Toyota's Takeshi Uchiyamada Says Hybrids Will Soon Have 20% Global Share
March 13, 2014 9:24 AM
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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.
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It might happen, but it depends...
3/16/2014 5:14:40 AM
I have to be honest, at this point I am not a big believer in hybrids, despite owning one (2001 Honda Insight) for over a decade (or maybe because of owning one). With the improvements in fuel economy we're seeing now in regular ICE cars, the advantage that hybrids have is shrinking.
What it basically comes down to is this: On the highway, a highly efficient gas only car will basically rival a hybrid (in that circumstance the electric motor doesn't do much for you). Meanwhile, for city, or I suppose rush hour highway driving, an electric car is way more efficient than a hybrid is. And even versus a fuel efficient gas only car, the hybrid premium is so high that it will take years for you to make up the cost in fuel.
At this point it looks like to me that if your household owns two cars, you may be better off just getting a fuel efficient ICE car for driving long distances, and combining it with a second electric car for driving around town. The extra cost of hybrids really works against them. For example, the Chevy Volt costs so much that you can basically buy a Nissan Versa and a Nissan Leaf for not much more. The Versa gets just as good highway mileage as the Volt, and the Leaf has a longer electric range than the Volt.
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