As much as I singularly resent the level of obnoxious elistism that seems to enshroud the Toyota Prius, I have to admit – if Toyota manages to produce a hybrid vehicle that isn’t as ugly as the Prius or as tiny as the Chevrolet Volt, there is a distinct possibility that I will succumb to the siren song of Toyota’s cost-effective fuel efficiency.
Say what you will, but those guys at Toyota know how to churn out a quality, eco-friendly automobile. Their first hybrid car on the market, the Prius, was introduced in North America in 2001 and was met with almost instant success. Even though it wasn’t the only one of its kind, the fact that it’s price tag was so consumer-friendly gave it a significant competitive edge. Over the years, the Prius has become an image representative of the hybrid car movement, and its sales have obviously been very successful. So much so, in fact, that Toyota is “upping the ante”.
According to Toyota President Katsuaki Watanabe, Toyota is planning the release of two more hybrid vehicles. Although production of the Prius will continue as usual, in 2010 Toyota plans to introduce two new members to the Toyota and Lexus fold (respectively). In addition, Toyota has also announced its new partnership with Panasonic EV Energy Co. and subsequent plans to begin manufacturinglithium-ion batteries. The new breed of batteries will initially be used for testing purposes, but long-term goals call for the mass production of the lithium-ion batteries for use in Toyota’s plug-in hybrid vehicle, set for release in 2010.
But wait, it gets greener still…
Toyota’s unbending commitment to the environment also includes immediate plans to begin research in pursuit of a cleaner, even more efficient battery than the lithium-ion. Toyota has also declared that, by 2010, they will effectively cut emissions produced by their manufacturing plants since 2001 by 35%.
[Source: Automotive News]