Despite the fact that the industry as a whole is putting more resources into electric vehicle development, Toyota’s chairman, Takeshi Uchiyamada said automakers should step up their efforts on hybrids and that its company supports this kind of vehicle.
Longer term, the company is betting on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The company plans to offer a fuel-cell sedan in 2015. But for now and even in a longer term, Uchiyamada, 67, called on the industry to sell 5 million hybrids in the U.S. by the end of 2016.
“Some people say hybrid vehicles such as the Prius are only a bridge to the future,” Uchiyamada told the Economic Club of Washington on Monday morning. “But we think it could be a long bridge and a very sturdy one. There are many more gains we can achieve with hybrids.”
“It’s only when we put ourselves under the same kind of intense pressure we faced in developing the Prius that we can achieve great goals,” Uchiyamada said in his first U.S. speech as chairman. “I wish to call on the industry to sell 5 million hybrids in the U.S. by the end of 2016.”
Uchiyamada, known within the company as the father of the Prius hybrid, became chairman of the automaker in June. Toyota is working on the fourth generation of the Prius.
He said it will take two battery breakthroughs “in order to see the age of electric vehicles.” Fuel-cell vehicles are expensive and face problems with refueling infrastructure, but he said they may be a “much more realistic” long-term solution.
Toyota offers more types of hybrids than any other manufacturer. Some automakers have been reluctant to build hybrids, preferring to focus on electric vehicles, diesels, plug-in electric hybrids or other advanced vehicles. As of March, Toyota has sold 5 million hybrid vehicles around the world.
) - Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 - filed under News
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