Few people can deny that Toyota's early adoption of hybrid technology has been a stroke of PR genius, giving the world's largest car maker and the producer of such Leviathans as the Sequoia and the Tundra plenty of positive press as well as a green image wherever it goes. (Last year, I even heard Bob Lutz, GM's chairman and product development guru, pay grudging homage to the strategy.)
But here is a headline that deserves its column-inches. According to Motor Authority, Toyota's VP of powertrain development Masatami Takimoto has said that by 2020 hybrids would become the company's standard drivetrain, and that hybrids would account for "100 percent" of the automaker's new cars. Takimoto also said that Toyota expected to improve the profitability of hybrids to bring their price margins up to the same level as gasoline-only cars by 2010. Due to expensive components such as batteries and electric motors, hybrids are currently more expensive to produce and less profitable than regular gasoline-engine cars.
While an all-hybrid fleet by 2020 sounds like an ambitious target, it's not beyond the realms of possibility: After all, Chrysler recently announced that its Hemi V-8 engine is getting a hybrid makeover for 2008. Looks like the green revolution is at the gates.
Via Motor Authority