This week Toyota showed off their prototype of the highly anticipated new RAV4 EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show. On the other side of the ocean, Toyota executives have made a number of intriguing new announcements about their electric vehicles.
Perhaps the most striking announcement is that they plan to release eleven new or redesigned hybrid models by 2012. Toyota currently sell eight hybrids in the USA which are split between the Toyota and Lexus nameplates, and in September they reiterated their commitment to releasing six brand new models by 2012. They believe that many people will be getting a motor insurance quote for a Toyota hybrid vehicle.
One of the new releases includes a small hybrid with fuel economy which Toyota say is currently delivering a whopping 94 mpg during testing. It’s far too early to know how that number will translate to United Kingdom standards, but it is expected to beat all other current hybrids.
Another new model will be the 7-seat Prius V which will make its début in January 2010 at the Detroit Auto Show. Hybrids work by switching between a petrol engine and an electric motor and Toyota’s Prius is a top seller. A plug-in hybrid is much cleaner than a regular hybrid because it is able to travel further as a zero-emission electric vehicle. Toyota claim that an electric vehicle will be mainly for short distances and petrol-electric hybrids will remain the standard green vehicle because drivers will not have to worry about running out of electricity while on the road.
In a statement Toyota pledged to continue to improve the fuel efficiency of its conventional combustion-engine cars, which account for the majority of its sales, while raising performance, reducing costs and expanding the company’s product line-up.
A spokesman said “Within these efforts, hybrid technologies—consisting of the basic technologies necessary for development of various eco-cars—are positioned as key technologies to achieve both high fuel efficiency and driving performance, and to facilitate the use of various fuels with the aim of creating a low-carbon society through response to the need to diversify energy sources.”