Turning Up the Heat on Hybrid Cars

Toyota Motor pushed the hybrid envelope further this week by unveiling two high-profile cars equipped with the alternative powertrain at the annual Detroit auto show, but competitors responded by cranking up the volume to promote rival clean-engine technologies. PHOTO: Toyota Voltra hybrid-electric concept sports car.

Published: 14-Jan-2006

Japan's top automaker has gained a reputation as a "green" company with its popular Prius and other gasoline-electric hybrids, and is keen to see the technology take off globally.

After selling about 250,000 hybrid vehicles globally last year, Toyota is targeting sales of 400,000 units in 2006. It hopes to do this with the addition of versions of the Lexus LS and Toyota Camry hybrids--the two brands' flagship sedans.
"It is clear today that hybrid technology has moved solidly into the mainstream, especially among consumers who are environmentally aware and want to make a difference for future generations," Don Esmond, senior vice president at Toyota Motor Sales USA, said at the Camry hybrid's launch at the North American International Auto Show here this week.

Rivals sought to tone down the hype, citing the high cost of the cars to manufacturers and consumers and claiming "inflated truths" about vastly improved mileage. Hybrids put together a conventional combustion engine and an electric motor to save fuel.


Playing catch-up a decade late, the world's auto giants now find that they have to lease or buy technology from Toyota.

Spc. Jeffrey Hamme and Staff Sgt. Michelangelo Merksamer of HHC, 1/506th Infantry, point out features of the Hybrid Electric Humvee at the AUSA Annual Meeting earlier this month. The two Soldiers participated in a Military Utility Assessment of the prototype vehicle last month at Fort Campbell, Ky.

Ford's 'Hybrid Patrol,' a 10-city initiative this fall that aims to show hybrid drivers how to drive for best fuel economy. EV World photo of Bill and Lisa Hammond on way to first Ford Patrol event in Detroit during stop-over in Omaha.


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