guess the tech is still in development in some form or another. E-Four AWD is coming, and was mentioned in the OP's linked article.

Speaking of which, the OP article states that E-Four will feature 30% more torque than the current systems. A quick search on Google says that the Prius AWD has a 5kW rear axle motor while the larger Highlander features a 50kW motor. Both of those are a far cry from the dual 60HP/45kW motors on the HybridR.

I've seen a statement somewhere recently that the Avalon/ES won't be getting AWD "yet." Perhaps, it'll be on the hybrid versions. Perhaps, they'll make a HybridR-inspired version of the V6, which could be a beast with the upgraded rear axle motors and KERS-style regenerative braking.
In other words, 1-1.5 million BEVs or FCEVs by 2030. That's a lot of underpromising considering chinese and japanese domestic markets could eat up 500k in capacity each. Let's hope they overdeliver.
When I was making speculations on the powertrain lineup for the next IS, I came across an idea that never appeared to me in the original analysis: could Toyota have already teased what hybrid systems their future GA-L vehicles will have?

I originally thought it's weird they did not show any other GA-L based hybrid system other than the multi-stage. But we know this is a very expensive system that will unlikely be used on an IS. The multi(four)-stage is an evolution of the GS450h drivetrain with the two-stage Ravigenaux gear system; that was an expensive drivetrain as well, which is why GS450h were manufactured in very limited numbers. For the IS300h they had a dedicated longitudinal hybrid system which is more powerful than the transverse hybrid 300h on the ES or NX. In the press release we didn't find any place for a similar low-cost hybrid system for GA-L: the one above the THS-II 2.5L is obviously destined for the next Highlander and RX which are transverse FWD.

My speculation is that Toyota will no longer make separate longitudinal and transverse hybrid systems (with the exception of the multi-stage at the top, obviously). Instead their new parallel-axis hybrid systems could be easily modified to fit in either types of layout. This further reduces cost and make integration of hybrid powertrain much easier.

I think it's safe to say the next IS300h will feature a variant of the 215hp THS-II 2.5L system. Performance and MPG numbers are therefore quite easy to predict now. It does leave the question though what they are going to do to replace the 450h system on the RX?
Lexus UK manager (largest market in EU by far) confirms Lexus will have plugins for sale in 2020:

Do you see any benefit in moving to plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles in the next few years?

Some of our models will have a plug-in – we can’t confirm specifically which ones yet – in around two-and-a half years’ time. We haven’t got a date for [fuel cells], but it will be on the back of LS. There’s no firm commitment in time to introduce it, but I would imagine the next two or three years is realistic.
http://evfleetworld.co.uk/qa-ewan-shepherd-md-lexus-uk/

- LS will be only fuel cell for Lexus
- Multiple models for plugins on sale by 2020.
- This will be based on market - for instance in UK, plugins are 3/4 of EV/PHEV sales due to incentive package.
- In China Toyota says 10 models on sale in 2020. This is going to be EVs due to the incentives favoring EVs.
- Toyota is also preparing for EV production in USA in 2020. We have had reports about them working with suppliers in NA on EV from 2016 and 2017. So maybe new Rav4? Since it is locally produced.

I am thinking that Lexus can easily do PHEV versions of all of their hybrid systems, like Toyota did for Prime. If they can bring the costs down, and new TNGA already accounts for this, we could see extra 10 kwh in battery capacity for plugins, which also unlocks extra 100hp in power... so IS300h becomes 300hp vehicle... LS500h becomes 450hp vehicle. All these cars have powerful electric motors already, just like Prius did, question is just of maximum battery output which is limited by size of the battery.

In regular hybrid mode, they would have maybe 20-30hp extra, but in performance mode it could have extra 100hp at the cost of "consumption".

S
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