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Toyota maintains that hybrids are the practical electric cars of today and plug in hybrids will be the mass market electric cars of tomorrow.
Motoring journalists attending the launch of new generation Prius were addressed by Toyota's Chairman, Mr Bob Field about the leadership role that Prius continues to provide for sustainable mobility.
Mr Field explained how hybrids cut emissions in half and plug in hybrids would have the ability to cut them in half again.
"The best case for pure electric cars is restricted to inner city commuting but range and performance deficiencies will nevertheless limit their resale value and therefore they will prove an expensive option for the majority of owners," he said.
Mr Field explained that petrol/electric hybrids have flexibility of range and performance while plug in hybrids will have the added ability to run exclusively on electricity for most city/urban car journeys.
Toyota's third generation Prius reduces fuel consumption and emissions whilst improving power and torque and displays the benefits of over a decade of hybrid production with many new innovations such as solar power assisted air conditioning.
Mr Field said it was important that motor companies take a whole of life approach to sustainable mobility and highlighted that the factory in Japan producing Prius sourced 50 per cent of it's energy from solar power.
Mr Field also made two significant announcements in Toyota's commitment to hybrid technology in New Zealand, with plans to launch a new Camry hybrid within 12 months and the likely selection of New Zealand for a field trial of the Prius Plug In Hybrid, starting in early 2010.
Our success in securing a local trial will be strongly influenced by New Zealand's high level of renewable electricity generation and Toyota New Zealand's determination to be an early adopter of new green car technology.