Future Toyota/Lexus Hybrids (Prius 2.0, Camry, Lexus 600h, etc.)

drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
edited March 2014 in Lexus
With the underwhelming performance of the Lexus LS600hL at Inside Line recently, it maybe time to give a real accessment of where Hybrid technology is, how successful it has become, and where can it go from here. :confuse:

For Lexus, the Hybrid is not proving to be an effective alternative, as the 400h has been the most successful, but without a power benefit vs. the RX350.

The GS450h and LS 600hL are not building a strong case for power-hungry buyers, and economy in the low 20's won't attract business, regardless of how fast the vehicles can move.

It appears power AND economy are not desirable, as the Honda Accord Hybrid has found out. Notes should be compared. :(

At least for Lexus, the Hybrid needs to be rethought as a corporate asset technology. It can be, but is still a work in progress.



  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    With the Camry Hybrid selling as many as 5000 a month, and thee Prius setting sales records after 3-4 years on the market.

    The next Prius is expected to get more than 50% more efficient, not all due to Hybrid efficiencies, and the Camry maybe the best iteration of the technology yet, providing more than 4-cylinder power, yet better than 4-cylinder economy, without compromising the drivability expected of a Camry. ;)

    Hybrid tech, at Toyota, isn't going anywhere.

    The question is: Where should it go next?

    Should Toyota continue to try to market performance iterations, or max out economy in all models?

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Better tread lightly. This is dangerous territory. I think your assessment of the Lexus hybrid effort is spot on. In fact the only two really successful hybrids in the Toyota fleet are the Prius and Camry hybrid. It looks like Toyota failed if they were trying to build a performance hybrid with the LS600hL. They may have banked on lighter Li-ion batteries that never materialized. It is still a question mark if they will bring the big hybrid to market. It will look bad if they rot on the lot. They could just give them to the executives and a few celebrities in an effort to attract attention.
  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    Are said to be avaialble on the Next Prius 3.0 in a couple of years, at least according to Toyota brass.

    I believe the Prius will easily set a record for 2007, and the Camry will net over 50k units itself.

    How does Toyota get Lexus into the mix more effectively is more my question. :confuse:

  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    I have always thought that using the hybrid concept to sell PERFORMANCE was a non-starter. What would attract me would be an LS hybrid with a small V6 netting ~250HP.

    Or an RXh with electric drive at the front and the ICE driving the rear. Small "boxer" I4, rear mounted(??), electric supercharger(??).

    SC only to bring the HP up to the 2001 RX level.

    Love the look of the Chrysler Bionic.
  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    Get rid of the underpowered 250, with the small V6, and turn it into a Hybrid, something along the power lines of the RX400h, and make manual transmission available on the 350. :)

    Everyone would have something to like, economy, sportiness, luxury.

    The only problem is the trunk and rear of the car are undersized already. Not much room for batteries thur.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    How about a hybrid minivan next. It would be the first, and families would be interested. The SUV is just not an efficient package compared to a minivan.

    Part of the huge success of the new Prius is that it finally became a hatchback - much more efficinet than a sedan. People looking for efficiency in mpg are also interested in efficiency of space. The two go hand in hand.

    The Toyota and Lexus SUV hybrids get worse mpg than the minivans and offer less space. Where is the efficiency?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    Toyota has had a hybrid mini-van in Japan for a quite a while. Not sure why it has not made it here.
  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    But minivans market share continues to drop, and many makers are leaving the market altogther. :sick:

    It's hard to add several hundred pounds of batteries to a vehicle already 2 tons, and then expect good fuel economy.

    I don't think anything over Camry size should be considered, unless it's an SUV/CUV, because people don't expect great economy from them, so anything in the 20's is considered worthwhile.

  • dudleyrdudleyr Member Posts: 3,469
    The powertrain right out of the highlander hybrid would do more than fine in the Sienna, after all it has even more power. I can push 30 mpg in my Sienna on occasion if I drive carefully. The hybrid would be better still.

    I would even consider the Sienna with the 4-cyl hybrid system from the current Camry. It would probably be just as peppy as a Prius. People don't buy hybrids to race.

    The SUV has too much of a guzzling stigma to really have mass hybrid appeal.

    The only minivans leaving the market are the bad ones. Toyota, Honda, and even Chrysler sell plenty. Maybe a nice shot in the arm like an inovative drivetrain would pick things up. I would take a diesel minivan as well.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaMember Posts: 8,441
    Sales are a form of feedback. And the sales numbers tell us clearly that people want fuel economy form the hybrids, and are not interested in performance. As a result, the Prius and Camry can sell in large numbers, but when it comes to the GS, RX, and upcoming LS, forget about it. Even the Highlander hybrid did not do quite as well as expected for two reasons. One... it was priced WAY too high in comparison to the regular ICE, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that it made little economic sense. And two... the Highlander hybrid suffers from a nasty crunching sound in the drivetrain when braking to a complete stop that the Prius does not suffer from. Who wants THAT every time the vehicle comes to a complete stop?

    The Honda Civic hybrid sales success only reinforces the fact that the marketplace wants hybrids to increase fuel efficiency. It's as simple as that. Whichever models Toyota decides to put their hybrid synergy drive system into, all they really need to do is make sure it delivers much better fuel economy than the standard ICE. It's not much more complicated than that.

    BTW, Doc, good idea for the forum.

  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaMember Posts: 8,441
    A good hybrid minivan makes sense. The Honda Fit is an indication that it could work. While much smaller, it still indicates that people will accept that type of bodystyle for good fuel efficiency. And, whether or not the minivan is losing market share, minivans still sell in large numbers because of their versatility. A hybrid system in one of those would work well, because there is enough space in those minivans to accomodate batteries without sacrificing too much storage.

    So, I agree with you on this.

  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    Most of their lineup will offer Hybrid options.

    I'm just sayin' it may not work in every application. It does have limits.

    I believe the lighter the vehicle, the more effective the Hybrid can be.

  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    I don't think it took Honda as long to figure out that the hybrid system was not practical for all size vehicles. They are going to offer a diesel option in the heavier vehicles to get the mileage up. I think with Accord hybrid sales almost down to nothing this may be its last year. Toyota made big claims for the HSD system being able to fit any platform. I wonder how much of that was eco sales talk? Toyota claimed they would have the Sienna out by now with hybrid. That was posted back in March 2005. So I would say they may be pulling back on some of the hybrid models.
  • tagmantagman Malibu, CaliforniaMember Posts: 8,441
    I would say they may be pulling back on some of the hybrid models.

    Maybe, but I tend to doubt it. Toyota made a public pledge a number of years ago. They pledged to offer a hybrid version of EVERY vehicle they sell within ten years (of the date of the announcement). They seem to be living up to their promise, and they are learning as they go forward.

  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    Power sells, but that's not what we need Hybrids for. People think Hybrid, they think efficiency. That's a good thing. :)

    Toyota's line-up doesn't need more power, and people don't buy Toyotas for power.

    If every Toyota vehicle were 30% more efficient, and only 10% more expensive (in Hybrid form), and make that standard practice, the public would gravitate towards them that much faster, if they could count on a tangible advantage.

    Toyota is trying to burn the candle at both ends. Ambitious, but it could cost them in the long run. :surprise:

  • toyolla2toyolla2 Member Posts: 158
    Almost nowhere else can the expression "Emotion overide logic" mean so much than on the sales floor of a car dealership. Or perhaps on the sales floor after the dealership has closed, but that is no part of this story ;)

    I can't speak for the leasing demographic but for some buyers going in you know a Lexus is not going to be an inexpensive purchase. It's more likely to be a longer term purchase than other vehicles so peace of mind with a reliable vehicle that handles well is what you're after.

    So what does the Hybrid Synergy Drive do for you ? Well besides giving you a few more mpg it can also change your perception of the car from that this is an expensive car to that this is an expensive and somewhat complicated car. You realize that to make this choice you will be moving in the direction of increasing the potential of the possibility of something going wrong. And you also know that in the event, it will also end up to become a very very expensive proposition somewhere down the line.

    Your peace of mind is diminished And that is enough to make some shy away. Why tempt fate ? And that sobers you up quickly. Logic overides emotion. You don't buy.

  • cubssoxscubssoxs Member Posts: 139
    Does anybody know if the Camry will have any new features for the 2008 model year.
  • alpha01alpha01 Member Posts: 4,747
    Why would Lexus get rid of a model that sells swiftly without incentives? And seriously, its not that slow, at what? 7.2 to sixty with the 6M? Even CR managed a sub 8 run with the 6A AWD, and averaged 24MPG - same as they got for the Camry, which is about 1.5 seconds slower. If anything, I think the IS250 is a well-kept secret regarding performance and efficiency.

    But this forum is about hybrids, right? I don't know that Lexus did wrong with the absurdly named LS600h L... It would have been a relative no-brainer to just create a V12.. but at least they TRIED something different. And for a huge ultra-luxury sedan that can still accelerate to 60 in 5.5 seconds (MT, June 07) to get 19 MPG overall (MT, June 07), seems pretty impressive. Can any of the 100K Mercedes S class or BMW 7 series lay the same claim?

    IMO, like was stated in the edmunds.com IL article, there's going to be no problem selling 2,000 units per annum.

    Now, that said, there's several changes I'd make to the standard LS460 L, first of which being those unbecoming brakes...

  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Member Posts: 7,160
    Toyota, as usual, is being awfully close-mouthed about what the next hybrids will be. I can't get a sniff other than there will be a Prius 3.0 in late 2008 as a 2009 model.

    I did get an email from the 'HSD mothership', maybe some others got one as well, stating that the next Prius definitely will have Lithium-Ion batteries. That tells me that they've solved the technical difficulties. The new batteries will be lighter and smaller and just as powerful.

    I had hoped that the new Highlander would have a TCH-like drive linking the 2.4L + HSD but that apparently is not to be...initially.

    A comment was made last summer about Toyota coming out with a group of vehicles under the 'Prius' line.
    ..Prius hatchback 3.0
    ..Prius minivan ( Estima hybrid ) smaller than the current Sienna
    ..Prius compact? Yaris-sized?
    ..Prius pickup? 90's sized pickup - but a hybrid.

    Now GM has shown it's Tahoe 2-mode hybrid to the press and it apparently is just what they say it is. They've linked it to the 6.0L with AFM resulting in a 30% increase in FE!! This is a very interesting and impressive development.

    So where is Toyota in it's development of a hybrid system for heavier vehicles? Awfully, awfully quiet.
  • spfoteyspfotey Member Posts: 131
    we are looking for a compact SUV hybrid to come along -- other than the escape. hoping either honda or toyota show up with one -- anybody know anything on that??
  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    that will get you similar performance, and maybe 4-5 MPG less, but for $7-10k less, I don't see a rush for Escape competitor.

  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    First Ting: as has been reported on this site, the Lithium-Ion battery will NOT be ready for the 2009 Prius LAUNCH!

    I would expect them to become available for a mid-gen refresh, which should accelerate sales nicely later on. ;)

    And my #2: Toyota doesn't need to follow the beat of GM's drummer when it comes to the Tahow Hybrid.

    Tahoe is a major cog in GM's portfolio, as the HL is for Toyota.

    I don't expect a Tahoe to challenge the HL in this area. Remember, the HL Hybrid gains power AND economy. ;)

    I would be surprised to see anything other than Sienna and Corolla as the next Hybrid candidates.

  • stevedebistevedebi LAMember Posts: 4,098
    "we are looking for a compact SUV hybrid to come along -- other than the escape. hoping either honda or toyota show up with one -- anybody know anything on that??"

    Honda has announced a "50-state" diesel engine for the CR-V, estimated for introduction in 2009. That would yield upper 30's on the highway, so I don't think a hybrid would be in the works for Honda.
  • hsd1hsd1 Member Posts: 1
    Where is the hsd design going in the Prius/camry... where is the technology headed in 10 years... what can make the technology lighter/cheaper/more stylish?
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    So the Camry hybrid is also a flop!

    So currently the Camry doesn’t appeal very much,” Toyota’s chief designer, Wahei Hirai, told Automotive News. “They prefer Prius because, while they are driving in town, people can understand that the driver has more social awarene
  • gagricegagrice Pahrump, NevadaMember Posts: 31,450
    If I am reading the WSJ article right, no Li-Ion before 2011 and maybe not then. Any new Hybrids are on hold till they can find a battery to replace the NiMH currently being used.
  • drfilldrfill Member Posts: 2,484
    I wouldn't call any Hybrids that does 50k a year a flop.

    Civic Hybrid does about that, maybe less. I wouldn't consider that a flop.

    They were speaking relative to the Prius, which is a huge success. These are in relative terms. :D

    Is David Wright a flop compared to Alex Rodriquez?

  • nvbankernvbanker Member Posts: 7,239
    Interesting how nobody has tried that yet....a hybrid minivan. Ford did a great job on the Escape Hybrid - you can hardly tell the batteries are even in there, the spare is still underneath, and you still have a decent floor in the back too. I would think the Sienna could be made to work with the Hybrid.....maybe engine bay space is a problem? :confuse:
  • larsblarsb Member Posts: 8,204
    Toyota has the "Estima" hybrid minivan in Japan, and has had it for several years.

    Click here for more info on the Estima

    I cannot for the life of me understand their reticence to do it as a Sienna in the USA.

    Confusing as heck !!!
  • nwngnwng Member Posts: 663
    If you stick the 2.4 hsd in sienna, you get your estima. minivans w/o v6 don't sell in the US, unfortunately. Looking at the link, it seems the hybrid will improve the mpg by about 25% over the 3.5l. I think they will bring it out if the next gen ody comes with a diesel option.
  • wwestwwest Member Posts: 10,706
    A Sienna hybrid with the I4 but with a Miller Cycle using a positive displacement variable speed Supercharger. Use an E-CVT with a engine drive belt into one end and a permanent magnet AC synchronous motor at the opposite, ~3:1 reduction, end.

    A variable frequency drive to the AC motor would allow complete, full range, engine throttling without a throttle butterfly valve. No boost would be provided unless extraordinary level of power were asked for.

    Note that the 2.3L Twin-turbo engine in the Acura RDX produces 240HP. In comparison a hybrid Miller Cycle 2.3L I4 SC'ed as above (NO Turbo LAG) would only need to produce about 200HP w/full boost in order to match the performance of the RX400h.

    A 40MPG Sienna....?
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