LA JOLLA, CA - Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc. (TMS) on April 13 staged the "2010 Toyota Sustainable Mobility Seminar," featuring presentations and panel discussions that explored the future of mobility. Global experts in energy, science and economics participated. 

"Our business is no longer simply about building and selling cars and trucks," said John Hanson, national manger of environmental, safety and quality communications. "To provide truly sustainable mobility for the future, we must explore new energy sources, new partnerships and new ways of doing business." 

The seminar morning panel, titled "Drivers for Change," included the following: 

  • Dr. Mickey Glantz, director of the Consortium for Capacity Building at the University of Colorado, discussing climate change and society.Dr. Michael Dettinger, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, discussing water scarcity and its ties to energy.
  • Dr. Frank Wolak, department of economics at Stanford University, discussing the economics of climate change.
  • Dr. William Shutkin, LEEDS School of Business at the University of Colorado, discussing urban planning and transportation.
  • Gordon Feller, CEO of Urban Age Institute, panel moderator. 

The lunch speaker, Dr. Scott Samuelson of the National Fuel Cell Research Center at University of California at Irvine, gave a presentation titled, "The Role of Fuel Cell Technology in the Future of Transportation." 

The seminar afternoon panel titled, "Powering our Future," included:

  • Dr. Jan Kreider, University of Colorado, discussing low carbon fuels.
  • Robert Bryce, author and editor of the Energy Tribune, discussing rare earth metals and their use in advanced batteries.
  • Jay Whitacre, Carnegie Melon University, discussing advanced batteries.
  • Alison Peters, managing director of the Deming Center of Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado, panel moderator. 

Dr. Peter Wells of Neftex Petroleum Consultants was set to address the geopolitics of energy in the keynote address at dinner.  

The seminar for business, automotive and environmental media and analysts also offered attendees the first opportunity to drive the 2010 Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHV) demonstration program vehicle.  

The Prius PHV expands Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive technology with the introduction of a first-generation lithium-ion drive battery that enables all-electric operation at higher speeds and longer distances than the conventional Prius. 

When fully charged, the vehicle is targeted to achieve a maximum electric-only range of approximately 13 miles and will be capable of achieving highway speeds up to 60 mph in electric-only mode. For longer distances, the Prius PHV reverts to "hybrid mode" and operates like a regular Prius. 

The first-generation lithium-ion drive battery's composition is the key to the PHVs expanded all-electric power, Toyota said. The battery is composed of three packs, one main battery and two additional packs. At vehicle start, the PHV operates in all-electric mode, drawing electrical power directly from battery pack one.  

When pack one's battery charge is depleted, it disconnects from the circuit and pack two engages and supplies electrical energy to the motor. When pack two is depleted it disconnects from the circuit and the system defaults to conventional hybrid mode, using the main battery as the sole electrical power source. Pack one and pack two will not reengage in tandem with the main battery pack until the vehicle is plugged in and charged.