According to GM, there is no competition between them and Toyota for the potentially highly lucrative electric car market. They say that there is no comparison between the different alternative power vehicles being planned by the American and Japanese company’s.
GM point out that their Chevrolet Volt can travel much further than the Japanese “plug-in” and that the Toyota must make use gasoline to increase its range. The Volt is an electric vehicle that only makes use of a very small conventional engine to charge up exhausted batteries.
At the same time Toyota have stated that they now intend to bring forward their plug-in vehicle that was due to launch in 2010 it will now be a available sometime in 2009, which will give it a head start on the Volt of nearly a year.
GM does say that they will have a large test fleet on the road during 2009 but the consumer launch will be in 2010. The Volt will be capable of traveling up to 50 miles on one “fill-up” of electricity. If a driver can for example, travel to work and back within that distance he would never have to use gasoline. If he wants to travel, further he would not get stranded with flat batteries, as the small gas engine would kick in to re-charge them.
Toyota’s electric car is not intended as a pure alternate power vehicle and will make use of gasoline to run a motor to charge the batteries in a similar way to their current Prius model.
According to GM, the Toyota “electric” vehicle can only run up to 18 miles on pure electric power before the traditional gasoline engine has to kick in to support the battery power. They do concede that the Toyota will save up to 30% on overall gasoline use, but also re-iterate that it will be possible to run their all electric car without ever adding gas.
GM has selected a battery supplier for the project but would not indicate which company has been chosen, it is understood that the two contenders were the Michigan based Compact Power and Continental Automotive Systems out of Frankfurt in Germany.
It is unknown how much the new Toyota will retail for, assuming it is a similar price to the Prius it would be in the low $20,000s. By comparison the Volt is expected to ship out at somewhere between $30-$40,000 giving Toyota a definite edge.