New York Auto Show: Go Green with Toyota’s Ride and Drive Event

Toyota's Ride and Drive Event at NYIAS Showcases Green TechnologyHere in New York, the NY International Auto Show opened its doors this week, and we’re pretty jealous of any of our readers that will be in attendance. If you’re planning to make a trip to the show, you simply have to check out Toyota’s Ride and Drive Event to experience the best of our favorite carmaker’s green technologies!

Toyota has selected certain dates throughout the NY Auto Show for the Ride and Drive Event during which lucky NYIAS goers will be able to ride along in the Prius Plug-in Hybrid and Toyota Highlander hydrogen fuel cell vehicle. Toyota’s hope is that this experience will show people firsthand the many benefits of its green technology. All participants in the Ride and Drive Event will also be entered to win some green of their own in the form of a $500 Amazon gift card!

Those in attendance in the Big Apple will also be able to feast their eyes on Toyota’s fuel cell concept – a vehicle that gives us all a glimpse of the future. If the entire automotive world is headed for the same green pastures that Toyota is, we can expect much more eco-friendliness ahead of us. We’re proud to be a part of Toyota’s vision for our planet!


Excitement Building for Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota's Fuel Cell Sedan to Hit Market in California, Japan, and Europe Early Next YearToyota has been working on its hydrogen fuel cell sedan for years and it will finally go on sale early next year. Understandably, Toyota’s North American CEO, Jim Lentz is pretty excited for its debut, even more so than his Japanese counterparts.

At the ECO:nomics meeting in California, Lentz spoke with The Wall Street Journal and said, “After we’ve seen the product, understand its range, its driving dynamics, its refueling, we’re a lot more bullish than Japan—probably about fivefold more bullish. It’s just a question of how many can be produced now.”

The hydrogen-powered sedan has yet to receive a name, but will go on sale in California, Japan, and Europe next year. One major hurdle to nationwide sales is the lack of a hydrogen refueling infrastructure, but Toyota and other companies are pushing this expansion as well.

If the Toyota fuel cell sedan were available here at Empire Toyota, would you make the switch?

2014 Toyota TS040 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype Unveiled

2014 Toyota TS040 Hybrid Le Mans Ready to RaceLast week, Toyota unveiled its all-new TS040 Hybrid Le Mans prototype just before the official start of testing for the 2014 World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The 2014 Toyota TS040 features an electric motor attached to both the front and rear axles, which together produce 473 horsepower. These are paired with a naturally-aspirated V8 that pumps at 513 horsepower. Combined, the TS040’s had an incredible output of 986 ponies!

With new regulations delivered from the WEC, teams are no longer limited by power output, but have to be more focused on fuel efficiency. This is how Toyota can achieve such phenomenal power with its fuel-efficiency hybrid system.

The motors on the axles work to capture energy created while braking. Then, when the car accelerates, the motors send that energy to all four wheels for a boost of power.

With this new efficient and high-powered prototype, Toyota has its sights set on winning the WEC. Join with us here at Empire Toyota as we cheer on Team Toyota and the TS040 prototype when it makes its competition debut on April 20 at Silverstone!

Toyota Engines Rack Up the Mileage before Landing in NASCAR Cars

Toyota Engines Travel Many Miles Before Landing in NASCAR RacecarsThe Toyota engines that end up in NASCAR cars travel thousands of miles before they actually hit the track. However, those miles aren’t clocked on the engines themselves.

Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is located in Orange County, California. However, its racing partners, Michael Waltrip Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing, are headquartered near Charlotte, North Carolina, nearly 2,500 miles away.

The engines are built in California, shipped to North Carolina to be fitted under the hoods of the Camrys, and then the finished cars are shipped to wherever the next NASCAR race is. And, even more extraordinarily, this spectacular cross-country trek happens 36 times a year during the NASCAR season.

If you’re wondering why Toyota does this, it’s because of the TRD facilities already in operation.

“If this facility didn’t exist, we certainly would have built everything in North Carolina,” TRD president David Wilson said at a media event at the TRD facility. “But there’s tremendous amount of capital investment here, and arguably the biggest consideration is the people. You can replace equipment, but it would be a lot more difficult on the personnel side.”

The next NASCAR Sprint Cup race will be held on Sunday, March 30 at 1:00 pm EST at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia.

Toyota i-Road Takes to Tokyo Roads

Toyota i-Road Hits Tokyo Streets March 24In two short days, the Toyota i-Road will strut its stuff on the bustling streets of Tokyo. Toyota will be testing the i-Road in Japan’s largest city to see how it will be able to handle busy roads. There will be 20 participants driving the i-Roads from March 24 until early June, and the group will be comprised of both industry experts and regular Joes.

It will be interesting to see how the Toyota i-Road performs… and even more interesting to see how it fares in eventual crash tests as it is a mere one-yard-wide and weights in at just 660 lbs.

There’s no denying the fact that the Toyota i-Road is fun to look at, and we’re sure the electric three-wheeler will be fun to drive. We can’t wait to hear all about how the testing in Tokyo goes. What do you think – would you like to see the Toyota i-Road up for grabs here at Empire Toyota?

Hybrid Popularity on the Rise

Hybrid Popularity on the RiseWith hybrid popularity on the rise, we can’t help but think back to the humble roots of the technology. Hybrid cars used to be prized for their environmental and wallet-friendliness… and that’s about it. Somewhat unexciting to drive, the first hybrid cars didn’t get anyone particularly revved up. However, Toyota is the perfect example of how far hybrids have come.

Since its inception, the Toyota Prius has become an increasingly more attractive option to all drivers, not just those looking to spend less at the gas pumps. The Prius offers the efficiency drivers have come to expect from hybrid vehicles, but it also boasts impressive safety and technology features and comes in a pretty little package. And the brand has integrated hybrid technology into several other popular models like the Camry, Avalon, RAV4, and Highlander.

Toyota Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada recently explained to Automotive News that he believes hybrid popularity will continue to climb: “I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 percent of global sales from about 13 percent to 14 percent now.” Considering the fact that the original Toyota Prius has Uchiyamada to thank for its creation, we think he’s a pretty credible source in terms of being able to make such a statement with confidence.

Come check out the Prius and other hybrid models at Empire Toyota, and find out for yourself why hybrid popularity is on the rise!

All-New Euro Toyota Aygo Bows in Geneva

All-New Toyota Aygo Unveiled at Geneva Motor Show

Photo and video courtesy of the ToyotaEurope YouTube Channel.

The Toyota Aygo is a metropolitan-friendly car exclusive to the European market. It’s small but dependable, and it’s known for its low cost of ownership in the UK. Toyota describes it as “a small package that’s full of surprises.”

Perfect for squeezing into small spaces and accommodating the most active of lifestyles, we’re a little jealous that the Toyota Aygo is only available overseas, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about it’s newest version which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show this week.

Toyota’s all-new Aygo boasts an utterly impressive fuel economy, getting over 57 miles per gallon. With a length of only 136 inches and weight under 2,000 pounds, the Aygo is all about being efficient and compact.

Toyota set out to prove to everyone in attendance in Geneva that being small and mighty doesn’t have to mean sacrificing bold styling. In fact, the new Toyota Aygo touts a downright aggressive look thanks to the appearance of an x-shaped “mark” across its front. Check out Toyota’s commercial below to see why we think the new Toyota Aygo looks like a lot of fun in a little package!

Supra Trademark Renewed: Can We Get Excited Yet?

Toyota Renewed Supra TrademarkIt’s official: Toyota is bringing back the Supra name. Woah, hold up there. We only said name.

Toyota Renewed Supra TrademarkWe all fell in love with the FT-1 concept Toyota had on display at the Detroit Auto Show, and we here at Empire Toyota all hoped that this would lead to a new Supra. Now, we learn we may very well be getting what we wished for…at least, we’re still hoping that’s what’s happening.

Autoblog reported that Toyota has visited the US Patent and Trademark Office to renew its trademark for the Supra name. It seems this would be pointing towards a new Supra car, especially since the brand let the trademark expire in 2006.

Toyota did, however, renew the trademark in 2010, which explains the timing: they may well just be doing the diligence and holding on to the name. The old saying goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” Is it enough to hope that Toyota’s adamancy to keep the Supra trademark is some indication of intent? We certainly hope not.

While Toyota is keeping tight-lipped about any news relating to a Supra, perhaps its joint venture with BMW will lead to the sports car we’ve all been waiting for.

What would you most like to see in a new Toyota Supra?

Future Toyota Plug-Ins to Implement Wireless Charging

Prius Plug-In to Tout Wireless Charging CapabilitiesThe Toyota brand is dedicated when it comes to researching and developing greener means of transportation. The Prius plug-in is a perfect example with its EPA-estimated combined fuel economy rating of 50 mpg (95 mpge). So how to make an already green set of wheels even greener? Take the plug-in aspect, and eliminate it completely.

That’s right. Wireless charging is the next big step for Toyota in terms of eco-friendly driving. The brand has officially started testing wireless charging technology for the current Prius plug-in model in Japan.

You may be wondering how powering a vehicle through wireless charging is even remotely possible. (We certainly were!) It’s all about electromagnetic coils. Essentially, coils set into the ground send electricity via magnetic resonance, and the corresponding receiving coil within the car sends the electricity to the battery. There’s a whole lot of science going on here, but that’s the watered down version.

What it means for us is the capability to fully charge a Prius battery pack (without wires) in an hour and a half. Of course, there’s still testing and research to be done and the proverbial kinks to be worked out, but Toyota is well on its way to making wireless charging a reality for Prius plug-in owners in the near future.

How near? We’re guessing within the next couple of years, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated when more information becomes available!


Toyota Tops List of Best Automotive Brands

Consumer Reports Ranks Toyota #1 on List of Best Automotive BrandsConsumer Reports recently released the results of a poll ranking automotive brands. Four brands sat atop the list—Toyota, Ford, Honda, and Chevrolet—but it was Toyota that took the big, first-place honor on the list of best automotive brands. The poll asked readers to rank brands according to design and style, fuel economy, performance, quality, safety, technology and innovation, and value—and Toyota, in the minds of the all-important consumer, came out on top.

Jeff Bartlett, Consumer Reports’ deputy automotive editor, explained that this brand perception does not only validate Toyota’s current value, but it also underscores the history and reputation of reliability and satisfaction the brand has worked so hard to build.

“Often, perception can be a trailing indicator, reflecting years of good or bad performance in a category, and it can also be influenced by headlines in the media,” Bartlett said.

Toyota didn’t only lead the overall poll, but it also ranked first in three of the seven categories, tying for the lead in a fourth. The competition isn’t even that close, with Toyota leading second-place Ford by 25 whole points.

So, what are you waiting for? You, the people, have already spoken. Toyota is the brand. So come by Empire Toyota today to find your next car—from the most reliable, durable, safe, fun, and dependable automotive brand on the planet.