Sunday, April 24, 2005

Prius Envy

Toyota has remained at the head of the class when it comes to pushing the technology envelope in the "Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles," as coined by our own EPA. Wired reports on the culture behind the Prius craze and why Toyota is keeping a strangle-hold on the market consistently driving for cleaner more fuel efficient vehicles.

"It may seem odd that the company poised to overtake General Motors in the next few years as the world's biggest automaker is out to render the traditional internal combustion engine obsolete. But the early success of the Prius is making believers out of Toyota suppliers. Toshiba, for example, recently committed $95 million to build a facility to manufacture hybrid control system microchips. Likewise, Sanyo announced that it will double output of its rechargeable hybrid batteries."

Wired takes a skeptical look at the future of hybrids but uncovers some real gems about Toyota and the market they have created and continue to control.

"In phase two, Toyota is doubling production to sell 100,000 new Priuses in the US this year. This spring, the company will introduce the Lexus RX 400h, billed as the world's first luxury hybrid, followed by the Toyota Highlander Hybrid SUV. And it's considering opening a US manufacturing facility. Toyota has also begun advertising the Prius to the mass market."

Right now there are several campaigns targeting the worst fuel economist among automakers, Ford Motor Co., and pushing Detroit to get on board the hybrid train before they are bought out by the likes of Honda (also coming out with several hybrids) and Toyota. Checkout for more info on that campaign. Lets hope Detroit gets its head out off the sand on this before America loses the car market for good.


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