Toyota Automated Test Drive Vehicle

Toyota automated test drive vehicleAlways innovating in the field of safety technology, Toyota recently announced that it could be bringing totally autonomous driving to the road as early as 2020. Using a new Toyota automated test drive vehicle it calls Highway Teammate, Toyota is making strides in areas no other auto manufacturer has even begun to dip their toes in yet.

According to Toyota, the push for automated driving is not just out of concern for safety but because the company wants to explore and eventually evolve the relationship between driver and car into something like a close friendship. Highway Teammate, which is a modified Lexus GS, has already been road tested in Japan and put through a series of maneuvering tests to determine its ability to merge and change lanes.

Highway Teammate uses a combination of highly accurate road mapping to pinpoint its own location and external sensors which recognize other vehicles and potential hazards. Highway Teammate uses this information to decide if, when, and how to switch lanes or otherwise avoid the risk.

It’s not an exaggeration to say that this testing could completely change the world of driving in the next several years. Keep an eye on Highway Teammate!

How Do Hybrids Work?

how do hybrids workToyota was the first manufacturer to bring hybrid cars to the market and remains the biggest innovator in hybrid technology today, with its mega-popular Prius line and several other hybrid options. But exactly how do hybrids work?

Hybrids use a combination of electric motor power and gasoline to drastically improve fuel efficiency and lower emissions. There are a couple different kinds of hybrids, including hybrid electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, which use the electricity and gasoline in different ways.

Regular hybrids use their extra electric parts to gather and reuse energy that would otherwise be wasted. Regenerative braking, for instance, collects the kinetic energy produced when braking and feeds it back into the engine, which is why hybrid cars generally have better gas mileage in the city than on the freeway.

Plug-in hybrids, on the other hand, are much closer to electric vehicles, as they can go a certain range on electric power alone. In PHEVs, the gasoline engine, which in normal hybrids runs the vehicle all the time, acts as a sort of backup generator when the electric power runs out. Many drivers find that on their normal commute they never need to use their gasoline.

Winning Video Selected for Toyota TeenDrive365 Video Challenge

TeenDrive365 Video ChallengeSometimes messages are most effective when spoken, or illustrated, by peers. Toyota and Discovery Education chose to use this approach in order to inspire teen drivers to curb the distractions while driving. The TeenDrive365 Video Challenge charged high school students with creating a public service announcement (PSA) to pass along the message. Elijah Wilborn was chosen as the first place winner.

Wilborn, a high school student from Chicago, was awarded $15,000 and the opportunity to re-produce his PSA with the help of professionals from Discovery Education. When the video is complete, it will be adopted into Discovery Education’s resources used around the country.

Wilborn’s video features a teen on an ordinary morning and offers a humorous approach to the need to kick driving distractions to the curb.

“We loved how Elijah’s PSA addressed driving safety with creativity, humor and a clear-eyed view of the distractions that face drivers of all ages,” said Michael Rouse, President of the Toyota USA Foundation. “We offer him our heartfelt congratulations and are proud to help share his vision for encouraging other teens to drive more safely.”

Videos from the top 10 finalists are available for viewing online.

Toyota’s Revelation Could Lead to Improved Fuel Cell Technology

Fuel cell technologyWe at Cumberland Toyota admit that the science behind fuel cell technology is complex and the details go a bit over our heads. However, when we read words like “breakthrough” and “improving… performance” and “more efficient and durable,” then we fully understand. As a matter of fact, those are quotes taken from a recent press release in which Toyota discussed a new observation technique discovered that has the potential to improve the efficiency and durability of fuel cell stacks used in hydrogen-powered vehicles like the Toyota Mirai.

Now, we won’t go into all the details, but the gist of the announcement is that Toyota Motor Company and Japan Fine Ceramics Center (JFCC) together discovered a new way of observing nanometer-sized platinum particles. We imagine this is as interesting to them as watching a favorite movie would be to us.

By observing these particles during chemical reactions, researchers are able to better determine when the platinum particles, which are used as a catalyst in hydrogen fuel technology, begin to decrease in effectiveness.

The ability to observe this process could enable researchers to ultimately come up with a solution that will make hydrogen fuel stacks more efficient and long-lasting.

If you want the full run-down of the scientific processes Toyota’s researchers are studying, feel free to check out the official press release.

Road Trip Tips: Essentials for Travelling By Car

Road Trip TipsThere are two types of people: those who like road trips, and those who can’t stand driving. If you’re the former of the two, then you probably can’t wait for warm weather and that cool summer breeze. That’s why we’ve put together a list of road trip tips to help you get the most out of your long-distance driving.

According to the Travel Channel, one of the most important things you can do is prep your car for the journey. That means getting it serviced, finding a cell phone that works nearly anywhere, and checking your spare tire. Nothing can ruin a trip faster than having to call a tow truck or getting stranded.

Calculating fuel is also important when going on a trip. Although fuel economy varies depending on your driving habits, an accurate measurement can be made by filling your car, resetting the odometer, and marking the gallons you used when you refuel. By dividing the miles by the fuel consumption, you get an accurate readout.  By doing this several times and then taking the average number, you’ll pinpoint close to your actual fuel mileage.

If you’re taking kids on the trip with you, make sure to bring things to keep them entertained. While you might just like cruising on the highway, nothing is worse than hearing the dreaded, “I’m bored!” Bring games, music, and snacks to keep everyone happy.

With these tips in mind, you’re bound to have a good time.

Hydrogen-Powered Toyota Mirai Pace Car is the First of Its Kind

Toyota Mirai pace carThe 2016 Toyota Mirai made its debut as a pace car at the recent Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway, where it marked a stark contrast with the customary roaring V8s. It also marked the first time a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle has paced a NASCAR race.

The Toyota Mirai pace car was outfitted with a light bar and special livery, but most importantly it had the grunt to lead the 43-car field to the green flag for Saturday night’s Sprint Cup round.

Thanks to its advanced hydrogen fuel cell technology, the Mirai uses no gasoline and emits nothing but water vapor. It also has none of the downsides of conventional electric vehicles, being able to refuel in just five minutes and travel up to 300 miles on a full tank.

Back in 2009, Toyota pulled a similar stunt when the Camry Hybrid became the first hybrid vehicle to pace a full NASCAR race at the Coca Cola 600.

The Mirai is due for California later this year, and we’re hoping it’ll spread throughout the country and to Cumberland Toyota after that!

Mexico’s New Toyota Plant to Produce Corolla by 2020

Mexico’s New Toyota PlantToyota has announced that it will invest $1 billion in a new plant in Mexico, where it plans to move production of the Corolla for the 2020 model year. This major investment will be part of the automaker’s “radical” overhaul of the Corolla.

Jim Lentz, Toyota’s CEO of the North American region, commented that the move comes as the automaker sees a low cost of production in Mexico, along with a strong supplier base. Toyota plans to build the new Corolla on Toyota’s new architecture called TNGA, and moving production to Mexico will help keep the 2020 Corolla’s price competitive.

“We’ve been building Tacomas in Mexico for 12 years plus… and we are moving (Corolla) to a country that we know, that we have had great success in,” said Lentz. “Obviously the secret is out that this is a good place to be.”

The new plant is expected to employ 2,000 employees and will have the capacity to produce about 200,000 cars a year. According to, production will begin in 2019 for the 2020 model year. Here at Cumberland Toyota, we are on the edge of our seats. What are the details of this “radical” new Corolla? Unfortunately, just like you, we’ll have to wait a few years to find out.

Toyota North American Manufacturing Operations is Realigning

Toyota North American Manufacturing Operations There will be a few changes coming for Toyota North American Manufacturing Operations. Just recently, Toyota announced a $1 Billion investment that will realign their operations and help the future of Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA).

Toyota will soon be building a new North American manufacturing facility to produce the Corolla in Guanajuato Central Mexico. The soon to be state-of-the-art facility will employ 2,000 people and have the ability to produce 200,000 units each year.

Corolla production won’t begin until 2019 in Mexico, but after that Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. will begin to renovate their Cambridge, Ontario North Plant. The Cambridge plant will switch from producing Corollas to building mid-sized and luxury vehicles. The Woodstock, Ontario plant will also see a few transformations within the upcoming years.

Jim Lentz, chief executive officer of Toyota North America said, “We are thrilled to invest further in North America so we can better meet the needs of our customers for decades to come.”

With the new U.S. headquarters being built in Texas, Toyota has a lot of reconstruction and rearranging ahead of them, but we are thrilled to see the investments paying off. If you’re interested any of the award winning models in Toyota’s lineup, visit us at Cumberland Toyota today!

Post-Freeze Toyota Plant Expansion to Take Root in Mexico and China

Toyota Plant ExpansionAfter a five-year freeze on additional production facilities as part of an attempt to slow down the global financial crisis – Toyota has big plans to turn things around after record-breaking sales in the past years.

Two enormous new Toyota plants will be built in both China and Mexico over the next four years, to make more new Toyota models easily available for purchase both locally and abroad. One plant alone will produce 200,000 vehicles each year.

Nothing official seems to have been decided yet, but it’s likely that information about he new plants will go public soon, considering all the talk that’s floating around online.

This year is looking to be a strong one for the entire automotive industry, already on track to sell about 17 million new trucks and cars. It’s no wonder that Toyota is looking to expand.

What do you think of the Toyota plant expansion plans? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Toyota Lowers Price of Its Braking System

Toyota braking systemEveryone deserves the right to stop. That’s apparently how Toyota feels about things as it prepares to slash prices on its pre-collision braking system.

There a quite a few reasons for the drop. According to ABC News, Toyota said that the price of “cameras and sensors continue to fall.” Also, Toyota has gotten to the point where they are mass-producing the technologies.

Cindy Knight, spokesperson for Toyota, said that in the future, these features will diverge and become available as their own package rather be part of a larger, more expensive, premium package. The goal is to “make the systems as accessible as possible.”

Not only will this move make more Toyota customers safer, it’s likely to lead to a small revolution in the automotive industry at large. As the price of the Toyota braking system decreases further, other automakers will be sure to follow. In the end, given enough time, it’s sure to make everyone a little bit safer in their automobiles.