Discussion: Lexus, Plug-in Hybrids, EVs, and Fuel Cells

GSCT

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All I can say is "get on with it"!

In my opinion Lexus being early to the party for hybrids is offset by being late with plug-ins. And any plug-ins that they do offer should have decent electric only range, something like 100 plus kilometres - if you're late, you'd best be ready to smoke the competition. As to which models, the forthcoming UX and NX would be a good place to start.
 

maiaramdan

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I already thought after the prius prime that Toyota as corp is shifting from the standard hybrid to full plug in hybrid having the best of the 2 worlds
 

spwolf

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I already thought after the prius prime that Toyota as corp is shifting from the standard hybrid to full plug in hybrid having the best of the 2 worlds
phev sales are very small, they mostly sell in markets where there are big incentives to do so. On the other hand, Toyota sells over 1.5m hybrids per year, while overall all sales of plugins (bev and phev) were 730k in 2016.

So just like everyone else, I assume they will do least amount of range that gives them incentives in those markets, to keep the pricing down. New hybrid system is designed to easily offer plugin version by enlarging the battery.

good read on plugin market:
https://www.iea.org/publications/freepublications/publication/GlobalEVOutlook2017.pdf
 

ssun30

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This has to be the most exciting thing I've heard from Lexus this year. Now my opinion for Lexus' future has gone up from pessimistic to neutral.

PHEVs can be the best thing since sliced bread or an awkward compromise that does nothing brilliant. The whole point of PHEV is that they can cover most daily commute (especially in highly urbanized region like Asia or Europe) in EV mode only, while still retaining the long-range capability of an ordinary hybrid. Even in U.S. where commute is predominantly on highways PHEVs still do a little better. In that sense they are the cheapest solution that gives the most cut in carbon emissions, in the short term. They don't work that well in real world because it's hard to optimize a battery both for energy density and power density without compromising reliability, part of the reason why the Prius Prime has 'abysmal' EV range.

phev sales are very small, they mostly sell in markets where there are big incentives to do so. On the other hand, Toyota sells over 1.5m hybrids per year, while overall all sales of plugins (bev and phev) were 730k in 2016.
Regular HEVs just won't cut it in the near future. The fuel economy test cycles in EU/China/Japan favor PHEVs very heavily because a great portion is start-stop scenarios in cities. While HEVs burn little fuel in this scenario, PHEVs literally use zero. This is why PHEVs have twice the MPG in fuel economy tests in these regions. To meet CAFE regulations in these markets it's way safer to go for the PHEV option. The Prius family are the only hybrid models that can meet the 5L/100km requirement (2020), so I won't be surprised if TMC's future hybrid lineup will be plugin-heavy with non plugin trims as budget options.

The really hard one to beat is EPA's 2025 standard (55MPG or 4.3L/100km across the fleet). But by then there will be enough BEVs to dilute CAFE.
 
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spwolf

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This has to be the most exciting thing I've heard from Lexus this year. Now my opinion for Lexus' future has gone up from pessimistic to neutral.

PHEVs can be the best thing since sliced bread or an awkward compromise that does nothing brilliant. The whole point of PHEV is that they can cover most daily commute (especially in highly urbanized region like Asia or Europe) in EV mode only, while still retaining the long-range capability of an ordinary hybrid. Even in U.S. where commute is predominantly on highways PHEVs still do a little better. In that sense they are the cheapest solution that gives the most cut in carbon emissions, in the short term. They don't work that well in real world because it's hard to optimize a battery both for energy density and power density without compromising reliability, part of the reason why the Prius Prime has 'abysmal' EV range.



Regular HEVs just won't cut it in the near future. The fuel economy test cycles in EU/China/Japan favor PHEVs very heavily because a great portion is start-stop scenarios in cities. While HEVs burn little fuel in this scenario, PHEVs literally use zero. This is why PHEVs have twice the MPG in fuel economy tests in these regions. To meet CAFE regulations in these markets it's way safer to go for the PHEV option. The Prius family are the only hybrid models that can meet the 5L/100km requirement (2020), so I won't be surprised if TMC's future hybrid lineup will be plugin-heavy with non plugin trims as budget options.

The really hard one to beat is EPA's 2025 standard (55MPG or 4.3L/100km across the fleet). But by then there will be enough BEVs to dilute CAFE.
PHEVs make sense only if government gives you around $7k-10k to recoup the costs and this is where people buy plugins of any kind. Without that kind of support, sales are small. Please look at pdf i linked above for various sales and govt support numbers. It is an excellent read.

As to the CAFE, I already explained before how TMC already meets 2021 fuel economy numbers for EU. China is different - however in China, you get 4:1 benefit when you sell plugin, so percentage of sales soon to be required is more like 2.3% instead of 8% thats written in the law. And in the USA, they also meet the requirements and have enough credits.

So the main reason for them to do anything is to sell in markets where govt gives big support to plugins - like in norway, where market share for plugins in 35% overall due to govt incentives. Thing is that even in Norway, Toyota hybrids sell really well and they are #2 on the market (best in Western Europe?). So even now, these clean requirements benefit Toyota.

It is also true that some governments are phasing out phev incentives and favoring only BEV sales. These are usually ones that have local industry that produces BEVs, like France which has Renault doing Zoe. And for these kind of markets, they need standalone EV to reap the sales. However this has nothing to do with EU 2021 goals, which they should meet already in 2017.
 

ssun30

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PHEVs make sense only if government gives you around $7k-10k to recoup the costs and this is where people buy plugins of any kind. Without that kind of support, sales are small. Please look at pdf i linked above for various sales and govt support numbers. It is an excellent read.
Took me a whole night to download a 71-page PDF for whatever reason, will have a read after work.
 

mikeavelli

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The Panamera's top end model is now the plug in hybrid Turbo......
 
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I am researching for the future of Lexus. And I believe after leading the hybrid market, Lexus would now want to capture the pure electric vehicle market.
Am I going in right direction? What are views for Lexus future? Will they come up with a new line-up of pure electric vehicle soon?
 

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spwolf

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I am researching for the future of Lexus. And I believe after leading the hybrid market, Lexus would now want to capture the pure electric vehicle market.
Am I going in right direction? What are views for Lexus future? Will they come up with a new line-up of pure electric vehicle soon?
pretty certain Lexus will not come up with new line-up of pure evs anytime soon. They and Toyota might do one, but otherwise thats about it.
 

ssun30

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Even in markets that aggressively pursue an all-EV policy, full EV adoption is not expected until 2040s. There are still many many problems to solve. Remember we need 1000 Wh/kg specific energy (on the package level, that is) batteries to fully replace ICEs and getting there is not trivial.
 

Levi

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Makes sense, I always thought that way. HEVs are a good way to reduce consumption/emissions. BEVs/HFCEVs are zero emission (leaving wheel-to-well out of the equation). PHEVs are a bad compromise, being neither one not the other, and having the disadvantages of both. That is what the Germans do, and those cars are for PR purposes only and work thanks to the "electrified" loop-hole. What does make sense are REx-EVs, but the issue is that there is no range extender that is specified for the task, which is to be simple, light and compact. Current ICEs are not appropriate for REx-EVs. Looking forward o Lexus BEVs.
 

spwolf

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I am not so sure what will they do in next 4-5 years. It depends on the market.

What I keep pointing out and find specifically interesting is that most of these manufacturers are using "electrification" as their PR theme... while they do little about it when it comes to selling cars.

I just read few days ago that Prius Prime is world's best selling plugin. It is car that started selling in Feb, and only in USA and Japan - not yet for Europe. And for all the big words from other manufacturers, it becomes best selling plugin vehicle right away.



http://insideevs.com/nearly-103000-plug-in-evs-sold-worldwide-in-august-almost-a-new-record/
 

ssun30

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It's so funny that the entire EV industry, automotive press, and environmentalist clubs hated the Prime when it was launched, claiming how crippling the 25 mi EV-range is in the U.S. I hated it initially as well. And yet it is now the best selling plug-in.
 

spwolf

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It's so funny that the entire EV industry, automotive press, and environmentalist clubs hated the Prime when it was launched, claiming how crippling the 25 mi EV-range is in the U.S. I hated it initially as well. And yet it is now the best selling plug-in.
And from Toyota, plug-in non believer.... Funniest part is 0 sold in EU so far, deliveries start this month, so they will increase their monthly sales by 50% at least, since Toyota is traditionally strong in EU countries where there are big benefits for plugins.
 

ssun30

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Makes sense, I always thought that way. HEVs are a good way to reduce consumption/emissions. BEVs/HFCEVs are zero emission (leaving wheel-to-well out of the equation). PHEVs are a bad compromise, being neither one not the other, and having the disadvantages of both. That is what the Germans do, and those cars are for PR purposes only and work thanks to the "electrified" loop-hole. What does make sense are REx-EVs, but the issue is that there is no range extender that is specified for the task, which is to be simple, light and compact. Current ICEs are not appropriate for REx-EVs. Looking forward o Lexus BEVs.
TMC missed the chance to launch PHEVs while they still made sense. Guess they waited too long for the 1st Gen Prius PHEV to prove the reliability of the Li-ion batteries. Now the window is gone and it's for the interest to focus 100% on BEVs.

Interestingly TMC has been developing the "free piston engine generator (FPEG)" for REx-EVs that almost has a thermal efficiency close to the theoretical maximum.
 

spwolf

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TMC missed the chance to launch PHEVs while they still made sense. Guess they waited too long for the 1st Gen Prius PHEV to prove the reliability of the Li-ion batteries. Now the window is gone and it's for the interest to focus 100% on BEVs.

Interestingly TMC has been developing the "free piston engine generator (FPEG)" for REx-EVs that almost has a thermal efficiency close to the theoretical maximum.
Maybe plugin-hybrids are dead in China due to regulation specifying around 4% for EVs in 2019... definitely not in Europe and USA where regulation leaves them viable... and sales. All of the CO2 targets in EU and US will be made possible with the use of plugins.

Even if batteries become cheaper to make EVs more viable, it will also make plugin-hybrids with low range (50 miles?) even more viable since it would be easy and cheap to add to existing hybrid powertrains. And in 4-5 years most of the engines will be some kind of hybrid, even if mild.
 

ssun30

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Maybe plugin-hybrids are dead in China due to regulation specifying around 4% for EVs in 2019... definitely not in Europe and USA where regulation leaves them viable... and sales. All of the CO2 targets in EU and US will be made possible with the use of plugins.

Even if batteries become cheaper to make EVs more viable, it will also make plugin-hybrids with low range (50 miles?) even more viable since it would be easy and cheap to add to existing hybrid powertrains. And in 4-5 years most of the engines will be some kind of hybrid, even if mild.
Actually the death of PHEVs in China is an opportunity for Toyota because all PHEVs in the market will keel over and die once PHEV incentives are phased out. On the other hand, the FAW/GAC duo is set to launch Corolla/Levin PHEVs next year. Toyota promised a starting price of less than RMB 160k, which is less than their current 1.8 gas-only trim (although the Corolla 1.8 is a 'premium' compact car with lots of amenities). This means these two PHEVs will survive on their own without any subsidies, and also undercut competing HEVs in price. Think about it, two plug-ins at lower price than regular hybrids. The Corolla/Levin HEVs are already a huge success, and the PHEVs will consolidate Toyota's dominance in the budget eco-friendly cars.

Just going off-topic for one second, I've just test driven the BYD Qin my company recently bought for business purposes. And OMG is it absolutely insanity! The 300HP hybrid feels more like a 500hp V8. Wheel-spin all the way from 0 to 100 km/h in a sub-$30k car, China is a crazy place.
 

spwolf

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Actually the death of PHEVs in China is an opportunity for Toyota because all PHEVs in the market will keel over and die once PHEV incentives are phased out. On the other hand, the FAW/GAC duo is set to launch Corolla/Levin PHEVs next year. Toyota promised a starting price of less than RMB 160k, which is less than their current 1.8 gas-only trim (although the Corolla 1.8 is a 'premium' compact car with lots of amenities). This means these two PHEVs will survive on their own without any subsidies, and also undercut competing HEVs in price. Think about it, two plug-ins at lower price than regular hybrids. The Corolla/Levin HEVs are already a huge success, and the PHEVs will consolidate Toyota's dominance in the budget eco-friendly cars.

Just going off-topic for one second, I've just test driven the BYD Qin my company recently bought for business purposes. And OMG is it absolutely insanity! The 300HP hybrid feels more like a 500hp V8. Wheel-spin all the way from 0 to 100 km/h in a sub-$30k car, China is a crazy place.
I have read that new changes to laws introduced last month, gave more eco points for plugins and hybrids, in this scheme where 10% is required in 2019 but possible to offset with points... do you know more info?

I have now read about Quin and it is supposed to be 5.9s to 100kmh? But yes, you can configure it so you get more power output from battery and it will be very fast. New LS500h has upped battery output by 50%, now to 60hp... so every time you press gas, 60hp extra is available right away, like in super turbo. It is limited by battery size, so plugin with bigger battery can have much bigger output and yeah, it could feel like crazy.

Toyota is usually conservative with battery output, some of it is due to nimh and some due to them being conservative - Prius has much smaller output, if it had 60hp batter out, it would feel like 1.5l turbo or faster.
 
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