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Hybrid technology - the future of motoring in New Zealand
Globally Toyota has now passed the 2.5 million mark and now selling at about 2000 hybrid vehicles globally per day, said Toyota's CEO Alistair Davis to the motoring press at the launch of the 2011 Highlander SUV.
"This has increased by about a third on what we were selling in 2009, when we sold 500,000 in one year, for the first time.
Of those sales, Prius is the biggest contributor at 1.8 million, so far although Camry is now at second at 200,000."
Mr Davis said Toyota's next goal was to push up to one million vehicles per year.
The other significant hybrid news is that Toyota New Zealand is part of a global trial for plug-in Prius.
"It takes about 1 ½ hours to charge, it then runs about 20-30 km on that charge - when the battery is exhausted it converts to a normal hybrid. That means that for most short runs there is no petrol used at all."
When you travel further you can avoid worrying about a flat battery because the conventional hybrid with it's highly efficient petrol engine will take you another 700 km.
"We now believe that the future will be a combination of many fuels depending on the vehicle type and the planned use."
Mr Davis said electric vehicles seem most promising for short distances and small vehicles.
"Hybrids and plug-in hybrids seem best for cars travelling a mixed 'long and short distance' driving. These cars are likely to have internal combustion engines which will run on a wide range of energy options - gas, biofuels, and so on. All involve some issues which suggest diversification will continue for some time. Finally we see fuel cells being an option for larger vehicles and trucks."
Mr Davis said because in New Zealand we are considered as technology takers, there are lots of exciting technologies on their way, however with limited Government incentive we will be unlikely to see all these technologies in New Zealand.