Hybrids’ Rising Sun

Free registration required to read the article. “…The Prius, which uses both a gasoline engine and an electric motor for propulsion, gets an average of 55 miles to the gallon—about double the mileage of a comparable gasoline car. What’s more, the latest model rolling off the factory floor at Tsutsumi doesn’t sacrifice power or comfort and sells for only about $1,000 more than a base model of Toyota’s mid-size sedan, the Camry.

And the Prius is only a preview of Toyota’s ambitious plans for the new hybrid technology. By the end of this year, the automaker plans to sell a luxury sport utility vehicle using the technology—a hybrid Lexus—in the United States. Within a decade, say Toyota executives, the gas-electric combination could be offered in every category of vehicle the automaker sells, from subcompacts to heavy-duty pickup trucks. ‘When Toyota’s SUVs hit the market, and people see what a really powerful hybrid electric vehicle can do, I think it’s going to rattle a few cages,’ says former General Motors chairman Robert Stempel, who chairs Rochester Hills, MI-based technology developer Energy Conversion Devices.”