Phil Wright Toyota Blog

Your Russellville, AR Toyota Dealer

Phil Wright Toyota Blog - Your Russellville, AR Toyota Dealer

Toyota Helps Preserve GI Bill of Rights and Other Historic Documents

The Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill, affords the brave men and women who have served our country with opportunities they otherwise might not have upon returning to civilian life – opportunities that make home ownership, education, workforce training, and unemployment pay possible. Recognizing their importance, Toyota is making it possible to view the GI Bill of Rights and other valuable historic documents, even when they are not on display at the National Archives Museum.

The National Archives Museum has strict guidelines for the display and conservation of documents. As part of these regulations, the GI Bill was recently taken down after five weeks on display; however, thanks to a generous gift to the Foundation for the National Archives, Toyota is making sure the GI Bill and nine other historic documents will be available for all to see, even when they are rotated out of Museum’s exhibit.

Some of the additional documents included President Nixon’s 1973 letter of resignation and the Bill of Rights passed by Congress in 1789. Part of Toyota’s $100,000 gift is dedicated to making these documents available online.

“It’s an honor to have Toyota preserve this special part of America’s rich history because of its impact on so many veterans, who sacrificed so much to keep our country safe and free. It’s important that they are given help restarting their civilian life,” said Don Esmond, a senior adviser for Toyota and a decorated veteran who served as a helicopter pilot for the Marines in over 900 missions. During his service, Esmond earned the Purple Heart, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, and 45 Air Medals.

We at Phil Wright Toyota are grateful to our servicemen and women like Esmond, and we’re proud Toyota has chosen to support the armed forces and our nation’s history in such an important way.

Toyota Might Go Ahead with 2016 Tacoma Hybrid

2014 Toyota TacomaSometimes, shopping for a light-duty pickup truck can be difficult. Who wants to sacrifice money at the gas pump for pickup truck capabilities? Toyota might have just the solution for those who understand this struggle—the 2016 Tacoma Hybrid.

While the possibility of the Tacoma Hybrid is still up in the air, Toyota’s sister company, Lexus, is releasing a new hybrid crossover called the NX 300h that uses all-wheel-drive. With this release, the likelihood of Toyota releasing such an eco-friendly light-duty pickup is raising by the minute. If the Japanese automaker chooses to use the same drivetrain as the Lexus ES 300h, for instance, it means that the Tacoma might even get close to an impressive 34 mpg combined, a number that is completely unexpected from a pickup truck.

Currently, the Tacoma gets 19 mpg combined with the base four-cylinder engine and four-wheel-drive. If a hybrid is introduced to the market, there’s no doubt that truck lovers everywhere will be turning their heads towards the Toyota truck.

Toyota has yet to confirm the hybrid pickup’s existence. Until they do, make sure you stop by Phil Wright Toyota today to see what type of fuel-efficient cars Toyota has to offer!

Toyota Reveals Fuel Cell Vehicle to North American Audiences

Toyota Fuel Cell VehicleThe 2014 Aspen Ideas festival in Aspen, Colorado was the site of the legendary reveal of Toyota’s new fuel cell vehicle (FCV). While we’ve been hearing about the technology behind the hydrogen-powered electric vehicle for a while, we are finally able to take a look at the production vehicles exterior. And let us say we are not disappointed with what we see.

The vehicle’s design keeps pace with the futuristic nature of its technology. When the car uniquely in silver at the Festival, it afforded a clear view of its sleek lines and smooth contours. Black creatively accents the car’s hood and grille, further setting the vehicle apart.

The FCV will go on sale in California next summer. By that time, the state will be equipped with at least 19 new hydrogen fueling stations thanks to Toyota’s partnership with FirstElement Fuel, making the FCV a practical option for owners.

We at Phil Wright Toyota will keep you updated with news of the FCV’s availability in Arkansas. Hopefully, we’ll start seeing hydrogen stations popping up around here sooner rather than later.

Toyota Looks to Improve Hybrid Efficiency with New Invention

Improve Hybrid EfficiencyToyota Technical Center’s Eric Dede is your average overachiever. While working as the manager of the Electronics Research Department at TTC, he simultaneously serves as senior engineer for the University of Michigan Space Physics Research Laboratory. Why should you care? His most recent achievement actually concerns you as well as us here at Phil Wright Toyota: His invention could improve hybrid efficiency by 10 percent. Okay, maybe he’s not so average after all.

His invention is a new Micro-channel Cold Plate in EVs and Hybrids. It involves an increase in heat transfer and a reduction in pumping power, but at the end of the day, it could increase the efficiency of hybrid vehicles by 10 percent.

Dede received a patent for his work in improving Toyota’s hybrid vehicles; and with it he was honored with an R&D 100 Award, which is essentially the scientific equivalent to an Oscar.

However, Dede insisted the new technology was the work of several brilliant minds.

“This was a great collaborative project that established useful methods for the advanced design and optimization of electromechanical systems.” he said.

If you’re like us, you’re hoping this technology will quickly make its way into Toyota’s hybrid vehicles. As far as we know, a timeline hasn’t been set, but we’ll be sure to keep you updated.

Toyota Teen Driver Video Challenge Winners Announced

Toyota just announced the Teen Driver Video Challenge winners. This contest challenges teens to create a short video that encourages safe teen driving by avoiding distractions behind the wheel.

This is the third year for the contest and Toyota received more than 1,000 entries. These were narrowed down to ten finalists, which were posted online for public voting.

The video with the most votes was created by four students from Crean Lutheran High School in Irvine, California—Jenny Kim, Tyler Koski, Kevin Kim, and Chase Masters. They will share the grand prize of $15,000 and will get to work with Discovery to turn their video into a professional, TV-ready PSA. Check out their video below.

Winning the second-place prize is Rachel Mallasch of Snoqualmie, Washington. Along with $10,000, she gets a trip for two to a behind-the-scenes experience for a show on Discovery’s Velocity network. Here is her video.

Finally, in third place was Jake Martin from Amesbury, Massachusetts. He will receive a $7,500 prize.

Here at Phil Wright Toyota, we are proud to see so many teens working together to promote safer driving. Remember to never drive distracted and stay safe on the roads.

Toyota Sending Fuel Cell Vehicle to Production in December

According to The Japan Times, Toyota will jumpstart production of its Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) by mid-December of this year! That is sooner than originally anticipated, as Toyota had an initial goal of production by 2015.

The article says Toyota is “considering manufacturing dozens of vehicles per month” at its facility in Japan. It will likely have a starting price around eight million yen, which is $78,030. Toyota will then gradually move the price down between three and five million yen ($30,000 to $50,000) by 2020 to drive up sales and boost production.

Toyota’s fuel-cell car will go on sale shortly after production begins, meaning the first models could be ready by the end of this year.

Initially, the FCV will only be available in California since it has the necessary hydrogen infrastructure. But, who knows, maybe if it’s a roaring success, the infrastructure will make its way across the United States.

Would you buy a Toyota FCV if it were available here in Arkansas?

New Technology Could Make Prius Hybrid Even More Efficient

2013 Toyota Prius Toyota is working on a technology that would make the Prius even more efficient, as if we even thought that was possible. The diamond-like chip will carry electricity through the car’s drivetrain without losing any energy, which could boost efficiency by ten percent.

According to, the new semiconductor is made of silicon carbide, which is smaller, tougher, and more efficient than the technology being used now. The material is a synthetic version of moissanite, a rare mineral that is among the world’s toughest materials, right there alongside diamonds.

Toyota’s current silicon semiconductors manage the flow of electricity from the battery to the motor in order to control vehicle speed, and they also manage the flow of energy from the brakes to the battery. In the process, the semiconductors suck up about 20 percent of the energy.

Toyota plans to begin testing the new technology in Japan later this month, however we won’t see it available in Toyota cars until 2020, at the earliest.

Car Types Influence Insurance Premiums: Are You Getting in Over Your Head?

Insurance PremiumsIt’s no secret that insurance agencies use some mysterious equations when determining your premiums. We have a pretty good idea what factors are part of the equation, but how they come up with each individual’s premium seems like the world’s biggest secret.

In an attempt to unravel part of the mystery, we’ve recently discovered a study by WalletHub, which found that car types, not necessarily prices, play a big role in your insurance rates.  WalletHub found that price range of the vehicle is less important than the type of car you bought. “Insurance premiums for cars in the same price range can differ by as much as 26%. And we find the variation in insurance premiums actually increases for more expensive vehicles.”

Sports cars are the most expensive vehicles to insure, followed by trucks. The average annual premium for a sports car was found to be $1,838. For crossovers and SUVs, it was $1,432.

We also found it a bit surprising to learn that new cars are cheaper to insure than cars a few years old. On average, new sedans are almost $130 cheaper to insure than 3-year old sedans.

Avoid sticker shock when it comes time to insure your new vehicle, and do some research to see what you’ll be looking at – hundreds of dollars a year could make a big difference. Get quotes from your insurance company before you purchase, or get an estimate with a handy online calculator.

Tesla Stops Toyota RAV4 EV Battery Production

2014 Toyota RAV4 EVIt looks like the production of the Toyota RAV4 EV might be over before it even really began. Tesla, who provides Toyota with the EV’s battery packs, has decided that they will no longer be producing the batteries used in the all-electric RAV4, ending production officially later this year.

While this cease in production might seem sudden, it follows the timeline for the original production plans closely. Before the $100-million project began, Tesla stated that it was going to supply battery packs from 2012 to 2014, which the carmaker has done.

Despite Tesla ceasing production of the RAV4 EV’s battery pack, Toyota has yet to comment on whether they will officially stop producing the RAV4 EV yet. It wouldn’t come as too much of a shock, though, especially since the Japanese carmaker has its FCV Concept hydrogen vehicle waiting in the wings and set for production in 2015. While this concept car appeals to a different market, it will still help Toyota keep its lead in the electric car field.

Toyota Improves Camry’s Design for New 2015 Model

Much of what we know as the Toyota Camry remains the same for the 2015 model—it’s still the same great compact with the excellent efficiency, performance, safety, and reliability that’s made it the best-selling car in America for twelve straight years. However, you still might now recognize it as the Toyota Camry when you first see it, because Toyota has made significant improvements to the car’s design.

It’s like Toyota has re-sculpted the Camry, chipping away the boxier styling of the previous model to reveal a curvier design that reminds the viewer of other beautiful Toyota designs like the Avalon and Corolla underneath. Plus, on the inside, you’ll find a comfortable cabin equipped with an improved center console and a beautiful new screen for the infotainment system.

The Camry boasts 178 horsepower and 170 lb-ft of torque out of its base 2.5L engine, but you can boost those numbers to 268 and 248 respectively with the 3.5L V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission. Come in to Phil Wright Toyota to check out this beautiful new Camry very soon!