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Father of the Prius recalls the early program and its challenges

Takeshi Uchiyamada is an important figure at Toyota. Not only is he the chairman of the automaker, but he is also considered to be the father of the Prius. The Toyota Prius has been the most popular hybrid in the world since its introduction over a decade ago.
 
Uchiyamada recently indicated that there is nowhere to go but up for hybrid production/sales. "I foresee hybrid models pretty soon reaching 20 percent of global sales from about 13 percent to 14 percent now," said Uchiyamada.
 
Hybrid vehicles remain a niche market as improving fuel economy for traditional vehicles has improved significantly making the value of a hybrid less defined.


Toyota FT-Bh concept
 
Sales of hybrid vehicles rose 40% in Europe last year reaching 214,237 units (that is still less than the number of Toyota Prii sold in the United States last year). That tally gives hybrid vehicles under 2% of the overall European auto market. To boost that market share, many automakers are working to reduce the price of the battery packs and other hybrid components.
 
Toyota is preparing to launch its next generation Prius within the next year. The company is hoping for at least an 8% fuel efficiency gain compared to the current generation vehicle.

Source: Autonews





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