Archive for March, 2012
In 1997, the Prius emerged in Japan as the world’s first mass-produced hybrid vehicle. Not many years later, it entered the American markets and immediately became a staple of the road. Toyota has since remained a leader in fuel efficiency. Developing hybrid versions of many popular models and a plug-in Prius, Toyota engineers have always been at the forefront of technology—and they show no signs of stopping. Toyota partnered with BMW last December to use fuel-savvy diesel engines in Europe, and now they’ve revealed another phase of that partnership: lithium-ion battery research.
Lithium-ion batteries are the core of electric engines. They increase the fuel efficiency of hybrids and allow some vehicles to operate without an ounce of gas. Electric engines have made huge strides since 1997, and now Toyota wants to push the limits even further. By collaborating with BMW, the size of their think tank and scientific force has doubled. Because the initiative has only been announced, no details have surfaced. Whatever Toyota and BMW are planning, it is likely to be a technological leap in fuel efficiency for hybrid and all-electric vehicles.
This isn’t the first electric-research collaboration Toyota has made, and it probably won’t be the last. In 2011 the company used research from Tesla to build an all-electric RAV4. The results of the BMW battery-research may be equally as momentous. At any rate, it’s a demonstration of Toyota’s continued commitment to fuel efficiency. As gas prices and environmental concerns continue to dominate public conversation, that’s a commitment any car buyer can appreciate!
If you’re looking for a great and affordable pre-owned Toyota, our selection at Gresham Toyota can’t be beat. It’s a joy to outfit our customers with the best car for their needs. Browse online or just come on in for a pressure-free test drive today!
With so many politicians talking and so many households restructuring their budgets, you can’t help but notice the latest spike in gas prices. It’s affecting everything, even in Portland with all of our bike lanes and sidewalks. Whenever gas station attendants adjust the numbers on their signage, it has a rippling effect on the rest of the economy. Retail managers see a dip in sales; neighbors start carpooling more; and according to Kelly Blue Book, hybrids like the Prius surge in resale value. Last month alone, the 2010 Toyota Prius gained over $1,000 in value—a number that’s just going to grow.
The reason is high school economics: everyone wants to save at the pumps, so the demand for fuel-efficient cars has risen. As prices continue to rise, so will the demand for hybrids along with their resale value. Kelly Blue Book says a used Prius may be worth 20% more by the time the gas crisis is over. Since cars notoriously lose value over time, the Prius has become just as much of an investment as a vehicle.
This isn’t to say that you should purchase three Prii and sit on them as a commodity investment. What this market trend reveals is simply the value of driving a hybrid. While gas prices continue to soar, Prius drivers see only a slight effect, which has made others jealous. They want that same financial immunity, so if you have a Prius, you’re among the lucky ones. And if you’re looking to buy a new car, you might consider a hybrid for their resale value, if nothing else.
At Gresham Toyota, we’re fortunate to constantly experience the latest and greatest technology that Toyota offers. Our fleet of vehicles always receives some annual improvements, but Toyota recently displayed a concept car that surpassed any jump in technology we’ve ever seen. Concept cars are often nothing more than lofty dreams, but if even a few elements of this new design go into production, we may all witness a significant mark in the automotive industry.
Called the NS4, the car premiered at January’s 2012 Detroit Show without much publicity. On first glance, the car seemed to be nothing more than an advanced Prius plug-in. Toyota promised it would drive faster, longer, and with less recharging needs. Since the vehicle is a concept and specifics weren’t released, that advancement alone didn’t stir much interest. It’s the intuitive technology that people began talking about. Some have called the NS4 an iPhone car, because like the latest Apple features, it almost has a mind of its own.
The NS4 actually engages with its driver: learns habits, quirks, and even faults. The computer system within the NS4 would make any drive more enjoyable, and also much safer. If the car thinks a driver has lost control, a radar and camera system will kick in to steer and apply brakes. Additionally, if the car strikes a pedestrian, its hood will automatically pop up from the rear to protect against head injuries. Features like these have been seen before, but they were limited to luxury vehicles that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Incorporating this futuristic technology hasn’t been implemented in mass-production scale—but according to analysts, the NS4 won’t be produced for at least a few years.
The model displayed in Detroit wasn’t yet fit for the road, so we have some waiting to do before the NS4 enters our lots. In the meantime, we’re content with the hybrid technology Toyota already has in the Prius. If you’re looking for your own hybrid Toyota car, truck or SUV, check out our selection of new and used vehicles on our website 24/7 @greshamtoyota.com!