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RE: Toyota plots electric car in 2012; Prius family of hybrids
Few people seem to appreciate what Toyota really created in their hybrid drives. The Prius is still an "All Fuel Vehicle." The electric power the car uses is generated on-board by burning fuel in the engine, or by recovering kinetic energy created by burning fuel, during braking. The energy recovery and storage was not genius, it was a desirable artifact of the true genius, which is the drive-train. Toyota created a continuously variable transmission that used no heat generating fluid, or high friction elements. This is a "holy grail" of automotive engineering. A transmission that does not "shift," and does not depend on clutches, belts, bands, or hydraulics, to keep the engine at an optimal RPM, while providing all the torque needed for proper acceleration or steady cruising. The added torque of the electric motors, allowed the fuel engine to be downsized to the "average" horsepower required to propel the car, rather than, the maximum horsepower required to accelerate the car. The hybrid (planetary gear) drive train is "The Genius," of the Prius.
Posted by jwhitmor@...
12th Jan 2010